Old Roslin Primary School

Roslin, a village in central Scotland known for a surprising number of things. The Rosslyn Chapel and a picturesque glen below it with the remains of a 1804 gunpowder mills, the Roslin Castle, the Roslin Institute, home of Dolly the Sheep, and the monument commemorating the 1303 Battle of Roslin, one of the most important events during the First War of Scottish Independence, to name a few. Roslin is also a birthplace of a butcher John Lawson,the inventor of Bovril, and a plaque mentioning Sir Walter Scott inspired to write few poems on his weekend stroll can be found in a nearby woodland.

Plenty of pub trivia material coming from such a modest community.

The very first school in the village was built in 1829 and as the population grew from 252 to over 1600 mainly thanks to the booming coal mining industry, it had been replaced in 1973 by a new school building to accommodate 10 classes in three large open plan areas.

Due to ageing facilities and increasing number of pupils the old school has yet again been replaced by a larger, more modern building in 2017.


Visited just before the demolition commenced.


  1. Alice C. Edge
    23rd August 2017

    My elder brother and I attended Roslin Old Primary School between the years 1940 and 1945 having been evacuated from our London home, when the blitz started for real. We started off in Edinburgh, which had been our father’s home, staying with various aunts but as this didn’t work out our mother sought accommodation for us elsewhere and we ended up in Roslin. Our first home there was at Roslin Castle where we stayed for a couple of years (I still have my Identity Card to prove it) and later we moved into part of a double-fronted cottage at 9 Glen Cottages. We lived there until the end of the war before returning to our London home in June 1945. We were sometimes referred to as “the puir wee evacuees” but to us our life in Roslin was idyllic. I have many memories of our time in Roslin but as this post is about the school I will confine it to just those. I started school at Roslin aged 5 but my brother who was 10 had already attended school at Craiglochart during our stay in Edinburgh. My primary teacher was Miss Graham, followed by Miss Murdoch, then Miss Paton for 2 years. Gym, or P.T. as it subsequently was called, took place in the main hall but dinner was served in the dinner hall – always mince and potatoes on a Wednesday. I cannot remember if we had daily assemblies, but I do recall being present to see the strap being administered by the Headmaster (Mr. Watson) to some miscreants – almost a ceremonial beating by today’s standards. There was another occasion when a boy in my class had been crushed to death whilst playing on a logpile at his father’s sawmill and his coffin was brought into the school for a form of service. At lunchtime, to go with our mid-morning milk, for 1d. we could buy a roll from Dalgety’s bakery which was spread with red baker’s jam. Miss Paton would collate the orders and oneof the boys in our class would be sent across to collect the rolls. The sheer delight of those rolls when anything sweet was a luxury. Going to the lavatory except at break times was not encouraged and many a child would have to sit in wet knickers for the rest of the day. If you were given permission to “go” then it was a quick dash out into the playground – but oh, the relief. Winters were cold and severe. Sometimes the early bus out of Edinburgh bringing the papers to Richardson’s the newsagent couldn’t get through because of the snowdrifts, but the workers at the powdermill and the bomb factory, where my mother worked as head cook, had no option but to walk. It was forbidden to make a slide in the school playground, but somehow we managed it. Those children wearing shoes with rubber soles were not allowed on as the rubber would “dum” the slide. We used to have weekly tests in class and were seated around the classroom according to how well we performed. Perhaps it was learning by rote for some of the time, but in my adult life I knew that 9 x 9 were 81 because I could recite my tables by heart. It was only later that I knew how to work it out and come to the same answer. On the day, 8th May 1945, when the war was declared over, our then teacher wrote the words “unconditional surrender” on the board and as an exercise we had to see how many different words we could create from the letters.
    These are but few of my memories of my early schooldays in Roslin, but what an education it was. I suppose in reality both my brother and I were “bright” but it was developed by that little village school. I found out later that despite the bombing that was going on in London my brother’s English Scholarship papers were sent to Roslin for him to sit in splendid isolation pending the end of the war. He could have gone to Lasswade but my mother was persuaded for him to stop on at Roslin. ON our return to London he entered grammar school on the strength of his education at Roslin and I followed 2 years later – all thanks to Roslin.
    I expect our names are listed in the roll books for the years I write about – they are John Morley Scott and Alice Charlotte Scott. John sadly has died and I am 81 with still a trace of a Scottish accent so I am told.

  2. Martin hall
    14th May 2018

    Hi im currently run a face book page called lost roslin. Im fascinated with your storys of the old school. My family were all from roslin .i still have family living in roslin. I went to roslin primary school. In the 60s and on to penicuik high. Roslin was a magic places to live . i was born in the prefabs. But in 1958 we moved to a brand new houes. It was built where to police house use to stand. Right next to the bakers. My uncle worked in the bake house on the time you referred to.. Most of my mum and dads familys were miners at the moit pit. During the war my dad was in Burma. He was a gindit with lord Wingate. He survived the war .but when he came home he refuses to back down the mines. He worked in the brick workes that were situated next to the moit. My brother worked in the brick works in the 60s and later i did in the 70s till it closed 1979. I went on to work at bilston glen pit.till it closed in the 90s. Id love to hear more of you storys of you time in roslin. My family were the Halls you must have known some one from my family. Id love to hear from you. My email address is martinhall.mh64@gmail.com. you can join our group of lost rosliners. Youll find us under lost roslin. It currently has 877 members. Hope to hear from you. Martin Hall.

  3. Christine Collis
    14th May 2018

    Hello, I read out your memories to my Mum who is 94 tomorrow she found it really interesting as miss Murdock was her teacher. She also remembered the other teachers you mentioned . Her name was Janet Lang ( Nettie ) she had 2 younger brothers Joe and Tom And 2 sisters Nan and Forbes.

  4. 4th May 2019

    My thanks to Martin Hall and Christine Collis (May 2018) for their replies to my post about my days spent in Roslin and, in particular, Roslin School. I nearly fell of my chair (not good at my age!) when I realised that someone had read what I had written and had bothered to reply.
    Martin has mentioned a website that he runs for those with memories of our schooldays at Roslin so I shall contact him. If ever there was an opportunity of indulgence for talking about oneself, this is it
    Yours sincerely, Alice Edge (nee Scott).

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