No 36 St Andrew Square is located in the New Town area of Edinburgh and is often cited as one of the best ever examples of city planning. Together with Edinburgh’s Old Town, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
The area was built between the mid 18th and mid 19th centuries and its stone buildings are some of the finest in Edinburgh, the area featuring some of the finest Georgian and neo-classical architecture. The tropical street you will find in the New Town are of Edinburgh are terraces of neat and graceful houses.
However, take a trip to have a look at No.36 St Andrew Square and you will see something quite spectacular. Alongside the more restrained and neat terraces that reside nearby, the No. 36 St Andrew Square stands out as an imposing and magnificent presence.
This amazing stone residence isn’t just amazing to view from the exterior, it also features one of the finest interiors you will ever see and is a true treasure of the city of Edinburgh.
The history of No 36 St Andrew Square
The history of No 36 St Andrew Square goes all the way back to 1772 when it was built for Sir Laurence Dundas. Laurence Dundas was a self-made millionaire and was one of the richest men in Scotland having made his fortune supplying the army with goods.
With his riches, Sir Laurence already owned many fine houses and estates in the Edinburgh area and beyond he fell in love with the plot where the house now stands on the New Town plan and immediately bought the land even though it had been earmarked for a church. The house was designed by the renowned architect William Chambers, a Scottish/Swedish architect who is best known for his work designing Somerset House in London and the Pagoda at Kew.
One of the most respected architects of his generation, William Chambers was a founding member of the Royal Academy. Had the building not been a terrace and had been set in its own grounds, the building would almost certainly look like a grand country mansion.
Chambers design was the very latest in architectural fashion and was essentially a contained neo-classical liberal villa with an interior that was inspired by the wonders of ancient Rome. A look at the fine stonework on the exterior of the building indicates the quality of the Edinburgh stonemasons that worked on the building of No. 36 St Andrews Square.
Sadly Sir Laurence did not get to enjoy his residence for long and he sadly died just nine years after it was completed.
The Royal Bank of Scotland and No 36 St Andrew Square
Following its use by the Excise Office for Scotland, the No 36 St Andrews Square was bought by the Royal Bank of Scotland to use as their head office. The building is still owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland although it no longer functions as its head office and is now a city centre branch.
Rooms on the upper floors however remain residential. The next time you are in the New Town area of Edinburgh, No 36 St Andrew Square is well worth a visit to see one of the finest stone neo-classical buildings in Edinburgh.