Fettes College

Fettes College, Edinburgh
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Fettes College, Edinburgh

Located in the Comely Bank district of Edinburgh, Fettes College is a grand edifice in a mix of Scottish Baronial and French Gothic styles. One of the top public schools in Scotland, the college was founded with a legacy by Sir William Fettes (1750 - 1836). The architect was David Bryce (1803-76) and the building was erected between 1864 and 1870. In its early days, the majority of pupils were orphans or the sons of poor parents, and the concept of 'foundationers' continues to this day, although now forming a relatively small proportion of the student body.

Completing an impressive vista along Fettes Avenue, Fettes College consists of a three storey block with tall central tower and smaller flanking towers. A distinctive feature of the building is its steeply sloping lucarned roof, with soaring spires and turrets.

The school has a reputation for academic and sporting excellence and became fully co-educational in 1983. Former pupils include British Prime Minister Tony Blair (b.1953) and Canadian General and leader of the Northern Ireland weapons decommissioning body John de Chastelain (b.1938), together with entrepreneurs Sir David Murray (b.1951) and Sir Bill Gammell (b.1952), and Nobel-prizewinner Prof. Angus Deaton (b.1945). Its most famous fictitious pupil was Ian Fleming's secret agent James Bond.

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