On Saturday IIINVITATION TO FORMER PUPILS AND THEIR FAMILIES

Open Afternoon

22 April 2017

Alumni enjoying browsing through the archives at James Gillespie's High School.After four years when the new school was under construction, we were delighted to be able to hold another Open Afternoon for the alumni. We had old photos, school mgazines, index cards, report cards and other documentation, samples of needlework and much else on display for everyone to see.

Alumni enjoying browsing through the archives at James Gillespie's High School.

Janis Croll, former Depute Head Teacher, led some tours of the new school buildings, aided by some very knowledgeable and charming S6 pupils. And a number of alumni took the opportunity to buy a copy, or indeed another copy, of John MacLeod's excellent book, "Faithful and Brave: A Celebration of James Gillespie's High School".

Alumni enjoying browsing through the archives at James Gillespie's High School.Some members of the Parent Council provided tea, coffee and home baking in Brodie's cafe, giving everyone the chance to have a good catch-up with old school friends. And of course the afternoon wasn't complete until the school uniform had been tried on! They arrived early and left at the end of the afternoon very reluctantly - the sign of a good afternoon!

Alumni enjoying browsing through the archives at James Gillespie's High School.

"It was a real privilege to look at old school photos, report cards andmagazines, to be shown round the new school and its wonderful facilities by a most helpful present pupil and to have an opportunity to chat with friends over a cup of tea.  My friends and I felt we had not had such an enjoyable time for many a long day."

.............................................................................................

Iona Cameron

James Gillespie's Trust is sad to announce the death of Iona Cameron, former Assistant Head Teacher at James Gillespie's High Schoo. John MacLeod's obituary was printed in the Scotsman on 17 April 2017: http://www.scotsman.com/…/obituary-iona-cameron-inspirational-teacher-1-4420094

..............................................................................................

Farewell Roddy, and Thank You!

Roddy John MacLeod has led James Gillespie's Trust for four years but, after bringing the long-awaited book project to fruition, Roddy felt it would be a good time to move on to new ventures. We all wish him well and, to mark the occasion, we presented Roddy with a numbered print of the west coast of Harris, a favourite place of his.

...............................................................................................

Fidelis et Fortis

View of the cover of Faithful and Brave

The clock that never worked, the sinister Green Lady, the day we nearly drowned the Queen Mother - it's all in a sparkling new book, Faithful and Brave: A Celebration of James Gillespie's High School. Commissioned by the James Gillespie's Trust to mark the opening of our new campus, and penned by award-winning journalist John MacLeod, himself a former Gillespie's pupil - Faithful and Brave is 304 fact-packed and heavily illustrated pages, covering our entire history from the last days of Mr Gillespie to Callum Skinner's Olympic glories in August 2016. A gripping read, a physically beautiful book and the perfect present, with a warm foreword by Grant Stott - it's unputdownable. Buy your copy right now. And another for a friend!

Email the school at: admin@jamesgillespies.edin.sch.uk to reserve a copy and arrange for collection. Price is £17.99 if collected from school or £21.25 if the book is to be posted.

Electronic payment:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Open Morning

November 5th, and a beautiful day for people to see round the new school buildings of James Gillespie's High School. Former pupil and Olympic medallist Callum Skinner formally opened the fitness suite in the Eric Liddell Building. It was wonderful to meet so many interested former pupils who were keen to see how different JGHS is now from what it was like in their time.

-----------------------------------------------------------

James Gillespie's High School Opening

Pipers from the school welcome us to the school opening.

Today, 26 October 2016, the new James Gillespie's High School buildings were officially opened byJohn Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills, and Councillor Paul Godzik, Convenor of Education, Children & Families.

 John Swinney and Paul Godzik cut the ribbon at the opening of James Gillespie's High School.

We were taken on tours of the new school and entertained by some highly talented pupils. The new school is truly ready for the 21st century and I'm sure it will serve its pupils admirably!

Head teachers for 4 different eras - Donald Macdonald, Dr Pat Thomas, Alex Wallace & Colin Finlayson.

Head Teacher Mr Macdonald welcomed three former head teachers, Dr Pat Thomas, Alex Wallace & Colin Finlayson, to join in the celebrations for the school opening.

------------------------------------------------------------

Olympic Success!

We are delighted that Callum Skinner, British track cyclist and former pupil at James Gillespie’s High School, has won both a gold and a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games at Rio. Callum has worked incredibly hard to achieve this, and James Gillespie’s Trust is proud to have made a small contribution to his funding along the way.


While he was at James Gillespie’s, Callum applied for (and was awarded) a small grant of £250 towards travel to his training weekends and competitions and for various pieces of equipment for his bike. The comment on the web site was: “He hopes his success will lead him to the Olympics!” Well, Callum, you’ve done it – we’re so proud of your achievements!

