University of Edinburgh 

University of Edinburgh from 1583 In the beginning, Robert Reid bequeathed a sum of money in 1558 to erect a university in the City of Edinburgh. The building of the Edinburgh University College building was started in 1581 and the first professor and principal, Robert Rollock was appointed in 1583. He began his teaching of students on the 11 October 1583. On the 16 November 1789 the foundation stone of the New Edinburgh University College was laid by Lord Napier, the direct descendant of the inventor of the logarithms John Napier. Napier Technical College was opened in Edinburgh in 1964 and was named after John Napier. In 2009 it became Edinburgh Napier University and is now a part of the University of Edinburgh.

University of Edinburgh Old College

Kirk O’ Fields

A description of the land and history of Kirk O’ Fields Prior to the building of the present college. In medieval Edinburgh the site of the University of Edinburgh where the Old College stands today belonged to the Abbey of Holyrood and at that time the 13th century collegiate Church of St Mary in the Fields stood on the same site. The area known at that time as Kirk o’ Fields.  

The church was damaged in 1544 by King Henry the VIII’s troops during the Burning of Edinburgh and became a ruin circa 1550. The University of Edinburgh was granted the site and opened in 1583. The Old College has not change since it was built in 1789. 

University of Edinburgh Old College Quadrangle

University of Edinburgh

Plaques

There are a number of medallions on the walls of the Old College (known as the New College) in the quadrangle of the University of Edinburgh on South Bridge and also history story boards The medallions below give information on who the people of the medallions are.

1  Robert Rollock,

born 1555 died 1599 first principal and first professor to teach at Edinburgh University 1583.

He was previously the Regent of St Andrews University in 1580.

2 Robert Adam,    

Architect of the Edinburgh University New College 1789.

3 James Boswell,  

Advocate, traveller, journalist. In 1753-1758: Boswell attended the University of Edinburgh.

Discovered by scholars in the 1920s, Boswell's long-lost journals was one of the major literary discoveries of    

the 20th century. In his detailed and honest journal entries from the early 1760's until shortly before his

death, we get his unique first-hand observations of life and personalities in the second half of the 18th century.

4 James Miranda Barry

lived as a man and is believed to be the first female graduate of the University of

Edinburgh in 1812. She was also an army surgeon and Inspector General of hospitals in Canada. 

5 William Henry Playfair

Designed the quadrangle in the New University College 1815.

6 James Lorimer,

Regius Professor of Public Law at Edinburgh University for 28 years.

7 William James   

He was invited to Edinburgh University to give a lecture at the Gifford Lectures 1901-1902  Gifford lectures

appointment is one of the most prestigious honours in Scottish academia.

1                 ROBERT ROLLOCK 

4                MIRANDA BARRY

 2                  ROBERT ADAM   

 5       WILLIAM HENRY PLAYFAIR 

  3                 JAMES BOSWELL 

 6                 JAMES LORIMER 

 7                 WILLIAM JAMES

University of Edinburgh
History

The University of Edinburgh first opened in 1583 with one teacher and one class in an area called Kirk o’ Fields now known as the Old College in the South Bridge Edinburgh. Today the University of Edinburgh has five areas (campus). The University Central Area is primarily centred on George Square Edinburgh and Bristo Square Edinburgh. The King’s Buildings Campus was founded in 1920 and can be entered from West Mains Road Edinburgh and Mayfield Road Edinburgh, the Campus dedicated to Edinburgh University for the sciences. Western General Hospital is the University of Edinburgh’s centre for Molecular Medicine. Easter Bush Campus is for veterinary Studies, Little France Campus has two buildings, The Chancellor' Building is the Medical School and main undergraduate teaching and learning centre. The Queen's Medical Research Institute provides facilities for high quality interdisciplinary research. On top of the dome of the Old College stands a statue for over 100 years holding a torch called Golden Boy. Modelled by a local boxer Toni Hall and created by John Hutchison. in 1888, the 6 foot (2 m) statue was first unveiled to the residents of Edinburgh. 

