Like any resident of the Royal Mile, our bricks and mortar are steeped in Scottish history – from the politics of the Jacobite rebellion to the birth of the Edinburgh Fringe, and more recently tram-gate, our wee haven has a few stories to tell.
A symbol of trade revolution
In 1745 Scots were fighting for trade recognition and development against suspicions associated with the Jacobite rebellion. It’s in this turbulent climate that the story of our wee Inn on the Mile begins with a man named Andrew Fletcher. Known in more formal circles as Lord Milton, a prominent lawyer and political figure in Scotland, Fletcher decided to expand the Edinburgh Linen Co-Partnery across borders to England and formed the British Linen Company in 1746.
In 1762 the Company sought counsel’s opinion on the legality of banking and a formal “Plan of Trade” was prepared in 1764 to develop banking business with their clients to deliver better services.
In 1767 that the first credits were given to non-linen clients and the organisation’s unofficial status as a bank began. Despite objections from the Royal and Bank of Scotland, the company succeeded in securing its bank status in 1813 but it was still refused permission to call itself British Linen Bank until 1906.
The rooms in which we invite you to lay your head were built at the peak success of the British Linen Bank in 1923. This success came with expansion beyond their headquarters in St Andrew’s square, forming the Royal Mile branch that we now call home- no expense was spared.
An architecture buff’s dream
The building is particularly notable for its carefully crafted Classical features, including the giant Doric portico, Greek key cornice, and copper anthemion-style ornament; all prime examples of the famous Greek revival style that place Edinburgh at the height of architectural fame in the 18th century, giving it the name “Athens of the North”.
Sadly the British Linen Bank’s status declined during the first and second world wars and it was eventually bought by the Bank of Scotland in the 1970s. The building changed ownership before eventually being reborn as The Inn On The Mile that you know today.
Our boutique hotel hosts a cosy pub & kitchen littered with tributes to its banking heritage- our bar front is covered entirely with thousands of old pennies. Next time you visit, see if you can spot any more, and don’t forget to ask to see the original safe!