Richard Crichton and Robert Reid, 1801-6, remodelled and enlarged by David Bryce 1863; alterations by Peddie and Kinnear, 1878 (see Notes). T-plan bank building, originally Palladian, remodelled and enlarged in Roman Baroque style, on site dropping steeply to N; 2 storeys, basement and attic, with double-height telling hall (now horizontally divided) to centre; ribbed copper dome on octagonal drum with oval windows; octagonal lantern (scrolls, Peddie and Kinnear, 1883) with moulded oval openings, surmounted by gilded statue (Victory); open-arched square-plan towers to wings with clustered Corinthian columns and segmental pediments, fish-scale slated ribbed domes surmounted by statues (said to be Prosperity and Plenty). Cream ashlar; vermiculated basement; vermiculated bands to ground floor. Deep cornices to basement and ground floors (dentilled to ground); modillioned eaves cornice and balustraded parapet ornamented with sculpture groups.
S (BANK STREET) ELEVATION: deep dentilled cornice to ground floor. Shouldered architraves, carved masks to triple keystones, aprons and decorative consoles to ground floor windows. 5 bays to centre advanced at ground floor, (altered David M Walker, 1980's) with balustraded parapet; vermiculated bands to Ionic columns in antis to portico; 2-leaf glazed timber door in round-arched entrance with decorative wrought-iron gates and grille (Bank arms and motto TANTO UBERIOR by John Marshall). Corinthian pilasters defining bays to 1st floor; round-arched tripartite window set back behind Corinthian columns in antis to centre; carved coat of arms and sculpture group (Justice and Plenty, with scales and cornucopia) to balustrade above; consoled cornices to windows in inner flanking bays, pediments to outer. Advanced wings with paired Corinthian columns to 1st floor flanking windows with consoled pediments; swagged oculi in segmental-pedimented aedicules containing Bank arms, rising from broken pediments.
N ELEVATION: architraves with prominent rough-cut key-stones to windows at basement. Advanced 5-bay block to centre, linked by quadrant bays to single-bay wings. Projecting 3-bay section to centre with raised attic: clustered giant Corinthian pilasters and half columns supporting entablature and broken segmental pediment; balustered aprons to ground floor windows, round-arched to 1st; paired caryatids flanking consoled, pedimented window in shell niche to attic; broken segmental pediment above enclosing sculpture group. Bowed glass to tripartite windows with Corinthian pilasters at ground and 1st floors to bowed bays.
INTERIOR: vestibule with decorative brass handrail; 2-leaf glazed doors with decorative fanlight leading to Corinthian pilastered double-height transverse stair-hall with consoled cornice; black marble chimneypiece with fluted Doric columns to W. Cantilevered stair to right leading to landing with timber (Memel pine) balustrade. Pedimented 3-light Corinthian doorpiece leading to gallery at 1st floor level retaining part of ornate compartmented coved plaster ceiling of Bryce banking hall. Modern 2-leaf glazed door in round-arched door piece with sopra-porte clocks and cornucopias flanked by Corinthian pilasters to either side, leading from stair hall to banking hall with marbled Corinthian columns on pedestals supporting coffered ceiling (see Notes).
Plate glass, 4-pane and 12 pane glazing in timber sash and case windows, fixed 8-pane windows. Corniced ashlar stacks with Ionic pilasters, round-arched niches and circular cans.
RETAINING WALL, GATEPIERS, GATES AND RAILINGS: pilastered retaining wall (Peddie and Kinnear, 1878) to N: Doric pilasters with vermiculated bands on rock-cut plinth, supporting balustraded terrace with square-plan open-arched pavilions to either end. Corniced ashlar gatepiers and decorative cast-iron 2-leaf gate; decorative spiked cast-iron railings with railing-mounted lamp standards.
Statement of Special Interest
The Bank's previous premises were in Old Bank Close, off the Lawnmarket. Bank Street was formed in 1798 with the demolition of East and Middle Baxters' Closes. The present site was purchased by the Bank in 1800. Crichton and Reid's design was built by William Sibbald Junior (1802-6). Shepherd illustrates N and S elevations of this design. To S at 1st floor the centre block of 5 bays (including the arms and flanking female figures) remains largely as designed by Reid and Crichton. Bryce retained 'nearly all the stonework,' and added the wings and the linking single storey entrance extension. He replaced the simple saucer dome on cylindrical drum with a Roman Baroque dome derived from Pietro da Cortona's SS Martina e Luca. Bryce's design was executed by William Beattie & Son (1864-70). Sculpture by John Rhind, except the Arms over the entrance, which was from the earlier design. Schemes for remodelling the building were produced by Thomas Hamilton and Peddie and Kinnear before Bryce was appointed. Retaining wall to N redesigned by Peddie and Kinnear in 1878; Peddie and Kinnear also made alterations to the lantern in 1883. In 1929 the double-height banking hall was horizontally divided, and meeting rooms, offices and panelled Board Room formed in the W wing. A section of the barrel-vaulted ceiling of the telling hall survives (section to W, that to E was restored circa 1980) in the gallery. Part of the basement has been arranged as a museum, showing the history of the Bank, including Bryce's presentation drawings.