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University of Edinburgh (Scottish University)



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 168 Collections and/or Records:

University of Edinburgh development: collected associated material: press clippings and media articles, 1965-1988

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/H/2
Scope and Contents A file of press-clippings, and magazine or journal articles relating to the University of Edinburgh Comprehensive Development Area. These include articles in architecture journals such as The Architect's Journal , the University of Edinburgh Bulletin and local papers such as The South Side News and ...
Dates: 1965-1988

University of Edinburgh Development Committee: Central Area Development Sub-committee - Old College courtyard and stone cleaning, 1976-1978

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/A/3.4
Scope and Contents

Contents of an original file concerning the University of Edinburgh Development Committee: Central Area Development Sub-committee's project to repave and clean the stonework of Old College. The file contains committee minutes, correspondence, handwritten notes on site meetings, possible designs, research into methodology and estimates from possible contractors.

Dates: 1976-1978

University of Edinburgh Development Committee: committee minutes and papers, 1976-1984

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/A/3.2
Scope and Contents

Incomplete set of agenda, papers and minutes for the University of Edinburgh Development Committee from 1976-1984. Percy Johnson-Marshall attended these meetings in his role as planning consultant to the University of Edinburgh. The papers chart decisions and progress concerning University of Edinburgh Comprehensive Development Area .

Dates: 1976-1984

University of Edinburgh Development Committee: committee papers and reports, 1962

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/A/3.1
Scope and Contents This file contains a set of committee papers for the University Development Committee held on 28 November 1962. It also contains several versions of a report, Progress report to the Development Committee ( 1962) , given by Percy Johnson-Marshall in his capacity as Planning Consultant to the University. This report outlines progress in the creation of a Comprehensive Development Plan for the University. In...
Dates: 1962

University of Edinburgh Development Committee: miscellaneous sub-committee papers, 1978-1985

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/A/3.3
Scope and Contents

Contents of an original file containing miscellaneous minutes, agenda, papers and correspondence concerning the work of three sub-committees of the University of Edinburgh Development Committee, which Percy Johnson-Marshall sat on as part of his duties as planning consultant to the University. The sub-committees represented are: the Central Area Development Sub-committee, the Science Faculty Development Sub-committee and the Conservation Group Sub-committee.

Dates: 1978-1985

University of Edinburgh: development of miscellaneous areas, c1958-1978

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/G
Scope and Contents

University of Edinburgh: development of miscellaneous areas consists of:

  1. plans: Peffermill playing fields (1966-1978)
  2. aerial photograph: Pollock Halls of Residence (1967)
  3. plans: Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies (c1958-1968)
Dates: c1958-1978

University of Edinburgh: George Square Redevelopment - north side, 1964

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/B/6.9
Scope and Contents

Set of 3 1:500 scale manuscript plans on tracing paper, some with "letraset" and "letra-tone", showing proposals for the north side of George Square. One includes data concerning the number of car parking spaces and one includes a south elevation.

Dates: 1964

University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings 3 additional glasshouses - possible location, 1963

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/D/5.15
Scope and Contents

1 copy of a hand-drawn topographic site-plan (28cm x 39cm) by Percy Johnson-Marshall & Associates showing the possible location for some additional glass-houses at the University of Edinburgh King's Buildings. The plan is at 1:500 scale.

Dates: 1963

University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings 33kv substation at Mayfield Road, c1955

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/D/5.14
Scope and Contents

1 copy of an architectural plan (51cm x 65cm) showing the 33kv substation at the University of Edinburgh King's Buildings. The plan is at 1/8" to 1' scale and has been hand coloured with some additions.

Dates: c1955

University of Edinburgh - King's Buildings boundary layout plan, c1965

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/D/4.3
Scope and Contents

Copy of an Ordnance Survey plan (65cm x 88cm) at 1:1250 scale, with the University of Edinburgh King's Buildings layout incorporated into the plan. The plan is overdrawn in felt-tip pen with the dimensions of a proposed new land lease to the adjacent golf club and an area of proposed new planting.

Dates: c1965