Leith Local History Society

Leith Bank

Colour photograph of the former Leith Bank in Bernard Street
Leith Bank
Photo: D King, 26/05/2018

This impressive building in Bernard Street once housed the Leith Bank.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries Leith, like a lot of other Scottish towns, had its own locally owned bank. The Leith Banking Company was set up in 1792. It had 18 partners most of whom were local merchants.

At first it prospered and even had branches in other towns — in Callander, Dalkeith, Galashiels, Langholm and Carlisle. It also had a tent from which it provided banking services at markets and at the great cattle trysts.

This building was built in 1804-06 and then became the headquarters of the bank. It issued its own bank notes.

In later years it fell on hard times. It refused an offer from the Glasgow Union Bank to take it over in 1838. In 1842 the Leith Banking company failed.