Caritas 47

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ISSUE <strong>47</strong><br />


Official Opening of the John Martin Building<br />

Also featuring<br />

• Supreme Court President<br />

• Myreside Pavilion<br />

• S3 Projects


Welcome 1<br />

President’s Update 2<br />

Introducing the New President and Vice President for 2021 3<br />

Visit of HRH The Princess Royal 4<br />

Watsonian Becomes First Scottish President of the Supreme Court 6<br />

Ex Corde <strong>Caritas</strong> - Watson’s Responds 10<br />

NHS Louisa Jordan - Communication and Collaboration 12<br />

Innovate to Ventilate Global Competition 14<br />

Rod Slater on S3 Projects - The Good Days and the Not So Good Days 16<br />

George Watson’s Ladies’ College 150th Anniversary 20<br />

The History of Myreside Pavilion 22<br />

Interview with Gregor Firth 26<br />

Lighting and Sound Crew 28<br />

From The Archives 30<br />

Close Encounters - Wildlife on Projects 32<br />

Watsonians in the News 34<br />

Watsonian Sections and Branches 36<br />

Calendar of Events 40<br />

Remembering - The CCF 44<br />

W<br />

COVER:<br />

HRH The Princess Royal departs<br />

after officially opening the John<br />

Martin Building read the full<br />

story on pages 4 - 5.<br />


Karen Goodman<br />

Andrew Grant<br />

Margaret Peat<br />

Morven Skirving<br />

1<br />

Privacy Policy: In line with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR),<br />

which came into force in May 2018, you can view our Privacy Policy by visiting<br />

www.gwc.org.uk/privacy-policy. You can change your communication<br />

preferences at any time by contacting the Development Office.<br />

WatsoniansLinked<br />


elcome<br />

Welcome to our 2020 edition of <strong>Caritas</strong>, coming<br />

to you during what is perhaps the strangest year,<br />

for many of us, in living memory.<br />

The pandemic has, of course, impacted our<br />

programme of events and our ability to meet<br />

informally, but determined we stay connected with<br />

our Watsonian community both close to home and<br />

across the world, we launched #WatsoniansLinked.<br />

A place for you to share your news, stories and<br />

memories; but also a place for you to hear about<br />

life on campus. To read these, or contribute<br />

your own story, please go to www.gwc.org.uk/<br />

WatsoniansLinked. You can also read regular updates<br />

by joining our Facebook page www.facebook.com/<br />

WatsoniansLinked.<br />

We couldn’t let this edition pass without sharing<br />

a few inspirational stories with you by former pupils,<br />

who have been directly involved with the COVID-19<br />

crisis through engineering, innovation and front<br />

line care. You can read their stories on pages 10 - 15.<br />

Plans for the George Watson’s Ladies’ College 150th<br />

Anniversary, in 2021, are now confirmed - you can<br />

read more about these plans on pages 20 - 21. We<br />

have also established a GWLC 150 Facebook group,<br />

which already has almost 250 members, who have<br />

shared some fascinating and fun memories from their<br />

school days at St Alban’s Road and George Square.<br />

Where we can, we are moving our postponed events<br />

online, which includes plans for our 2020 Anniversary<br />

Reunions later this year. That said, undeterred<br />

by the pandemic, we are also planning our calendar<br />

of events for 2021 - which you will find on page 40 -<br />

when we hope to be able to see many of you again<br />

here on campus, at Colinton Road.<br />

Finally, please take time to complete and return<br />

the enclosed Update Form. Where possible, we will<br />

share news, updates and event invitations with you<br />

by email, so please ensure that we have your details<br />

correct. It is also important that we know your<br />

communication preferences to comply with GDPR<br />

rules, so please update those. You will see that we are<br />

asking you to let us know if the address we send mail<br />

to is your ‘home’ or ‘parental’ address. We are asking<br />

this as we realise that our younger Watsonians may<br />

not have set down permanent roots; and, therefore,<br />

may still be receiving mail to a ‘parental’ address.<br />

As well as an address for mail, you also have the<br />

option to receive event invites to an alternative<br />

address; for example if you are living and working<br />

in London.<br />

I hope that you enjoy this <strong>47</strong>th edition of <strong>Caritas</strong>,<br />

