Heriot-Watt University Archive

Heriot-Watt University Archive We preserve the memory of Heriot-Watt through maintaining records of its development and achievements.

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Isabella (Ella) Burton was the niece of Mary Burton and one of the first female students at the School of Arts.  She acc...
20/08/2021

Isabella (Ella) Burton was the niece of Mary Burton and one of the first female students at the School of Arts. She accompanied her aunt to events campaigning for female suffrage and was a member of the student Literary Society.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend

Isabella (Ella) Burton was the niece of Mary Burton and one of the first female students at the School of Arts. She accompanied her aunt to events campaigning for female suffrage and was a member of the student Literary Society.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend

On 12 May 1854 at the unveiling of the Watt statue a crowd of students celebrated at the Guildford Arms.  Jeweller Mr J ...
06/08/2021

On 12 May 1854 at the unveiling of the Watt statue a crowd of students celebrated at the Guildford Arms. Jeweller Mr J E Vernon suggested a club should be formed with an annual dinner and a Fund to award prizes. The Watt Club alumni association was born.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend

On 12 May 1854 at the unveiling of the Watt statue a crowd of students celebrated at the Guildford Arms. Jeweller Mr J E Vernon suggested a club should be formed with an annual dinner and a Fund to award prizes. The Watt Club alumni association was born.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend

By the 1840s it became clear that the School of Arts needed additional finance to survive and in particular gain more sp...
04/08/2021

By the 1840s it became clear that the School of Arts needed additional finance to survive and in particular gain more space In 1841 the Watt Subscription Fund was set up in the name of James Watt to get additional funding to buy the Adam Square building. In 1851 the School adopted the title of Watt Institution and School of Arts and in 1854 the statue of James Watt by Peter Slater was unveiled.

By the 1840s it became clear that the School of Arts needed additional finance to survive and in particular gain more space In 1841 the Watt Subscription Fund was set up in the name of James Watt to get additional funding to buy the Adam Square building. In 1851 the School adopted the title of Watt Institution and School of Arts and in 1854 the statue of James Watt by Peter Slater was unveiled.

New Campus trails are now live both online here https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/campus-trails.htm and the physical trails are av...
29/06/2021
Campus Trails

New Campus trails are now live both online here https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/campus-trails.htm and the physical trails are available if you are on Campus.

Welcome to our campus trails. We have a beautifully landscaped campus with so many hidden treasures, some aren't even all that well hidden. To show you some of the many highlights we have put together some trails for you to enjoy.

Our virtual exhibition on the University history as part of the Bi-Centennial celebrations is now online on our webpage....
29/04/2021
Heriot-Watt 200

Our virtual exhibition on the University history as part of the Bi-Centennial celebrations is now online on our webpage.
https://sway.office.com/L5bPNFMucKUYB4mW?ref=Link

Throughout 2021, Heriot-Watt University celebrates the 200th anniversary of its founding in Scotland. Its roots can be traced back to 1821 when the world’s first Mechanics' Institute was founded as t

08/03/2021

Did you know we also now have twitter and Instagram too? Follow HeriotWatt Museum, to find out more about our collections. This week Archives and Records Association Scotland (ARA Scotland) Instagram are focusing on Heriot-Watt collections so have a look.

Happy International Women's Day.  Anna MacGillivray MacLeod (1917-2004) was the world's first female professor of brewin...
08/03/2021

Happy International Women's Day. Anna MacGillivray MacLeod (1917-2004) was the world's first female professor of brewing, and the first female professor at Heriot-Watt University. She discovered gibberellic acid which helps shorten the malting process and helped found the Scottish Brewing Archive in partnership with Sir Geoff Palmer to preserver the heritage of the industry. One of our most recent Halls of Residence is named in her honour.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend

Happy International Women's Day. Anna MacGillivray MacLeod (1917-2004) was the world's first female professor of brewing, and the first female professor at Heriot-Watt University. She discovered gibberellic acid which helps shorten the malting process and helped found the Scottish Brewing Archive in partnership with Sir Geoff Palmer to preserver the heritage of the industry. One of our most recent Halls of Residence is named in her honour.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend

Award winning author Douglas Stuart studied at the Scottish College of Textiles. and then the Royal College of Art.  Des...
04/03/2021
Douglas Stuart Shuggie Bain

