Students' Rag Week





Keith Main


Thank you to Keith Main, who wrote:

Rag Week

"I remember Students' Rag Week.
It was actually called something else, not 'Rag'.
Any idea
 My sis will know.  She was crowned (1st ever) Mis Heriot Watt in 1969, so was heavily involved in fund-raising!

At the end of the summer term, students at Edinburgh's Unis (Universities) and Colleges held various charity fund-raisers.

The week culminated in a big procession along Princes Street on the Saturday, a well attended event with crowds five deep along the street.

Princes Street Procession

Each year had a different theme, and the students became creative with their fancy dress.  Themes included:

- Arabian Nights:  the tongue-in-cheek fund-raising slogan  was Sheik Ya Money (Sheik Yamani).

-   Italian:  Giovanni Lolli?

-  JapaneseGeisha Money

There were:

  pipers, marching bands and majorettes

-    jugglers and clowns

-    Armed Forces

There were open floats with dragons, knights' castles, pirate galleons and farmyard scenes, or elaborately decorated as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or other popular films.  I even remember one done up as the Beatles' Yellow Submarine.

You had to dodge the flour bombs being hurled at the crowd by the participants.  People always ended up with white hair that day  -  and your Mum would not be happy about the state of your clothes when you got home.

Great fun!

Keith Main, London:  December 22+23, 2008




Bob Sinclair

Queensland, Australia

Thank you to Bob Sinclair, who wrote:

The Students' Procession

"The big day was known as The Students Procession.  My most vivid memory of the day, around 1950, concerned a man who had a real go at a student for rattling a can under his nose while he was trying to access his wee tobacconist's shop just north of Drummond Street and opposite the Old Quad.

He was a regular.  He parked his car there and went in for his pockle - a daily occurrence."

The Following Day

"The students were ready for him the following day. They were equipped with barriers, bricks and quick drying cement.

As his car approached the tobacconist's a few of them went in at the back of each other.  In turn, they asked as many awkward questions about the products they were buying as they could think of.

Meanwhile, outside, the barriers were put in place and a little wall was erected around the car, about two or three bricks high.  Before he exited the tobacconist's all the barriers and work gang had vanished.

I was on the opposite side of the road when the man came out. Though I could not hear what he said, for the sound of the traffic ,I could see the colour of his face quite distinctly.

After he calmed down and paid up, and the offending wall was pulled down."

Students' Floats

"I worked in the Natural Philosophy (Physics) Dept and we had an engineering capability.  So we used to help the students build some of the floats used on Procession Day.

It was good fun and we didn't mind putting in a bit of unpaid overtime to see the job completed."

Bob Sinclair, Queensland, Australia:  January 17, 2010


Edinburgh University

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Student's Rag Week



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