and if you have a story you would like to<br />

share, please don’t hesitate to contact me<br />

via development@gwc.org.uk<br />

Ex Corde <strong>Caritas</strong><br />

Morven Skirving (née Kerr, Class of 1990)<br />

Alumni Relations Officer<br />

Watsonian Council<br />

Watsonian President<br />

Vice President<br />

Principal<br />

Director of Development<br />

Elected member<br />

Johnny Bacigalupo<br />

Gillian Sandilands<br />

Melvyn Roffe<br />

Karen Goodman<br />

Ben Di Rollo<br />

Elected member<br />

Elected member<br />

Secretariat<br />

Heads of Sixth Year<br />

David Ferguson<br />

Fiona Hourston<br />

Morven Skirving<br />

Michael Cantle<br />

Heidi Fogarty<br />

George Watson’s College, Colinton Road, Edinburgh EH10 5EG<br />

Tel: 0131 446 6008 | email: development@gwc.org.uk<br />

www.gwc.org.uk/WatsoniansLinked<br />

George Watson’s College is administered by the<br />

Edinburgh Merchant Company Education Board,<br />

a charity registered in Scotland SC0097<strong>47</strong>.<br />


President’s<br />

Update<br />

It is fair to say that my second<br />

year as President has, like the<br />

plans and hopes of so many, not<br />

quite turned out as expected.<br />

That said, it has still been a<br />

busy and successful year for the<br />

Watsonian Club and its Sections.<br />

Our regional Watsonian Branches may not have been<br />

able to come together as planned, but I was delighted<br />

to be able to join the Principal, Melvyn Roffe, in hosting<br />

a number of very successful online meetings with our<br />

regional organisers. These meetings provided the first<br />

ever opportunity for our volunteers, from all corners of<br />

the globe, to come together; giving them the chance to<br />

share details of the history of their Club and how they<br />

were managing to stay connected with members<br />

during lockdown.<br />

Like our regional groups, lockdown has also had a<br />

significant impact on our Sports Sections and the<br />

Community Choir. You can read more about the Clubs<br />

and Sections, on pages 36 - 39; and a copy of the<br />

detailed annual report from each Section can be found<br />

on the Watsonian Club website pages. During the<br />

year, we were asked by members to establish two new<br />

sections, the LGBTQ Section and the BAME Section.<br />

Work is currently underway to recruit Office Bearers<br />

and to establish the details of their constitutions.<br />

For the Watsonian Council, the pandemic was not<br />

the first disaster to be faced in 2020. On Wednesday<br />

5 February, fire swept through the upper bar and<br />

Watsonian Benevolent Fund<br />

The Benevolent Fund provides help to<br />

Watsonians through one-off and monthly<br />

financial allowances, and grants to<br />

purchase equipment.<br />

roof of Myreside Pavilion. This much loved and<br />

important landmark, on the School’s estate, was left<br />

in a pretty sorry state. To support the School, the<br />

Watsonian Council reached out to members to gather<br />

their views on the future of the Pavilion. Over 250<br />

individuals, from across Scotland, completed the survey<br />

and this feedback has informed the future plans. It is<br />

hoped that the Pavilion will be back to full operation in<br />

spring/summer 2021.<br />

I also wanted to share with you the very sad news<br />

that Rod Slater, former President (2010-2011), passed<br />

away in August. Rod joined Watson’s in 1983 as Head<br />

of Modern Languages, retiring in 2008. At the beginning<br />

of the year, Rod had written of his experiences from<br />

S3 Projects, which we are pleased to share on<br />

pages 16-19.<br />

We are always looking for new ways to grow<br />

participation, so if you have any suggestions for<br />

new sport, creative arts or other interest groups,<br />

then we would be delighted to hear from you.<br />

Johnny Bacigalupo (Class of 1995)<br />

President of the Watsonian Club<br />

Further details about the Fund, including how to<br />

apply for funding, or seek advice, can be found at<br />

www.gwc.org.uk/fundingforwatsonians or<br />

by email: development@gwc.org.uk<br />


President-elect of the<br />

Watsonian Club, 2021-2023<br />

Gillian Sandilands (Class of 1978)<br />

Vice President-elect of the<br />

Watsonian Club, 2021-2023<br />

Ben Di Rollo (Class of 2002)<br />

Gillian joined George Watson’s Ladies’ College in<br />

Primary 3, at St Alban’s Road, moving to George<br />

Square and finally Colinton Road, following the<br />

merger of the Ladies’ College and Boys’ School.<br />

Gillian completed her school education in 1978 and<br />

went on to study Biological Sciences at The University<br />

of Edinburgh and later an MBA with the Open<br />

University. She has had a varied and interesting career,<br />

building on her science background. Throughout her<br />

career, Gillian was involved in bringing novel medical<br />

devices, in vitro diagnostic and pharmaceutical<br />

products to market. She has worked both at home<br />

and abroad, living in the Netherlands and the<br />

United States.<br />

As Head of Global Compliance and Regulatory Affairs<br />

she and her team played an important role in medical<br />

product compliance and safety. Married to Stewart,<br />

they have two children, Kirsty and Ewan, who were<br />

educated at Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools prior to<br />

