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Our History

The History of Cheval The Edinburgh Grand

Originally built in the early 1800s as a hotel, 42 St Andrew Square, the site on which Cheval The Edinburgh Grand now stands, was purchased in 1825 by the National Bank of Scotland. By 1848, it had acquired and expanded into the building immediately adjacent. Between the two World Wars, The National Bank of Scotland sought to elevate its status by commissioning award winning London architects Mewes & Davis (working alongside Leslie Grahame Thomson), to design a new building to be built on the site of 41-42 St Andrew Square. The result was an impressive, grand building in the classical idiom which was fashionable in London at that time.

Work began in 1936 and exotic materials were sourced from around the globe: American elm, Mexican pine, Honduran mahogany and English oak were fashioned into elaborate wood panelling by master cabinetmakers Whytock & Reid. The decorative panels on the magnificent oak entrance doors are among the best of the carved work which is present today and feature historic coins, most of which are out of circulation. The renowned artist Sadie F McLellan was given the task of creating themed etched glass panels and windows. These decorative glass panels that can be seen in the banking hall (now the Hawksmoor Restaurant) are evocative of the era and are beautifully executed. They depict the commercial interests and customer base of the bank which supported a diverse economy made up of agriculture, fisheries, shipping, architecture, education, engineering, weaving and printing, collectively recalling the sculptures of a century or so earlier on the skyline of the one-time rival British Linen Bank. It was important to them that it should conform and harmonise with similar buildings in the vicinity, those for instance erected by the famous Scottish architect, Robert Adam, who in the eighteenth century had designed the façade of Edinburgh University and many fine buildings in Charlotte Square and elsewhere in the city. Completed in 1942, the building is a fine example of impressive neoclassical architecture.

With wonderful views and a beautiful art deco banking hall, it served as the headquarters for the National Bank, the National Commercial, and then the Royal Bank of Scotland until 2006. Acquired by The Chris Stewart Group in 2014, the property has now been carefully restored and artfully woven into The Edinburgh Grand which opened in June 2018. The redevelopment carefully restored many of the interior features to emerge as the city’s most affable host whilst honouring a seriously impressive and illustrious heritage. The site forms a rectangle approximately 168 ft by 88 ft; the west side faces St Andrew Square, the south and east sides are bordered by West Register Street and Register Place, respectively.

On the 1st July 2020, Cheval The Edinburgh Grand became part of the Cheval Collection, a luxury serviced apartment operator with properties in central London.

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