 

Many thanks to Judith, Callum's mum, for providing this photo for the website!  It was taken on his 24th birthday (20/8/16) while they were still in Rio - hence the tropical background!

...............................................................................................

News & Updates

The New School Campus

 

View of one of the new buildings of James Gillespie's High School

Here are some very recent photos of the new school buildings of James Gillespie's High School.

View of one of the new buildings of James Gillespie's High School

All staff and pupils are looking forward to a brand new campus when they resume on 15 August 2016.

The black circles on the ground are where trees will be planted in October. The new planting may look little sparse right now but just give it a year or two ...

View of one of the new buildings of James Gillespie's High School

....................................................................

A Wee Celebration of the Old School!

What a great time we had on Saturday 8 June - we had so many visitors who were enjoying themselves so much, catching up with old friends and browsing through old photos & magazines, that they didn't want to go home! Thanks to the school for giving the old school building such a magnificent send-off!

See what some of our visitors had to say ...

....................................................................

Fidelis et Forte CD on sale!

Cover of music CD by James Gillespie's pupils entitled Fidelis et ForteAt last our long-awaited CD is ready and on sale. There are 13 piano solos by pupils at James Gillespie's High School on the CD and the stunning cover was designed by artists from S6. As there are so many talented and creative pupils at James Gillespie's, we hope it will be the first of many CDs we produce over the coming year. At £5 + £1 p&p, I'm sure you will agree that this CD is exceptionally good value! Use this link to listen to samples of the tracks and download an order form:

http://www.jghs.edin.sch.uk/cd_fidelis_et_forte/fidelis_et_forte_cd.html

...............................................................................................

Past Event History !

...............................................................................................

Open Afternoon ... 3 March 2012

Alumni of James Gillespie's browsing through the archives on the Open Afternoon.Once again a very successful Open Afternoon was held in the library of James Gillespie's High School. We were thrilled to welcome such a wide age range of former pupils, from some who had only left Gillespie's a few years ago to a venerable ex-Gillespie girl of 95!

 

One very old former pupil talking to the new headteacherIt was also an opportunity for former pupils to meet Mr Donald Macdonald, the new headteacher at James Gillespie's. Mr Macdonald was delighted to be able to chat to former pupils from a variety of generations, and I know that our former pupils were very kean to exchange views with him.

 

Alumni of James Gillespie's browsing through the archives on the Open Afternoon.During the afternoon we played the CD (Fidelis et Forte) that had been made by the music department at James Gillespie's and some of the alumni watched the DVD (Living Stories) that was made several years ago.

 

 

Alumni of James Gillespie's browsing through the archives on the Open Afternoon.Many thanks to those of you who attended and helped to make the afternoon so successful and so enjoyable! And also many thanks to the people who helped to set up the display ... without you the afternoon could not have gone ahead!

 

..............................................................................................

Tours of Bruntsfield House

On Saturday 26 March 2011 about 35 former pupils of James Gillespie's High School joined Allison & me for a tour of Bruntsfield House. Mr Wallace, the current head teacher, was delighted to tell us about the illuminated stained glass display created to mark the 400th anniversary of the building of Bruntsfield House. Thank you to Alice and her friends for providing the very welcome teas & coffees! I think everyone enjoyed revisiting a building that had been an important part of their youth. Below are some photos and memories of Bruntsfield House.

Alumni enjoying a visit to Bruntsfield House."In Primary 2 we had an arithmetic lesson but each week two lucky girls would be taken off up the narrow staircase for an art class. I hated arithmetic and every week I would hope it was my turn. There were so many of us in the class, I'm sure I only got to paint twice!" (1960s)

Alumni enjoying a visit to Bruntsfield House.

"Miss Brodie's class received a box of Canadian apples and a box of biscuits to have with our milk ... after she married and moved to Canada." (1940s)

"Making tablet and putting it in bags to distribute as prizes on sports day."(1950s)

Alumni enjoying a visit to Bruntsfield House."The large music room in Bruntsfield House will forever be associated with Mr Somerville's music classes ... trying to beat out 4 different rhythms with different bits of the body ... tricky co-ordination!"   (1970s)

 

 

"Interesting to see the old building again ... but how was anyone allowed to make such a mess of conversion?"

...............................................................................................

Running for the Trust!!

The Trust is pleased to announce that, as a  result of donations to Jeremy Hughes' BUPA Jeremy runs in the BUPA Great Winter Run Great Winter Run around Holyrood Park on January 8th 2011, a fantastic

£1,185 plus gift aid

has been raised. This will help to support ongoing activities that include student projects involving sports, music and science, the Gillespie Book project and global citizenship within the school. You can still make a donation by visiting our Just Giving page.

...............................................................................................

Open Afternoon ... 6 March 2010

On 6th March 2010 we held an Open Afternoon for alumni in the school library.