heading off to English universities. Gillian is a Member<br />

of the Royal Company of Merchants of the City of<br />

Edinburgh, where she has served on the Master’s<br />

Court and chaired the Charities’ Committee. She<br />

currently sits on the Audit and Risk Committee and<br />

the Education Board. Gillian is also a mentor for small<br />

start-up companies and is currently the Chairperson<br />

of the GWLC 150 Committee, who are organising<br />

the commemorative celebrations for the 150th<br />

anniversary in 2021.<br />

Ben attended George Watson’s College from<br />

nursery until graduation in 2002.<br />

He went on to study Urban and Regional Planning<br />

at Heriot-Watt University, before switching to Estate<br />

Management at Edinburgh Napier University. Ben is<br />

currently a Director and board member of a solicitor<br />

estate agency in Edinburgh and Lothians, which he<br />

co-founded. He is a technology enthusiast and helped<br />

develop property software which is widely used in<br />

the market today.<br />

He also holds a place on the Board of Directors at<br />

St Columba’s Hospice, where he helps advise on<br />

the charity’s retail shops and marketing initiatives.<br />

In addition, Ben is a mentor at RBS Entrepreneurial<br />

Spark where he has mentored several entrepreneurs<br />

to set-up and grow their businesses.<br />

He was a keen rugby player and was a member of the<br />

School’s 1st XV from S3-S6 and went on to spend over<br />

a decade as a player for the Watsonian Football Club,<br />

where he retired as Captain - a torn Achilles was his<br />

body telling him to stop! Ben is married to Heather<br />

and they have two boys, Leo and Seb, who currently<br />

attend Bonaly Primary School. Ben spends much of his<br />

spare time on the touchline and ferrying his boys to<br />

their various clubs, but still manages to fit in the odd<br />

round of golf, sea kayaking and hill running.<br />

Gillian will be installed as President on Founder’s<br />

Day 2021.<br />


ROYAL<br />

VISIT<br />




After the planned Opening in April<br />

was postponed, we were delighted to<br />

welcome Her Royal Highness The<br />

Princess Royal on 22 September, to<br />

officially open the new John Martin<br />

Building. Fittingly, her visit was 88<br />

years to the day that her Great Uncle,<br />

His Royal Highness Prince George,<br />

first opened the School buildings at<br />

Colinton Road and 17 years after<br />

her previous visit.<br />


The John Martin Junior School<br />

Building has been the School’s most<br />

ambitious capital build. The £8.2<br />

million extension provides new<br />

modern teaching and learning spaces,<br />

an open plan library overlooking the<br />

Pentlands, flexible learning spaces<br />

for modern languages, a new music<br />

suite, performance spaces, and an<br />

open entrance and reception that can<br />

be used as a social space, as well as<br />

for events.<br />

Former pupil, John Martin (Class of<br />

1948) left a generous legacy to the<br />

School, which made a significant<br />

contribution towards the extension<br />

of the Junior School building, named<br />

in his memory.<br />

Arriving to the musical<br />

accompaniment of our awardwinning<br />

Pipe Band, The Princess<br />

Royal was greeted by the Lord<br />

Provost, Frank Ross (Class of 1976)<br />

and led through a walkway lined<br />

with smiling Junior School pupils<br />

enthusiastically waving flags.<br />

After being introduced to The Master<br />

of the Royal Company of Merchants<br />

of the City of Edinburgh, Peter Hillier;<br />

Principal, Melvyn Roffe; and Head of<br />

the Junior School, George Salmond,<br />

Her Royal Highness began her tour of<br />

the new building.<br />

The Princess observed the learning<br />

taking place in the modern, bright<br />

classrooms and met pupils in the<br />

building’s new Upper Primary library.<br />

Her Royal Highness then viewed the<br />

artwork entitled Tree of Life by textile<br />

artist Alison Binns before visiting<br />

the building’s state of the art music<br />

and performance hub, taking in the<br />

sounds of the ongoing music lessons.<br />

After signing the visitors’ book, which<br />

was signed by her father in 1966 and<br />

her mother in 1982, the Principal<br />

