The Royal Scots Club has been around for over 90 years but this is our very first blog post. Founded in 1919 our Club has been held as a memorial to the fallen soldiers of the First World War for its entire existence and benefits from sitting on one of Edinburgh’s finest Georgian streets. Combining homely comfort with country house chart the Royal Scots Club offers an ideal environment for events, conferences and of course overnight stays as a hotel. Here we’re going to introduce you to our Club and where it all began.
Commemorating the Fallen
At the end of the Great War there was considerable discussion about how the sacrifice of those who had fallen while serving with the Royals Scots Regiment should be commemorated. The lead in these talks was taken by Colonel Lord Henry Scott, the fourth son of the sixth Duke of Buccleuch, and Honorary Colonel of 3RS. He suggested that any Memorial should take the form of something more useful than just a Monument. In particular it should exist to honour the fallen while maintaining the comradeship that had bound them and their comrades of all ranks together as they shared the horrors of war, wherever they served.
At a meeting in Edinburgh on 11 March 1919, attended by representatives, from across the ranks of the RS active wartime battalions, it was agreed that the Memorial should take the form of an ’all ranks’ Club to be situated in the heart of Edinburgh. Looking back from today it is difficult to appreciate the significance of such a proposal, almost a social experiment, which, in spite of the considerable advance of egalitarianism as a result of the War, ignored the much more rigid class structure that still existed at that time, the fact that the proposal came from the son of one of Scotland’s premier Dukes probably helped!
The aims of the Club were to provide a tribute to those who had fallen in the Great War; to act as a rallying place for all Royal Scots past, present and future; and as a centre from which all schemes for the benefit of The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) can be worked.
Fund raising started immediately and, as a temporary home, a large hut, and its contents, standing in St Andrew’s Square and which had been the American YMCA, was purchased, and opened for all Royal Scots in the autumn of 1919. The search for a permanent and substantial home continued and, in November 1920, No.30 and No.31 Abercromby Place, in the heart of the Edinburgh New Town, were purchased at the very reasonable price of £5,460 19s 6d, approximately equivalent to £27,000 in modern times.
The Official Opening
After extensive renovations and alterations, the new premises were occupied on 27 February 1922. The official opening occurred on 10th August 1922 and was headed by HRH The Princess Mary, Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment. At that time, apart from normal club facilities covering bars, sitting areas, library, dining room and kitchen etc, there were also ten bedrooms, two, later three, billiard rooms and a theatre area where reunions and concerts could be held. In 1929 the Club was extended with the purchase of No.29 adding a further eleven bedrooms as well as other facilities.
The Club has had its ups and downs over the years but, following a major refurbishment in recent years, it is now a thoroughly modern club offering 25 bedrooms and excellent facilities for guests, social events and business meetings. Membership has been broadened and reciprocal arrangements exist with over 230 similar clubs both within the United Kingdom and right across the world. The Royal Scots Club remains, however, first and foremost, a living Memorial to those Royal Scots who have made the supreme sacrifice for their Sovereign and Country since 1914.
For further information see A History of The Royal Scots Club (War Memorial) written by Duncan McDougall , published in 1999.This is presently sold out but a reprint is being considered.
For full details of the Club today visit its website at www.royalscotsclub.com and remember to keep up to date with our brand new blog.