Golden Boy Statue University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh

Law School 

First Chair in Law

Charles Areskine (Erskine) born Dumfries 1680 and went to the High School in Edinburgh before St Andrews University. He became regent of the University of Edinburgh at the age of 20 in November 1700 in 1707 became the first Chair in Law, the Regius Chair of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations. He also became Lord Tinwald, a Member of Parliament, served as Solicitor General and Lord Advocate and was Lord Justice Clerk until his death in 1763 at the age of 83.    

University of Edinburgh Law School

University of Edinburgh

New College Plaque

South Bridge Edinburgh

The foundation stone was laid on the 16th November 1789.

This plaque commemorates the 200th anniversary of the stone being laid. 

Plaque Foundation Stone University of Edinburgh Old College

Talbot Rice Art Gallery

Old College Quadrangle

South Bridge Edinburgh

The Talbot Rice Gallery was named after David Talbot Rice professor of Fine Art at Edinburgh University and an Art historian. In 1967 Talbot Rice became Vice Principal of the University of Edinburgh. He died in Edinburgh in March 1972. The Gallery can be found in the University of Edinburgh Old College on South Bridge. Entrance is in the far south west corner of the quadrangle.  

 

King's Buildings

University of Edinburgh

The King's Buildings is a dedicated campus of Edinburgh University for the sciences. Science has been studied at Edinburgh University since the University was established in 1583. King George V, who endorsed the need for a dedicated science campus for the University laid the foundation stone for the first building in 1920 and the campus was named after him. 

The first building was for Chemistry and named after Joseph Black. Joseph Black FRSE FRCPE FPSG born 1728 and died at the age of 71. A physician and chemist, known for his discoveries of latent heat, specific heat, and carbon dioxide. The Zoology Building dates from 1928.

David Brewster K.R. Statue

University of Edinburgh

King's Buildings 

David Brewster was born  in Jedburgh a town in the Scottish Borders in 1781 and died in Edinburgh in 1868. David Brewster was one of the most important inventors of our time inventing the kaleidoscope, lenticular stereoscope, binocular camera, polyzonal lens, lighthouse illuminator, polarimeter. He also was instrumental in the development of fibre optics and lasers. His statue can be found in the King’s Buildings, one of the University of Edinburgh campus. 

University of Edinburgh

The original site

Blackfriars' Abbey

Britain is becoming the Egypt of the North. A car park in England reveals a King and another in Edinburgh reveals a Knight. This is one of the first photographs of the Knight found in High School Yards Edinburgh. The Blackfriars' (Dominican) Friary once stood on the land. King Alexander 2nd brother of King David 1st son of King Malcolm 3rd built a church on the land and bestowed a royal residence to the monks in 1130. This is also near to where the murdered body of Mary Queen of Scot's husband, Lord Darnley, was found in 1567. The monastery and church were destroyed in 1558. What is now Infirmary Street, bottom left (Lady Yester’s Church). Where the Friary stood was the Royal High School and on the right side of the street was the Royal Infirmary and finally the University moved in and has two buildings, one where the church had been and the other where the friary had stood.

Blackfriars Abbey Site High School Yards Edinburgh
Surgery High School Yards University of Edinburgh

Skeleton in the car park 

The skeleton was found in 2013 during renovations at the front of the University of Edinburgh building in Infirmary Street. This was the site of the Balckfriars Abbey then the famous Edinburgh High School where many famous names in history attended.

The picture taken below was the first sight of the remains since buried, possibly over 500 years ago.

This would have been the site of the Blackfriars Abbey burial ground 

Knight's skeleton in car park University

McEwan Hall

University of Edinburgh

Graduation Hall

William McEwan (16 July 1827 – 12 May 1913) was a Scottish politician and brewer. He founded the Fountain Brewery in 1856 which became Scottish and Newcastle Breweries Ltd. William McEwan presented The McEwan Hall to the University of Edinburgh in 1897. The building is based on an ancient Greek theatre. The McEwan Hall is the Graduating Hall of the University of Edinburgh and can be found in the Central Area South Campus in Bristo Square. William McEwan MP was a benefactor of the Medical School and Graduation Hall of Edinburgh University. Above the main entrance of the McEwan Hall can be seen a semi-circle with a scene with nine figures, showing a graduation. The figures are all dressed in academic robes and the central figure is of the rector on a raised platform placing a book on a graduate’s head signify the students graduation.

