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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


The Castle Hill.] THE RAGGED SCHOOL. 87 the said burgh situated under the Castle Hill t+ wards the north, to the head of the bank, and so going down to the said North Loch,? &c. This right of proprietary seems clear enough, yet Lord Neaves decided in favour of the Crown, and found that the ground adjacent to the Castle of Edinburgh, including the Esplanade and the north and south banks or braes,? belonged, (?jure coronte, to Her Majesty as part and pertinent of the said Castle.? CHAPTER IX. THE CASTLE HILL (cmclded). Dr. Guthrie?s Original Ragged School-Old Houses in the Streetof the Castle Hill-Duke of Gordon?s House, Blair?s Close-Webster?s CloscDr. Alex. Webster-Boswell?s Court-Hyndford House-Assembly Hall-Houses of the Marquis of Argyle, Sir Andrew Kcnnedy, the Earl of Cassillis, the Laird of Cockpen--Lord Semple?s House-Lord Semple-Palace of Mary of Gub-Its Fate. ON the north side of this thoroughfare-which, within 150 years ago, was one of the most aristocratic quarters of the old city-two great breaches have been made: one when the Free Church College was built in 1846, and the other, a little later, when Short?s Observatory was built in Ramsay Lane, together with the Original Ragged School, which owes its existence to the philanthropic efforts of the late Dr. Guthrie, who, with Drs. Chalmers, Cunningham, and Candlish, took so leading a part in the pon-intrusion controversy, which ended in the disruption in 1843 and the institution of the Free Church of Scotland. In 1847 Guthrie?s fervent and heart-stirring appeals on behalf of the homeless and destitute children, the little street Arabs of the Scottish capital, led to the establishment of the Edinburgh Original Ragged Industrial School, which has been productive of incalculable benefit to the children of the poorer classes of the city, by affording them the blessing of a good common and Christian education, by training them in habits of industry, enabling them to earn an honest livelihood, and fitting them for the duties of life, All children are excluded who attend regular day-schools, whose parents have a regular income, or who receive support or education from the parochial board; and the Association consists of all subscribers of 10s. and upwards per annum, or donors of A5 and upwards; and the general plan upon which this ragged school and its branch establishment at Leith Walk, are conducted is as follows, viz.:-?To give children an adequate allowance of food for their daily support; to instruct them in reading, writing, and arithmetic ; to train them in habits of industry, by instructing and employing them in such sorts of work as are suited to their years; to teach them the truths of the Gospel, making the Holy Scriptures the groundwork of instruction. On Sabbath the children shall receive food as on other days, and such religious instruction as shall be arranged by the acting committee,? which consists of not less than twelve members. To this most excellent institution no children are admissible who are above fourteen or under five years of age, and they must either be natives of Edinburgh or resident there at least twelve months prior to application for admission, though, in special cases, it may be limited to six. None are admitted or retained who labour under infectious disease, or whose mental or bodily constitution renders them incapable of profiting by the institution. All must , attend church on Sunday, and no formula of doctrine is taught to which their parents may object ; and children are excused from attendance at school or worship on Sunday whose parents object to their attendance, but who undertake that the children are otherwise religiously instructed in the tenets of the communion to which they belong, provided they are in a condition to be entrusted with the care of their children. Such were the broad, generous, and liberal views of Dr. Guthne, and most ably have they been carried out. According to the Report for 187g-which may be taken as fairly typical of the work done in this eminently useful institution-there was an average attendance. in the Ramsay Lane Schools of 216 boys and 89 girls. The Industrial Department comprises carpentry, box-making, shoemaking, and tailoring, and the net, profits made by the boys in these branches amounted to &;I& 14s. 5+d. Besides this the boys do all the washing, help the cook, make their beds, and wash the rooms they occupy twice a week. The washing done by boys was estimated at A130, and the girls, equally industrious, did work to the value (including the washing) of A109 7s. Full of years and honour, Dr. Thomas Guthne died 24th February, 1873. Memories of these old houses that have passed away, yet remain, while on the opposite side of the
Volume 1 Page 87
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