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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


George Street.] THE MASONIC HALL. k5 1 Glasgow Union Bank Company, which dates from 1830; in 1843 the name was changed to the Union Bank of Scotland. ? As was stated by Mr. Gairdner to the Committee of the House of Commons on ?Banks of Issue? (1874), several private and public banks were incorporated from time to time in the Union: notably, the Thistle Bank of Glasgow in 1836, the Paisley Union Bank iri 1838, the Ayr Bank, the Glasgow Arms and Ship Gank in 1843, Sir William Forbes and J. Hunter and Co. in the same year. The Aberdeen Bank was also absorbed in the Union system in 1849, and the Perth Banking Company in 1857. The special general ;meeting ?or ? considering whether or not this bank should be registered under the Companies Act, 1862,? was called on the 10th December, 1862, but the bank had in fact %een so registered on the 3rd November of the same year. At the meeting, Sir John Stuart Forbes, Bart., was in the chair, and it was unanimously agreed ?that it is expedient that the bank register itself 9s an unliniited company under the Companies Act, 1862, and that the meeting do now assent to the. bank being so registered, and authorise the directors to take all necessary steps for carrying the motion into effect.? Opposite the Northern Club-3 mere plain dwelling-house-is the Masonic Hall and offices of the grand lodge of Scotland, No. 98, George Street. The foundation &one was laid on the 24th of June, 1858, with due masonic honours, by the Grand Master, the Duke of Athole, whose henchman, a bearded Celt of vast proportions, in Drumrnond tartan, armed with shield and claymore, attracted great attention. The streets were lined by the i7th Lancers and the Staffordshire Militia. The building was finished in. the following year, snd, among many objects of great masonic interest, contains the large picture of the ? Inauguration of Robert Bums as Poet Laureate of the Grand Lodge of Scotland,? by William Stewart Watson, a deceased artist, nephew of George Watson, first president of the Scottish Academy, and cousin of the late Sir John Watson-Gordon. He was an ardent Freemason, and for twenty years was secretary to the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge. His picture is a very valuable one, as containing excellent portraits of many eminent men who took part in that ceremony. He was the same artist who designed the embellishments of the library at Abbotsford, at the special request of Sir Walter Scott, to whom he was nearly related. In this office are the rooms and records of the Grand Secretary, and there the whole general business of the? entire masonic body in Scotland is transacted. Three fine bronze pedestrian statues decorate this long and stately street. The first of these statues, at the intersection of George Street and Hanover Street, to the memory of George IV., is by Chantrey, and was erected in November, 183r. It is twelve feet in height, on a granite pedestal of eighteen feet, executed by Mr. Wallace. The largest of the blocks weighed fifteen tons, and all were placed by meatls of some of the cranes used in the erection of the National Monument. The second, at the intersection of Frederick Street, is ?also by Chantrey, to the memory of William Pitt, and was erected in 1833. The third, at the intersection of Castle Street, on a red granite pedestal, was erected in 1878 to the memory of Dr. Chalmers, and is by the hand of Sir John Steel. CHAPTER XX QUEEN STREET. The Philosophical Iostitution-House of Bamn Ode-New Physicians? Hall-Sir James Y. Simpron, M.D.-The House of hf- Wilson-Sir John Leslic-Lord Rockville-Sir Jams Grant of Grant-The Hopetoun Rooms-Edinburgh Educational Institution for Ladies. QUEEN STREET was a facsimile of Princes Street, but its grouping and surroundings are altogether different. Like Princes Street, it is a noble terrace, but not overlooked at a short distance by the magnificent castle and the Dunedin of the Middle Ages. It looks northward pver its whole length on beautiful gardens laid out in shrubs and flowers, beyond which lie fair white terraces and streets that far excel itself-the assembled beauties of another new town spreading away to the wide blue waters of the Firth of Forth. How true are the lines of Scott !-
Volume 3 Page 151
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