George Watson's College


George Watson's Ladies' College


Gus Coutts
Duddingston, Edinburgh

-  Death of King George VI


Doreen Martin
née Greber)


-  George Watson's Ladies' College



Gus Coutts

Duddingston, Edinburgh

Gus Coutts wrote:

Death of King George VI

"I attended Watson's.  On the day of the King's death, we were suddenly all summoned to the School Hall where a loudspeaker had been hooked up to a radio and we heard the BBC announcement of the King's death.

While we were sitting waiting, a rumour went round that we had been summoned to hear an address from Captain Kurt Carlsen of 'Flying Enterprise' fame.

I can't remember if we were disappointed at his non-appearance or just shocked at the news."

Gus Coutts, Duddingston, Edinburgh:  May 1, 2012



Doreen Martin


Thank you to Doreen Martin for telling me:

George Watson's Ladies' College

"I attended George Watson's Ladies' College at 7 George Square from around 1938 to 1949.

The former George Watson's Ladies College at 7 George Square

Now University of Edinburgh Psychology Dept.-

The former George Watson's Ladies' College at 7 George Square, Edinburgh

©   Please contact                                                               Photo taken March 5,  2013

The school, on the north side of George Square, had previously been three houses.  After conversion to a school, the internal layout and classroom numbering was rather confusing."

7 George Square

The school had been built as Admiral Duncan's House in 1876, and extended in 1890-93.

It survived the demolitions that accompanied the redevelopment of the square on behalf of  Edinburgh University in the 1960s.

It  was bought by the university in 1973 and is now used by their Psychology Dept.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  December 27, 2013

The School Building

"We never entered the school up the steps and through the main entrance.  We always entered at basement level.

I remember.

-  There were cloakrooms and toilets in the basement.

-  During the war, extra walls were built beside the existing walls in the basement to strengthen the building.  There was a very narrow gap between the two sets of walls.  We used to hide there.  We would have been in trouble if we'd been caught!

-  The shop at the school where we bought our buns was 'The Admiral's Kitchen'.

-  Anybody who misbehaved was sent to 'The Tiled Hall' at the NW corner of the ground floor.


"Boys and girls at Watsons attended separate schools.  The  boys' school was at Colinton Road.

During the war, probably around 1941, work was carried out in the George Square building to enable it to be quickly converted to act as a hospital, if needed.  While this work was being  carried out, the girls attended the boys' school at Colinton Road, but boys and girls were still segregated:

-  girls attended the school in the mornings and boys in the afternoons - until the 'half-term holidays, then it was

-  boys in the mornings and girls in the afternoons."


"The school at George Square had no playground or grounds that we could play in, and we were not allowed out into the street at lunchtimes, so we had to stay in the school building - until we were in 5th Year.

In 5th Year, we were allowed out to walk around George Square, but were not allowed to leave the square.  Boys from the nearby George Heriot's school were also allowed out at lunchtimes, but their school did not allow them to enter the square, so they used to congregate at the edge of the square.

The following year, when we were in 6th Year, we went to Dancing Classes at George Heriot's school - but we were still not allowed very close to the boys!"


"The two George Watsons schools later amalgamated.  From the start of the 1975-76 session onwards, the girls from George Watson's Ladies College moved from George Square to the Watson's school at Colinton Road."

Doreen Martin, Edinburgh:  December 27, 2013