William Field was a typical small businessman made good, and the Scotch Thistle was but one of his several investments. He was a butcher by trade, arriving in South Australia in 1839 and setting up shop in Melbourne Street in about 1840, later becoming a city councillor. He bought a cattle station in the far north but made a loss. He retired from the butchering business in about 1860, but retained ownership of the hotel until his death on October 19,1896.
A tender notice for the rebuilding of the Scotch Thistle was placed in the South Australian Register, 12 February 1880 by the architects Baver and Withall.
The new hotel was built at the same time as the rebuilding of the Commercial Hotel in Tynte Street (now the North Adelaide Hotel), also by Baver and Withall. Both are good examples of the architecture of the boom period and the significance of hotels in the community life of 19th-century Adelaide. The Scotch Thistle, later renamed the Cathedral Hotel, remains a strong visual element contributing to the character of North Adelaide.