Skip to main content

University of Edinburgh (Scottish University)

 Organization

Biography

The University of Edinburgh was established by Royal Charter in 1582. It was originally called Tounis College, when part of a legacy left by Robert Reid, Bishop of Orkney in 1558 had established a college of which the Town Council had gained control to establish a College of Law on the South side of Edinburgh. The inception of the University took place in 1583. In 1617 when King James VI of Scotland (I of England) visited the College it was decreed that the College should change its name to King James' College, although the College continued to use the older title. The first change in the corporate body of the University was not until 1935 when the first merger took place. This was between the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Edinburgh and New College. This was due to the re-union of the Church of Scotland in 1932.The next merger was in 1951 when the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School was reconstituted as part of the University of Edinburgh. The Royal (Dick) Veterinary School achieved full faculty status in 1964. In 1998 Moray House Institute of Education became the Faculty of Education.

The first classes of the university were held in Hamilton House known as the Duke's Lodge. In 1582 a site that included St Mary in the Fields was acquired. Many new buildings and extensions were made to the site of Hamilton House after 1616. Two prominent stages of building for the University were those undertaken by Robert Adam and William Playfair. In 1869 the site next to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary was acquired. Building on this project was completed by the end of the 19th century. The University today is situated around these areas in the centre of Edinburgh and Kings Buildings and there are also campuses at Holyrood and elsewhere.

Teaching began in 1583 under Robert Rollock, with a four year course in arts to gain a masters of arts. When Rollock was appointed as the first principal of the University, there were four Philosophy regents and one regent of Humanity, whilst Rollock specialized in Divinity. Until the beginning of the 18th century the University remained essentially an Arts College, with a Divinity School attached. Throughout the 17th century the Chairs of Divinity, Oriental Languages, Ecclesiastical History and Mathematics had been created. By the end of the 17th century there was also regular teaching in Medicine, and sporadic teaching in Law. The University was at the centre of European Enlightenment in the 18th century. By 1722 a Faculty of Law had been established. The first medical Chair had been established in 1685 and was closely followed in the first half of the 18th century by six more. Four more medical Chairs were created in the 19th century. New Chairs in other Faculties were not established after 1760 until the latter half of the 19th century when they followed in rapid succession, continuing in the 20th century, which include those produced by the mergers with New College, the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School and Moray House Institute of Education.

The University was governed by the town council until the Universities (Scotland) Act of 1858, when it received self governing status. The archaic teaching and management system of regents was abolished in 1708. The 1858 act dramatically changed the constitution of the University. A University Court and General Council were introduced which decided on matters and management pertaining to the whole University. The Senatus Academicus was already in place before 1858and this managed academic matters, but answered to the Court and Council. This system is still used.

The University of Edinburgh provides validation for a Master of Fine Arts that has run jointly with Edinburgh College of Art since 1943. A joint chair, the Hood Chair of Mining Engineering was established in 1923 with Heriot-Watt College which became Heriot-Watt University.

In 2002, the structure of the university was altered substantially, with the abolition of Faculties and the creation of the College of Humanities & Social Science, the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine and the College of Science & Engineering. Departments were replaced by Schools within each Faculty.

Found in 134 Collections and/or Records:

Records of the Polish School of Medicine

 Fonds
Identifier: EUA IN14
Scope and Contents

Records of foundation and establishment of the School; Minute books; Student records.

Dates: 1940-

Records of the University of Edinburgh

 Fonds
Identifier: EUA IN1
Scope and Contents
  1. University Governance
  2. Senior Committees
  3. Administration & Support Services
  4. Academic Administration
  5. Academic Units
  6. Publications
Dates: 1582-date

Susan Binnie Anderson

 Fonds
Identifier: Coll-1052
Scope and Contents The material is composed of high school exam passes, photographs, pass certificates, class cards and tickets, degree scroll, and letters. In the collection there is the Intermediate Certificate, dated 1913, issued by Airdrie Academy Higher Grade Public School, certifying that Binnie had gained the Intermediate Certificate in English, Mathematics, Science and Drawing, and that she continued at school for three further years passing in Lower Latin and Lower French. The...
Dates: 1913-1922

The Carmichael-Watson Collection

 Fonds
Identifier: Coll-97
Scope and Contents The Carmichael-Watson Collection consists of papers belonging to the Reverend Alexander Cameron of Arran, Alexander Carmichael, civil servant and folklorist, Alexander MacBain of Inverness, and Professor William John Watson and his son James Carmichael Watson, along with books and papers belonging to the Reverend Charles Robertson of Jura, the Reverend Angus MacDonald, the Reverend Archibald MacDonald and the Reverend Father Allan McDonald of Eriskay. These include: invocations...
Dates: 18th century - mid 20th century

The Cronshaw Archive of Early Technology

 Fonds — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Coll-1943
Scope and Contents Research papers of Andrew Cronshaw, who worked for the University of Edinburgh as a biochemist from c. 1982, alongside Prof. Michael Gardner, Prof. Richard Ambler, Prof. Alastair Aitken and others. It includes textbook, instrumental booklets, instrument promotion documents, correspondence, and instrument data outputs. These items were rescued from several clear outs and laboratory moves, were curated and deemed important for future generations. ...
Dates: 1960s-2017

The Percy Johnson-Marshall Collection

 Fonds — Multiple Containers
Identifier: PJM
Scope and Contents The Percy Johnson-Marshall Collection consists of papers, plans, books, journals and photographs collected or created by him throughout the course of his career. These reflect both his employment situation, his involvement in professional organisations and educational bodies, his involvement in World Development issues and his general interest in architecture and planning. The collection contains material relating to: ...
Dates: 1931-1993

Thomas Charles Hope: Notes from lectures given by John Robison

 Fonds
Identifier: Coll-1371
Scope and Contents

5 volumes of notes taken at the lectures given by John Robison.

Dates: c1780s

Three medical notebooks, two of which relate to Alexander Woodcock fl. 1833-1845

 Fonds
Identifier: Coll-1483
Scope and Contents The Alexander Woodcock notebooks contain: Lectures on Anatomy and Physiology - Alexander Jardine Lizar - notebook noted 5 November 1833 Lectures on Chemistry - Doctor Hope - 11 July 1845 A third volume contains: Notes from 1 September 1843 - 20 July 1844 -...
Dates: 1833-1845

University medals of Christina Struthers (Mrs. Frederick Niecks)

 Fonds
Identifier: Coll-1507
Scope and Contents The Bronze medals awarded by the University of Edinburgh to Christina Struthers are: History of Music, 1893-1894 Counterpoint and Composition,1895-1896 Musical Analysis, 1897-1898 They had been presented in small padded cases prepared by: Alexander Kirkwood and Son, Medalists, 9 St. James Square, Edinburgh. This Edinburgh firm of...
Dates: 1893-1898

University memorabilia collected by Robert Dean Wilson

 Fonds
Identifier: Coll-1530
Scope and Contents

Collection of memorabilia is composed of:


  1. 2 x University of Edinburgh. Graduation of Ceremonial. McEwan Hall. Saturday 31 October 1964
  2. 1 x 'Student's Handbook' 1960-61. An SRC Publication. (Includes photographic illus. of David M. S. Steel, Senior President, SRC, on p.20)
  3. 1 x 'Student's Handbook' No. LXVII 1962-63
Dates: 1960-1964