Dean Primary School


Dean Orphanage

Dean Orphanage  -  1840s

View looking over Dean Village in the valley of the Water of Leith

Photograph from Edinburgh Calotype Club album  -  Volume 2, Page 35  -  Dean Orphanage

©  Copyright: For permission to reproduce, please contact



Donald Campbell Veale

East Kent, England

Thank you to Donald Campbell Veale, formerly of Edinburgh, now living in East Kent for adding the following comment to the EdinPhoto Guestbook in January 2004:

The Last to Leave

"I  was the last person to leave the Dean when it closed to Orphans. Mr Barnes the Governor saw me out with a couple of blankets under my arm.  I went of to stay with my married sister for a short while.

I have made contact with one other ex-inmate in Oz.  Are there any more out there?"

Reply to Donald?

If you'd like to send a reply to Donald, please email me, then I'll pass on your reply to him.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  January 2004




Susan Doran


Susan asked this question in the EdinPhoto guestbook:

Which School?

"Would anyone know what school would children aged around 4 or 5 would have attended if they were in the dean orphanage around 1962/63?  Any information would be most welcome."

Susan Doran, Ireland:  Message and email address posted in EdinPhoto guest book:  August 26, 2010

Reply to Susan Doran?

If you'd like to send a reply to Susan, please email me, then I'll pass on her email address to you.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  September 1, 2010






Irene Shiell

North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to Irene Shiell for replying to the question asked  by Susan Doran,  above.

Irene wrote:

Children from Dean Orphanage

Which School did they attend?

"From 1964 to 1967, I taught at The Flora Stevenson Primary School in the Infant Department, and am sure that children from the Dean Orphanage were amongst the pupils.

I was also Brown Owl of the Bristo Baptist Church Pack in  Queensferry Road at that time. A number of my Brownies came from the Orphanage, and as a result, I was invited to a Christmas Party at the Dean in 1996.

Mr. Scobie, Headmaster of Flora's, also attended, I presume because they were his pupils.

I hope this information helps."

Irene Shiell, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland:  May 31, 2013




Lois Pack (née Cessford)

Bournemouth, Dorset, England

Thank you to Lois Pack who wrote:

Recent Visit

"I recently went to visit the Dean Orphanage.   My grandmother, Mary Powell,  who was living in Tay Street when I was born,

Tay Street

    Looking NW down Tay Street past North Merchiston Primary School, towards the junction with Bryson Road, then on to DUndee Terrace. ©

spent some time there as a child with her elder brother Alex who was killed in the Fist World War.

Dean Orphanage

Photograph from Edinburgh Calotype Club album  -  Volume 2, Page 35  -  Dean Orphanage ©

For Children
Aged 5 to 15

My grandmother and her older brother were at the orphanage for at least five years, and were then joined by their sister. who had to be five before the orphanage would take her in.

I believe that children could only stay at the orphanage until they were fifteen.  They were then  put into service or joined the forces.

My great grandmother was widowed and I guess had no way of supporting my grandmother and her other children until she remarried.

I found the orphanage to be very iinteresting.  The attic, which looked as though it had been a dorm as one time, has a fireplace at either end.  I could just imagine the children going up and down the stairs to bed."

Lois Pack (née Cessford), Bournemouth, Dorset, England:  November 11, 2010




David Hutchison

Thank you to David Hutchison for replying to Susan's comments (2 above).

David wrote:

Which School?

"I'm not sure if this well help Susan, but children from the Dean Orphanage did go to the Dean Primary (in the Dean Village).

I went to the Dean Village primary until it closed.  That would have been around 1960/61, so this may not 'fit' Susan's 1962/63, but I remember children from Dean Orphanage in my class."

David Hutchison:  November 21, 2010




Bill Malcolm


Willie Malcolm wrote:


"As a boy of 10, I was in Dean Orphanage in June, 1937We were the Malcolm family:

Mary, 12

Willie, 10

Sandy, 8

John, 6

We were there until the war started 1939, and were then evacuated to East Calder.

We all went to Dean Village school and Mary later went to Flora Stevenson's Secondary School.

