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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


THE FREE CHURCH COLLEGE. 95 The Mound.] Much of all this was altered when the bank was enlarged, restored, and most effectively re-decorated by David Bryce, R.S.A., in 1868-70. It now presents a lofty, broad, and arch-based rear front of colossal proportions to Princes Street, from whence, and every other poiiit of view, it forms a conspicuous mass, standing boldly from among the many others that form the varied outline of the Old Town, and consists of the great old centre with new wings, surmounted by a fine dome, crowned by a gilded figure of Fame, seven feet high. In length the facade measures 175 feet; and 112 in height from the pavement in Bank Street to the summit, and is embellished all round with much force and variety, in details of a Grecian style. The height of the campanile towers is ninety feet. The bank has above seventy branches ; the subscribed capital in 1878 was A1,875,000 ; the paidup capital LI,Z~O,OOO. There are a governor (the Earl of Stair, K.T.), a deputy, twelve ordinary and twelve extra-ordinary directors. The Bank of Scotland issues drafts on other places in Scotland besides those in which it has branches, and also on the chief towns in England and Ireland, and it has correspondents throughout the whole continent of Europe, as well as in British America, the States, India, China, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and elsewhere-a ramification of business beyond the wildest dreams oi John Holland and the original projectors of the establishment in the old Bank Close in 1695. Concerning the Earthen Mound, the late Alex. ander Trotter of Dreghorn had a scheme foi joining the Qld Town to the New, and yet avoiding Bank Street, by sinking the upper end of the mound to the leve! of Princes Street, and carrying the Bank Street end of it eastward along the north of the Bank of Scotland, in the form of a handsomc terrace, and thence south into the High Street b) an opening right upon St. Giles?s Church. Thf next project was one by the late Sir Thomas Dick Lauder. He also proposed to bring down thc south end of the mound ?to the level of Prince; Street, and then to cut a Roman arch through thc Lawnmarket and under the houses, so as to pas! on a level to George Square. This,? say! Cockburn, ?was both practical and easy, but i was not expounded till too late.?? Not far from the Bank of Scotland, in I( North Bank Street, ensconced among the might! mass of buildings that overlook the mound, arc the offices of the National Security Savings Ban1 of.Edinburgh, established under statute in 1836, an( certified in terms of the Act 26 and 27 Victoria cap. 87, managed by a chairman and cominittel I if management, the Bank of Scotland being reasurer. Of this most useful institution for the benefit of ,he thrifty poorer classes, suffice it to say, as a ample of its working, that on striking the yearly iccounts on the 20th of November, 1880, ?the balance due to depositors was on that date &r,305,27g 14s. 7d., and that the assets at the same date were x1,3og,3g2 Ss., invested with the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt, and A3,1o4 3s. gd., at the credit of the 3ank?s account in the Bank of Scotland, making the total assets L1,312,496 11s. gd., which, after ieductionof the above sum of L1,305,279 14s. 7d., leaves a clear surplus of A7916 17s. zd. at the :redit of the trustees.? The managers are, ex oficio, the Lord Provost, the Lord Advocate, the senior Bailie of the city, :he Members of Parliament for the city, county, md Leith, the Provost of Leith, the Solicitor- General, the Convener of the Trades, the Lord Dean of Guild, and the Master of the Merchant Company. In the sanie block of buildings are the offices of the Free Church of Scotland, occupying the site of the demolished half of James?s Court. They were erected in 1851-61, and are in a somewhat Rorid variety of the Scottish baronial style, from designs by the late David Cousin. In striking contrast to the terraced beauty of the New Town, the south side of the vale of the old loch, from the North Bridge to the esplanade of the Castle, is overhung by the dark and lofty gables and abutments of those towering edifices which terminate the northern alleys of the High Street, and the general grouping of which presents an aspect of equal romance and sublimity. From amid these sombre masses, standing out in the white purity of new freestone, are the towers and facade of the Free Church College and Assembly Hall, at the head of the Mound. Into the history of the crises which called these edifices into existence we need not enter here, but true it is, as Macaulay says, that for the sake of religious opinion the Scots have made sacrifices for which there is no parallel in the annals of England; and when, at the Disruption, so many clergymen of the Scottish Church cast their bread upon the waters, in that spirit of independence and self-reliance so characteristic of the race, they could scarcely have foreseen the great success of their movement. This new college was the first of those instituted in connection with the Free Church. The idea was origipally entertained of making provision for
Volume 3 Page 95
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