University of Edinburgh Graduation Hall
University of Edinburgh Graduation Hall

Teviot Row

University of Edinburgh

Student Union

In 1884 the Students’ Representative Council of Edinburgh University was formed. The Student Union Building was opened on the 19 October 1889.  The Edinburgh University Students’ Association was founded in 1973 which is when all male and female students were automatically members of the union on joining Edinburgh University as a student. 

Edinburgh University Student Union Teviot Row

University of Edinburgh

Medical School

The Old Medical School Teviot Place Edinburgh has long been recognised as one of the leading and oldest Medical Schools in the world. The Medical School has links with 6 Nobel Prize winners. Edinburgh has had medical teaching from as far back as the early 1500s and The Royal College of Physicians was opened in 1681.

University of Edinburgh Medical School
University of Edinburgh Medical School

Elsie Inglis Quadrangle

University of Edinburgh

Medical School Edinburgh

Edinburgh University Medical School Elsie Inglis Quadrangle where all the plaques on this page can be found as well as the Anatomy Surgery and Museum.

University of Edinburgh Medical School Elsie Inglis Quadrangle
Elsie Inglis Quadrangle University of Edinburgh Medical School

Sophie Jex-Blake 

Edinburgh 7

Sophie Jex-Blake, Isabel Thorne, Edith Pechey, Matilda Chaplin, and Helen Evans. Mary Anderson and Emily Bovell

 

Sophia Jex Blake

Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake born 21 January 1840 became a doctor and teacher. She was the leader of a campaign to secure women access to a University education. Known as the Edinburgh Seven when she and six other women banded together and protested outside the medical school. Which gave recognition to the women wanting to study medicine and the University of Edinburgh granted them the rights to study for a degree in medicine in 1869.  She was the first practising female doctor in Scotland (1878). Living in 4 Manor Place Edinburgh she erected a brass plate inscribed with Doctor Sophia Jex Blake. The little outpatient clinic in Grove Street became the Edinburgh Hospital and Dispensary for Women. This was Scotland’s first hospital for women staffed entirely by women.

 

Sophia Jex-Blake opened Edinburgh Provident Dispensary for Women and Children at 73 Grove Street in 1878. This was the fore runner of Bruntsfield Hospital. Bruntsfield Hospital was previously Sophia Jex Blake’s home and she sold it to the Hospital committee in 1899. The renovated it and made it into the first general hospital for women. The Hospital finally closed in 1989

   

Elsie Inglis Graduated from Edinburgh University in 1899 after Sophia Jex-Blake who she had an ongoing rivalry with, as Sophia Jex Blake had been the leader of the Edinburgh 7 group who fought for the right of entry for women to the Edinburgh medical School.

 

Louisa Stevenson campaigned specifically for women to be allowed medical training and to qualify as doctors. She joined with Sophia Jex Blake to found the women’s medical college. Louisa later became a member of the executive committee of the National Union of Women’s suffrage society.

University of Edinburgh

Medical School

Graduates of Note

Richard Bright, Thomas Addison, Thomas Hodgkin each individual gave the first complete and accurate description of the medical condition which were named after them; Bright’s Disease (Acute post-streptococcal hemorrhagic glomerulonephritis described in 1836),  Addison’s Disease (Adrenocortical insufficiency described in 1849), Addisonian Anaemia (Pernicious Anaemia Vitamin B12 deficiency described in 1849), Hodgkin’s Disease ( Lymphadenoma Hodgkin Lymphoma described in 1836).

