George Heriot's School
|George Heriot's School|
|Former name||George Heriot's Hospital|
|Type||Independent day school|
(I Distribute Chearfullie)
|Oversight||George Heriot's Trust|
|Chairman of Governors||Mr Alexander Paton|
|Principal||Mrs Lesley Franklin|
|Age||3 to 18|
|Houses||Castle, Greyfriars, Lauriston, Raeburn|
|Colour(s)||Navy Blue, White|
|Song||The Merry Month of June|
|Rival||George Watson's College|
George Heriot's School is a Scottish independent primary and secondary school on Lauriston Place in the Old Town of Edinburgh, Scotland, with over 1600 pupils, 155 teaching staff and 80 non-teaching staff. It was established in 1628 as George Heriot's Hospital, by bequest of the royal goldsmith George Heriot, and opened in 1659. It is governed by George Heriot's Trust, a Scottish charity.
The main building of the school is notable for its renaissance architecture, the work of William Wallace, until his death in 1631. He was succeeded as master mason by William Aytoun, who was succeeded in turn by John Mylne. In 1676, Sir William Bruce drew up plans for the completion of Heriot's Hospital. His design, for the central tower of the north façade, was eventually executed in 1693.
The school is a turreted building surrounding a large quadrangle, and built out of sandstone. The foundation stone is inscribed with the date 1628. The intricate decoration above each window is unique (with one paired exception - those on the ground floor either side of the now redundant central turret on the west side of the building). A statue of the founder can be found in a niche on the north side of the quadrangle.
The main building was the first large building to be constructed outside the Edinburgh city walls. It sits next to Greyfriars Kirk, built in 1620, in open grounds overlooked by Edinburgh Castle directly to the north. Parts of the seventeenth-century city wall (the Telfer Wall) serve as the walls of the school grounds. When built the building's front facade faced the entrance on the Grassmarket. It was originally the only facade fronted in fine ashlar stone, the others being harled rubble, but in 1833 the three rubble facades were refaced in Craigleith ashlar stone. This was done as the other facades had become more visible with the new entrance on Lauriston Place. The refacing work was handled by Alexander Black the then Superintendent of Works for the school, who later designed the first Heriot's free schools around the city.
The north gatehouse onto Lauriston Place is by William Henry Playfair and dates from 1829. The chapel interior is by James Gillespie Graham (1837) who is likely to have been assisted by Augustus Pugin. The school hall was designed by Donald Gow in 1893 and boasts a hammerbeam roof above the later mezzanine floor. The chemistry block to the west of the site was designed by John Anderson in 1911. The science block is by John Chesser (architect) and dates from 1887 incorporating part of the former primary school of 1838 by Alexander Black (architect).
The grounds contain a selection of other buildings of varying age; these include a wing by inter-war school specialists Reid & Forbes, a swimming pool, now unused, and a granite war memorial, by James Dunn (1922) dedicated to the school's former pupils and teachers who died in World War I and World War II.
On his death in 1624, George Heriot left around 25,000 Pound Scots – equivalent to several tens of millions today – to found a "hospital" (then the name for this kind of charitable school) to care for the "puir, faitherless bairns" (Scots: poor, fatherless children) of Edinburgh.
The construction of Heriot's Hospital (as it was first called) was begun in 1628, just outside the city walls of Edinburgh. It was completed just in time to be occupied by Oliver Cromwell's English forces during the invasion of Scotland during the Third English Civil War; the building was used as a barracks, with horses stabled in the chapel. The hospital opened in 1659, with thirty sickly children in residence; its finances grew, and it took in other pupils in addition to the orphans for whom it was intended.
By the end of the 18th century, the Governors of the George Heriot's Trust had purchased the Barony of Broughton, thus acquiring extensive land for feuing on the northern slope below James Craig's Georgian New Town. This and other land purchases beyond the original city boundary generated considerable revenue for the Trust long after his death.
In 1837 the school founded ten "free schools" in Edinburgh, educating several thousand pupils across the city; these were closed in 1885. One of them, with a copy of several of the features of the original Lauriston Place building, is at the east end of the Cowgate (now serving as a Salvation Army hostel).
