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History of Gleneagles Townhouse

Original Owners:
Mrs. Margaret Campbell of Saddle (no. 38) – Married June 1797
Daughter of Colonel Donald Campbell of Glensaddle
Major Matthew McAllister – East Indian Company- Born 1765 Married June 1797
Frederick Schultze (no 39) – Clothier, Corset and Habit Maker
George Ramsie, 8th Earl of Dalhousie – Born in Scotland 1730 and Died 1787

Historic Neighbours:
Henry Dundas 1st Viscount Melville- Born 1742 and Died 1811
David Hume – Born 1711 and Died 1776
David Bryce – Famous Architect- Born 1803 and Died 1876

The Story of Gleneagles Townhouse

A stunning architectural triumph, Gleneagles Townhouse is located at the heart of Edinburgh’s iconic St Andrew Square. With roots in the Scottish linen industry, this building is rich in heritage, symbolism, and ornate architectural features – all of which have been preserved, protected, and embraced by the building’s most recent occupiers, who have successfully transformed a grand and imposing bank into a welcoming, contemporary townhouse hotel.

Created by James Craig in the 18th century, St Andrew Square was an integral part of the design that placed a garden square at each end of George Street. Despite being named after the patron saint of Scotland, the statue that takes pride of place in the centre of St Andrew Square is of Henry Dundas, a man of considerable influence – regardless of the fact that he was (and still is) the last member of British Parliament to be impeached for misappropriation of public money. In spite of this discordance, St Andrew Square quickly became a desirable location for the upper classes.

The address where Gleneagles Townhouse is now located, 37 St Andrew Square, was originally built as a private mansion for the Eighth Earl of Dalhousie, although their residency didn’t last long as the Earl sold his property to The British Linen Company for £5,000 in 1807. Founded in 1746, The British Linen Company handled all stages in the manufacture of linen cloth until the company transitioned into finance in the 1760s. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the bank continued to grow – so much so that they acquired the two neighbouring townhouses in 1848 – one of which was owned by Mrs. Campbell of Saddle.

At this point, the bank instigated an architectural redesign that saw the creation of a tall and elaborate exterior designed to portray the wealth and security of the bank. The bank also commissioned Alexander Handyside Ritchie to build six monumental Corinthian columns and six elaborate statues to symbolise agriculture, manufacturing, commerce, science, architecture and navigation. Still looking down on residents today, these magnificent statues are honoured in six signature cocktails served in Gleneagles Townhouse’s rooftop bar. 

Despite ceasing operations in 2008, The British Linen Company was a renowned landmark in its heyday – even Robert Louis Stevenson concluded his classic adventure novel, Kidnapped, outside the British Linen Company in St Andrew Square. In order to restore the building to its former glory, the team behind Gleneagles Townhouse spent hours pouring over the archives, studying photography and architectural plans, in order to ensure the building maintained its authenticity and heritage. 

All original fireplaces and panelling have been reimagined with fresh colours and the restaurant’s magnificent glass dome ceiling and ornate cornicing have been lovingly restored, with double height windows flooding the room with natural light. Most striking of all are the bank’s original vault doors, which are now an extraordinary feature of the basement wellness suite; it is unique details like this that exemplify what has been a sensational transformation of a historic bank into an extraordinary hotel.