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Statue of Queen Victoria
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Statue of Queen Victoria

Historic Photographs
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Statue of Queen Victoria
Historic Photographs
Statue of Queen Victoria
A photograph showing the statue of Queen Victoria at the junction of Union Street and St. Nicholas Street. The building in the background is the Clydesdale Bank that stands next to M&S today. This fine Italian renaissance style building was originally constructed for the Town and County Bank and opened for business in May 1863.

The statue of Queen Victoria was made from marble and was sculpted by Banff born Alexander Brodie (c.1829 - 1867). The origin of this statue is closely related to another Aberdeen monument, the 1863 memorial statue of Prince Albert by Baron Marochetti, now standing, or rather sitting, in the area in front of the Central Library.

Marochetti's statue was augurated by Queen Victoria herself on 13th October 1863 and this was said to the first time the Queen had appeared at a public demonstration following the death of Albert in 1861. The Marochetti statue was the subject of great local controversy and there were various plans for an alternative, superior, memorial to the late Prince Consort. It was at a related meeting that a chap called Alexander Donald, from the Royal Tradesman of Aberdeen, moved "That a colossal statue in marble, of Her Majesty, be erected at the corner of St. Nicholas Street."

The endeavour was taken on by a variety of prominent citizens and funding was raised by public subscription. Brodie, the selected sculptor, worked on an 11-ton block of Sicilian marble for two years to complete the statue. The finished piece is 8 foot 6 inches in height and, at the request of Queen herself, depicts Victoria in Scottish regal attire. The statue stands on a substantial plinth of pink Peterhead granite.

The statue was unveiled and inaugurated on 20th September 1866 by Albert-Edward Prince of Wales, later to be King Edward VII and the subject of another of Aberdeen's notable statues. During his speech at the ceremony, the Prince said "Gentlemen, it has afforded me the greatest satisfaction to attend here today, by the wish of Her Majesty, and at your invitation, for the purpose of inaugurating a statue of the Queen, my dear mother. Her Majesty has desired me to express to you how much she appreciates the motives which have led the people of Aberdeenshire to give this lasting evidence of their attachment and loyalty to her person, of which she has so many proofs, and whose sympathy in her great sorrow has touched her so deeply."

During his visit, the Prince of Wales also received the Freedom of the City and attended the Royal Horticultural Society's Autumn Show, which was then going on in the Music Hall. An extensive account of the unveiling, the Royal visit and the town's celebrations is given in the Aberdeen Journal of 26th September 1866.

After some time at this location, the statue's marble began to show weathering due to the frost and so it was moved to the vestibule of the Town House in 1888, where it remains to this day. It stands at the foot of the building's splendid main stairway. The plaster model of Brodie's statue has also been on display in the Music Hall for many years.

A new bronze statue of an older Victoria, by sculptor Charles Bell Birch, was erected at the St. Nicholas Street location on 9th November 1893 and "the Queen" became a regular meeting place for generations of Aberdonians. To make way for the extension of Marks & Spencer, the 1893 statue moved to its current site at Queen's Cross on 22nd January 1964. Victoria now stands looking east towards Balmoral.
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