Basic Site Details

Name: Blairs College
City or county: Aberdeenshire
Country: Scotland
Status: B listed
Grid ref:
Notes: St Mary’s College, Blairs, was founded in 1829 when a local landowner, John Menzies of Pitfodels (1756-1843), donated his mansion and estate of 1000 acres to the Catholic Church. The house became a seminary for Catholic boys who wished to become priests. Due to growing numbers a new three-storey college was begun in 1897, and was quickly followed by a new chapel. The College, which had been built at a cost of £33,000 , was formally opened on the 23rd September 1903 by Bishop Chisholm

The college closed in 1986 due to falling numbers and has remained mosty empty since. Blairs Museum, the Museum of Scotland's Catholic Heritage occupies part of the complex and plans have been announced for a £115m hotel

Check if some other part of this is A Listed. Lodge etc is C Listed. New wing to complete extension to cost £12,000 [Builder 1901]

'Buildings of Scotland' states that John Henderson was responsible for a doorway in the hall of the 1892 College and the dado and angle pilasters. This cannot be John Henderson
(1802-1862) but it is not clear which other John Henderson might have been responsible.

Alternative Names

The following alternative names are associated with this building/design:
 NameCurrent name?Notes
Item 1 of 2Blairs Catholic College  
Item 2 of 2St Mary's College, New CollegeYes 

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1College  

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 1South Deeside Road  


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 318981902Build/constructionNew buildings
Item 2 of 31903 OpenedFormal opening 23 September 1903
Item 3 of 3c. 1919 Build/constructionWar memorial


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 7Ellis & WilsonArchitectural practiceA18971902New buildings excluding chapel
Item 2 of 7Robert Gordon Wilson (senior)ArchitectA18971902New buildings excluding chapel
Item 3 of 7John Wilson WalkerArchitectBAfter 1906Before 1921Additions/alterations?
Item 4 of 7Robert Gordon Wilson (junior)ArchitectBAfter 1906Before 1921Additions/alterations?
Item 5 of 7Wilsons & WalkerArchitectural practiceBAfter 1906Before 1921Additions/alterations?
Item 6 of 7Robert Gordon Wilson (senior)ArchitectB?After 1906(?)Before 1915(?)Additions/alterations? - possibly done by Wilsons & Walker after R G Wilson Senior's retirement
Item 7 of 7William John DevlinArchitect c. 1919 War memorial

Related Buildings, Structures and Designs

Child Structures

This structure or site has the following component or child structures (click on an item to view details):
 Building NameNotes
Item 1 of 3Blairs College, Menzies HouseSt Mary’s College, Blairs, was founded in 1829 when a local landowner, John Menzies of Pitfodels (1756-1843), donated his mansion and estate of 1000 acres to the Catholic Church. The house (Menzies House) became a seminary for Catholic boys who wished to become priests. Partially demolished it is the oldest building on the site and the core of the later college buildings.
Item 2 of 3Blairs College, New ChapelA chapel is being added to the Roman Catholic College at Blairs, N.B., at a cost of £12,000, borne by Monsigneur Teunon, of Liverpool. It will consist of nave and aisles, transepts, and apsidal chancel, and tower and pinnacled spire rising to a height of 150ft. The style is Perpendicular, and the facing material Aberdeen grey granite. Mr. A Curran, of Warrington, is the architect. Other buildings are being added to the college at a further cost of £28,000. The architect for these was Mr. R. G. Wilson. [Building News 31 March 1899 p441]
Item 3 of 3Blairs College, St Mary's Old Chapel and Menzies Apartments 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 3Anson, Peter1963Catholic Church Building in Scotland   
Item 2 of 3Sharples, J, Walker, D W and Woodworth, M2015The Buildings of Scotland: Aberdeenshire South and Aberdeen London and New Haven: Yale University Presspp85, 385
Item 3 of 3Who's Who in Architecture1923    

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 4Aberdeen Observer4 May 1917  Obituary of Alexander Ellis
Item 2 of 4British Architect2 October 1903  p253 - formal opening
Item 3 of 4Builder23 October 1897  p331 - Extension, Catholic College, Blairs near Aberdeen
Item 4 of 4Builder10 August 1901  p147

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 3Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register19225College
Item 2 of 3Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register19228Gate piers and lodge
Item 3 of 3RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers John Wilson Walker: F v25 no1871 (microfilm reel 15); Robert Gordon Wilson Junior: F v25 no1872 (microfilm reel 15)