Mr Barnes was 'The Gov' and Miss Beattie was Matron at the Orphanage.  Mr. Barnes lost his wife and later married Miss Beattie."


"Our family never attended to the Orphanage after the war, but  I did play snooker, as a former pupil, with Mr Barnes and some others in the Billiard Room before being called-up for Army Service in 1945."

Billl Malcolm, Edinburgh:  February 26, 2011




Stephen McMahon

Stephen McMahon wrote:

Which School?

"I've been reading the various recollections above.  I, too, have memories related to the place, but from a very different angle.

My family attended the services at Belford Church when it was still a church.  (I was christened there, as were my brother and two sisters.)

I recall the children from the orphanage being brought there for Sunday School.  They were a noisy bunch, but good fun to be with, especially at the Christmas parties we used to have at the church."

Stephen McMahon,  July 31, 2011




Douglas Turner


Thank you to

Douglas wrote:

Dean Primary School

"I was born in Dean Village and attended the village primary school, Dean Primary. The children from Dean Orphanage also attended Dean Primary.

I think my year was probably the last year to complete primary as numbers were falling.  The school shut around 1960 and the remaining children, my sister included, were transferred to Flora Stevenson's in Comely Bank.

Douglas added:

Orphanage Children

"As a footnote, don't believe what was written by the author, Peter May, in his novel 'Lewis Man', about how the village children mocked the orphanage children

It was never a feature of our village community's upbringing and culture, which by the very nature of our roots was remarkably free of snobbery and prejudice.

Dean Village Reunion

"We recently held a reunion of villagers, and plan to hold another in November 2013 in the Ellersley Hotel, Edinburgh.

If any of your readers with a village or orphanage connection would like to come along to meet us 'ex-Dean Villagers', they would be welcome.

Douglas Turner, Edinburgh:  Augus 17, 2013

Dean Village Reunion

If you'd like to contact Douglas, possibly concerning his proposed Reunion, in November 2013, please email me, then I'll pass on his email address to you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  August 16, 2013




Desmond Herkes

Corstorphine, Edinburgh

Thank you to Desmond Herkes who wrote:

Dean Primary School


"I attended the Dean Primary School from 1952 to 1959.  I think, that I was inthe penultimate class before the school closed."

Children from the Orphanage

"Some children from the Dean Orphanage used to walk down Dean Path to the school in a group. The girls in their navy blue pinafore dresses. One in particular was an attractive girl whose name I think was Carol MacCafferty.

My mother thought it terrible that they had to wear clothes that identified them as being from the orphanage and told me always to be kind to them because they did not have any one else to look after them."

School Sports

"If my memory serves me correctly our school sports were held in the grounds of the orphanage."

Like Douglas Turner (Recollections 7 above) I do not recall these children being mocked.  

There was, at times, some sporadic resentment from the village children to those of us who lived outside the village, but that was usually over some trivial matter and, being children, was soon forgotten."

Desmond Herkes, Corstorphine, Edinburgh:  January 2, January 2014




Lesley Combe

Corstorphine, Edinburgh

Thank you to Lesley Combe who wrote:

My Dad

Born 1911

"My dad was born in 1911 and was orphaned when he was about 9 years old.  He went to the Dean.

I wonder if anyone has any information about the orphanage at that time.

I now realise from reading some of the recollections why my brother was given the middle name Barnes."

Lesley Combe:  September 23, 2014




Maud Haywood

Carrickknowe, Edinburgh

Thank you to Maude Haywood who wrote:

Dean Orphanage


"I was at Dean Orphanage from 1946 to 1952.  Miss Lamb was the Matron, and Miss Robinson was in charge of the Cottage Hospital.

-  The Matron was Miss Lamb

-  Cathy Elrick was very good to us

-  Miss Robertson ran the Cottage Hospital

-  George was the gardener.

We sent to Dean Village School.

I'd like to hear from anyone who was at the orphanage between 1946 and 1952.

Maud Haywood, Carrickknowe, Edinburgh, Feb 11, (2 emails) +12 (email, 2015

Reply to Maud?

