British Linen Bank

British Linen Bank memorials, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh.  British Linen Bank First World War memorial (detail).

British Linen Bank memorials, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, with detail from First World War memorial (right).

A memorial commemorating the 68 members of the British Linen Bank who gave their lives in the war is located in the Bank’s former head office at 38 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh.

By 1914 the British Linen Bank employed around 900 staff at 150 offices and branches.  Five hundred and eighty-nine of them served in the conflict, including James Gray.

The memorial is made of bronze, inset with a panel of green and Elterwater stone, onto which the names of the fallen have been incised in gilt lettering.  It was designed by local architects Dick Peddie & Walker Todd.  The sculptor was Charles D’Orville Pilkington Jackson, a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art.

An inauguration ceremony took place on 6th November 1923.  Officials of the Bank and relatives of the deceased were in attendance.  The formal unveiling was conducted by the Earl of Rosebery, Governor of the Bank.  To close, the Deputy Governor, the Earl of Home, recited some lines from The Supreme Sacrifice, a hymn written by an old friend, Sir John Stanhope Arkwright:

All you had hoped for, all you had, you gave
To save Mankind – yourselves you scorned to save.

A handsomely bound booklet was produced as a memento of the occasion.  We hold a copy in our collections. A manuscript roll of honour with details of all staff who served in the war also survives.  For further information please contact us.

Details of the 68 men listed on the memorial can be found on our virtual Roll of Honour.

The British Linen Bank became part of Bank of Scotland in 1971.  For more information see the British Linen Bank history page.

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