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George Watson's College Ex Corde Caritas (Love from the Heart) Address Colinton Road (Merchiston) Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom Information Type co-educational, independent Religious affiliation non-denominational Established 1741 (as George Watson's Hospital) Founder George Watson Principal Gareth Edwards, MA Pupils circa 2,300 Houses Cockburn-Greyfriars, Lauriston, Melville-Ogilvie, Preston-Falconhall School Colour(s)           maroon, white, Sports Rugby, hockey, cricket, rowing, badminton, squash, football, sailing, rifle shooting, skiing, athletics, tennis, rock climbing, polo, surfing, fencing, curling. Rival George Heriot's School Publication The Watsonian, Caritas, Recorder, Tick Talk School fees £1,218 - £9,426 (2010/11) Alumni Watsonians Website www.gwc.org.uk George Watson's College, known informally as Watson's, is a co-educational independent day school in Scotland, situated on Colinton Road, in the Merchiston area of Edinburgh. It was first established as a hospital school in 1741, became a day school in 1871 and was merged with its sister school George Watson's Ladies College in 1974. It is a Merchant Company of Edinburgh school. Contents 1 History 1.1 Foundation 1.2 Re-establishment as a Day School 1.3 1932 Buildings 1.4 George Watson's Ladies College 1.5 Amalgamation 2 Capital Development 3 Houses 4 Sports and affiliations 5 George Watson's College Pipes and Drums 5.1 History 6 Notable alumni 7 References 8 External links // History Foundation The school was established according to the instructions of George Watson (1654–1723) who bequeathed the bulk of his fortune of £12,000 – a vast sum in 1723 – to found a hospital school for the provision of post-primary boarding education to the "children and grandchildren of decayed Merchants of Edinburgh, and of the Ministers of the Old Church thereof". He further expressed a preference for those by the surname of Davidson or Watson. Watson was never a member of the Merchant Company of Edinburgh, but he was impressed by their running of the Merchant Maiden Hospital and so he chose the Company to implement the terms of his will. After some years, the Governors finally bought land known as Heriot's Croft, located off Lauriston Place in Edinburgh, close to the Meadows and opposite George Heriot's School, and engaged an architect. The foundation stone was laid on 22 May 1738, and the building was completed early in 1741. (At the time, there was concern that this site was too far from the city, but today it would be regarded as close to the city centre.) The school formally opened as George Watson's Hospital on Whitsunday, 17 May 1741. The initial roll consisted of 11 boys, aged 9-10 years; by 1749 there were 30, while in 1842 pupils numbered 86, this figure being maintained until the end of the Hospital system in 1870.[1] In accordance with Watson's will, the Governors were responsible for former pupils up to the age of 25; they were helped to find apprenticeships and paid an allowance. Watson's stated preference was for allowing the Hospital's charges to become skilled workers, though the Governors also allowed boys who showed an ability to pursue medicine or academia.[2] Re-establishment as a Day School By the 1860s, the hospital school system had fallen into general public disrepute, while the Merchant Company was fearful both of government intervention in the schooling system and of its own decline. The solution was to re-found Watson's, and the three other hospitals under its governorship, as day schools. In July 1868 the Company applied to Parliament for powers to reorganise their schools and make different use of their endowments to as to make education more widely available. Watsons' was thus completely transformed, reopening on 26 September 1870 as a fee-paying day school with a roll of 800 boys, initially called George Watson's College Schools for Boys. More change was to come quickly. In 1869, the original Hospital building was sold to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. When the infirmary sought to expand in 1871, the school moved a short distance west to the former Merchant Maiden Hospital building in Archibald Place. The original Hospital building was incorporated into the infirmary, and the chapel remained in use as the hospital chapel until the infirmary was itself moved away. The remains of the building were demolished in 2004 during the redevelopment of the infirmary site by the Quartermile consortium,[2] which also redeveloped the site of the Archibald Place buildings, which had in turn been demolished in the 1930s after the school moved to its present site. 1932 Buildings In the years following the Great War, the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary needed to expand once more and was interested in the site then occupied by Watson's. At the same time, the Archibald Place building was cramped and in need of modernisation, as well as being distant from the school's playing fields at Myreside. In 1924 the Merchant Company announced that they had taken the decision to sell the Archibald Place building to the Infirmary for a "fair" price. Negotiations over the sale took their time, as did the search for a new location. Eventually, in 1927, agreement was made to acquire the site of Merchiston Castle School – adjacent to the Myreside playing fields – and a competition was held to design the new school building. The winner was announced in June 1928 as James B Dunn, himself a Watsonian, with a plan described as "simple, direct and masterly". Building work on the new site commenced in August 1929. The new building, facing Colinton Road, was in a neo-classical style and sandstone-faced. It is H-shaped, extending over two stories, with a large central Assembly Hall which seats up to 1835. The new building was completed in 1932. It was opened on 22 September of that year by HRH Prince George (later Duke of Kent). Adjacent to the main building is the PE block, featuring gymnasia and a swimming pool, and also includes the school boiler house with its large chimney. Beyond the PE block is the Elementary building (now Upper Primary). The Golden Jubilee of the creation of the 1932 buildings fell in 1982 and was marked by a number of celebrations. These culminated on 29 June by a visit from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. The Queen spent two hours touring the campus, including a short concert, and she unveiled a commemorative plaque.