Pupils from the Royal High School release balloons from Calton Hill in aid of Freedom From Hunger Campaign Funds in July 1963.
Pupils from the Royal High School release balloons from Calton Hill in aid of Freedom From Hunger Campaign Funds in July 1963.

Edinburgh's Royal High Heritage in Pictures: Here are 32 fascinating photos that show life in the Capital school in the 1950s and 1960s

It was founded nearly 900 years ago and is one of the world’s oldest schools - and there was plenty going on at the Royal High School of Edinburgh over half a century ago.

Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 4:28 pm

Originally created as the seminary of Holyrood Abbey in 1128, making it perhaps the 18th oldest school in the world, the Royal High School was founded by King David I.

By the late 14th century it was known as the Grammar School of the Church of Edinburgh, providing a traditional Latin education for the sons of the great and the good, with the intention that many of them would go on to a career within the church.

In 1505 it became the first intitution in the British Isles to be described as a ‘high school’, and later than century, in 1566, Mary, Queen of Scots, transferred control of the school to the Town Council of Edinburgh.

Another name change came in around 1590 when it received royal patronage from King James VI and became the Schola Regia Edimburgensis, or King's School of Edinburgh.

The teaching of Greek joined the Latin classes in 1614, followed by the study of Geography in 1742, with French only recognised as a subject in 1934, mathematics in 1839, German in 1845, and science in 1848.

Along with the changing timetable came many school buildings and locations, including the Vennel of the Church of St Mary in the Fields (1503–1516), Kirk o' Field Wynd (1516–1555), Cardinal Beaton's House in Blackfriars Wynd (1555–1569), the Collegiate Church of St Giles (1569–1578), Blackfriars monastery (1578–1777), High School Yards (1777–1829), the Regent Road building on Calton Hill (1829–1968), and Jock's Lodge (1931–1972).

It moved to its current site in Barnton in 1968, which was extensively refurbished in 2001, and became a co-educational state comprehensive in 1973.

Today, the Royal High School of Edinburgh has a roll of around 1,200 pupils drawn from Blackhall, Clermiston, Cramond and Davidson's Mains primary schools.

It has a reputation as a flagship school in Scotland and a record of academic performance, regularly outperforming similar schools across Scotland.

Notable former pupils include writer Sir Walter Scott, comedian Ronnie Corbett, politician Robin Cook and inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

Here are 32 pictures to take you back to life in the school more than half a century ago.

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