12 Reads of Christmas: Our History

HWU1821This recommended read takes you on a tour of some of the key dates in Heriot-Watt University’s history.

You may recognize some of the names below as many of the buildings on the Edinburgh campus are named after key people associated with our history.


Key Dates

1821 Edinburgh School of Arts, the world’s first mechanics’ institute, founded by Leonard Horner and Robert Bryson in Niddry Street.

Their names can still be found on buildings at the Edinburgh campus:
Robert Bryson Hall and Leonard Horner Hall student accommodation.

16th October

First lecture in chemistry given at St Cecilia’s concert hall in the Old Town.

1836 First working class representative joined the Board of Governors
1837 Move to Adam Square
1851 Watt Subscription Fund donates funding to School as Edinburgh’s monument to James Watt
1852 School becomes Watt Institution and School of Arts
1854 Watt Club alumni association founded:

Peter Slater’s Watt statue unveiled.

Staff and students celebrate at the Guildford Arms.

1869 Women students admitted – thanks to campaign by Mary Burton
1872 Foundation stone laid for Chambers Street Building
1874 Mary Burton is the first woman to join board of Governors
1885 Merger with George Heriot endowment to create Heriot-Watt College, with 2,000 students, 15% of whom were women.
1887 First Professors appointed in Chemistry, Physics and Mechanics and Engineering
1902 The College becomes a Central Institution, teaching to degree standard
1928 Heriot-Watt College becomes independent from George Heriot Trust.
Students’ Representative Council established.
James Cameron Smail became Principal.
1966 Heriot-Watt gains University status by Royal Charter.
The College Principal, Hugh Nisbet, became the university’s first Vice-Chancellor.
1969 Riccarton estate gifted to the University by Midlothian Council
1971 Research Park opened: first university research park in Europe
1973 First phase of development at Riccarton
1989 Orkney Campus opens in Stromness
1992 Relocation to Edinburgh campus at Riccarton complete
1998 Merger with Scottish College of Textiles to create Scottish Borders Campus
2005 Dubai Campus opens
2014 Malaysia Campus opens
2016 University celebrates 50th anniversary of Royal Charter


See Also

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  1. 12 Reads of Christmas: Scottish History | InformS

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