Ancestry UK

Original Industrial School for Girls (Dr Guthrie's), Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland

Edinburgh's Original Industrial School for Girls was founded in 1847 by Dr Thomas Guthrie. For many years, it was housed in buildings on Ramsay Lane, Edinburgh, shared with the boys' school. In 1875, the girls moved to their own accommodation at 6-7 Lovers' Lane (now Brunswick Road), Leith Walk, Edinburgh. The new premises were formally certified for operation as an Industrial School on 25 November 1875, for up to 80 girls aged 7 to 12 years at their date of admission.

The School site is shown on the 1896 map below.

Original Industrial School for Girls (Dr Guthrie's) site, Edinburgh, c.1896.

An inspection in 1896 noted that the school was a stone building, formerly a day school, situated in a quiet but populous part of the town. It was clean and in good order, with the laundry about to be enlarged. The girls were trained for domestic service. All were taught to knit and sew, make their own clothing, and shirts and socks for the boys' school. The older girls received training in turn in the kitchen by the superintendent. The laundry did no outside work except for the officials and the boys' collars and cuffs. The girls were instructed in physical drill, exercises with clubs and sticks, and dance steps. They went for a walk every fine day. There were two pianos and a harmonium for the girls' use, and 5 or 6 were learning to play. There was a good library, with The Strand and other magazines being supplied by lady friends. The school had a god sick-room and all the girls spent 6 weeks in the year at Musselburgh, where there was a house for them close to the sea. Girls of good conduct and decent homes were allowed out once a fortnight from 2 to 6 or 7p.m. The staff comprised the superintendent, Mrs Mckenzie; schoolmistress, Miss M. Cullen; sewing mistress, laundress, and cook, the latter generally being an old girl of the school. The inspector suggested that a new and modern building was required, situated in a more open locality.

By 1902, a site for a new school had been acquired at Gilmerton where the school moved in 1904. The Brunswick Road premises were then used as an Auxiliary Home accommodating up to 25 girls who were moving towards leaving the school and beginning employment in Edinburgh. The Brunswick Road building no longer survives.


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  • National Records of Scotland, HM General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YY. Holdings include: Admission registers (1849-1971); Admission papers, boys (1861-1936); Case files, boys (1940-1981); Committal orders, girls (1876-1899); Record books, boys (1875-1956); Licensing registers: boys (1962-70), girls (1964-70); Log books: boys (1969-1977), girls (1955-1986); Discharge registers (1879-1961); Visitors' books: boys (1859-1954), girls (1961-1984); Photographs (1930s-1970s); Minutes of meetings (1870-1965); Annual reports (1878-1986); Various administrative and financial records etc.



  • None noted at present.