 

University of Edinburgh Medical School Pioneers

James Lind MD

F.R.C.PE / F.R.S.E

"The Hippocrates of Naval Medicine"

James Lind born in Edinburgh in 1716 became a  surgeon's mate and carried out experiments on sailors with scurvy and proved that citrus was a cure, however, the navy did not implement his findings for a further 40 years and when they did scurvy was eradicated from the navy. He retired from the Navy in 1748 at the age of 32 and enrolled in the University of Edinburgh for medical qualifications. Plaque inscription on plaque reads:

The province has been mine to deliver precepts | the power is in others to execute | 1716 | 1794 | James Lind | MD. (Edin) r.c.p.e. f.r.s.e. |”the hippocrates of naval medicine” | author of | a treatise of the scurvy | an essay on preserving the | health of seamen| an essay on diseases incidental | to europeans in hot climates | these works led to the conquest | of scurvy the development of | modern naval hygiene and the / growth of tropical medicine / this plaque is presented in honour of | the first experimental nutritionist. |a great physician and scientist | by | the sunkist growers of citrus fruit | in California and Arizona | 22nd May 1953

University of Edinburgh James Lind MD F.R.C.PE / F.R.S.E "The Hippocrates of Naval Medicine"

University of Edinburgh

Medical School

North America

During the 50 years between 1749 and 1799, 117 Americans received medical degrees from the University of Edinburgh Medical School. Included in the degree recipients were; John Morgan who founded the first North American Medical School. The Medical School of the college of Philadelphia. 2 further degree recipients were Benjamin Rush and Dr. John Witherspoon both were signatories of the declaration of Independence.

University of Edinburgh

McGill University

This tablet has been erected by McGill University to commemorate the 250th anniversary of The University of Edinburgh faculty as a symbol of the historic bond between them and in memory of the four founders of the faculty of medicine of McGill University, William Caldwell, Andrew R Holmes, William Robertson, John Stephenson all whom received their training at the University of Edinburgh. James McGill was born in Glasgow Scotland on October 6, 1744 and founded the McGill University in 1821.

McGill University  250 Anniversary Memorial Plaque

University of Edinburgh

Professor John Hughes Bennett

Professor John Hughes Bennett MD Edin. Hon LLD Edin. FRCP Edin. FRSE 1812 – 1875. Professor of the institutes of medicine, University of Edinburgh. An outstanding physician, physiologist, pathologist and great teacher who in 1845 was the first to identify the disease leukaemia.

Professor John Hughes Bennet Leulaemia Discovery University of Edinburgh Medical School

Charles Darwin 

University of Edinburgh

Charles Darwin lived at 11 Lothian Street while attending the University of Edinburgh, Medical School in 1825 for a 2 year period. He was unable to pass the exams and returned home. He was born 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England and died 1882 in Downe, Kent. His uncle, also Charles Darwin, died in Edinburgh at the age of 19 while attending the University in 1778. He achieved, and was given many  accolades for his expertise in medical science.

University of Edinburgh

Famous Graduates

Sir Robert Sibbald, Sir James Young Simpson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Lord Henry Lister all graduated from the University of Edinburgh. Sir Robert Sibbald Professor of Medicine 1685 -1722 was founder of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Sir James Young Simpson was a pioneer of anaesthetics, Professor of Midwifery 1810 -1870. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a medical graduate of the university author and creator of Sherlock Holmes, Lord Henry Lister was a founder of antiseptic and aseptic surgery regius professor of clinical surgery 1869 – 1877. All the plaques can be found in The Elsie Inglis Quadrangle of the Medical School in Teviot Place Edinburgh.

Sir James Young Simpson University of Edinburgh Medical School
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle University of Edinburgh Medical School
Sir Robert Sibbald University of Edinburgh Medical School

University of Edinburgh

Polish School of Medicine

The Polish School of Medicine was founded on 24 February 1941 In an agreement between the University of Edinburgh and the Polish Government-in-Exile in London. At this time it was the only Polish higher educational institution in the world. here were more than 300 Polish students attended the school, 227 achieved a medical diploma and a further 19 graduated with an MD.  

The Inscription on the plaque reads; In the dark days of 1941 when Polish universities were destroyed and Polish professors died in concentration camps, the University of Edinburgh established the Polish School of Medicine. This memorial was set up by the students, lecturers and professors of the Polish School of Medicine in gratitude to the University of Edinburgh for the part it played in the preservation of Polish science and learning. 

JAKO WYRAZ WDZIECZNOŚCI UNIWERSYTETU EDINBURSKEIGO ZA UTWORZENIE POLSKIEJ PLACÓWKI NAUKOWEJ W EDYNBURGU PŁYTĘ TĘ OFIAROWALI STUDENCI WYKŁADOWCY I PROFESOROWIE POLSKIEGO WYDZIAŁU LEKARSKIEGO 1941 – 1949.

