Professors of Natural Philosophy at the Universities of Aberdeen *


Marischal College Premises

At its foundation in 1593, Marischal College took over buildings that had belonged to the Greyfriars within the town of ‘New Aberdeen’ - post reformation in ideals and location. Having been founded in second-hand buildings, it made use of them for about a century before a major funds drive produced enough money to build new premises in plain sandstone, without ornamentation.  Oxford and Cambridge Universities and sources on the Continent made significant contributions.  A second fundraising was needed in the 1730s to complete the South wing. The College always seemed short of money. A public appeal was made in the 1720s to equip the College with instruments for teaching Natural Philosophy; another public appeal in the 1780s was more successful, raising money for an observatory. This penury may seem surprising, since from 1840 Marischal College has been housed in one of the finest granite buildings in Aberdeen, made even larger and more ornate in the 1890s and the early twentieth century. The granite is a visible symbol of the changing view of Universities by the public, for the government added substantially to money raised for the new granite builds. It took a long time coming but Universities were at last seen as a public good, not a shelter for those with a talent for penning Latin verse.

The Marischal College buildings were mostly evacuated by the University in the 1990s and 3 sides of the quadrangle were leased to the Aberdeen City Council who rebuilt the facilities within and re-laid the quadrangle. The rebuild preserved the ornate facade and the quadrangle vista. The building was re-opened as offices of the City Council in 2011.


Marischal CollegeMarischal College as it appeared throughout the 18th century. This building was completely replaced in the 1830s.


Page by

John S. Reid

Dec. 2017