[2] George Watson's Ladies College The reforms which saw the Hospital's transformation into a day school also saw the Merchant Company wish to open a school for girls. In July 1868 the Company applied to Parliament for powers to reorganise their schools and make different use of their endowments to as to make education more widely available. In February 1871 the Company took over the lease of Melville House in George Square, Edinburgh and used it as the location of the nascent George Watson's College Schools for Young Ladies. It was renamed to George Watson's College for Ladies in 1877 and to George Watson's Ladies College in 1890.[2] Amalgamation Radical change was once more on the cards in the 1960s, as social attitudes and values changed around the world. In 1967 the Merchant Company announced its plan to combine the two Watson's Colleges to form a single co-educational campus in Colinton Road. This plan was not received without misgivings, but was generally cautiously welcomed. Building work was required to house the combined school. The main building was expanded with further science labs; the PE block grew a covered Games Hall; a new "Design Centre" was purpose-built to house art, technical and home economics departments; and a new Lower Primary building (for primary 1-3) was built adjacent to the existing Elementary (Junior School) building. The first joint assembly of the amalgamated school was held on 1 October 1974. The school quickly found itself in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest co-educational school in Scotland, with a roll of over 2400 pupils.[2] Since then the school has remained co-educational, and now serves day pupils only; previously various boarding houses were maintained from time to time in the Tipperlinn Road area, and on-campus at New Myreside House. George Watson's College also incorporates the once entirely separate John Watson's School, the former premises of which now house the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Each autumn a group of students at George Watson's College attend The Harley School in Rochester, NY, USA for two weeks, during which they are hosted by the families of Harley students. The Harley partners are then sent to Edinburgh for two weeks during the spring to live with their hosted Watson's students. Capital Development George Watson's College Centre for Sport will be the result of a 6 year major refurbishment of existing sport facilities. This is the largest capital project for the school in 70 years. The Murray Family Pavilion was opened in January 2006 as Phase 1 of the redevelopment. It consists of new changing rooms at the Myreside playing fields. Phase 2, a new multi purpose sports hall located next to the existing PE building was completed in in January 2008. In early 2009 the school took the decision to delay work on the final phase of the redevelopment, owing to the economic downturn. Work on Phase 3 - a full refurbishment of the existing PE building - finally began in July 2010. Flagship points of the redevelopment are the stunning Ergo gym and a new social area to be known as the hub which will provide views over the fully refurbished swimming pool. The modern fitness room will be situated in the fully rebuilt central section of the existing building. Other facilities in the building will be remodeled and relocated to suit 21st century demands that the existing 1930's layout can't provide for. It is hoped this final phase will be complete by January 2012. Houses Pupils at the school are separated into four groups, known as "houses", a practice common in many British independent schools. Originally, the Boys' and Ladies' colleges had their own sets of houses, which were merged when the school amalgamated in 1974. The houses are: Cockburn/Greyfriars Preston/Falconhall Melville/Ogilvie Lauriston The school operates a house competition where members can earn house points through participation in various sporting and other events including dance, choir, cinema, general knowledge and drama. They can also be awarded points for participating in and winning various sports events held within the school including house rugby, badminton and football. The first event in the academic year where House points can be earned is the longest indoor golf chip competition (affectionately known as the '9-iron blooter'), and the final event is the annual Sports Day. The pupil heads of the winning house are awarded a trophy at the school's annual prize-giving ceremony. Sports and affiliations Sport plays a significant part in the life of the school. The main sports of the school are rugby and hockey for boys, and hockey for girls. The school also regularly competes in many athletics, tennis and alpine events. In 2007 the U15 Rugby Team won the Bell Lawrie Cup, beating Edinburgh Academy 12-5 in the final. The school won the cup again in 2008 beating George Heriot's 7-5. There is an alumni rugby club known as Watsonians, who play in the Scottish Hydro Electric Premier One Division The school is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. George Watson's College Pipes and Drums The school pipe band at Sanix World Rugby Youth Invitational