Award winning author Douglas Stuart studied at the Scottish College of Textiles. and then the Royal College of Art. Despite working in fashion in New York in 20 years, he had always wanted to write and his first novel Shuggie Bain won the Booker Prize in 2020.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend #World Book Day

https://www.douglasdstuart.com/

Douglas Stuart, Author Website Listing books; Shuggie Bain, Loch Awe and other writing projects. Includes contact information and author events calendar. Found Wanting fiction story featured in The New Yorker Magazine. Represented by ICM Partners and Curtis Brown. Born and raised in Glasgow Scotland

Irvine Welch completed an MBA at Heriot-Watt in 1991, having already started writing while backpacking through the US.  ...
04/03/2021

Irvine Welch completed an MBA at Heriot-Watt in 1991, having already started writing while backpacking through the US. Trainspotting was published in 1993, and was subsequently made into a film with Ewan MacGregor. Later novels include Glue and Filth.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend #WorldBookDay

Irvine Welch completed an MBA at Heriot-Watt in 1991, having already started writing while backpacking through the US. Trainspotting was published in 1993, and was subsequently made into a film with Ewan MacGregor. Later novels include Glue and Filth.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend #WorldBookDay

It's World Book Day today, set up to encourage the joy of reading. Heriot-Watt has a few alumni who became very successf...
04/03/2021

It's World Book Day today, set up to encourage the joy of reading. Heriot-Watt has a few alumni who became very successful authors. Dame Muriel Spark (1918-2006) studied commerce and precis writing at Heriot-Watt College from 1934-1935. She became one of Scotland best loved authors and her works include The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and The Girls of Slender Means. She was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University in 1995.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend #WorldBookDay

It's World Book Day today, set up to encourage the joy of reading. Heriot-Watt has a few alumni who became very successful authors. Dame Muriel Spark (1918-2006) studied commerce and precis writing at Heriot-Watt College from 1934-1935. She became one of Scotland best loved authors and her works include The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and The Girls of Slender Means. She was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University in 1995.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend #WorldBookDay

Image of Priscilla Bright McLaren.
02/03/2021

Image of Priscilla Bright McLaren.

Image of Priscilla Bright McLaren.

02/03/2021

Priscilla Bright McLaren (1815-1906) was the third wife of alumni Duncan McLaren, MP. The sister of radical Liberal MP John Bright, she was part of a network of female campaigners in Edinburgh. She was a member of the Edinburgh Ladies Emancipation Society and President of the Edinburgh Women's Suffrage Society. After her husband's death she donated a bust of him to the School of Arts. Her image is on the plinth of the Millicent Fawcett statue in London in recognition of her legacy.

This image is courtesy of the Women's Library collection at London School of Economics.
#HeriotWatt200

Alumni Duncan McLaren (1800-1886) was a Scottish Liberal politician and campaigner.  He initially set up a draper's shop...
02/03/2021

Alumni Duncan McLaren (1800-1886) was a Scottish Liberal politician and campaigner. He initially set up a draper's shop in Edinburgh in 1824, but then pursued a career in local politics becoming a councillor then Lord Provost of Edinburgh in 1851. He saved the city from bankruptcy, pioneered free education and helped establish the National Museum of Scotland. In 1865 he became an MP.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend

Alumni Duncan McLaren (1800-1886) was a Scottish Liberal politician and campaigner. He initially set up a draper's shop in Edinburgh in 1824, but then pursued a career in local politics becoming a councillor then Lord Provost of Edinburgh in 1851. He saved the city from bankruptcy, pioneered free education and helped establish the National Museum of Scotland. In 1865 he became an MP.
#HeriotWatt200 #WattaLegend

Today is the birthday of campaigner Mary Burton (1819-1909) who persuaded the School of Arts to admit women.  She was th...
09/02/2021

Today is the birthday of campaigner Mary Burton (1819-1909) who persuaded the School of Arts to admit women. She was the first female Governor and also campaigned for female suffrage. Image courtesy of the National Library Scotland.
#WattaLegend #heriotwatt200

Today is the birthday of campaigner Mary Burton (1819-1909) who persuaded the School of Arts to admit women. She was the first female Governor and also campaigned for female suffrage. Image courtesy of the National Library Scotland.
#WattaLegend #heriotwatt200

James Nasmyth (1808-1890), the son of the artist Alexander Nasmyth, was one of the first students at the School of Arts....
25/01/2021