Please email me to let me know if you'd like to send an email to Maud, then I'll pass on her email address to you.  Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, February 11, 2014



Patrick McCole

Ravelston, Edinburgh

Patrick McCole wrote about reunions that he has been organizing in Dean.  If you'd like to learn more about these reunions, please email me, then I'll pass on Patrick's email address to you, then you'll be able to send a message direct to him.

This is what Patrick wrote:

Dean Reunions

The Next Reunion

"I  was born in Dean village, and have arranged 3 previous reunions there.

The next one, 'The 4th Dean Village ex-Villagers' Reunion', is to be held on 15 May 2015 in the Holiday Inn, Queensferry Road, Edinburgh."

My Mailing List

99% of the villagers attending the last reunion went to the Dean school.  I now have 56 names on my mailing list, and hope to add more, including some of the contributors to this page on the EdinPhoto web site.  It would be great if some of them were able to attend.

Patrick McCole, Ravelston, Edinburgh:  April 12, 2015




Elaine Graham (née Philip)


Thank you to Elaine Graham who wrote:


"I've just finished reading 'The Lewis Man' which brought to mind the children from the Dean Orphanage.

I'm really confused as it says that Dean Orphanage closed in the 1950s, yet I attended Flora Stevenson's School from 1963 to 1970 and we had two girls in our class from Dean Orphanage.  That must have been at least 1968."

Girls from Dean Orphanage

"Their names were Tessa Letton and Christine Doyle. Christine was born on the same day as me.

Does anyone know what happened to them - or are you out there, Tessa and Christine? I also thought that the Dean Orphanage was in Ravelston and not where it is!

"Any correspondence would be great."

Elaine Graham (née Philip), Edinburgh  August 14, 2015

Reply to Elaine Graham?

If you'd like to send a reply to Elaine, please email me, then I'll pass on hr email address to you.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  August 14, 2015

Reply 1

Thank you to Andrew Turner who replied:

"Yes, It was at Ravelston Dykes.   I was there at the same time as Tessa"

Andrew Turner:  20 December 2017




Margaret Lawrence

Corstorphine, Edinburgh

Thank you to Margaret Lawrence who wrote:


"The original Dean Orphanage has now become part of Scotland's National Gallery of Modern Art in Belford Road.  I remember it moving up to Ravelston Park.

Dean Orphanage

on the skyline in this photo

Photograph from Edinburgh Calotype Club album  -  Volume 2, Page 35  -  Dean Orphanage

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland

When the Dean Village School closed I presume the children went to Flora Stevenson as I did.  I lived in the Dean Village."

Margaret Lawrence, Corstorphine, Edinburgh:  1 December 2015




John Smith

Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

Thank you to John Smith for sending me the message below.  It may be of interest to anybody trying to learn more about Dean Orphanage and its former residents.

John wrote:

Dean Orphanage Records

"I thought that you may like to know that I have heard back from Mrs Lesley Combe who wrote Recollections 9 above.   It appears that she is now a resident of Cousland in the Dalkeith / Musselburgh area.

She appears to have done some research into 'The Dean' and has discovered that NRS (National Records of Scotland) do hold the records for the establishment.

However, most of them are closed for the standard 100 years. She is however going to follow up with NRS as there may be special dispensation for access when subjects are deceased."

John Smith, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada:  8 December 2015




Margaret Rubery (née Stewart)

West Midlands, England

Thank you to Margaret Rubery who wrote:


"My brother, George Stewart, and I went to Dean Orphanage  from 1953 until 1963 and, yes, we were frogmarched to the Dean School in Dean Village in twos.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who was at the orphanage  at that time.

After leaving Dean School, I went to Bellevue Secondary School.

I remember that there was a tannery opposite, and there were rats the size of cats running about."

Margaret Rubery:  4 April 2016




Margaret Rubery (née Stewart)

West Midlands, England

Thank you to Margaret Rubery for writing again with more memories of Dean Orphanage.

Margaret wrote:

Dean Orphanage

Our Ravelston Park Home

"I arrived at Dean Orphanage with my little brother, George, who has now passed on.  The home was in Ravelston Park.

It was very, very strict.  They had a hair brushes spread all around that were  used for the least misdemeanor, across knuckles and buttocks.

