Dean Orphanage - 1840s
View looking over Dean Village in
the valley of the Water of Leith
Copyright: For permission to
reproduce, please contact
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:
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.
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
Susan asked this
question in the EdinPhoto guestbook:
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.
September 1, 2010
Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland
Thank you to Irene
Shiell for replying to the question asked by Susan Doran, above.
Children from Dean
Which School did they attend?
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
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
I hope this information helps."
Irene Shiell, North
Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland:
May 31, 2013
Lois Pack (née
Thank you to Lois
Pack who wrote:
recently went to visit the Dean
Orphanage. My grandmother,
Mary Powell, who was living
in Tay Street when I was born,
spent some time there as a child
with her elder brother Alex who was killed in the
Fist World War.
Aged 5 to 15
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.
that children could only stay at
the orphanage until they were fifteen.
They were then put into service or
joined the forces.
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
Lois Pack (née
Cessford), Bournemouth, Dorset, England: November 11, 2010
Thank you to David
Hutchison for replying to Susan's comments (2
"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."
November 21, 2010
"As a boy of 10, I was in
in June, 1937. We
were the Malcolm family:
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."
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."
Edinburgh: February 26, 2011
"I've been reading the
various recollections above.
I, too, have memories related to the place, but from a very
My family attended the services
at Belford Church when it was still a church.
(I was christened there, as were my brother and
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."
July 31, 2011
Dean Primary School
"I was born in Dean Village
and attended the village primary school,
Dean Primary. The children from Dean Orphanage also attended
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.
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
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.
Augus 17, 2013
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.
Edinburgh: August 16, 2013
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
from the Orphanage
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."
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.
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
January 2, January 2014
to Lesley Combe who wrote:
"My dad was born in 1911 and was
orphaned when he was about 9 years old. He went to the
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
September 23, 2014
to Maude Haywood who wrote:
was at Dean Orphanage from 1946 to 1952. Miss Lamb was
the Matron, and Miss Robinson was in charge of the Cottage
Matron was Miss Lamb
Elrick was very good to us
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.
Carrickknowe, Edinburgh, Feb 11, (2 emails) +12 (email, 2015
Reply to Maud?
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 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
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
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,
April 12, 2015
Thank you to Elaine
Graham who wrote:
just finished reading 'The Lewis
Man' which brought to mind the
children from the Dean Orphanage.
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."
from Dean Orphanage
"Their names were Tessa Letton
and Christine Doyle. Christine was born
on the same day as me.
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!
correspondence would be great."
(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.
August 14, 2015
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.
skyline in this photo
with acknowledgement to the Trustees of the National Library
When the Dean Village School
closed I presume the children went to Flora Stevenson as I
did. I lived in the Dean Village."
1 December 2015
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.
"I thought that you may
like to know that I have heard back from
Mrs Lesley Combe who wrote
Recollections 9 above.
appears that she is now a resident of Cousland in the
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
Vernon, British Columbia, Canada: 8 December 2015
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
Margaret Rubery: 4 April 2016
Thank you to Margaret Rubery for writing again with more memories
of Dean Orphanage.
Our Ravelston Park
"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
We went to Belford Church, and
had sports day at the Big Dean**.
I also remember, once a year, going on the Taxi Drivers'
The people that I remember from
the Orphanage are:
- Jenny and Bernard Shaw.
- Florence Lockyer.
- Jean Cochrane (the
- 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.
'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
Margaret Rubery, West Midlands, England:
16 April 201
Thank you to George Graham who wrote
"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’.
"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."
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.
Graham, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (since 1961) :
9 August 2016 (2 2mails)
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
Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: 9 August,