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St Andrew Square

(St Andrew's Square)

Located at the E end of George Street and intended as the mirror of Charlotte Square in the W, is St. Andrew Square (often incorrectly referred to as St. Andrew's Square). However, it lacks the architectural unity of its pair. Soon after it was laid out, the Square became one of the most desirable residential addresses in the city, but by the end of the 19th century it had become the commercial centre of the city. Today, housing is confined to the northern side, with major offices of banks and insurance companies occupying much of the rest of the Square, making it one of the major financial centres of the country.

From its beginnings in 1768, St. Andrew Square did not work out quite as James Craig (1744-95) had planned it. The intention had been for St. Andrew's Church to lie on its E side looking along George Street to its twin St. George's on Charlotte Square (laid out from 1792). However, Sir Lawrence Dundas (1712-81), a wealthy businessman, preferred the site for his home and bought the ground before Craig's plan could be implemented. Thus St. Andrew's Church had to be built part-way along George Street, and its place was taken by Dundas House, built by Sir William Chambers (1723-96) and for a long time the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland. The E side of the square was also home to the headquarters of the British Linen Bank and the National Bank of Scotland, until both were taken over, by the Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank respectively. The former was built in 1851 by David Bryce (1803-76) and the latter in 1936. The plethora of insurance companies have chosen generally more modern buildings.

In the centre of the square is the Melville Monument, in memory of Henry Dundas, the 1st Viscount Melville (1742 - 1811), surrounded by St. Andrew Square Gardens. Famous residents of St. Andrew Square included philosopher David Hume (1711-76), who lived at No.8 and politician, reformer and inventor Henry Brougham (1778 - 1868), who was born at No.21. No.35 was built by Robert Adam (1728-92) and is the oldest in the square. It was the former Douglas Hotel patronised by Sir Walter Scott, Queen Victoria and Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon, while she consulted Sir James Simpson.

To the east of the square is Edinburgh's principal bus station and a major shopping complex.

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