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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 102 Collections and/or Records:

University of Edinburgh: Mound Lawnmarket Comprehensive Development Area: New College reports, c1970

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/E/4.1
Scope and Contents Two architectural reports. The first, commissioned by Percy Johnson-Marshall, in his role as planning consultant to the University of Edinburgh, for the Mound Lawnmarket Comprehensive Development Area. The report is concerned with the space requirements for the Faculty of Divinity, including students' hostel accommodation. The report includes a summary of the current situation and suggestions for development, supported by plans. A black and white aerial photograph of the college is pasted...
Dates: c1970

University of Edinburgh: Mound Lawnmarket Comprehensive Development Area: Outlook Tower feasibility study, 1969-1974

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/E/3
Scope and Contents

University of Edinburgh: Mound Lawnmarket Comprehensive Development Area: Outlook Tower feasibility study consists of:

  1. Outlook Tower feasibility study report (1974)
  2. Outlook Tower feasibility study plans (1973)
Dates: 1969-1974

University of Edinburgh: Mound Lawnmarket Comprehensive Development Area: Outlook Tower feasibility study report, 1974

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/E/3.1
Scope and Contents

Architectural report, commissioned by Percy Johnson-Marshall, in his role as planning consultant to the University of Edinburgh, for the Mound Lawnmarket Comprehensive Development Area. It includes detailed proposals for developing the Outlook Tower into an interpretive centre and other possible development in this area.

Dates: 1974

University of Edinburgh: Mound Lawnmarket Comprehensive Development Area: report, 1969-1974

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/E/2
Scope and Contents File of preparation material concerning the Mound Lawnmarket Redevelopment Area. Some of which is used as illustrations for the published report University of Edinburgh, Mound / Lawnmarket area ( 1970) . Materials include: 3 professional black and white photographic prints of the area (20cm x 25cm) taken by John Dewar Studios and Scotsman Publications Ltd. A glass plate negative of the original 1846 north...
Dates: 1969-1974

University of Edinburgh: Peffermill playing fields, 1978

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/G/1.5
Scope and Contents 8 plans (90cm x 145cm) by Percy Johnson-Marshall Associates showing different layouts for the University of Edinburgh Peffermill Playing Fields overlain on Ordnance Survey 1:1250 scale plans. The plans include: an mosaic transparancy of the area a paper programme map with 3 phases overlain in letratone a paper phasing map a draft phasing map overdrawn...
Dates: 1978

University of Edinburgh: Peffermill playing fields - proposed extension to provide new all weather surface and running track, 1967

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/G/1.6
Scope and Contents

1 architectural plan (65cm x 99cm) by University of Edinburgh Works Department showing proposals for an extension to Peffermill playing fields to provide new all weather surface and running track. There is 1 ground plan with hand drawn boundaries at 1:500 scale.

Dates: 1967

University of Edinburgh: plans of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, c1958-1968

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/G/3
Scope and Contents

Plans of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies consists of:

  1. Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies, Summerhall development, (1966-1968)
  2. University of Edinburgh: veterinary field station, (1958)
Dates: c1958-1968

University of Edinburgh: post graduate school of medicine (Pfizer Foundation), 14 November 1960

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/B/14.2.1
Scope and Contents

Set of 5 copy architectural plans (70cm x 93cm) for the proposed post-graduate school of medicine for the University of Edinburgh. The plans are by Rowand Anderson, Kininmonth & Paul and include 2 copies of the site plan, 2 sheets of floor plans and a sheet of elevations.

Dates: 14 November 1960

University of Edinburgh: Royal nurseries, c1970

Identifier: PJM/PJMA/EUD/G/1.7
Scope and Contents

2 copy plans (60cm x 84cm) by James Miller & Partners Ltd (now the Miller Group) showing proposed allocation of ground for Edinburgh University at the site of the Royal Nurseries. 1 plan shows a proposed layout and is hand colored at 1:2500 The other is an Ordnance Survey plan of Edinburgh with the open areas colored green by hand and has numbered references which may refer to points were photographs were taken. It is at 6" to 1 mile (photos are not available)

Dates: c1970