Tournament, Global Arena, Japan 2006 George Watson's College Pipes and Drums have three bands of varying ability under the leadership of Pipe Majors Iain Simpson, Ross Harvey and Drum Majors Mick O'Neill and Jim Clark. They are assisted by two part time teachers. There are currently over 200 children being taught either piping or drumming at Watson's. Competing all over the UK at Juvenile and Novice Juvenile level, the Pipes and Drums are now one of the most successful teaching establishments in the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. Both bands have in the past been crowned world champions and have also won the Champion of Champions award on numerous occasions. The Pipes and Drums perform mainly at school functions however are in huge demand to play at other events including The Great Scottish Walk, Concerts and other Corporate Events. The biggest honour for many members was playing at the 2009 Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The band had been invited to perform as a result of achieving the 'worlds double' - winning in both both Novice Juvenile and Juvenile grade at the world championships - earlier in the year. On 4th September 2010 the band were invited to play at the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering and on 16th September they will join massed pipes and drums on Princes Street, Edinburgh to mark the Scotland leg of the 2010 UK Papal Visit. The band have been extremely well received during travel to various countries including Canada, Japan, Belgium and Russia where they have performed and competed. History It is said that in 1882, a group of boys at George Watson's College who played bagpipes, met on a regular basis to play together. If this is correct, it would make George Watson's College Pipes and Drums "The Oldest Civilian Pipe Band" in Scotland. The Pipes and Drums were officially formed in 1905 along with introduction of the Cadet Force at the School. The band played a major role in school culture over the next 65 years until it was disbanded in 1970 along with the Cadet Force. In 1985 the School took steps to restablish the band. Funds were raised for instruments and uniforms and before long the band was kitted out and playing. The Pipes and Drums were fortunate to have the assistance of a number of people who were the driving force behind the band's revival. They included the then Deputy Headmaster Angus McDonald and teachers at the School Mr Norman Bruce and Mr Les Howie. Mr Howie was appointed Master in Charge of the Pipes and Drums and in due course a parents' committee was formed to help with fund raising and development. With Mr Howie's help the band saw considerable success until work commitments forced him to step down in 1993, upon which the parent committee took over his responsibilities. The parents' committee worked tirelessly during the next seven years to raise the profile of the band within the school environment and also within the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. In Autumn 2000 the school appointed Pipe Major Iain Simpson and Drum Major Michael O'Neill as full time members of staff and joint Masters in Charge of the Pipes and Drums. Since then the organisation has been developed and there are now three bands which compete very successfully in the Juvenile and Novice Juvenile grades. Notable alumni Sir William Eric Kinloch Anderson, KT, provost of Eton College The Reverend David Arnott, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for 2011-2012 Martin Bell, skier, and four times participant of the Winter Olympics Douglas Percy Bliss, painter Colin Boyd, Baron Boyd of Duncansby, PC, QC, Lord Advocate, life peer in the British House of Lords Kate Clanchy, writer John Corrie, politician, MP, MEP Jamie Drummond, sommelier Donald Runnicles, noted conductor Sir John Charles Fenton, lawyer, Solicitor General for Scotland Jimmy Finlayson, actor Keith Fraser (skier), Olympic Athlete 1992 David Maxwell Fyfe, Viscount Kilmuir, Barrister, Home Secretary and Lord Chancellor Gavin Hastings, OBE, rugby player Scott Hastings, rugby player Robert Horne, 1st Viscount Horne, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Chris Hoy, MBE, Four-time Olympic gold medal winning track cyclist Martha Kearney, BBC broadcaster and journalist Malcolm Martineau, pianist and recital accompanist Keith Moffatt, physicist Ronald King Murray, PC, politician and judge, (Labour Party) Myles MacInnes (known as Mylo), singer-songwriter, music producer, and DJ Keith McIvor (known as JD Twitch) music producer, and DJ Malcolm Rifkind, KCMG, QC, politician (Conservative Party) Henry Peel Ritchie, First World War Victoria Cross recipient Ian Robertson, Rugby Union player and commentator Chris Smith, Baron Smith of Finsbury, PC, former British MP and Cabinet minister (Labour Party) Robin Smith, mountaineer Sir Basil Spence, architect David Steel, Baron Steel of Aikwood, KT, KBE, PC, politician (Liberal Democrats), MP, former leader of the Liberal Party Rebecca West, writer and campaigner Ian Anderson, musician with Jethro Tull Robin Williamson, musician with The Incredible String Band Jason White, rugby player Christopher Wood, painter Elizabeth Smith, MSP See also the category People associated with George Watson's College References ^ Waugh, Hector Liston (1970). George Watson's College. George Watson's College. http://books.google.com/books?id=Y9EIAQAAIAAJ&pgis=1.  ^ a b c d e Howie, Les (2006). George Watson's College: An Illustrated History. George Watson's College. pp. 1–270. ISBN 978-0-9501838-2-4.  External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: George Watson's College George Watson's College Virtual tour of the school Watsonians Rugby Watsonian Squash George Watson's College page on Scottish Schools Online Coordinates: 55°55′49″N 3°13′4″W / 55.93028°N 3.21778°W / 55.93028; -3.21778