University of Edinburgh Medical School Polish memorial plaque

 Anatomical Museum 1884 

Old Medical School

The Museum of Anatomy in the Medical School in Teviot place is full of wonderful things and you can even see the murderer William Burke’s skeleton free of charge when open to the public.

 
University of Edinburgh Surgery of Anatomy

Reid Concert Hall

University of Edinburgh

The Reid Concert Hall named after General John Reid was born John Robertson and was educated at the University of Edinburgh. He change his name to his mother’s maiden name of Reid. On his death he left a sum of money to the University for a Chair of Music to be established and other purposes. The Chair of music was established in 1839. The Reid Concert Hall was founded in February of 1858 and is part of the Reid School of Music. The Concert Hall is named after General John Reid in his honour.

General John G Reid Reid Concert Hall Plaque
University of Edinburg Reid Concert Hall Date Founded
University of Edinburg Reid Concert Hall Date Founded

University of Edinburgh

Bush Estate 

Veterinary College

The Bush Estate Professor O. Charnock Bradley Building and Kelpie sculpted by John Scott The inscription on the plaque reads; “CANTER” by Andy Scott | unveiled by | HRH, The Princess Royal | Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh and | Patron of the Royal (Dick) Vet School of Veterinary Studies | on 1st May 2018 | “Canter” by Andy Scott 

Canter University of Edinburgh Veterinary Studies Bush Estate
Canter by Andy Scott unvieled by HRH Princess Anne

William Dick Founder 

Edinburgh Veterinary College

William Dick was born in 1793 in White Horse Close in the Canongate. William Dick was educated at Mr Kesson’s school in Shakespeare Square which was located at the east end of Edinburgh at the foot of the North Bridge. The square was demolished in 1860. The first veterinary College was in  Clyde Street on the site of where the present bus station is now. The College moved to the site of Summerhall, William Dick the Veterinary Science department is now at the Bush Estate. In 1906, the College was named the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College and became part of the University of Edinburgh in 1951.

William Dick Plaque Canongate Edinburgh

Royal Dick Veterinary College

The Royal Dick Veterinary College known locally as the Dick Vet is now home to Edinburgh’s newest and biggest arts and science venue. Summerhall is open to the public all year around and there are theatre and gallery spaces, libraries and small museums, studios and workshops. There is also a Café and Bar.  The Royal Dick veterinary College is part of the University of Edinburgh and is on the Bush campus. The original site was where one of the first of the many breweries in Edinburgh was opened. You can find out the history of the site and building on your visit. You can also see a working micro-Brewery and taste the beer if over 18 years old.

University of Edinburgh

 Pollock Halls

. The area that Pollock Halls Stands on had a house on the land known as Arthursley, this could have been renamed prior to the Dicks of Prestonfield purchased the house and land. The house purchased around 1770 was known as Salisbury Green . Later the Nelson (Neilson) family who owned the printers that stood nearby purchased the property in 1860 and built a further 2 property in 1869 called St Leonard’s Hall and Abden Hall. The properties were then purchased by Sir J D Pollock the rector of the University of Edinburgh in 1939 and later he gifted them to the university to be used as student accommodation. 

Salisbury Green is used as a Hotel and conference facility and  St Leonard’s Hall is a wedding venue and function suite while Abden House was left for accommodation for the faculty it is now the Confucius Chinese Institute.

University of Edinburgh

 Logo 

The medallion on the Mercat Cross in Parliament Square Royal Mile Edinburgh.

Coat of Arms University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh

New College

The new college, Assembly Hall was built in 1846 as a Theological College, and a home for the Church of Scotland in 1929. The General Assembly is held here annually in May. This is also where in 1989 the majority of the Scottish members of parliament signed a document to claim the right for Scotland to have an independent parliament. The Assembly hall was used as a debating hall of the Scottish Parliament for 5 years between 1999 -2004. The Assembly Hall has also been used by the Edinburgh International Festival for many years. The Spire behind the Assembly Hall is The Hub on the Castlehill. In the main courtyard of the New College stands a statue of John Knox the leader of the protestant reformation and founder of the Presbyterian Church. Born in 1514 and died in 1572 his grave is in the car park of St Giles Cathedral.

