Ties That Bind: Boys' Schools of Edinburgh

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9781904246299: Ties That Bind: Boys' Schools of Edinburgh
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About the Author:

Alasdair Roberts attended an Edinburgh boys' school before studying History at Edinburgh University. After adding an Education degree from Glasgow University and teaching high school in Montreal, he joined the staff of Aberdeen College of Education. He has written extensively on both history and education and his books include 'Crème de la Crème: Girls' Schools of Edinburgh' and 'Out to Play: the Middle Years of Childhood'. Now a full-time writer in retirement on the NW coast of Scotland, he has three Highland books in print and is working on a fourth.

From the Inside Flap:

During the twentieth century, a remarkable proportion of Edinburgh's children went to fee-paying single-sex schools. Some had histories stretching back through the centuries, while others were founded more recently. In his 'Crème de la Crème', Alasdair Roberts has already provided a lively and entertaining survey of the girls' schools of Scotland's capital city. Now, in 'Ties that Bind', he has turned his attention to the city's boys' schools.

The High School dates back to medieval times, and Heriot's opened in 1659, but the Edinburgh boys' schools really took off in the 19th century with the transformation of boarding 'hospitals' such as George Watson's and Daniel Stewart's into day schools. It was the Merchant Company that led the way here, and the author covers those developments in some detail, as well as looking at earlier history and later developments, such as the founding of schools such as the Academy and boarding schools like Fettes, Merchiston and Loretto. Often, charitable intentions for the few ultimately benefited a broad swathe of Edinburgh families.

With the same light touch as in 'Crème de la Crème', he provides fascinating information about the development of school uniform, as well as education in the classroom, on the games fields and in the wider sense. Alasdair Roberts describes the impact of two world wars on boys' schools - that of 1914-18 being particularly devastating.

In modern times, these schools have come under pressure both economically and politically, but perhaps as significant a factor has been the general social change which has led to all but one of Edinburgh's boys' schools becoming coeducational. 'Ties that Bind' offers a highly readable survey of a group of schools whose contribution is sometimes underplayed.

Profusely illustrated with drawings and photographs, 'Ties that Bind' is a worthy companion to 'Crème de la Crème'.

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