invited the Princess to unveil the<br />

plaque to officially open the building.<br />

Her Royal Highness then made a<br />

short speech and shared her positive<br />

thoughts on the development.<br />

Commenting that “This is a terrific<br />

addition to the School and its<br />

capabilities in terms of education but<br />

it also came at a time when it could<br />

respond, perhaps even better, to the<br />

challenges of the pandemic”.<br />

As the Princess prepared to leave,<br />

Ruaridh Calvert (P7) presented,<br />

on behalf of all pupils, a specially<br />

commissioned book, containing<br />

illustrations by our pupils of the<br />

54 Articles in the United Nations<br />

Convention on the Rights of the<br />

Child; and a posy of flowers was<br />

presented by Caitlin Scott (P4).<br />

As Her Royal Highness was<br />

escorted back to her car through<br />

a pupil guard of honour, the<br />

Pipe Band bade farewell in true<br />

Watson’s style.<br />


UK Supreme Court<br />

Watsonian becomes<br />

first Scottish President<br />

of the Supreme Court<br />

Video interview by the School Captains Phoebe Fogarty (Class of 2020) and<br />

Lachlan White (Class of 2020).<br />

At the start of April, we were excited to have the opportunity to interview Lord Reed<br />

(Class of 1973), just a few months after he took up his new position as President of the<br />

UK’s Supreme Court. A rare opportunity for us to ask this successful Watsonian about<br />

his profession, career, and thoughts on some relevant global affairs.<br />


Phoebe: You took over as President of the Supreme<br />

Court from Lady Hale, the first woman to occupy that<br />

position. What do you feel that you, or the field of law<br />

as a whole, can do to open the higher levels of the<br />

profession to more women, minorities, and working<br />

class people?<br />

Lord Reed: There are now a lot of women having very<br />

successful careers at the Bar and they are finding their<br />

way onto the bench as judges. We haven’t attracted<br />

as many women applicants to the Supreme Court<br />

as we would like, so my role is to encourage more<br />

applications. Things are moving in the right direction.<br />

With ethnic minority members, the position is similar.<br />

There is a time lag between the large-scale immigration,<br />

in the 1970s and later, from the Indian subcontinent,<br />

Africa and the Caribbean, and the opportunities for the<br />

children of that generation to be appointed as QCs or<br />

judges. It has been a question of time, really, for them to<br />

get experienced enough, and senior enough, to be filling<br />

leading positions in the legal hierarchy, but they are<br />

approaching that now. Problems associated with social<br />

class are, I think, much harder to eradicate. We live in a<br />

society where the social class you are born into has an<br />

impact on your life chances. The Bar and the solicitors’<br />

profession are competitive, market-oriented professions<br />

- they want the most able people; and they tend to be<br />

produced by the top universities, and a high proportion<br />

of those have gone to top schools. That’s a difficult<br />

thing to eradicate. Obviously you want the law to be<br />

open to people of talent whatever their background and<br />

universities are doing a great deal to increase access, so<br />

I hope that things will change.<br />

The Supreme Court has certainly been busier with<br />

politically controversial questions than its predecessor<br />

- the House of Lords - but I don’t think that it is cause,<br />

and effect. If the House of Lords had carried on in its<br />

judicial role, it would have been hearing the same cases.<br />

Lachlan: Do you think that the independence of the<br />

judiciary is under threat in Hong Kong and, if so, is<br />

this a phenomenon unique to that context or could<br />

independent judiciaries be under threat worldwide?<br />

Lord Reed: There are certainly a great many parts of the<br />

world where they don’t have independent judiciaries, or<br />

where independent judiciaries are indeed under threat.<br />

At the end of February, I was in India giving the keynote<br />

address at a conference of Chief Justices from around<br />

the world; every country from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.<br />