James Nasmyth (1808-1890), the son of the artist Alexander Nasmyth, was one of the first students at the School of Arts. He made models of James Watt's engine when he was a student to earn some money. He later invented the steam hammer and was able to retire at an early age.
#HeriotWatt200

James Nasmyth (1808-1890), the son of the artist Alexander Nasmyth, was one of the first students at the School of Arts. He made models of James Watt's engine when he was a student to earn some money. He later invented the steam hammer and was able to retire at an early age.
#HeriotWatt200

Less well known is University co-founder Robert Bryson (1778-1852).  A watch and clock maker, it was the lack of access ...
22/01/2021

Less well known is University co-founder Robert Bryson (1778-1852). A watch and clock maker, it was the lack of access to technical education for his staff that lead to the idea that they should set classes up themselves. His son Robert carried on with the business, which was ultimately bought out by Hamilton and Inches.

Less well known is University co-founder Robert Bryson (1778-1852). A watch and clock maker, it was the lack of access to technical education for his staff that lead to the idea that they should set classes up themselves. His son Robert carried on with the business, which was ultimately bought out by Hamilton and Inches.

Leonard Horner (1785-1864) was not only one of the University's founders, but a great social reformer.  In his role as a...
20/01/2021

Leonard Horner (1785-1864) was not only one of the University's founders, but a great social reformer. In his role as a factory inspector he was instrumental in pushing for legislation to improve working conditions. A keen geologist, he was friendly with Charles Lyell who his daughter Mary married.

Leonard Horner (1785-1864) was not only one of the University's founders, but a great social reformer. In his role as a factory inspector he was instrumental in pushing for legislation to improve working conditions. A keen geologist, he was friendly with Charles Lyell who his daughter Mary married.

19 January marks the launch of our bi-centennial celebrations.  In 1821 Leonard Horner and Robert Bryson founded the Edi...
19/01/2021

19 January marks the launch of our bi-centennial celebrations. In 1821 Leonard Horner and Robert Bryson founded the Edinburgh School of Arts - the world's first Mechanics Institute - to expand technical education to working people.

This image shows the Adam Square building with the statue of James Watt at the front.

19 January marks the launch of our bi-centennial celebrations. In 1821 Leonard Horner and Robert Bryson founded the Edinburgh School of Arts - the world's first Mechanics Institute - to expand technical education to working people.

This image shows the Adam Square building with the statue of James Watt at the front.

Todays' Explore Your Archive theme is science.  Chemist Christina Miller (1899-2001) overcame health problems to become ...
26/11/2020

Todays' Explore Your Archive theme is science. Chemist Christina Miller (1899-2001) overcame health problems to become one of the first five women to be admitted to the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
#ExploreYourArchive

Todays' Explore Your Archive theme is education. Heriot-Watt University was the world's first Mechanics Institute and wa...
23/11/2020

Todays' Explore Your Archive theme is education. Heriot-Watt University was the world's first Mechanics Institute and was founded to expand education to working men. Women were finally admitted in 1869. This image show the original building in Adam Square at the point of the demolition.
#ExporeYourArchive

Our collection of Riccarton estate papers includes plans of the estate and Currie in the early C19 century.  This plan s...
23/11/2020

Our collection of Riccarton estate papers includes plans of the estate and Currie in the early C19 century. This plan shows the GIbson-Craig estate lands which stretched from the north side of the Water of Leith to Hermiston and included what is now the Gyle shopping centre.
#ExploreYourArchive

Lovely autumn colours - despite the rain.
05/11/2020

Lovely autumn colours - despite the rain.

I saw this wee beauty on Campus last week.   The wildlife are definitely making the most of the  quiet.
05/11/2020

I saw this wee beauty on Campus last week. The wildlife are definitely making the most of the quiet.

James Watt's feelings on slavery seem ambiguous and to have changed through his lifetime - in 1791 he called slavery "di...
30/10/2020

James Watt's feelings on slavery seem ambiguous and to have changed through his lifetime - in 1791 he called slavery "disgraceful to humanity". By this point there had been quite a change in public opinion towards abolition. In celebrating James Watt we must do so in the context of their part in a society that benefitted from the proceeds of slavery.
#BHM2020

However James Watt's family was connected to trade in goods produced in slavery.  His father was a Greenock based trans-...
29/10/2020

However James Watt's family was connected to trade in goods produced in slavery. His father was a Greenock based trans-Atlantic trader in goods that included to***co, sugar and rum. There is also evidence that he and his brother arranged for a young boy, probably a slave, to be brought to Scotland.

