Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. III


St Andrew Square] ROYAL BANK bank. The other existing banks have all been constituted by contracts of co-partnery since the year 1825, and, with the exception of the Caledonian Banking Company, are all carrying on business under the Companies Act of 1862. With this office is incorporated No. 41, which, in 1830, was the shop of Messrs. Robert Cadell and Co., the eminent booksellers and publishers. The Royal Bank of Scotland occupies a pre minent position on the west side of the square, in a deep recess between the British Linen Company and the Scottish Provident Institution. It was originally the town house of Sir Lawrence Dundas, Bart., and was one of the first houses built in the square, on what we believe was intended as the place for st. Andrew?s church. The house was designed by Sir William Chambers, on the model of a much-admired villa near Rome, and executed by William Jamieson, mason. Though of an ancient family, Sir Lawrence was the architect of his own fortune, and amassed wealth as a conimissary- general with the army in Flanders, 1748 to 1759. He was the second son of Thomas Dundas, a bailie of Edinburgh, whose diffculties brought him to bankruptcy, and for a time Sir Lawrence served behind a counter, He was created a baronet in 1762, with remainder, in default of male issue, to his elder brother, Thomas Dundas, who had succeeded to the estate of Fingask. His son Thomas was raised to the peerage of Great Britain as Baron Dundas of Aske, in Yorkshire, in August, 1794 and became ancestor of the Earls of Zetland. About 1820 the Royal Bank, which had so long conducted its business in the Old Bank Close in the High Street, removed to the house of Sir Lawrence Dundas. We have thus shown that St. Andrew Square is now as great a mart for business as it was once a fashionable quarter, and some idea may be had of the magnitude of the interests here at stake when it is stated that the liabilities-that is, the total sums insured-of the six leading insurance houses alone exceed ~45,ooo,ooo, and that their annual income is upwards of ~1,8oo,ooo-a revenue greater than that of several States ! Melville?s monument, in the centre of the square, was erected in 1821, in memory of Henry Dundas, first Viscount Melville, who was Lord Advocate in 1775, and filled some high official situations in the Government of Britain during the administration of William Pitt He was raised to the peerage in OF SCOTLAND. 171 1802, and underwent much persecution in 1805 for alleged malversation in his office as treasurer to the navy; but after a trial by his peers was triumphantly judged not guilty. Designed by William Burn, this monument consists of pedestal, pillar, and statue, rising to the height of 150 feet, niodelled after the Trajan column at Rome, but fluted and not ornamented with sculpture; the statue is 14 feet in height. The cost was _f;8,ooo, defrayed-8s the inverse side of the plate in the foundation stone states -?by the voluntary contribbtions of the officers, petty-officers, seamen, and marines of these united kingdoms.? It was laid by Admirals Sir D a d Milne and Otway, naval commander-inchief in Scotland, after prayer by Principal Baird, on the anniversary of Lord Melville?s birthday. In the stone was deposited a great plate of pure gold, bearing the inscription. A plate of silver bearing the names of the committee was laid in the stone at the same time. The Hopetoun monument, within the recess in front of the Royal Bank, is in memory of Sir John Hope, fourth Earl of Hopetoun, G.C.H., Colonel of the gznd Gordon Highlanders, who died in 1823, a distinguished Peninsular officer, who assumed the command of the army at Corunna, on the fall of his countryman Sir John Moore. It was erected in 1835, and comprises a bronze statue, in Roman costume, leaning on a pawing charger. West Register Street, which immediately adjoins St. Andrew Square, is a compound of several short thoroughfares, and contains the site of ?( Ambrose?s Tavern,? the scene of Professor NIson?s famous ?Noctes Ambrosianze,? with a remnant of the once narrow old country pathway known as Gabriel?s Road. cG Ambrose?s Tavern,? a tall, three-storeyed edifice, like a country farmhouse, enjoyed much repute independent of the ?Noctes,? and was removed in 1864. Hogg, the Ettrick .Shepherd, who was fond of all athletic sports and manly exercises, was long made to figure conspicuously in these Noctes ? in BZack3 wmZs Magazine, which gave his name a celebrity beyond that acquired by his own writings. At one of the corners of West Register Street is the great palatial paper warehouse of the Messrs Cowan, one of the most elaborately ornate busiqess establishments in the city, which was erected in 1865, by the Messrs. Beattie, at a cost of about A7,000, and has two ornamental fronts with chaste and elegant details in the florid Italian styk
Volume 3 Page 171
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