The boys give three cheers on the arrival of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visit Fettes College in July 1955.
The boys give three cheers on the arrival of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visit Fettes College in July 1955.

Edinburgh's Fettes College Heritage in Pictures: These 20 pictures show life in the Capital school in the 1950s and 1960s

It has been educating pupils in Edinburgh for over 150 years, and there was plenty going on at Fettes College over half a century ago.

Friday, 20th May 2022, 9:39 am

Fettes College was created according to the wishes of former Lord Provost of Edinburgh Sir William Fettes, who bequeathed £166,000 for the education of poor children and orphans in memory of his only son, also called William.

On Sir William’s death in 1836 the money was first invested and then used to buy 250 acres of land on which to build the school, which was founded in 1870 with a total of 53 pupils.

During the First World War more than half of the approximately 2,000 pupils who had been educated at Fettes served in the armed forces, with 246 lives lost.

In 1921 a war memorial bearing the inscription ‘carry on’ was unveiled in the school grounds, a year after central heating system was first introduced, with electric light arriving at Fettes in 1924.

The school chapel was enlarged by adding a chancel and a gallery in 1948, while a new running track was opened in 1954.

During the 1960s the school was forced to sell several parcels of land – 18 acres of land to allow Telford College to be built, 14 acres for a new headquarters for Lothian and Borders Police, and 15 acres of land for a rebuilt Broughton High School.

A new dining hall was opened in 1966, a new school library in 1970, and a new science school that was opened by the Queen Mother in the same year.

Female pupils were also admitted for the first time in 1970, but only in the final year – with Fettes becoming fully co-educational in 1983.

The boys’ houses were refurbished in 1988, financed by the £3million proceeds of selling 13 acres of the school grounds for residential property.

Since then the school has regularly appeared near the top of lists of Scotland’s best schools – winning 2001’s Sunday Times ‘Scottish School of the year’ award.

Today Fettes has around 770 pupils, around 75 per cent of whom are boarders.

Here are 20 pictures to take you back to Fettes Collage in the 1950s and 1960s.

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