George Watson's College

George Watson's College

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George Watson's College

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George Watson's College, known informally as Watson's, is a co-educational independent day school in Scotland, situated on Colinton Road, in the Merchiston area of Edinburgh. It was first established as a hospital school in 1741, became a day school in 1871 and was merged with its sister school George Watson's Ladies College in 1974. It is a Merchant Company of Edinburgh school.



The school was established according to the instructions of George Watson (1654–1723) who bequeathed the bulk of his fortune of £12,000 – a vast sum in 1723 – to found a hospital school for the provision of post-primary boarding education to the "children and grandchildren of decayed Merchants of Edinburgh, and of the Ministers of the Old Church thereof". He further expressed a preference for those by the surname of Davidson or Watson.

Watson was never a member of the Merchant Company of Edinburgh, but he was impressed by their running of the Merchant Maiden Hospital and so he chose the Company to implement the terms of his will. After some years, the Governors finally bought land known as Heriot's Croft, located off Lauriston Place in Edinburgh, close to the Meadows and opposite George Heriot's School, and engaged an architect. The foundation stone was laid on 22 May 1738, and the building was completed early in 1741. (At the time, there was concern that this site was too far from the city, but today it would be regarded as close to the city...
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