Although James Watt died in 1819 before the Edinburgh School of Arts was founded a subscription fund in his name was set...
28/10/2020

Although James Watt died in 1819 before the Edinburgh School of Arts was founded a subscription fund in his name was set up to buy a new building in Adam Square and in 1854 it was renamed the Watt Institution and School of Arts.
#BHM2020

In addition to engineering inventions James Watt also worked as a surveyor and in 1780 developed a copying machine that ...
27/10/2020

In addition to engineering inventions James Watt also worked as a surveyor and in 1780 developed a copying machine that was used into the 20th century.
#BHM2020

James Watt (1736-1819) was regarded as the father of the industrial revolution.  His improvement to the existing Newcome...
26/10/2020

James Watt (1736-1819) was regarded as the father of the industrial revolution. His improvement to the existing Newcomen steam engine helped accelerate the speed of the industrial revolution.
#BHM2020

The Edinburgh shawl industry of the 18th and early 19th centuries has now largely been forgotten.  Not only did they wea...
23/10/2020

The Edinburgh shawl industry of the 18th and early 19th centuries has now largely been forgotten. Not only did they weave beautiful shawls the largely Quaker community were part of a national network of activists in abolition, education, suffrage and prison reform. John Wigham and the company Gibb and MacDonald were early supporters of the School of Arts and examples of their shawls are part of the Textile Collections at the Scottish Borders Campus. This image is from the 2016 Passion for Paisley exhibition at Hawick Museum.
#BHM2020

Midlothian MP Sir William Gibson-Craig of Riccarton (1797-1878) is not a well known abolitionist.  However in a letter t...
22/10/2020

Midlothian MP Sir William Gibson-Craig of Riccarton (1797-1878) is not a well known abolitionist. However in a letter to his father James just after the vote to abolish the apprenticeships in the West Indies in 1838 he explains how the vote had only passed by 3, and that he voted with the majority and would do so again.
#BHM2020

As we can't provide physical access to the museum and archive for Doors Open Day just now we have a virtual tour of the ...
25/09/2020
Doors open day - Heriot-Watt University

As we can't provide physical access to the museum and archive for Doors Open Day just now we have a virtual tour of the Campus on our web page for you to enjoy.
https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/services/is/heritage/doors-open-day.htm

Edinburgh & East Lothian Doors Open Days 2020 will be held on the 26th and 27th September 2020. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, it has been decided that there will be no physical access to buildings this year.   Instead Heriot Watt has developed a virtual tour of the heritag...

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented situation and we feel it's important to collect reflections and accounts...
16/07/2020
Covid-19 Contemporary Collecting - Heriot-Watt University

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented situation and we feel it's important to collect reflections and accounts from staff and students about their experiences to form part of the University archives. It you would like to become involved in this project or want further details please look at our web page or e-mail [email protected]
https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/services/is/heritage/covid-19-contemporary-collecting.htm

COVID 19 has brought about a unique period for everyone and Heriot Watt’s Museum and Archive would like to ensure that the University’s challenges and experiences during this time are recorded within the collection in some way.  We are looking for your contributions to help us reflect on what i...

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*Voting is open now till 05:00pm 11th March 2021* I believe I am better suited to this role who envisages “To make a difference” and make your voice heard to the higher authorities of our university. I need your support to make this happen and don’t forget to go through my manifesto and I am sure it will give you something to think about and that you will vote for me on the D-day that is on election day. Cheers..!
Happy Upcycling Day! What are you making today? Blacksmiths have to be the ultimate upcyclers, making something beautiful out of old bits. This is Tom Blair, blacksmith at Currie in Edinburgh in the 1960s making a gate.
Happy Upcycling day- what are you making today? Blacksmiths have to be the ultimate upcyclers, making something beautiful out of old bits. This is Tom Blair, Blacksmith at Currie in Edinburgh in the 1960s making a gate.
It's definitely time to start thinking about summer and this painting by John Houston, entitled Cornfield and Sea, is mesmerising. I'd definitely be happy to be going there on my holidays- perhaps one day!