University of Edinburgh New College front door Mound Place Edinburgh

James Stuart Blackie

Look up above the shops on North Bank Street to see the window with the memorial to James Blackie 1809 -1895  a University of Edinburgh Professor in Greek and German. He left 250, 19th century Greek books to the University Library which are still being used by students today. He was born in Aberdeen and studied in Germany and Italy. He was the inspiration behind the founding of the Celtic chair of the University of Edinburgh. The entrance to his house can be seen in Makars’ Court (Blackie House).

Nobel Prize Winner

Peter Ware Higgs

University of Edinburgh

Peter Ware Higgs and François Englert jointly won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013 for their discovery of the “theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles”. In 2012 Peter Ware Higgs and François Englert carried out two experiments at the CERN laboratory Switzerland which confirmed the existence of the Higgs particle.

About

Peter Ware Higgs

Professor Higgs PhD was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in May 1929 he graduated from King’s College London and continued his studies and graduated with a masters in Physics in 1952 two years later in 1954 he gained a PhD Peter Higgs was an affiliate of University of Edinburgh, at the time of his discovery. He has lived in Edinburgh since moving and is married with two sons. Peter Higgs has received many honours including a Knighthood which he rejected for personal reasons. The University of Edinburgh has named a chair after him and also a centre (The Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics). He is now a retired professor and grandfather living in Edinburgh.

Nobel Prize Award

The Nobel Prize award ceremony is held in Stockholm, Sweden annually where the award winners are presented with a diploma and a medal by His Royal Majesty the King of Sweden speeches and speeches honouring the Nobel Laureates and their discovery or work, this ceremony has been taking place since 1934.

University of Edinburgh

Bristo Square

Central Campus

Edinburgh University or to be correct University of Edinburgh is a large part of Edinburgh today and has been around for over 425 years. Below is the Central Campus meeting area Bristo Square where the graduation Hall sits centre stage. The Edinburgh University Student Union Building is close by, as is the Reid Concert Hall and many other places of learning. All students will with dedication take their place in the McEwan Hall of Graduation where their careers will start. 

University of Edinburgh Bristo Square Teviot Row House Central Campus
Bristo Square and McEwan Hall University of Edinburgh Bristo Square Teviot Row House Central Campus

University of Edinburgh

Bristo Square 

The McEwan Lantern Pillar

The Pillar was unveiled in 1897 at the time the McEwan Hall was opened. The Hall and Lantern were erected by donation from William McEwan. The Light is to signify the ever pursuit of Knowledge.

Bristo Square McEwan Lantern in the pursuit of Knowledge

 Blue Plaque

Women of Achievement

Mary Crudelius

Edinburgh Ladies’ Educational Association

Mary Crudelius was a campaigner for women’s education and a supporter of women’s suffrage movement. She was born in 1839 to Scottish parents and was educated in Edinburgh She with another set up the Edinburgh Ladies’ Educational Association to help give equal educational opportunities for women. She died before her goal was achieved, for access to universities for women undergraduates which was achieved in 1892. Edith Mary Burnet was born in in 1888 and became Britain’s first qualified woman architect Mary Crudelius was her grandmother.

Edinburgh Ladies’ Educational Association Blue Plaque Women of Achievement Mary Cruelius

Archbishop of Canterbury

Archibald Campbell Tait

Archibald Campbell Tait Archbishop of Canterbury from 1868 – 1882 was born in Edinburgh and this memorial is on the site of the house where he was born in December 1811. A student at Oxford University he later became a tutor at Balliol College in 1835. In 1842 he became headmaster of Rugby School. He became the Archbishop in 1868. The memorial can be found at the south end of the McEwan Hall. The inscription on the monument reads; To commemorate in his native country the piety the virtues and the wisdom of Archibald Campbell Tait Archbishop of Canterbury 1868 - 1882 Friends and admirers in Scotland have erected this monument on the site of the house which he was born.

Archibald Campbell Tait Archbishop of Canterbury
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© 2020 by All About Edinburgh. 

started 16 / 03 /2017

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