The Edinburgh Academy is an independent school. It is self-governed and financed, though it remains subject to inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education most recently in 2007.
It was opened in 1823. The original building, in Henderson Row on the northern fringe of the New Town of Edinburgh, Scotland, is now part of the Senior School. The Junior School is located in Arboretum Road to the north of the city's famous Royal Botanic Garden.
The Edinburgh Academy is essentially a day school, though it has for the time being a small international boarding community housed in purpose built accommodation adjacent to the playing fields. In 2007 it was announced that 2007-8 would be the last year for boarding. The co-educational nursery caters for children from 2 to 5. The Junior School, fully co-educational from Autumn 2009, admits children from age 6 to 10 whilst the Senior School takes boys from age 10 to 19. For forty years girls have been admitted to the final two years of the Senior School, that is from the age of 16 plus. The Senior School will become fully co-educational in August 2008. It has been stressed however that The Academy will remain a small school and small class sizes will remain a priority.
In 1821, the school's founders, Henry Cockburn
and Leonard Horny
agreed that Edinburgh required a new school to promote classical learning
. Edinburgh's Royal High School
provided a classical education, but the founders felt that greater provision was needed for the teaching of Greek
, to compete with some of England's public schools
. Cockburn and Horner recruited John Russell
as a co-founder and the three of them, together with other interested parties, put a proposal to the City Council for the building of a new school. The City Fathers gave their approval in 1822 and fifteen Directors were elected, comprising the three founders and twelve other luminaries, including Sir Walter Scott
, Sir John Hay
and Robert Dundas
The main building of the Senior School, with its Greek Doric
frontage, was designed by architect William Burn
. The stone used was principally from the nearby Craigleith Quarry
. The Foundation Stone was laid in June 1823 and the school opened for the first session in October 1824. Interestingly when looking from Edinburgh Castle the Academy is perfectly obscured from view by the St Stephens Center. It was rumoured that W.H.Playfair who built the St Stephens Church did this out of spite after he had offered to design the Academy's Main Hall but was turned down in favour of Burns. In 1892, new classrooms were built along the western wall of the site, and in 1900, the School Library was opened, followed by the new Science Block in 1909, both along the eastern wall. At the back of the school the Dining Hall, and the Rifle Range beneath it, was opened in 1912 and after the Great War
, the Gymnasium was built. This was dedicated as a War Memorial to Edinburgh Academicals (former pupils) who had fallen during the hostilities of 1914 to 1918. A later plaque commemorates ex-pupils who fell in the Second World War
In 1945, a new building, Denham Green House, was acquired in the Trinity area of Edinburgh. This was used for the junior department (now known as Early Years) of the Preparatory School (now known as The Edinburgh Academy Junior School). In 1960, a new building for the upper three years of the Preparatory School was completed in Inverleith (Arboretum campus). Denham Green's nursery and early years facilities were relocated to purpose built accommodation on the Preparatory school's Arboretum campus in 1987. In 1992, the Rector's residence, Academy House and in 1997, a new Games Hall were constructed on the same campus.
At Henderson Row, the property next to the school, No 32, was acquired for administrative use in 1972 and in 1977, the Academy acquired the junior school of Donaldson's College, to the west. This allowed departments to expand and a purpose built Music School was opened on this part of the campus in 1991. In 2005 the 1909 science block was demolished and a new science block, the James Clerk Maxwell Centre, named in honour of the illustrious 19th century scientist and former pupil, was opened on 3rd November 2006 by Lord Falconer of Thoroton.
In keeping with the classical traditions of the school, the school crest has always featured the head of Homer, though at the start of the twenty-first century, this was removed from the official logo much to the anger of some members of the school community. From the foundation of the school, the headmaster has been known as the Rector, a term common to several other Scottish secondary schools. The boys in the youngest year of the Senior School are referred to as Geits, from the Old Scots word for a child, while at the upper end of the school, the prefects are known as Ephors, after the officials of ancient Sparta.
In 1905, the school was divided into four houses or Divisions, Cockburn, named after the founder Henry Cockburn, Carmichael, named after a former teacher, James Carmichael, Kinross, named after a former pupil John Balfour, 1st Baron Kinross, and Houses, representing the boys who lived in the boarding houses. In 2008 the school will no longer have boarding houses and the division will be known as Dundas (as it has been for many years at the Prep School). Robert Dundas was one of the original directors of the school.
At one time, schoolboys used to play Hailes, a similar game to shinty, also believed to have been played in the Royal High School. Today the tradition is represented only by an annual match at the end of the school year, when the Ephors play against the other leavers from the seventh year, a match usually played in fancy dress. Alumni of the Edinburgh Academy are known as Academicals, or Accies, a name shared with the Rugby team.
