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University of Edinburgh (Scottish University)

 Organization

Dates

  • Existence: 1583-present

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 5 Collections and/or Records:

Letter to Arthur James Balfour from Professor Alexander Crum Brown, 04 July 1904

 Item
Identifier: Coll-14/9/9/70
Scope and Contents Crum Brown writes to Balfour that he believes the University of Edinburgh should have three ordinary professors of Chemistry who work co-operatively together and who are each assigned a laboratory and junior staff. He then includes some financial projections for salaries and a new building which he states 'should not be ornate' and should be built so it could be extended.

Letter to James Cossar Ewart from Frank Wyville Thomson, 12 August 1905

 Item
Identifier: Coll-14/9/11/23
Scope and Contents Thomson announces his intention to retire from the Indian Medical Service and to seek employment in the new Department of Tropical Medicine in the University of Edinburgh. He goes on to describe his work experience in tropical medicine and states that he has spoken to Sir William Turner and Sir Thomas Fraser regarding a possible position within the University.

Letter to James Cossar Ewart from Professor James Seth, enclosing his notes about various Professorships, 24 June 1903

 Item
Identifier: Coll-14/9/9/64
Scope and Contents Seth encloses his notes on the most important considerations concerning the professorships of Experimental Psychology, History of Philosophy and Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.

Letter to James Cossar Ewart from Professor Patrick, 04 July 1903

 Item
Identifier: Coll-14/9/9/69
Scope and Contents Patrick states that apart from lectureships in various subjects, he would like to set at least three new chairs at the University of Edinburgh: in Comparative Religion, Christian Ethics and History of Doctrine.

Letter to James Cossar Ewart from Professor W.S Greenfield, 26 June 1903

 Item
Identifier: Coll-14/9/9/65
Scope and Contents Greenfield provides notes concerning the costs of expanding the staff and facilities in Pathology and Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.