The judges there were talking about the problems<br />

they had with governments that sought to pressurise<br />

them or simply ignored their judgments. Hong Kong<br />

does have a judiciary which is independent - I sit there<br />

myself as a judge for about a month a year and I would<br />

not sit if it wasn’t an independent judiciary. Hong Kong<br />

has had its difficulties recently with the riots, but the<br />

courts demonstrated their independence. There was<br />

criticism of the courts for granting bail to people who<br />

were arrested for rioting, but the courts were acting in<br />

accordance with the usual practice of criminal courts.<br />

So they have, I think, shown their independence.<br />

Lachlan: Since its inception, the Supreme Court has<br />

played an ever more significant role in political matters.<br />

Do you think it was inevitable that the creation of the<br />

Court would lead to such involvement?<br />

Lord Reed: I don’t think it was to do with the creation<br />

of the Supreme Court, I think it was to do with changes<br />

in the law and society more widely. There are certain<br />

legal developments that have made politically sensitive<br />

issues more likely to find their way to the courts, such<br />

as devolution. Inevitably, there are going to be disputes<br />

between Whitehall and St Andrew’s House [The Scottish<br />

Government headquarters] that find their way into the<br />

courts because one or other party isn’t happy with what<br />

they can achieve by negotiation. Brexit was another<br />

important development in the law which brought issues<br />

to the court that would not have found their way there.<br />

Wider changes in society are also an important factor -<br />

the scale of immigration, into the UK and Europe, has<br />

resulted in a lot of new legal regulation, and where<br />

there is legal regulation there is scope for cases to come<br />

before the courts. With environmental change, the<br />

same is true; as we saw in the recent Heathrow Airport<br />

case. We also handed down judgment in a case about<br />

surrogate parenthood - that sort of case would have<br />

been unimaginable until very recently.<br />

UK Supreme Court<br />

Phoebe: Looking forward, do you see the Supreme<br />

Court playing a pivotal role in resolving legal tension<br />

post Brexit, for example around borders and the Good<br />

Friday Agreement?<br />

Lord Reed: Well, I certainly hope not! What happens<br />

depends on the form that agreements take. If they<br />

take the form of legally binding obligations, as the<br />

withdrawal agreement with the EU does; then inevitably,<br />

if people can’t resolve their differences amicably, they<br />

are entitled to go to the court. I suspect that we will have<br />

quite a lot of issues to deal with after Brexit, to do with<br />

interpreting the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK<br />

legislation giving effect to it. We are certainly not looking<br />

forward to it with eager anticipation and if political<br />

institutions are able to resolve things politically, then so<br />

much the better.<br />


UK Supreme Court<br />

Phoebe: At a time where our politics and media are<br />

becoming increasingly antagonistic towards the<br />

judiciary, do you ever feel threatened or intimidated?<br />

Lord Reed: No, I don’t think we do feel threatened or<br />

intimidated. There are occasions when sections of the<br />

media will seek to influence us, as they are used to<br />

being able to put pressure on politicians, and that can<br />

work because at the end of the day popularity matters<br />

to politicians - they need to win elections. Judges don’t<br />

need to win elections - we are not in the popularity<br />

business - we just have to apply the law as best we can.<br />

The pressure put on the Supreme Court over Brexit, for<br />

example, did not have any effect one way or the other.<br />

However, I wouldn’t just laugh it off - the allegations<br />

that are sometimes made in the press that judges are<br />

biased are quite wrong and that ought to be taken<br />

seriously because it is important that people have trust<br />

in the integrity of the courts. The main problem that<br />

a lot of adverse publicity can cause a judge is not for<br />

himself or herself, but for their family. They can worry<br />

that the judge is upset by the coverage, or sometimes<br />

they can find themselves on the receiving end of the<br />

unpleasantness caused. I can remember - a long time<br />

ago - when I was criticised quite seriously in one or<br />

two newspapers over a criminal sentence. My children<br />

were at primary school at that time and I remember<br />

one of them having difficulties at school over things<br />

people were saying to her about her dad, based on<br />

what they had obviously heard said at home. It is not<br />

always pleasant, but it doesn’t actually intimidate us or<br />

influence our decisions in any way.<br />

Lachlan: Was joining the UK Supreme Court from a<br />

Scots law background an advantage or a problem, given<br />

that most of your colleagues will have come from an<br />

English background?<br />

Lord Reed: A bit of both! I was in a slightly unusual<br />

position, as I was qualified as an English barrister and<br />

a Scottish advocate, though I hadn’t really practiced<br />

as a barrister and my knowledge of English law was<br />

extremely rusty. As most of the cases we deal with are<br />

concerned with problems of English law, there were<br />

some areas where I had to do quite a lot of studying to<br />

get up to speed! Overall, there are advantages in coming<br />

from a Scottish background as Scotland is quite a small<br />

jurisdiction, Scottish judges can cover almost every area<br />

