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Ainslie Park High School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Main entrance area
Main entrance area

Ainslie Park High School was a state secondary school in East Pilton, Edinburgh, Scotland.


The school was designed by James Stewart Johnston in the mid-1930s, but building work was delayed until after World War II and construction started in 1949.[1] The building was originally to be called Pilton Intermediate School.[2] The first headmaster was Norman Murchison who was also a well known commentator on post-war education having delivered the 14th Charles Russell memorial lecture on the subject of 'Some social aspects of modern education' in 1968.[3] He was also involved in numerous other debates including one on the propensity for young Scots to go abroad after the war [4] and the delinquency level of children in early 1950.[5] He also had the honour of becoming the first Citizen Of The Year for the City of Edinburgh. A lecture theatre was named in his honour at the University of Edinburgh's Kings Buildings campus. He retired in June 1968 and was succeeded by Norman Chalmers. The school colours were red and gold and the badge was a golden dolphin on a red background. From its opening in 1948 until 1965 it was a junior secondary school meaning pupils left at the end of their third academic year. If they wished to sit O-level examinations they had to move on to another school. The 1965/66 academic year saw the school attain senior secondary status thereby allowing pupils to remain into fourth year to sit O-level exams. The school subsequently expanded the academic syllabus to offer Higher examinations.

The opening of Craigroyston Community High School and the falling birth rate since the late 1960s meant that Ainslie Park was no longer viable as a secondary school, and the building became the North Campus for Edinburgh's Telford College. The axe finally fell on Ainslie Park in 1991.[6]

A full planning application to develop the site was submitted by Miller Homes on 21 March 2007. This was granted by the City of Edinburgh Council. The main building was the original building designed by J.S. Johnston in the 1930s' Art Deco style and was listed under category B. The main building was to be converted into flats while the rest is to be new build, but Miller Homes seems to have successfully appealed under test d: The repair of the building is not economically viable and is currently demolishing the old main building.[7]

1971 tragedy

On 21–22 November 1971 five members of a mountaineering club at Ainslie Park School and an 18-year-old trainee instructor from Newcastle-under-Lyme died in a blizzard while trying to walk from Cairn Gorm to Corrour Bothy.[8] A party of 14 children led by 23-year-old Ben Beattie, who was Ainslie Park's outdoor instructor, and his 21-year-old girlfriend Catherine Davidson, set out for Lagganlia to be met by a local instructor called Sheila Sutherland. The party then split into two with Beattie taking one group and Davidson and Sutherland taking the other. The latter group of six children struggled to reach their destination (the Corrour Bothy) and decided to settle for the night in a snow hole. Only two members of the party survived — instructor Catherine Davidson and pupil Raymond Leslie. The members of the party who died were: Sheila Sunderland the local instructor, Carol Bertram (aged 16), Susan Byrne (15), Lorraine Dick (15), William Kerr (15) and Diane Dudgeon (15).[9] As of 2019 it stands as the UK's worst mountaineering disaster.

Such was the public concern that on 23 November 1971, the day after the Cairngorm Plateau disaster, Gordon Campbell, the Secretary of State for Scotland announced in the House of Commons that the Lord Advocate had decided to institute a public inquiry under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1906.[10]

Notable alumni

Notable former teachers


  1. ^ "Dictionary of Scottish Architects - DSA Building/Design Report (December 16, 2015, 12:22 pm)". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  2. ^ David, King. "".
  3. ^ Murchison, Norman (1 January 1968). Some social aspects of modern education: the fourteenth Charles Russell memorial lecture. London: Trustees of the Charles Russell Memorial Lectures. OCLC 468171.
  4. ^ "Scotland's Youth | The Scotsman | Monday 31 October 1949 | Scotsman Digital Archive". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  5. ^ "War Victims Delinquent Children Of To-Day Weather Forecast | The Scotsman | Wednesday 29 March 1950 | Scotsman Digital Archive". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Schools fail to pass the tests of time". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  7. ^ "North Campus Telford College Redevelopment". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015.
  8. ^ Aircrew Association: Cairngorm Disaster 1971 Archived 7 April 2016 at WebCite
  9. ^ "Forty years after Diane Dudgeon died on a frozen hillside, her father reveals the pain of not knowing what really happened". Archived from the original on 22 February 2016. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  10. ^ "CAIRNGORMS (CLIMBING ACCIDENT) (Hansard, 23 November 1971)". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Tributes flood in as Red Ron passes away". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Search - The Scotsman". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Obituary: Bert Jansch, gifted Edinburgh guitarist who deservedly earned the soubriquet 'Britain's Bob Dylan'". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Terry Christie on his Meadowbank Thistle memories". Retrieved 16 December 2015.
This page was last edited on 2 December 2020, at 02:29
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