In the 1880s, it began to charge fees; however, to this day it serves its charitable object, providing free education to fatherless children, referred to as "foundationers". In 1846 there was an insurrection in the hospital and fifty-two boys were dismissed.
In 1979 it became co-educational with the arrival of the first girls, and now has around 1600 pupils. Today, the school is Edinburgh's best performing school by Higher exam results with leavers (in 2014) attending the country's most selective and prestigious universities including St Andrews (31), Glasgow (26) and Edinburgh (14) in Scotland and Oxford (2), Cambridge (4), Bristol (4) and King's College London (3) in England.
The school also provided funds for the establishment of an institution which later merged with the Watt Institution (named after James Watt) in the 1870s to form Heriot-Watt College, a technical college that became Heriot-Watt University in 1966.
Headmasters & Principals
Chronological list of the headmasters of the school, the year given being the one in which they took office.
- 1659 James Lawson
- 1664 David Davidsone
- 1669 David Browne
- 1670 William Smeaton
- 1673 Harry Moresone
- 1699 James Buchan
- 1702 John Watson
- 1720 David Chrystie
- 1734 William Matheson
- 1735 John Hunter
- 1741 William Halieburton
- 1741 John Henderson
- 1757 James Colvill
- 1769 George Watson
- 1773 William Hay
- 1782 Thomas Thomson
- 1792 David Cruikshank
- 1794 James Maxwell Cockburn
- 1795 George Irvine
- 1805 John Somerville
- 1816 John Christison
- 1825 James Boyd
- 1829 Hector Holme
- 1839 William Steven
- 1844 James Fairburn
- 1854 Frederick W. Bedford
- 1880 David Fowler Lowe
- 1908 John Brown Clark
- 1926 William Gentle
- 1942 William Carnon
- 1947 William Dewar
- 1970 Allan McDonald
- 1983 Keith Pearson
- 1997 Alistair Hector
Thereafter, the title of Headmaster was changed to that of Principal.
- 2014 (January) Gareth Doodes
- 2014 (September) Cameron Wyllie (Acting)
- 2014 (December) Cameron Wyllie
- 2018 (January) Mrs Lesley Franklin
Other Notable Staff
- James Craik Classics Master c.1822 to c.1832
- John Watt Butters Maths Master 1888 to 1899
- James Stagg, Science Master 1921 to 1923
Pupils at the school belong to one of four houses:
- Lauriston (green, after the school's address, Lauriston Place)
- Greyfriars (white, named after the adjacent Greyfriars Kirk)
- Raeburn (red, after a famous former pupil, Henry Raeburn)
- Castle (blue, after Edinburgh Castle to the north)
George Heriot's School has a wide range of extra-curricular activities in which pupils participate.
- The pipe band is headed by Pipe Major Willie MacIntyre, and around 120 pupils take tuition of some kind.
- The George Heriot's School Combined Cadet Force is headed by Lieutenant Colonel Bain, and around 60 pupils participate in weekly activities and summer camps.
Academia and Science
- George Alexander Carse (1880 - 1950) - physicist (dux in 1898)
- J. W. S. Cassels (1922 - 2015) - mathematician
- Robert J. Ferrier (1932 – 2013) - organic chemist
- John Borthwick Gilchrist (1759 – 1841) - Indologist
- Professor Sir Abraham Goldberg (1923 – 2007), KB MD DSc FRCP FRSE - Emeritus Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Glasgow
- Professor Hyman Levy (1889 – 1975), FRSE - Scottish philosopher, mathematician, political activist
- Sir Harry (Work) Melville (1908 – 2000), FRSE - polymer chemist and administrator
- Professor Gordon Turnbull (b. ) - psychiatrist
- Professor Adam Watt (b. ) - Head of Modern Languages at the University of Exeter.