of the law in the course of their careers. On the other<br />

hand, an English barrister can spend their whole career<br />

working in a particular area of law and continue on in<br />

that area as a judge. When you get to the Supreme Court<br />

there are only 12 Justices to cover the entirety of the law<br />

so you can no longer specialise. If you come to the Court<br />

as a Scottish judge you will have dealt with both family<br />

law and patents, and pretty much everything else - that<br />

generalist background is definitely a major advantage.<br />

Phoebe: As someone who has worked in human rights<br />

law, what do you think is the biggest current challenge<br />

to human rights both in the UK and globally?<br />

Lord Reed: I would say the greatest challenge probably<br />

comes from mass immigration. If you think about the<br />

major developments in the world, I think one of the<br />

most important is large scale immigration, partly caused<br />


y the level of conflict around the world - particularly in<br />

the Middle East. That will increasingly be exacerbated by<br />

the effects of climate change. Some areas of the world<br />

are going to become unable to sustain their populations,<br />

for example in Africa, and there are other parts of the<br />

world that will become uninhabitable. If you think about<br />

the Ganges Delta in Bangladesh, or entire countries<br />

which are very low lying like the Maldives, there is going<br />

to be an awful lot of movement of people around the<br />

world, which is then fiercely resisted by other countries.<br />

I think over the last ten years or so, the greatest<br />

challenge to human rights in Europe has been the<br />

treatment of immigrants and refugees, and I don’t think<br />

that is likely to diminish. I think it will probably become<br />

a more serious problem, rather than a less serious one.<br />

Lachlan: What do you see as the major implications<br />

of the COVID-19 outbreak on law and civil liberties,<br />

especially due to the new powers given to the<br />

government and police?<br />

Lord Reed: The powers that have been given are<br />

obviously those that Parliament has considered<br />

appropriate, and I can’t really comment on the policies.<br />

It is important that the powers are time limited; and, of<br />

course, if they are exercised in what people regard as<br />

an unnecessarily heavy-handed way then people will<br />

not be slow to react and criticise what is happening. As<br />

for the operation of the law, the Appellate Courts - like<br />

my own - are able to continue reasonably well using<br />

virtual hearings, very like this interview. The problem<br />

has been much greater for criminal cases, where you<br />

have juries. As we speak, attempts are being made to<br />

develop ways of holding criminal trials. I don’t have any<br />

apprehensions about the longer implications for the law<br />

of all this. The courts will obviously go back to hearings<br />

in court as soon as that is practical. I think we have<br />

got used to holding meetings online and I expect that<br />

may continue - people may not travel into work as<br />

much. I just hope this will all come to a close sooner<br />

rather than later and life can go back to normal.<br />

Lachlan: Do you feel that your time at Watson’s<br />

prepared you in any particular way for a career in law?<br />

Lord Reed: Yes, I think it did in a number of ways.<br />

Most importantly, in order to have any sort of successful<br />

career in law it is essential to have a good education,<br />

and I received that. More particularly, it became very<br />

obvious to me - when I went to The University of<br />

Edinburgh - that schools like Watson’s and Heriot’s<br />

produced pupils that were generally more confident<br />

and articulate than many of the other students. A career<br />

in law is very much to do with confidence and being<br />

able to articulate your ideas clearly, so that was<br />

important. You were encouraged, when I was at school,<br />

to speak up and express your views. There were also<br />

opportunities of all kinds given to me at school.<br />

For example, I was a good singer so I did a lot of solos<br />

in the choir, and that gives you confidence performing<br />

in front of a large audience. I was also President of<br />

the Literary Club and that gave me the opportunity<br />

to get used to speaking in public, which is something<br />

that a lot of people find very difficult. So, I’m very<br />

grateful to Watson’s for giving me a good education<br />

and affording me the opportunities that it did, which<br />

I think have contributed greatly to my success after I<br />

left school.<br />

UK Supreme Court<br />



Watson’s Responds<br />

True to the spirit of Ex Corde <strong>Caritas</strong>, our pupils,<br />

staff and Wasonians have played their part -<br />

throughout the pandemic - to use their skills,<br />

expertise and time to help others. Whether<br />

supporting the NHS, helping the most vulnerable<br />

in our communities or looking after the children of<br />

our key workers, never before have we challenged<br />

ourselves and cared for others in the way we have<br />

during 2020.<br />

To show our support to the NHS and help protect<br />

key workers when there was a shortage of PPE, the<br />

School’s Technology Department made face shields,<br />

which were gifted to St John’s Hospital, Marie Curie<br />

Scotland, Caley Home Care, Capability Scotland<br />

and others.<br />

The School was open throughout lockdown, providing<br />

care to key workers’ children. This provision was<br />

offered beyond Watson’s pupils and our neighbours at<br />

the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, and other staff providing<br />