We went to Belford Church, and had sports day at the Big Dean**.  I also remember, once a year, going on the Taxi Drivers' Outing.

The people that I remember from the Orphanage are:

-  Jenny and Bernard Shaw.

-  Florence Lockyer.

-  Jean Cochrane (the Matron).

-  Miss Nimo.

-  Miss Smith.

-  Mr Moir (the Gardner).
  He lived in the cottage of the Old Dean."

Margaret Rubery, West Midlands, England:  16 April 2016

**   I asked Margaret what the 'Big Dean was.

      She explained:

'The Big Dean'

"We called the the original Dean Orphanage 'The Big Dean'.
By that time, it had become the Nursing College.

The home that I was in was about half a mile away.  It was also called Dean Orphanage. 

We walked down to Dean School from our home, every day.  We had to pass Daniel Stewart's College."

Margaret Rubery, West Midlands, England:  16 April 201




George Graham

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Thank you to George Graham who wrote

David Whiteman

"From about 1956 to 1960 I attended Flora Stevenson’s and had as a very good friend David Whiteman, who lived at the Dean Orphanage. I have many fond memories of playing at the orphanage with David."

One of the supervisors there was know as ‘Uncle David’.

Evening Meals

"I still marvel at the freedom I had as a young boy of 8 to 12 years of age in the 1950’s.  I would arrange with David to visit him after school on a particular day, perhaps even staying for the evening meal.  On the assigned day I would walk from Flora Stevenson’s to the orphanage and join the whole ‘family’ for the meal.  I was always welcome to do this.

After the Meals

"David & I would then perhaps go for a walk to the nearby pond or take the ‘family’ dog for a walk.

 Sometimes we would go to the attic and play with the Hornby Dublo train set which was set up on a table. Other times we would go to his room and draw or paint pictures, perhaps along with other children. I would the go home, in the dark, by walking and bus, to Blinkbonny Ave, Ravelston. I am amazed my parents allowed this!

 Sometimes we would go to the salt water pool at Portobello, but more frequently to the pool used by the Heart of Midlothian Swimming Club."


"On weekends, David would sometimes come over to my house in Blinkbonny Avenue to play with my model railway, and stay for a meal.

I recall one occasion when we were both late for the meal at the orphanage and David had to accept punishment.   I offered also to be punished but this was not done."

The Orphanage

I always had a sense of 'home' at the orphanage – indeed I did not even know it was such until many years later. I always knew it was a home for children, but attached no special significance to it.

David left the orphanage to live in Beaconsfield before I came to Australia with my parents in 1961 and I have never been able to contact him.

 George Graham, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (since 1961) :   9 August 2016 (2 2mails)

Where is David Whiteman now?

Do you know where David Whiteman might be now?  If you can suggest how George might be able to contact David again, please email me and let me know, then I'll pass n your message to George.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  9  August, 2016




Florence Jack (née Lockyer)


Thank you to George Graham who wrote


Dean Orphanage
Dean Primary School
Bedford Parish Church

"I'd like to contact Margaret Rubery (née Stewart) and Douglas Turner, also anyone else who attended:

-   Dean Orphanage, where Miss Cochrane was Matron  OR

-   Dean Primary School that I attended .1953 to 1959  OR

-   Belford Church Sunday School.

I'd also like to contact Jean (Jenny) Shaw.  Does anybody know how I can contact her?"

Florence Jack (née Lockyer), USA:  29 August 2016

Reply to Florence

I've passed on to Florence the latest email addresses that I have for Margaret and Douglas.  I hope she will be able to get in touch with them.

If you'd also like to send a message to Florence, please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on her email address to you, so that you can try to contact her.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  30  August, 2016




Maud Hayward


Thank you to Maude Hayward who wrote


Dean Orphanage

"The Dean Orphanage was at 23 Ravelston Dykes.
I was there from 1945 to 1951.

I remember

Miss Lamb was the Matron.

Mrs Robertson  stayed in the  Cottage  Hospital.

Cathie Elrick and  Mrs Hinds  were two of the staff.

George was the  Gardener

Maud Hayward, Edinburgh:  14+15 September 2016



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