Bank of Scotland Head Office

(Bank House)

Bank of Scotland Headquarters
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Bank of Scotland Headquarters

The Headquarters of the Bank of Scotland stands on Edinburgh's Mound, perched above East Princes Street Gardens. Initiated while Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville (1742 - 1811), was Governor of the Bank and it was built by architects Robert Reid (1774 - 1856) and Richard Crichton (c.1771 - 1817) between 1802 and 1806 at a cost of £43,000. Complaints about the rear of the building as it was seen from the developing New Town, together with the need for enlargement, resulted in David Bryce (1803 - 76) being asked to submit plans in 1862 for its augmentation. New wings were added on both sides of the building, each topped by domes. These together with a grand replacement central dome combined with other stylistic features created a fine public building. The interior was also remodelled by Bryce and subsequently in 1929, 1981 and 2004-06, and remains a grand symbol of the wealth of Scotland's oldest bank.

Established by an Act of the Scottish Parliament in 1695, the Bank of Scotland is the oldest surviving UK clearing bank. It was initially located in the Old Town, most notably in Old Bank Close in the Lawnmarket, before making the short move to its new site on the Mound. It has since grown to become an international banking group and despite some controversy related to a proposed tie-up with the right-wing US evangelist Pat Robertson, it retains a reputation for careful fiscal management. The bank merged with the Halifax Building Society in 2001, becoming HBOS Plc, and then was taken over by the English-based Lloyds-TSB following the banking crisis in 2008.

Today, in addition to its function as a head office, the building includes a museum, which opened in 1987 and is now known as the Museum on the Mound. Exhibits include coins and banknotes (and their forgeries), a 17th Century bullion chest, together with maps, watercolours and engravings of old Edinburgh.

Retaining a right to issue its own banknotes, the Bank of Scotland designed a series featuring Scotland's most iconic bridges in 2007. The £5 note featured the Brig o' Doon, with Glenfinnan Viaduct on the £10 note, the Forth Bridge (£20), the Falkirk Wheel (£50) and the Kessock Bridge (£100).

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