Royal Bank of Scotland


Engraving from Modern Athens - published 1829

The Royal Bank  -  Dundas House, 36 St Andrew Square

Engraving in 'Modern Athens'  -  hand-coloured  -  The Royal Bank

  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Ian Smith
Drawn by Thomas H Shepherd      Engraved by W Watkins


Edinburgh New Town

Dundas House was one of the first buildings in Edinburgh New Town.

In 1752, Edinburgh Town Council held a competition for the design of a New Town, to be built to relieve the overcrowding  in the Old Town.  The competition was won by the architect James Craig, with a plan for a symmetrical lay-out with two squares - Charlotte Square and St Andrew Square.

Work began on the North Bridge, to connect the Old Town to the New Town in 1763. 


Dundas House

In 1772, nine years after work on the North Bridge began,  Sir Laurence Dundas of Kerse, for many years Member of Parliament for Edinburgh, started to build Dundas House on the east side of St Andrew Square. 

The house was designed by William Chambers and built of Ravelston Stone.  It was modelled on the Palladian villa of Marble Hill in Twickenham.

The house occupies a prominent position on the east side of St Andrew Square, set back from the square behind its own garden.

Following the death of Dundas in 1781, the house was sold to the government and subsequently became the principal office of the Excise in Scotland.  The Excise Office later moved to Drummond Place.

Engraving in Modern Athens  -  Published 1829  -  The Excise Office, Drummond Place

In 1804, a 2-storey extension was added on the south side of the building.

In 1825, Dundas House was purchased by Royal Bank of Scotland, and in 1828 it became the bank's Head Office.  A new banking hall with a large domed ceiling and figures representing Commerce, Agriculture, Navigation and the Arts was added.  This hall opened in 1861 and is still in use today, looking very impressive following refurbishment in 1989.

[The notes above are based on the Royal Bank of Scotland's leaflet:  '36 St Andrew Square - A Short History']


Engravings from Modern Athens  -  Published 1829

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