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Union St, Aberdeen, Looking East
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Union St, Aberdeen, Looking East

Historic Photographs
Adam Robertson
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Union St, Aberdeen, Looking East
Historic Photographs
Union St, Aberdeen, Looking East
An Adelphi Series postcard showing a crowded Union Street with trams running in both directions. The photograph is looking east down Union Street.

The building on the left, at the junction with Back Wynd, is now inhabited by shops on the ground floor and a nightclub above. It was initially built in 1836-37 to a design by John Smith for the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen. It was their first purpose-built meeting hall and library in the city.

The society sold this building at 120 Union Street in 1870 and moved to new premises in Concert Court, where they remain to this day. The Union Street building was purchased by a confectioners called Lockhart & Salmond, later R. & J. Salmond, and functioned as a restaurant and public hall.

It was taken over in the early 1880s by a prominent Aberdeen caterer called George Watson. He had previously been the proprietor at The Grill and of a restaurant at 1 Union Terrace. For much of that decade the meeting rooms were also the home of the Aberdeen Conservative Club.

Watson opened the Queen's Restaurant at 118 Union Street in 1888 and this appears to be the origin of the building's lasting name. The main hall became the Queen's Billiards Saloon in the 1890s following the death of Watson in 1893.

The building was partially reconstructed and reopened as the lavish Queen's Restaurant and Tea Rooms by the Cabin Tea Rooms company in 1899. Following a stint as an auction house, it became a popular Aberdeen cinema in 1913 that operated for much of the 20th century.

A severe fire at the Queen's Cinema in 1936 led to the reconstruction of the building's interior. After the cinema closed in 1981 the premises laid empty before the reopening as a nightclub called Eagles in 1987. The building has remained in use as a nightclub ever since, becoming De Niro's in 1996 and Espionage in 2002.

This postcard was lent to Aberdeen City Libraries so that we could create a digital copy for public use.
Adelphi Series
Aberdeen Local Studies
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