The main decorative elements are the choice of contrasting granite colours for the columns and rather stubby balustrade fronting the first-floor windows. Both main entablatures are simplified, with a Vitruvian scroll in the lower cymatium and no carving whatsoever in the otherwise nicely profiled upper cornice. The upper stories are in a more stripped, astylar look but their simplicity avoids any clash with the admittedly more accomplished lower stories.
The main entrance is at the cut-away corner with Birchin Lane and carries over the overall, restrained composition Near it hangs the sign of a castle with the initials “TSB” and the date 1810, commemorating the origins of the Trustee Savings Bank, later merged with Lloyd’s. Although this building is registered in the English heritage site as ‘Royal Bank of Scotland’ it was in fact commissioned by the Commercial Bank of Scotland.
Founded in Edinburgh in 1810, the Commercial Bank of Scotland obtained a royal charter in 1831. It grew substantially through the 19th and early 20th centuries. Among other innovations it was the first British bank to become significantly involved in the hire purchase business. In 1958 it merged with the National Bank of Scotland to become the National Commercial Bank of Scotland. Ten years later that entity merged with the Royal Bank of Scotland.