Memorial to Archibald Simpson in Aberdeen's Bon Accord Square
|Born||4 May 1790
|Died||23 March 1847(aged 56)|
Archibald Simpson (1790 – 1847) was one of the major architects of Aberdeen, which is known as "The Granite City".
Ancestry and early life
Simpson was born at the Guestrow, Aberdeen on 4 May 1790 and his father was the merchant William Simpson (1740-1804); his mother was Barbara Dauney (c.1750–1801), a minister's daughter. The couple had nine children and Simpson was their fourth son. He was not a strong or healthy child and had a weakness in his left arm; several of his siblings died before reaching maturity. He received his education at Aberdeen Grammar School being a student there from January 1800; he attended Marischal College - a building he was later to work on, for the year prior to his father's death in 1804. His initial ambition was to become a merchant like his father but his uncle guided him towards being a mason. Simpson left university and worked for a local building company completing his apprenticeship in 1810. He trained in London in the office of Robert Lugar then moving to work with David Laing. Simpson then undertook a study tour of Italy. He was a bachelor and had no children.
Simpson's buildings have contributed significantly to the architecture of Aberdeen. The first buildings he worked on were on Union Street, Aberdeen. It is unclear whether his first commission was 64–66 (Union Chambers) for the Duke of Gordon or 40–44 Union Street for Morrison of Auchentoul.
Simpson is probably best known for the North of Scotland Bank headquarters building, at the corner of Castle Street and King Street, built in 1839-42. It is now a pub which has been named in his honour.
He designed what is now the inner court of Marischal College.
Outside Aberdeen, he designed St Giles Kirk in Elgin, which was built in 1827-28 and stands in the widest part of the High Street.
Aberdeen Market (The old Market), was also built by Simpson in April 1842. It was burnt to the ground in 1882. It was rebuilt and re-opened in 1883, remaining a popular shopping market until 1971 when it was demolished to make way for the present Market and British Home Stores.
Death and legacy
Simpson died in Aberdeen on 23 March 1847. A memorial to him stands in Aberdeen's Bon Accord Square. He is buried in the graveyard of the Kirk of St Nicholas on Union Street.
- "Archibald Simpson". Dictionary of Scottish architects. Archived from the original on 19 August 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- Miller, David G. (2007). Archibald Simpson Architect: His Life and Times, 1790-1847. Scottish Executive. ISBN 978-1-904440-84-0.
- Robbie, William (1893). Aberdeen: Its History and Tradition, with Notices of Some Eminent Aberdonians. D. Wyllie.