Royal Bank of Scotland Headquarters

Located at Gogarburn, 6 miles (10 km) west of central Edinburgh, the world headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland group provides a campus-style office environment for 3000 staff. Bought by the bank in 2001, the 31.5-ha (78-acre) site comprises a main building with 32,516 sq. m (350,000 sq. feet) of office accommodation arranged in six blocks around a 280-m (918-feet) central indoor street, which also includes a supermarket, hairdresser, florist, pharmacy, various retail outlets and a staff restaurant. The complex was designed by a joint venture between local Michael Laird Architects and London-based RHWL Architects. The campus was opened on the 14th September 2005 by HM Queen Elizabeth II, attended by First Minister Jack McConnell (b.1960) and his deputy Nicol Stephen (b.1960). It also includes a training and conference centre, incorporating a 300-seat tiered auditorium and its own television studio, sport facilities, with a 20m (65 feet) pool, gym, medical and fitness suites. On an adjacent site is a 70-bedroom residential business school. The building had been planned by the later-disgraced chief executive Fred Goodwin (b.1958) and its ostentatious nature was criticised. His enormous office was later turned into a business hub, occupied by more than eighty entrepreneurs. The building was extended in 2019 to accommodate an additional 2000 staff transferred from another immense office building, Drummond House at South Gyle, which was sold.

Once a country estate, surrounding the Grade-B listed Scots Renaissance Gogarburn House that dates from 1811 and was extensively modified in the later 19th C. This house has been retained and converted into a leisure club for staff. The stable block has become a nursery, while the original garden wall now encloses sports pitches. The site was developed as Gogarburn Hospital from 1924, designed as a village comprising a series of houses or blocks for the accommodation of mentally-handicapped patients but closed in 1999.

The Royal Bank of Scotland was founded in Edinburgh in 1727, opened its first branch in Glasgow in 1783 and developed a large network of offices throughout Scotland during the 19th C. In 1874 it opened an office in London and from the 1920s developed, by acquisition, a major presence in England and Wales. By 1970, following merger with National Commercial Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank enjoyed over 40% of Scotland's banking business. In 2000, under the Chairmanship of Viscount Younger of Leckie (1931 - 2003), the Bank succeeded in its most ambitious venture, the take-over of the English National Westminster Bank, creating a combined banking group with assets in excess of £300 billion. It was the take-over of the Dutch bank ABN AMRO and its risky lending that brought disaster for the Royal Bank. The banking crisis of 2008 hit them badly, with £28 billion in losses, the largest in UK corporate history, and resulted in the UK government taking 80% ownership in exchange for a £45.5 billion capital injection.

At its peak, the Royal Bank Group included Direct Line, the pioneering call centre-based insurance company, Ulster Bank, based in Northern Ireland, and the Citizens Financial Group, based in Rhode Island (USA), the second largest bank in New England, together with Coutts & Co, the Queen's banker, Churchill Insurance, Lombard Direct, Tesco Personal Finance and WorldPay, one of the first Internet payment services. Several of these ventures were sold in response to their financial crisis, which reduced the company from one of the world's largest banks with assets of more than £2.4 trillion and a market value of around £60 billion to assets of around £719 million and a value of £1.5 billion, with its number of employees reducing from 226,000 to around 71,000.

The Bank has promoted environmentally-responsible travel options to access the campus.

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