Work Begins (or should ...)

Building work on Trinity Academy should have started on July 11, 1891, with the traditional dram over the foundation stone - laid with full Masonic honours by Leith School Board chairman Robert Somerville - but his wife was a temperance supporter and would not allow it. Instead, each man received a book, From Dark to Dawn in Fiji, and the enterprise was launched into the late Victorian age on the era's twin pillars of Empire and disciplined self-improvement.

Building delays, which were to characterise the century to come, led to the original contractors being struck off the Board's list, but on September 4, 1893, Craighall Road School, as it was first known, was opened with Thomas Trotter, formerly of North Fort Street, as Rector. With a frontage deemed 'of a superior kind to most other schools' it had cost £18,850 and five shillings, (excluding the purchase of the land from the Laird of Bonnington, James Clerk-Rattray) and had all modern conveniences - electric bells and voice tubes connecting the Rector's room to the classes and Cowan's patent gas lamps throughout.



Formal Opening

The formal opening was carried out by Miss Flora Stevenson on February 1, 1894, but already there was controversy. The Board intended making all the elementary departments fee-paying, waiving fees only for the secondary, but a dissenting member wanted free education and complained to the Scottish Office. He pointed to friction at Leith Academy, with those paying fees looking down on those who did not. 'Objection was raised against their presence, as, being lower caste, they were injurious to the school,' he wrote. The majority prevailed and fees were paid at Trinity until the comprehensive schooling debate, three-quarters of a century later.


First leaving certificated presented

In 1895 the first one hundred and twenty-seven pupils were presented for Leaving Certificates in Mathematics, Arithmetic, English, French and German - eighty-one successfully. Inspectors were openly critical in those days ‘grammar needs smartening... sluggishness in oral work' but the school's reputation grew.



The Great War Looms

In 1901, the year of Queen Victoria's death, the school became Trinity Academy under the new Rector, Thomas Duncan. Edwardian inspectors were increasingly enthusiastic but the Great War loomed, a conflict which was to claim seventy-one former pupils and two teachers out of some three hundred who served.


Secondary block plans drawn up

As early as 1919 Trinity began to outgrow its main building and plans were drawn up for a new secondary block. It was to take forty-three years! In the meantime, access to Bangholm was negotiated.



House System Created

James Scott arrived as Rector and the following year - how did they cope without it until then? - the House System was created.


WWII Breaks Out

Plans for a new block were again on the drawing board when the Second World War broke out. Many pupils were evacuated to Macduff on the Moray Firth.



Normal Classes Resume


A New Rector

The following year Dr Albert Weir became Rector and at the height of hostilities,



50th Anniversary

in September 1943, the school celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. and mourned the loss of sixty-two former pupils in the war.


Alexander Neill Becomes Rector



New Secondary Block Completed


Primary School Moves To Newhaven

Primary school removed from the huts at Bangholm to the new school on Newhaven Road in January 1968.



William Brodie Becomes Rector

Trinity’s sixth rector, William Brodie, arrived in 1969 at a time when educational tides were turning, fees were being phased out, and the days of selective schooling in the public sector were numbered.


Trinity Becomes Merges with David Kilpatrick's

In September 1974, Trinity Academy merged with David Kilpatrick’s to become a fully comprehensive secondary serving North and West Leith, Newhaven and Trinity. Adjustment was difficult at times and there was the added inconvenience of running a split site, first with the David Kilpatrick building and then ...



... the Holy Cross annexes


New Life Is Breathed Into The Academy

Declining school rolls across the city even led to the possibility of closure of the school or of merger with Leith Academy. However, there was life in Trinity yet. The objective of the Rector at the time, Peter Galloway, was to combine the best elements of Trinity’s traditions with the aspirations and methods of a modern comprehensive. 



A Century of Trinity Academy

The school celebrates it's centenary.  Current and former pupils and staff mark the occasion with a series of events.


Alec Morris Becomes Head Teacher

Peter Galloway K.B.E. retires after 25 years as Rector and is replaced by Alec Morris.



Bryan Paterson appointed Head Teacher


Nick Burge appointed Head Teacher.


Trinity Academy WW1 Roll of Honour

Outside the school’s main hall is a memorial to the pupils and staff of Trinity Academy who lost their lives while engaged on active service during the First World War. Most people are aware of its existence but although we walk past it every day, how often do we actually look at it and what do we know of the names inscribed upon it? My initial response to this question was “probably very little”.

Even though we hold a Remembrance service each November, I felt it was important to highlight the existence of the memorial. Given that it is was the centenary of the start of World War One last year, I felt the need was especially important.

With the help of pupils in S1, I have managed to put together some research on the 73 names on the memorial. My plan was to find out about every person listed. Unfortunately, details for some of the entries have been hard to find. However, we have managed to find out about the vast majority of the people on the memorial.

On the 1st May 1920, an appeal was launched for funds for the Trinity Academy War Memorial. A sum of £150 was targeted. Any surplus was to be used “for some scholastic object”. The appeal was obviously a success as the unveiling of the War Memorial Tablet took place on 5th November 1921. The service was conducted by the Rev D. Kilpatrick. Rector Thomas Duncan read the Roll of Honour and Lord Salvesen unveiled the Memorial Tablet.

The names of 71 pupils and two teachers were recorded. Lance Corporal Audrey Chapman and Private James Sugden both served in the 16th Battalion Royal Scots, more commonly known as McCrae’s Battalion. The 16th Royal Scots included 16 members of Heart of Midlothian FC, arguably the leading club in the country when war broke out. The Trinity boys were both killed in action on the 1st July 1916 during the first day of the Battle of The Somme.

There is one female name on the memorial. Elizabeth Thomson, aged 36, of 19 Summerside Street, joined the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service in 1918. Her own medical record records a latent heart murmur and her short service was interrupted by periods of illness. She died in Croydon War Hospital on 26/10/1918 and is buried in Rosebank Cemetery on Pilrig Street.

Elizabeth Thomson’s neighbours, Albert and Wedderburn Gardner were brothers, both serving as 2nd Lieutenants in the 8th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. The family lived at 18 Summerside Street and their father and uncles were proprietors of the Leith Burgh’s Pilot, one of three local newspapers of the time. In another life, perhaps their future lay in journalism? They were killed in action within four months of each other in 1917 fighting in France.

Private William Ritchie stands out from the majority of entries on the memorial. At 42 years of age he is one of the oldest of all the people on the memorial. William Ritchie joined the staff at Trinity Academy in 1896 and remained here until 1908 when he left to take up a position at Lorne Street School. He became Second Master at Links Place in 1912 before joining the 5th Royal Scots when war broke out. Along with 5 other Trinity men he died during action at Gallipoli.

Not everyone who appears on the memorial died in action. 2nd Lieutenant Charles Law was only 18 years old. He lived at 40 East Trinity Road and upon leaving school worked in the British Linen Bank on George Street. He joined the Royal Flying Corps but was killed in an accident in February 1918 in Norfolk.

The memorial contains many other similar stories, of lives cut short by conflict and of young men who were present at momentous events in history, perhaps not as key players but as victims of circumstance. The majority of those commemorated served on the Western Front while a handful served in the Navy and a couple of people fought against the Ottoman Empire in modern day Syria and Iraq.

Our aim is to turn the information found into a searchable website with details of each person listed on the memorial. You can now download the roll of honour on this page and please feel free to get in touch if you can provide any further details for any of the names contained in the file.

Written by Adam Caldwell