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iainh124a ADMIN August 24, 2008
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Marischal College, Aberdeen. Get yours at

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The History and Architecture of Marischal College & Museum
Marischal College was founded in 1593 by the 4th Earl Marischal on the site of the Franciscan Friary as the second university in Aberdeen, following the foundation of King's College in 1495 by Bishop William Elphinstone. The two universities were united in 1860 as the University of Aberdeen. Nowadays, most teaching takes place around King's College and at the Medical School in Foresterhill, though Marischal College continues to be home to graduation ceremonies and to Marischal Museum. Toilets and cloakrooms are on the ground floor of the College.

A new building was built to the plans of William Adam in the mid-18th century, but it was demolished along with the remains of the friary during the rebuilding of the College between 1836 and 1906. Among the few surviving fragments are inscriptions below the stairs. "Thay haif said, Quhat say thay, Lat thame say" was the motto of the Earls Marischal, while the other "APETH A¡TARKHS" translates as "Virtue is self-sufficient". That part of the college, which contains the museum, was built to the designs of the Aberdeen architect Archibald Simpson between 1836 and 1844 and extended as far as the small towers in the quadrangle.

Between 1895 and 1906 the building was extended to become the second largest granite building in the world, after the Escorial Palace outside Madrid. Designed by Alexander Marshall Mackenzie, the extensions included heightening the tower to its present 70m, the building of the Mitchell Hall and the Broad Street frontage. The history of the University is recorded in heraldry throughout the building, including the shields above the Broad Street entrance. From the left, they are: Lord Strathcona (Chancellor of the University in 1906), Old Aberdeen (in which King's College lies), Bishop William Elphinstone, the united University of Aberdeen, the 5th Earl Marischal, the City of Aberdeen and Charles Mitchell (a major benefactor after whom the Mitchell Hall and Tower are named).

The Great Window of the Mitchell Hall
At the far end of the Mitchell Hall is the striking commemorative window executed by TR Spence of London to the designs of the University Librarian, PJ Anderson, one of the institution's most distinguished historians. In conjunction with the shields on the side windows, the Great Window of the Mitchell Hall summarises in pictorial form the history of Marischal College He took care to include elements of the seventeenth century heraldic ceiling of old Marischal College. These were the shields of the first eight principals and twenty-two early benefactors (including the Founder and the City of Aberdeen).

The upper part contains the arms of the founder, George, 5th Earl Marischal and the City of Aberdeen, which may be regarded as the joint founder. Grouped around them are the shields of the Chancellors of Marischal College, a post that was held by the Earls Marischal until their forfeiture after the Rebellion of 1715.

The centre of the window fixes the date of the window at the end of the 19th century, with the shields of Queen Victoria, the Chancellor, Rector and Principal of the University, the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, the Member of Parliament for Aberdeen and Charles Mitchell, the donor of the window. The full-length figures to the left of the window represent some eminent men associated with Marischal College in the 17th century, to the right those of the 18th century, while those of the 19th century are recorded in the medallion portraits. The shields on both sides of the window are those of the College Principals from the foundation to the fusion with King's College in 1860. The bottom section of the window displays the shields of thirty benefactors.

Information about conversion into Aberdeen City Council's Corporate Headquarters: Click here

Wikipedia Article on Marischal College: Click here

World Architecture News Article: Click here

Holmes Partnership (Architects): Click here

Firm chosen for Marischal HQ work BBC News Article

Sir Robert McAlpine Website

Top construction company signed up for Marischal College re-build Aberdeen City Council Article

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