|This section provides a brief history of the Hall.
Archers’ Hall is at 66 Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh. Historic Environment Scotland describe the Hall as ‘an outstanding example of one of Scotland’s earliest purpose-built sporting buildings designed in a muscular classical style in the later 18th century and substantially and sympathetically extended in the early 20th century.’
Having met from time to time in local taverns for a century, The Royal Company’s Minutes of 22 June 1776 record that, ‘The Council having resolved upon building a proper hall for the meetings of the Company to be held in, a voluntary subscription was begun this day for that purpose.’ The architect Alexander Laing (1752-1823) was commissioned. He worked quickly for the foundation stone was laid on 16 August 1776 by Brigadier-General, William St Clair of Roslin, President of the Council (1768-1778). Nine months later, on 24 May 1777, members dined in one of the Hall’s ‘parlours.’
The construction of Edinburgh’s New Town, which had started in 1767, might have prompted a decision to locate there. However, The Royal Company’s site for their new Hall was more convenient for it adjoined their principal shooting-ground in the East Meadows, then known as Hope Park.
In 1899 it was decided to extend Archers’ Hall. The extension, begun in 1900, was the work of Arthur Balfour Paul (1875-1938), son of Sir James Balfour Paul (1846-1931) who wrote a history of The Royal Company in 1875. Arthur Balfour Paul worked for the architect (and Archer) Robert Rowand Anderson, knighted in 1902 for his work at Balmoral.
The Dining Hall, 40 feet (12.2 metres) long by 23 feet (7 metres) wide and 14 feet (4.2 metres) high, is decorated with portraits, mostly of past Officers of The Royal Company, and is lit by a magnificent chandelier. A number of these portraits are featured in The Collection.
It was Robert Rowand Anderson (see above) who suggested the idea of gifting a chandelier to his friend Sir Oliver Riddell. Robert Rowand Anderson knew of a suitable chandelier in the dining-room of a chateau once occupied, apparently, by the Emperor Napoleon in the vicinity of Compiègne in northern France. A Mr Charles Henshaw – whose glazing company is still based in Edinburgh – was dispatched to make the necessary drawings and to take measurements. The chandelier was made in Birmingham at a cost of £700 and hung in Archers’ Hall. It was taken down and dismantled during the Second World War but successfully reassembled at the War’s end.
Further alterations were made from 2008 to 2011, adding a new glazed entrance block to the north elevation, an internal lift, new archery butts and accommodation for around 75 University of Edinburgh postgraduate students, focussed around a lawn.
Members of The Royal Company remain very fortunate to gather, from time to time, at Archers’ Hall.