clinical and social care in our community, were given<br />

access to the School’s car parks. And, as an ongoing<br />

message of support, the floodlights at the front of the<br />

Senior School will remain blue as long as the pandemic<br />

is with us - our simple way of recognising the NHS and<br />

all key workers.<br />

Pupils and staff from the Development Office wrote<br />

postcards to hundreds of Watsonians, around the<br />

world, who we knew were living alone and who may<br />

have found it particularly challenging over the past few<br />

months. Many of those receiving a note reciprocated<br />

and we were heartened by the wonderful responses.<br />

Junior School Pupils also designed and wrote<br />

‘Thinking of you’ notes for the Marie Curie Hospice<br />

while others volunteered to phone those supported<br />

through the Eric Liddell Centre. All of these simple<br />

kindnesses helped to combat the loneliness that so<br />

many were suffering from. And, within our own School<br />

community, Senior School pupils volunteered to do<br />

virtual paired reading with the Lower Primary pupils,<br />

which proved to be a wonderful success.<br />

Perhaps one of the most poignant and impactful<br />

ways we were able to reach out and engage with our<br />

Watsonian family, was thanks to the efforts of Steven<br />

Griffin, Assistant Director of Music, and his Worldwide<br />

Watsonian Virtual Choir. More than 200 Watsonians<br />

took part, each sending their own recording of Steven’s<br />

arrangement of an ancient song which evokes a<br />

sense of belonging and fellowship; Auld Lang Syne.<br />

We were grateful to Simon Laidlaw (Class of 1990) for<br />

editing the contributions into a moving performance<br />

where we, virtually, linked arms across the world. This<br />

video, which has been viewed over 3000 times, is still<br />

available to view at: www.gwc.org.uk/auldlangsyne<br />

However, this was not the only role which music played<br />

in our response to the pandemic. During the Thursday<br />

night “Clap for Carers”, our talented musicians showed<br />

their support by playing wonderful tunes in salute.<br />

Bagpipes, drums and violins were just some of the<br />

instruments that could be heard across the City<br />

and beyond.<br />

We know that many of you will have unique stories<br />

to share and we would love to hear these, as we are<br />

compiling a collection of written stories, images and<br />

artefacts for the School’s Archive. In the meantime,<br />

we are pleased to share on pages 12 - 15 the stories<br />

of two Watsonians who, in very different ways, rose<br />

to the challenges borne from the pandemic.<br />




Watson’s Responds<br />

Communication<br />

& Collaboration<br />

Neil Granger (Class of 2000) is a Regional Director<br />

with AECOM, an infrastructure firm who pride<br />

themselves on solving some of the world’s most<br />

complex challenges. It is clear AECOM’s involvement<br />

in the establishment of the NHS Louisa Jordan<br />

Hospital in Glasgow, earlier this year, was a challenge<br />

that required significant assiduity as Neil explained<br />

shortly after its opening.<br />

I am not going to lie, it was somewhat daunting being<br />

briefed on a project where the fairly explicit message is<br />

‘failure is not an option, as people will die’. That was the<br />

message received, from the Army, at the initial briefing<br />

for the NHS Louisa Jordan temporary hospital at the<br />

Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow.<br />

Our challenge was to turn a building, more accustomed<br />

to hosting music concerts and exhibitions, into a 1000+<br />

bed facility to treat patients with COVID-19; with a<br />

quarter of those beds providing high dependency care.<br />

To ratchet up the pressure - a little - we also had just<br />

three weeks.<br />

When I took the call, from Thomas Rodger, AECOM’s<br />

Healthcare lead in Scotland, to tell me I would be part<br />

of the team developing the design and delivery strategy<br />

of the electrical systems for the project, I was less than<br />

one week into trying to get to grips with home working<br />

for two parents, with two small children. From the very<br />

start of the project, it became clear that there was no<br />

chance of easing into a lockdown routine at home and<br />

being on site was the only real option. It was also clear<br />

that the challenges were far wider ranging than trying to<br />

do something in three weeks, that would normally take<br />

three years.<br />

Strategic planning started immediately, but we also<br />

had the challenges of social distancing protocols, and<br />

scenario planning - ‘what if’ someone on site tested<br />

positive for COVID-19. Lessons learned from the<br />

London Excel NHS Nightingale Hospital were discussed<br />

at length and significant differences between the two<br />

facilities were identified, including moving away from<br />

a traditional ‘field hospital’ to a ‘temporary hospital’,<br />

where full healthcare standards had to apply. We knew<br />

what we designed and constructed would be heavily<br />

scrutinised and very little leeway would be granted,<br />