Some of the James Gillespie's alumni enjoying browsing through the archives during the Open Day.

Many alumni came to browse through our large collection of old photos, admissions record cards, magazines and items of uniform. The hat is always a catalyst for stories and much hilarity!

 

 

Some of the James Gillespie's alumni enjoying browsing through the archives during the Open Day.

As you can tell from some of the comments in our Visitors' Book, everyone enjoyed the afternoon and most people would like to have another opportunity to browse and chat before too long!

 

 

 

Some of the James Gillespie's alumni enjoying browsing through the archives during the Open Day.

"Well organised and most enjoyable ... do it again please!"

"Good to meet former classmates."

"Brought back happy school memories."

 

Some of the James Gillespie's alumni enjoying browsing through the archives during the Open Day.

During the afternoon there was an opportunity to watch the "Living Stories" DVD again. We still have some copies left (£5 + 50p p&p). Please contact Jean Knox if you would like to buy one.

 


...............................................................................................

              "James Gillespie's link with Zwelibanzi School is a model for others

to follow, enriching young people in Edinburgh and in South Africa

for more than a decade."

                                                                                           …….. Desmond Tutu

On 2 April 2009, to raise funds for the

James Gillespie’s Global Citizenship Africa Project,

200 guests enjoyed a celebration of two cultures: Scotland and Africa

with an evening of music, song and dance

at Zuluceilidh, sponsored by Bizlinx

and hosted by Linda Fabiani MSP (Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture)

at Mansfield Traquair, Broughton Street, Edinburgh

As well as the opportunity to buy some wonderful jewellery from Scotland’s finest designers and the craftswomen of Umlazi township in South Africa, there was a cultural presentation by the young global citizens of James Gillespie’s High School, which included Highland pipes, Zulu drumming, an African choir, gum boot dancers, Highland dancers, music, songs, poems and prose. 

Over the course of the evening

an amazing £5900 was raised for the

James Gillespie’s Global Citizenship Africa Project.

 

...............................................................................................................................................................

ArtWorks@Gillespie’s

And it certainly did…..

The 28th and 29th of March 2009 saw the first free ArtWorks@Gillespie’s event showcasing the creative talent that exist in the Gillespie’s community.

View of activities at ArtWorks in March 2009

Not only did the art work to raise funds but it also worked to gather together and unite people from different generations, different countries and different walks of life. Pieces of work came from Africa, America, China, England, Greece and Scotland. The art works were born on easels in schools and art colleges, in professional artists’ studios and on kitchen tables. They were created by former pupils, grandparents of current pupils, teachers and ex-teachers to say nothing of the astounding body of work created by JGHS students and Zwelibanzi learners.

The art works came in all shapes and sizes: paintings in various mediums from framed miniatures from America to large canvases (brought over from South Africa the day before); silver and bead jewellery; Zulu basket ware made from recycled plastic bags; one dress designed and made from sheets came from one of the learners from Zwelibanzi and another was designed and knitted in Scotland by a JGHS former pupil;  tapestry woven by an ex-teacher and  photographs of restaurant food waste, which explored the tradition of the Grand Tour.  We also received some generous donations from friends of the school for both the silent auction and the art auction on Sunday.

View of activities during ArtWorks in March 2009

Saturday saw a steady flow of people throughout the day with catering by Saffron Café and a music programme provided by JGHS students. Sunday was much more up tempo -   after an organic African lunch of Bunny Chow and Chakalaka washed down by a South African wine and speeches by Jeremy Hughes and Alex Wallace the art auction kicked off and was expertly led by David Anderson.  Doug Veitch and Rise Kagona (ex Bhundu Boys) then played their unique fusion of Zimbabwean and Scottish music.

During the two days over 500 art works were displayed, and more than 200 were sold, one piece selling for an astounding £750. With the profit from the bar and the food ArtWorks@Gillespie’s raised £4000. This will be split between the Trust and the African Global Citizenship Project in line with the artists and donors wishes.

Well that’s it! Do you want another ArtWorks@Gillespie’s? Do you know someone who might like to contribute in the future? If you do contact ArtWorks_at_Gillespie’s@live.co.uk or Jean Cathro on 07932 696 871

...............................................................................................................................................................

Trust Administrator, Jean Knox

Jean has been working part time since September 2008 in the Development Office and would welcome your comments and contact.  If you are a Former Pupil please contact her, or if you have any ideas or comments for the Trust do get in touch. 

You can send Jean an email by clicking on the link below:

Jean Knox

...............................................................................................................................................................

The Alison Laidlaw Memorial Garden Project

In memory of a very special Former Pupil and Former Teacher 1909-2007.

The garden was opened on Friday June 20th by the son of  the only remaining living relative of Miss Laidlaw, her cousin in Canada.

