Scottish Widows Fund and Life Assurance Society opened in 1815 in what is now Chambers Street, as Scotland's first mutuallife office. The formation of the society had been discussed from March 1812 with the purpose of providing for widows, sisters and other female relatives of fund holders so that they would not be plunged into poverty on the death of the fund holder during and after Napoleonic wars.
Founded in 1815 in Edinburgh, its most famous early customer was Sir Walter Scott who took out a policy in 1824. Scottish Widows used this fact in advertising to promote their products during the 1990s. However, they did not mention that the following year, Sir Walter Scott narrowly averted being declared bankrupt and died heavily in debt.