- Professor Douglas C. Heggie (b. 1947), FRSE - Personal Chair of Mathematical Astronomy, School of Mathematics, University of Edinburgh
Media and Arts
- Nick Abbot (b. 1960) - Talk Radio presenter
- Ian Bairnson (b. 1953) - musician, member of Pilot and The Alan Parsons Project
- Emun Elliott (b. 1983) - actor
- Gavin Esler (b. 1953) - television journalist and presenter of Newsnight
- Mark Goodier (b. 1961) - Radio One disc jockey
- Mike Heron (b. 1942) - musician, formerly of the Incredible String Band
- Roy Kinnear (1934 – 1988) - actor
- Iain Macwhirter (b. ) - journalist and Rector of the University of Edinburgh (2009 - 2012)
- Henry Raeburn (1756 – 1823) - painter
- Ian Richardson (1934 – 2007) - actor
- Mike Scott (musician) (b. 1958) - musician and composer, founder of The Waterboys
- Alastair Sim (1900 - 1976) - actor
- Ken Stott (b. 1955) - actor
- Bryan Swanson (b. 1980) - Sky Sports chief reporter
- Nigel Tranter (1909 – 2000) - historical novelist
- Robert Urquhart (1921 – 1995) - actor
- Paul Young (b. 1944) - actor
Law and Politics
- Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (b. 1970) - SNP politician
- James Mackay, Baron Mackay of Clashfern (b. 1927) - Advocate and former Lord Chancellor
- David McLetchie (1952 - 2013) - former leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
- Doug Naysmith (b. 1941) - Labour politician and former MP for Bristol North West
- Gordon Prentice (b. 1951) - Labour politician and former MP for Pendle
- Stephen Woolman, Lord Woolman (b. 1953) - Senator of the College of Justice
- Bruce Douglas (b. 1980) - Rugby Union player
- Andy Irvine (b. 1951) - Rugby Union player
- Iain Milne (b. 1956) - Rugby Union player
- Kenny Milne (b. 1961) - Rugby Union player
- Gordon Ross (b. 1978) - Rugby Union player
- Ken Scotland (b. 1936) - Rugby Union internationalist
- Polly Swann (b. 1988) - Member of the GB Rowing Team, and Rowing World Champion
- Douglas Walker (b. 1973) - sprinter
- Colonel Clive Fairweather (1944 - 2012) - 2nd in command of the SAS during the Iranian Embassy siege.
- David Stuart McGregor (1895 - 1918) - Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross
- Graham Forbes (b. 1951), CBE - Provost of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh
- Hector Bransby Gooderham (1901 – 1977) - priest of the Scottish Episcopal Church
- Gordon Keddie (b. 1944) - Reformed Presbyterian minister and theologian
- Brian Smith (bishop) (b. 1943) - Bishop of Edinburgh (Scottish Episcopal Church) 2001-11
- James Aitken, aka "John the Painter" (1752 – 1777) - mercenary
- Hippolyte Blanc (1844 - 1917) - architect
- Archie Forbes (1913 - 1999), CBE - Colonial administrator
- Dr Norman Irons (b. ) - former Lord Provost of Edinburgh
- Sir Andrew Hunter Arbuthnot Murray (1903 – 1977) - former Lord Provost of Edinburgh
- Tony Stone (b. 1979) - entrepreneur and founder of Scottish food maker Stoats Porridge Bars
- Mike Warburton (b. 1956) - design engineer, inventor, amateur mathematician Ulam-Warburton automaton
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- Private schools up to mark with best ever exam results
- Higher Education Destinations of Leavers 2014
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- "Biography:Professor Adam Watt". Exeter University. 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
- "Spellbinding times at Heriot's". The Scotsman. 13 August 2009. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
- "The Official Website of The British & Irish Lions - History - Ken Scotland". British and Irish Lions. Archived from the original on 24 October 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
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- "Hippolyte Jean Blanc". Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- Heriot's Quadrangle Magazine , 33 (2018), 4–7
- D. Singmaster, On the cellular automaton of Ulam and Warburton, M500 Magazine of The Open University, 195 (2003), 2–7
- Tanya Khovanova, Eric Nie, Alok Puranik, "The Sierpinski Triangle and the Ulam-Warburton Automaton", arXiv:1408.5937