A step back in time.

Since forming in 1998 Optimus have had several homes with Gordon House being our latest. So with the re-branding recently complete (see here for more details of that story!) it got us thinking about our home and how it had also been “rebranded” over the years, decades, centuries!

We spend a lot of time in the office so perhaps it’s not a bad thing to look back and imagine all the people who have walked the corridors before us (and who knows? Maybe they still do!).

After engaging with local historian, storyteller and writer Fiona-Jane Brown the aim was to get a timeline of those people long since gone! Who and what was here before us and imagine the changes they saw in Aberdeen. What Fiona produced was a trip back in time! See the timeline below and some of the highlights or download a copy of the report here and have a read!



  • 1365

    Robert II grants "whole land of the tenement of Rubbyslaw" to the citizens of Aberdeen.


  • 1795

    Alexander Dauney, Advocate and later Sheriff-Substitute of Aberdeen, tenant of James Skene, builds a small mansion called Rubislawden House.


  • 1819

    James Skene commissions Edinburgh architect, Archibald Elliot to draw up a design for the "Damlands of Rubislaw" to be developed, but this took far longer than Skene ever lived to see.


  • 1833

    Alexander Dauney dies; Harvey Hall, merchant, whose shop is at 29 Union St, takes over tenancy of Rubislaw Den House.

  • 1850-51

    Architect, James Forbes Beattie is commissioned by Skene to draw up more plans of the estate. Another of James Beatties designs was Denburn Gardens aka Union Terrace Gardens.


  • 1862

    James Skene sells the Rubislaw Estate to Alexander Anderson, Provost of Aberdeen.


  • 1875

    City of Aberdeen Land Association (CALA) founded by Alexander Anderson, become the owners of Rubislaw Estate as Anderson himself is bankrupt. He uses his new "land bank" to protect his assets of Rubislaw and Torry.


  • 1878-81

    William Keith Jnr, Granite Merchant, owner of King St Granite Works moves into Rubislaw Den House (old) Keith's new house Rubislaw Den House is designed by Duncan McMillan, architect, of McMillan and McKenzie.

  • 1936-38

    Renamed Gordon House; residence of Ishbel Gordon, Lady Aberdeen(of Haddo).


  • 1944-66

    Old Dutch Hotel, 27 Rubislaw Den North.

  • 1967-83

    Gordon House Hostel, owned by University of Aberdeen.

  • 1985-2009

    Rubislaw Den Nursing Home.

  • 2015-Present

    Current home to Optimus (Aberdeen) Limited.


Hidden Aberdeen Tours

Thank you to Dr Fiona-Jane Brown for providing us with the story of Gordon House. Check out the Hidden Aberdeen Tours website to find out more about Fiona's local tours and story telling sessions, www.hiddenaberdeentours.co.uk .