-British Linen Bank

The Scotland Guide
© David Williams


1897-1900, Salmon, Son & Gillespie

This stands at Govan Cross (at the corner of Govan Road and Water Row) in the centre of Govan. It is now the Bank of Scotland.

The British Linen Bank was originally founded in 1746 to develop the Scottish linen industry and, since it started life just after the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, its choice of name was a deliberate attempt to emphasise the `British` rather than the `Scottish` nature of the economy since the 1707 Union with England. The presence of the bank in Govan reflected the importance of weaving in the district.

The bank`s doorway is topped by an elaborate sculpture of the prow of a boat. This is flanked by two winged wind gods who are blowing the boat forward; the sail bears the inscription B L Co. The seven columns around the building are topped by figures including a bee-keeper, a navigator, a fisherman and what might be the bank manager holding tightly onto a bag of money.

This article is based on the guidebook "The Glasgow Guide".

This is a good example of a nineteenth-century bank building in Glasgow. Local banks were often well-built structures; consequently this one has lasted while many nearby buildings have been demolished. Banks were often positioned at a busy junction to make them more conspicuous. The bank occupies the ground floor and there are tenement flats above it.

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