Marischal College is arguably the most famous and recognisable landmark on Aberdeen’s cityscape – an iconic embodiment of the Granite City.
The beautiful building – a symphony of soaring spires – was described by poet John Betjeman as: “Bigger than any cathedral, tower on tower, forests of pinnacles, a group of palatial buildings rivalled only by the Houses of Parliament”.
While Marischal College was founded in 1593 as Aberdeen’s second university – the first being King’s College – construction on the current building began in the 1830s and a second phase finished in 1906.
Home to the University of Aberdeen for most of its life, it became the headquarters of Aberdeen City Council in 2009.
Join us for a look at Marischal College over the decades.
An aerial view taken in 1963, shows Marischal College in all its glory. When completed it was the second largest granite building in the world – the largest being El Escorial, a Spanish royal palace near Madrid.
In 1941, this downed German Junkers Aircraft 88, was put on public display in the quadrangle of Marischal College to bolster morale during the Second World War. Urban legend has it that Adolf Hitler had earmarked Marischal College as his British residence, had the war turned out differently .
One of the more unusual traditions to play out at Marischal College was the “battle” between supporters of rivals for the post of rector. Dating back to 1860, it involved competing teams throwing eggs and flour at each other as they tried to claim the other’s flag. Victory was seen as a good omen in the real – and non-combatitive – rectorial elections. This photo from 1975 shows teams clashing in the quad.
Marischal College was also the traditional starting point of the Aberdeen Students Charities’ annual Torcher Parade. Pictured in 1969, this giant boot led the way as crowds thronged around to watch the annual spectacle which wound its way through the city centre.
The grandeur of the college has seen many famous faces and notable events over its long and illustrious history. Here it serves as a backdrop for Queen Elizabeth, when she went on a walkabout to meet the people of Aberdeen during her Silver Jubilee in 1977.