The Soap Factory

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111 Gallowgate is on the left

The Soap Factory at 111 Gallowgate, Aberdeen, Scotland, was built for Ogston & Tennant, soap and candle manufacturers, in 1922. The building was designed to be the formal office and to stand detached from the main factory and warehouses, which opened onto Loch Street.[1] Ogston & Tennant ceased trading in the 1970s, and the building is now used as offices. It is a category C listed building.[2]

The building[edit]

The architect credited with the design of 111 Gallowgate is Alexander Mavor who designed the soap-works for Ogston & Tennant.[3] Alexander Mavor trained as a builder in London before moving to Scotland and joining William Henderson & Sons architectural practice. He became a partner there before leaving to start his own business.[4]

The building on the Gallowgate side has a low classical profile and is built from Kemnay granite. The main entrance has granite steps leading up to two Doric columns set either side of a recessed timbered door. The listing makes particular mention of the granite boundary wall topped with decorative metal railings.[2] To the rear is the basement which is built from brick, not granite, and housed Ogston & Tennant's industrial laboratories.

In 1941 the Loch Street side of the factory site was bombed.[5] At some point in the 1970s Ogston and Tennant ceased trading and the building was then used as a Waldorf school.[6] The interior of the building has been modernised to include serviced office and media space.

Brief history of Ogston & Tennant[edit]

Ogston & Tennant Ltd. was formed in 1898 from two companies joining A. Ogston & Sons and Charles Tennant and Co.[7] At the time of the merger Ogstons already owned both a factory and warehouses in Loch Street, Aberdeen. On 9 March 1910 the company won damages against the Glasgow Daily Record for defamation. This was in connection with another libel, by the Daily Mail against Lever Brothers. It totalled £9,000 and the news was reported around the world.[8]

On 28 June 1910 they suffered a great fire which engulfed and destroyed the factory. Reports mention machinery crashing through the floors. Damage totalled £80,000.[9][10] In 1911 the company agreed to an "association" with Lever Brothers and after the second world war, they became part of the company until they ceased trading in the 1970s.[11]


  1. ^ "Aberdeen, Loch Street, Ogston And Tennant Factory Site". CANMORE. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "111 Gallowgate". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Alexander Mavor". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "William Henderson & Son". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Murray, Sam. "Memories from Eastleigh Nursing Home, Peterculter: Sam Murray". WW2 Peoples War. BBC / Aberdeen Libraries. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "Aberdeen, 111 Gallowgate And Railings". CANMORE. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Ogston and Tennant". Grace's Guide British Industrial History. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Defamation". PapersPast. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "A Conflagration". PapersPast. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "GREAT FIRE IN GLASGOW.". The Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 29 June 1910. p. 8. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "Ogston and Tennant". British Industrial History. Graces Guide. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 57°09′04″N 2°05′57″W / 57.151°N 2.0991°W / 57.151; -2.0991