irrespective of time and building related constraints.<br />

Engineering is about adapting and finding solutions to<br />

different challenges. In the case of NHS Louisa Jordan,<br />

the challenges were numerous and not always obvious.<br />


We had to think on our feet and adapt, quickly realising<br />

that the 35 year old building would not allow the most<br />

efficient solutions to be implemented, such as how to<br />

evacuate 1000+ patients and staff in the event of a fire.<br />

It was not just the existing building that posed<br />

significant challenges, other COVID facilities began to<br />

be briefed and our strategies had to balance clinical<br />

requirements against supply chain availability. Our<br />

designs and decisions had to be made quickly to<br />

ensure necessary materials, equipment and manpower<br />

were earmarked for Louisa Jordan. Sourcing power<br />

supplies to ventilators, for high dependency areas, was<br />

particularly challenging as the necessary equipment<br />

simply was not available. Being asked whether we<br />

‘could make something work’ and still comply with<br />

healthcare requirements, using the only equipment<br />

that was available in the UK at the time, did nothing<br />

to ease the pressure.<br />

Ultimately, finding solutions came down to<br />

communication and collaboration. The project<br />

brought together different parties who would<br />

traditionally compete for work and would typically<br />

hold different views on approach. These views were<br />

put to one side and everyone pulled together as a<br />

single team, with an attitude of ‘we can pick that up’<br />

or ‘we might be able to help with that’. That was<br />

probably one of the biggest takeaways I had from<br />

my time at NHS Louisa Jordan and certainly, I believe,<br />

there should be more done to instil a genuinely<br />

collaborative approach in industry and society<br />

in general.<br />

On April 19 2020, just under three weeks after I was<br />

first involved in the project, the Louisa Jordan Hospital<br />

was handed over to the NHS - ready, if necessary, to<br />

take its first patient the following day. Over 1000 people<br />

made the project a success, the clinicians, designers<br />

and contractors, but also the security staff and cleaners<br />

who kept us safe, as we did what we needed to do. On<br />

handover day I felt proud to have been involved, but<br />

I was not sure our achievement had fully sunk in - I<br />

still don’t. Unlike other projects, it is a strange feeling<br />

knowing that, no matter how long the days and nights<br />

were at the time, I do not want to see the building used<br />

and that the efforts may simply have been an exercise<br />

in ‘just in case’.<br />

As I start to look back on it and acknowledge that,<br />

realistically, my role was a tiny piece of the overall<br />

picture, I can only thank those involved in delivering<br />

care at the frontline, whether it involves NHS Louisa<br />

Jordan or not.<br />

NB: Photos were taken during the set up phase of the<br />

hospital and are not a reflection of the finished facility.<br />



Watson’s Responds<br />

Watson’s Engineer<br />

Takes on Global<br />

Challenge<br />

CORE Vent takes an alternative approach to a traditional<br />

“bellow” ventilator system using a novel concept to<br />

maintain positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP)<br />

through a single, simplified system. It could also be<br />

supplied in ‘kit form’ where all the essential components<br />

come boxed, to be assembled at a facility close to<br />

end use.<br />

The CoVent-19 Challenge had strategic partnerships<br />

with manufacturers, global health Non Governmental<br />

Organisations, government agencies and healthcare<br />

systems. All working with the challenge champion to<br />

transfer the winning design to a partner manufacturer<br />

for production.<br />

Ross explained: “When I heard about the CoVent-19<br />

Challenge I decided I had to enter to try to help the<br />

growing number of COVID-19 sufferers across the world.<br />

The pandemic was having devastating effects on people<br />

and communities everywhere and one of the best ways<br />

to treat sufferers was by ensuring there were effective<br />

and affordable ventilators available, especially in<br />

developing countries that don’t have many resources.<br />

In spring this year, Ross Hunter (Class of 1996), a Scottish<br />

design engineer, was announced as the only UK based<br />

finalist in a global challenge - CoVent19 - to invent<br />

a new ventilator to help COVID-19 sufferers in<br />

developing countries.<br />

CoVent-19 was an open innovation challenge for<br />

engineers, innovators, designers and makers. The<br />

Innovate2Ventilate brief was to develop low-cost,<br />

readily deployable mechanical ventilators with the<br />

winning prototype being manufactured by partners<br />

for use in developing countries across the globe.<br />

For the last few years, Ross - in his spare time - had been<br />

developing a new concept for speciality coffee machines<br />

and, as the pandemic worsened, he realised this<br />

design could be adapted for a ventilator. Over a period<br />

of just three weeks, