Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.

14 GEORGE STREET, FORMER COMMERCIAL BANK, INCORPORATING BOUNDARY WALLS, RAILINGS AND BALUSTRADES, FLANKING GATEWAYS AND PAVILIONS, AND LAMP STANDARDSLB28862

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
A
Date Added
13/01/1966
Local Authority
Edinburgh
Planning Authority
Edinburgh
Burgh
Edinburgh
NGR
NT 25445 74014
Coordinates
325445, 674014

Description

David Rhind, 1846-7; internal alterations by Sydney Mitchell, 1885. Massive former bank in form of Graeco-Roman temple with apsidal-ended banking hall to rear. Polished cream sandstone ashlar (stonecleaned). 2-storey on raised basement front block, 7 bays broad by 6 bays deep, with steps to fluted hexastyle Corinthian portico containing allegorical sculpture in tympanum. Base course; banded rustication at ground; giant order pilasters with stylised Corinthian capitals; full entablature with dentilled cornice and acroteria; balustraded parapet; round-headed windows with architraves at 1st floor.

N (GEORGE STREET) ELEVATION: channelled ashlar; pilasters paired to outer bays; keystones to windows at ground; 1st floor windows with blind balustraded aprons.

E AND W ELEVATIONS: slightly advanced end bays framed by paired pilasters; plain central section.

Rear block of plain droved ashlar with band course between floors;

3 bays deep with banking hall projecting to rear

Timber sash and case 4 horizontal-pane windows; multi-pane to sides. Tall panelled stacks to flanks removed.

INTERIOR: lobby leads to stair hall with columns and apse leading to Greek cross plan banking hall to rear with apsidal end; marble columns substituted for original wood.

GATEWAYS AND BALUSTRADING: front area flanked by elaborate Doric pilastered and corniced ashlar gateways with decorative cast-iron gates; linked to steps by ashlar balustrade and spearhead railings. Further simple gatepiers and railings protect side alleys.

PAVILIONS AND GATEPIERS TO ROSE STREET: added by David Rhind, 1860. Pair of single storey and basement pavilions at corner of site with rusticated long and short quoins, base course and dentilled cornice. Paired arched niches to Rose Street and similar paired blind arches to flanks; windows to inner walls. Piended roofs; grey slates. Linked by cast-iron fleur-de-lys railings with corniced ashlar gatepiers at centre.

LAMP STANDARDS: pair of fluted Doric columns flanking portico each supported on 4 scrolled legs with paw feet; octagonal lamps.

Statement of Special Interest

With the exception of axial buildings at either end of George Street, and the church opposite, the only freestanding building in the first New Town. James Craig's Physician's Hall was acquired by the Commercial Bank for $20,000 in 1843, and the Bank promptly decided to demolish the old hall and build themselves a splendid new headquarters, with an eye firmly on the Royal Bank's office at Dundas House. Recent work on the building has revealed that Craig's basements were certainly reused, and perhaps also that more of his building has survived than was previously assumed; No 14A certainly incorporates some of the original stonework for example. Rhind had been working for the Bank since the 1830s and seems to have been the first choice for their head office; its designs owe something to Playfair's first scheme for the Surgeon's Hall, but also Rhind's own competition entry for the North of Scotland Bank, Aberdeen, of 1839. This featured the central portico, arcaded 1st floor windows with balustraded balconies and giant order pilasters. The sculpture was designed by James Wyatt and executed by Handyside Ritchie, and is an allegory of successful Scottish enterprise; the maquette remains inside the building. As well as vaults and banking hall the building contained a Manager's house. The interior was furnished by Taylor of George Street and decorated in his most lavish manner by DR Hay; this is all now lost. Hay's marbled columns were replaced with the real thing by Sydney Mitchell, and his decoration likewise fell from favour. The Commercial Bank relinquished its name in 1969 on merging, ironically, with the Royal Bank. By 1993 the Bank effectively had three head offices ranged around St Andrews Square (its own, and those of the Commercial Bank and the National Bank), and began rationalising this situation by disposing of No 14 George Street.

References

Bibliography

APSD. ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS IX p37. BUILDER 1 May & 27 November 1847; 26 December 1885. Richardson MONUMENTAL ARCHITECTURE IN GREAT BRITAIN p84. Gifford, McWilliam and Walker EDINBURGH (1988) pp300-301. Ian Gow ?David Rhind 1808-1883? in THE ARCHITECTURAL OUTSIDERS Roderick Brown ed. London (1985) pp153-171. Drawings in Peddie & Kinnear Collection. Rupert Gunnis DICTIONARY OF BRITISH SCULPTORS 1660-1851 New edition p322.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

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