Sports Day - 1965
© Reproduced with
acknowledgement to Ron Leckie, California, USA
Thank you to Ron Leckie, California, USA,
for sending me this photograph of his former school in Edinburgh.
John Watson School
"Founded in 1828, this building housed a
'hospital' for orphans."
ENGRAVING - 1829
"It later grew to become John
Watson’s School, a full private school. There were many of us who
owe the foundation of our education to this establishment."
"The school ultimately closed in
1975, and the building became the Scottish
National Gallery of Modern Art.
In many ways, it is a shame in this author’s
eyes that such a grand piece of architecture should now be the home of
'modern art'. It would really be far more appropriate if it housed some
of Scotland’s classic art collections."
"Since 1975, a group of former pupils has
attempted to maintain an FP Club, to keep the memories alive, but due to a
lack of critical mass they have decided to close down this effort with a
final reunion to be held on September 1st, 2007.
California, USA: July 26, 2007
Thank you to Alan Wilson, Trinity,
Edinburgh for sending this message after seeing the photograph of John
Watson's school above.
"Seeing the photograph of John Watson's School
reminded me about something that most visitors to the Gallery of Modern
Art are probably oblivious to.
At the back of the gallery there a rough path
which leads from near the Henry Moore sculpture into a quiet corner.
It's here you'll discover a small graveyard containing the remains of 12
pupils, aged between 7 and 12 years, who died from 1828 through to 1888.
Each grave is marked by a small stone bearing the initials of the child.
Alan Wilson, Trinity, Edinburgh: August 1, 2007
Thank you to Eelan Hodgson who wrote, asking about why John Watson's
don't know the answer to Eelan's question. If you know it,
please email me, than I'll pass on your reply to her.
"John Watson’s School, Belford Road,
Edinburgh, bought my family home (Belford House) with the aim of turning
it into the Girls’ Boarding House. Belford House was sold about 1954-5
from memory. We then built a house in the garden, called ‘Mill
Lade House’, access to which is via Belford Place, past the Edinburgh
School Closed 1975
"I know that John Watson’s School closed in
1975 and it would appear that the Merchant Company Schools absorbed many
of the pupils.
Can you tell me why did John Watson’s School
close in 1975? This enquiry is purely out of interest. I don't
think that John Watson’s School was a Merchant Company School."
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Thank you to Allan Dodds for providing the answer to the question asked
by Eelan above.
Direct Grants Legislation
Labour Party, newly appointed in 1974, ended the direct grant system
for schools the following year when they enacted the 'Direct Grant
Grammar Schools (Cessation of Grant) Regulations, 1975'."
"This required schools to choose whether
(a) Comprehensive schools maintained by
the Local Education Authority OR
(b) Independent schools without a
"This meant that private schools, such
as Watson's, Heriot's and other independent schools, had to increase
their fees dramatically if they wished to remain independent
- Watson's and others failed to
- Heriot's survived as an
independent school, but their fees are currently around £10,000 per
annum, whereas in my days at Heriot's they were around £42 per
Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:
December 23, 2013
Gallery of Modern Art
"You rightly say the old school building is
now The Edinburgh Gallery of Modern Art. Having visited it
recently, I would say that the building lends itself more to housing
traditional art and old masters!
However, the grounds with ‘small loch/lake’ in
front of the old school and the Charles Jencks ‘statuatory’ are well cared
for, and the beautiful building is well maintained."
Eelan Hodgson, Edinburgh: September 30, 2011
Newcastle, Northumberland, England
Thank you to Mike Cheyne for replying to Eelan Hodgson's question above.
"Like a few Edinburgh private schools -
eg Melville College and Cranley - John Watson's found it
difficult to attract pupils given by how much the school had to raise
their fees to cover their increasingly high running costs.
The name John Watson was incorporated into
George Watson's College, to which a number of pupils transferred when it
closed in 1975."
Mike Cheyne, Newcastle, Northumberland, England
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, October 6, 2011
Brian Martin wrote
"I'm attempting to encourage any John Watson's
School Former Pupils to upload school photos to out newly created Facebook
page. It's like drawing hens' teeth.
Can you point me in the right direction?
I am trying to find out who the Official School Photographers were. Any
Any assistance you could give would be greatly
Brian Martin, (John Watson School Border 1960-69):
Abu Dhabi, October 18, 2013
Reply to Brian?
If you'd like to provide any photos for Brian's Facebook page, or if
you can tell him who the Official School Photographers were, or if you'd
like to contact him for any other reason,
please email me, then I'll pass on his email address to you.
Peter Stubbs: November 6, 2013
Thank you to Ron Leckie, California, USA,
for writing again.
A new web site for
"Former pupils of Forms 5/6 at John Watson's
in 1965-1967 have kept reasonably connected and have had a few small
reunions since 2007.
The old website for the school fell into
disuse, so it was decided to create a new one. So, I put this
this new web site
together using the free photo site, Shutterfly.
To view, it requires a password which can be
requested from the site manager. All former pupils of the school are
encouraged to join and contribute to the site
California, USA: September 14, 2014