- Craigie Aitchison painter (EA 1933-7 & 1941-2)
- Frederick M Bailey, celebrated plant collector, discoverer of Mecanopsis baileyi.
- Leslie Balfour-Melville (1854-1937), an outstanding all-round amateur sportsman
- R. M. Ballantyne, children's author, (EA 1835-37).
- Dr Joseph Bell, now recognised as the model for Sherlock Holmes.
- Mike Blair, Scottish Rugby International.
- Ross Rennie Scottish Rugby International
- Guy Berryman, bass player in Coldplay
- John D Burgess, Piper, Double Gold Medallist
- Francis Cadell, explorer of the Murray River in Australia.
- Francis 'Bunty' Cadell, colourist painter.
- Michael Brown (architect) pioneer of landscape architecture in UK
- Nicky Campbell, radio DJ and television presenter, (EA 1966-78).
- Admiral of the Fleet Andrew Cunningham, victor of Taranto and Matapan during the Second World War.
- William Cunningham, economist
- Tam Dalyell, former Father of the House of Commons.
- Lord Francis Douglas, with Whymper on the ascent of the Matterhorn, died on the descent.
- Charles Falconer, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, Lord Chancellor.
- Alexander Penrose Forbes, who became Bishop of Brechin, (EA 1825-32).
- Charles Fulton, politician embroiled in the Profumo scandal (EA 1934-9).
- Iain Glen, actor (EA 1965-78).
- John Scott Haldane, physiologist (EA 1870-76).
- Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane, Lord Chancellor, 'Father of the Territorial Army' (EA 1866-72).
- Sir James Hector, explorer and member of the Palliser Expedition, (EA 1844-45).
- Fleeming Jenkin, professor of engineering, (EA 1875-81).
- Paul Jones, singer, actor and presenter, (EA 1958-60).
- James Eckford Lauder, artist of outstanding note who painted James Watt, (EA 1824-8).
- Robert Scott Lauder jnr., M.D.,(Edinburgh), Physician at Morningside Lunatic Asylum, etc., (EA 1852-8)
- Magnus Magnusson, television presenter, and translator of Icelandic origins, (EA 1935-48).
- James Clerk Maxwell, physicist, (EA 1841-47).
- Catherine McQueen, model and TV presenter
- Baron James Scott Cumberland Reid, politician and Law Lord.
- William Forbes Skene, Scottish historian, (EA 1826-29).
- William Smith, London Police Commissioner at the time of the Whitechapel murders.
- Sir Ninian Stephen, Governor General of Australia.
- Kenneth Stevenson, Bishop of Portsmouth.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, writer, (EA 1861-63).
- Allen Stewart, designer of the Forth Bridge.
- J. I. M. Stewart, university professor and mystery writer (as Michael Innes)
- Archibald Campbell Tait, who became Archbishop of Canterbury, (EA 1824-27).
- Frederick Guthrie Tait, son of Peter Guthrie Tait, soldier and gifted amateur golfer, (EA 1881-83).
- Peter Guthrie Tait, physicist, (EA 1841-47).
- Iain Torrance, President of Princeton Theological Seminary, (EA 1954-63).
- George Younger, 1st Viscount Younger of Leckie, (EA 1864-67).
Victoria Cross Holders
Nine Edinburgh Academy Alumni have won the Victoria Cross
Rectors of the Edinburgh Academy
There have been 18 rectors of The Edinburgh Academy since it was founded in 1824.
- 1824-28: John Williams
- 1828-29: Thomas Sheepshanks
- 1829-47: John Williams
- 1847-54: John Hannah
- 1854-69: James Hodson
- 1869-88: Thomas Harvey
- 1888-1901: Robert Mackenzie
- 1901-10: Reginald Carter
- 1910-26: Robert Ferard
- 1926-31: Hugh Lyon
- 1931-45: Lionel Smith
- 1945-51: George Seaman
- 1951-62: Robert Watt
- 1962-77: Herbert Mills
- 1977-92: Laurence Ellis
- 1992-95: John Rees
- 1995-2008: John Light
- 2008- :Marco Longmore
- Magnus Magnusson (1974), The Clacken and the Slate, Collins, London. ISBN 0-00-411170-2
- Edinburgh Academical Club (1995), List of Past and Present Pupils 1824-1995, Edinburgh Academical Club
- Stirling, Bill (1999), 175 Accies, Edinburgh Academical Club