A small file of Miss Laidlaw's ashes was placed in the garden, just before the opening ceremony.

It was a lovely sunny day and over 80 Former Pupils attended the opening, preceded by lunch and followed by a concert by current pupils and tea.

We were delighted to have so many Former Pupils attend and re-visit the school, some for the first time in many years.  The garden remains open in term time and can be visited by Former Pupils.

We are grateful to the Trustees of the Laidlaw-Hall Trust for their generous donation towards this project; the funds originated from Miss Laidlaw’s estate.

We are also grateful to Miss Laidlaw’s cousin in Canada and her family, for their generous donation and to those of you who have, or may wish to give a donation.

In Miss Laidlaw’s name, we thank you for your generosity.

……………………………………………………..

We felt a garden was the most fitting memorial to Miss Alison.  She loved the outdoors and her modern holistic attitude to education is reflected in the concept.  She would not have wanted a brass plaque, we can imagine her saying “…someone would only have to clean it!”  The garden is designed for the use of the current pupils and staff and is open to visitors and Former Pupils.  We have plans to open this part of the campus to the public, in the future.

The garden design is by Marion Rodger, a parent at the school.  She donated her time and expertise to the Trust.

The garden has been created within the ruined walls of an ancient salt store at the front of Bruntsfield House, near to the ‘famous’ archway.

Current pupils at the school are helping with the restoration and planting.

The garden is a project in process and the opening marks the completion of stage one, further work will be continuing on its design and upkeep in the context of this part of the school campus.

...............................................................................................................................................................

Our last 'Drop in and Record' day was on April 26th 2008

We had a great day with offers from more Former Pupils to record their life stories arranged.  On the day, 9 FPs recorded their memories of the school. Over 100 Former Pupils and community members attended, many for the first time and many who met former colleagues for the first time, since leaving school. 

Very positive comments recorded on the day include:

We hope to make a further application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop this project.

...............................................................................................................................................................

Write Up from September 18th 2007 Exhibition

The evening was a resounding success with a room crowded with Former Pupils; many Trustees, the head teacher, several members of the current staff, current sixth year students and helpers from the School Council all helped to make it exciting and popular.

The exhibition stands were displayed again, there was a film showing and talks from Jeremy Hughes and Alex Wallace.

Food and drink was served and a retiring collection raised £240.

A further 18 new database members were added and other records made complete.  Jennifer Craik and Nicola Watson our brave volunteers, both attended to help with processing data.

Exhibition Feedback

  “The evening made me feel as if I mattered – not just then, when I was at school but now, even though I am older, I still matter to the young people I met and I'm proud of the tradition I helped to build.”

Following a very successful first year of the James Gillespie’s Oral History Project, ‘Living Stories’, we have enjoyed meeting so many Former Pupils and have established a database of over 570 who want to keep in touch!

Do contact us for ideas for future events:

Development Office

...............................................................................................................................................................

A Grand Exhibition!

‘Living Stories’

  Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Saturday June 16th 2007 was the day of the 'story-so-far' exhibition at the James Gillespie's High School Library.  Former pupils from all over the UK came to visit the School again and revive memories of their old School days.  Over 200 people visited the exhibition, where they were able to see interpretation stands with quotes and pictures from most of the living memory history of the School and historical information dating back to before the First World War.

'Living Stories' is an oral history project  supported by a grant from the Heritage

Lottery Fund and it completes in November 2008.  It was designed to help the School keep in touch with its Former Pupils and members of the local community and to record their memories for posterity, in the start of an oral history library to be established at the School.

Archive documents, the old School registers, some of which are over 100 years old, were on display, alongside many precious items of memorabilia.  Visitors to the exhibition also brought donations, or items for the School to copy.  It is hoped that the archive will be restored over time and all the gaps in the history will be filled.

There were disc players on hand for visitors to listen to the recordings so far and many could remember those who were interviewed from their own school days.

Visitors were encouraged to take part by adding their memories to the project.  Comments about their own experiences, both good and bad were noted and will be published as part of the final presentations next year.  The exhibition was intended to show what has been achieved and to encourage further involvement.

There were 6 viewings of the film throughout the day, made by current pupils about the project and included film of the oral history interviews from some former pupils who could recall the days of Muriel Spark (formerly Camberg) and Miss Kay on whom the character Miss Jean Brodie was modelled, alongside other important and memorable members of the staff and School community, over the past 80 years of their living memories.

The displays also brought visitors up-to-date with what the School does now and the recent achievements in their Africa support programme,  the DiverseCity project and other activities.

The project is still very much alive and we want people to keep in touch with us and record more memories and take part in any way you like.  We need volunteers to help with the archive indexing and more memorabilia to help fill the gaps. 

If you are interested please contact the Volunteer Development Officer and let us know what you would like to do!

...............................................................................................................................................................

Useful Links