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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


170 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [St. Andrew Square. old Scottish school. His habits were active, anc he was fond of all invigorating sports. He wa skilled as an archer, golfer, skater, bowler, ant curler, and to several kindred associations of thosc sports he and ol$ Dr. Duncan acted as secretarie! for nearly half a century. For years old EbeI Wilson, the bell-ringer of the Tron Church, had thc reversion of his left-off cocked hats, which he wore together with enormous shoe-buckles, till his deatl in 1823. For years he and the Doctor had been thc only men who wore the old dress, which the latte retained till he too died, twelve years after. No. 24 was the house of the famous millionaire Gilbert Innes of Stowe. The Scottish Equitable Assurance Society occu pies No. 26. It was established in 1831, and war incorporated by royal charter in 1838 and 1846 It is conducted on the principle of mutual as surance, ranks a~ a first-class office, and has accumu lated funds amounting to upwards of ~ 2 , 2 5 0 , 0 0 0 with branch offices in London, Dublin, Glasgow and elsewhere. No. 29 was in 1802 the house of Sir Patrick Murray, Bart., of Ochtertyre, Baron of the Ex chequer Court, who died in 1837. It is now thc offices of the North British Investment Corn PanYNo. 33, now a shop, was in 1784 the house oi the Hon. Francis Charteris of Amisfield, afterwards fifth Earl of Wemyss. He was well known during his residence in Edinburgh as the particular patron of ?Old Geordie Syme,? the famous town-piper of Dalkeith, and a retainer of the house of Buccleuch, whose skill on the pipe caused him to be much noticed by the great folk of his time. 01 Geordie, in his long yellow coat lined with red, red plush breeches, white stockings, buckled shoes and blue bonnet, there is an excellent portrait in Kay. The earl died in 1808, and was succeeded by his grandson, who also inherited the earldom of March. Nos. 34 and 35 were long occupied as Douglas?s hotel, one of the most fashionable in the city, and one which has been largely patronised by the royal families of many countries, including the Empress EugCnie when she came to Edinburgh, to avail herself, we believe, of the professional skill of Sir James Simpson. On that occasion Colonel Ewart marched the 78th Regiment or Ross-shire Buffs, recently returned from the wars of India, before the hotel windows, with the band playing Padant pour Za Syrie, on which the Empress came to the balcony and repeatedly bowed and waved her handkerchief to the Highlanders. In this hotel Sir Walter Scott resided for a few days after his return from Italy, and just before his death at Abbotsford, in September, 1832. No. 35 is now the new head office of the Scottish Provident Institution, removed hither from No. 6. It was originally the residence of Mr. Andrew Crosbie, the advocate, a well-known character in his time, who built it. He was the original of Counsellor Pleydell in the novel of ? Guy Mannering.? In 1754 Sir Philip Ainslie was the occupant of No. 38. Born in 1728, he was the son of George Ainslie, a Scottish merchant of Bordeaux, who, having made a fortune, returned home in 1727, and purchased the estate of Pilton, near Edinburgh. Sir Philip?s youngest daughter, Louisa, became the wife of John Allan of Errol House, who resided in No. 8. Sir Philip?s mother was a daughter of William Morton of Gray. His house is now, with No. 39, a portion of the office of the British Linen Company?s Bank, the origin and pro?gress of which we have noticed in our description of the Old Town. It stands immediately south of the recess in front of the Royal Bank, and was mainly built in 1851-2, after designs by David Bryce, R.S.A., at a cost of about ~30,000. It has a three-storeyed front, above sixty feet in height,.with an entablature set back to the wall, and surmounted above the six-fluted and projecting Corinthian columns by six statues, each eight feet in height, representing Navigation, Commerce, Manufacture, Art, Science, and Agricu! ture; and it has a splendid cruciform tellingroom, seventy-four feet by sixty-nine, lighted by a most ornate cupola of stained glass, thirty feet in diameter and fifty high. With its magnificent columns of Peterhead granite, its busts of celebrated Scotsmen, and its Roman tile pavement, it is all in perfect keeping with the grandeur of the external facade. This bank has about 1,080 partners. Immediately adjoining, on the south, is the National Bank of Scotland, presenting a flank to West Register Street. It was enlarged backward ;n 1868, but is a plain almost unsightly building mid its present surroundings. It is a bank of :omparatively modem origin, having been estabished on the zIst March, 1825. In terms of a :ontract of co-partnership between and among the iartners, the capit31 and stock of the company were ixed at &,ooo,ooo, the paid-up portion of which s ~I,OOO,OOO. In the royal charter granted to he National Bank on the 5th August, 1831, a ipecific declaration is made, that ? nothing in these resents ? shall be construed to limit the responsiility and liability of the individual partners of the
Volume 3 Page 170
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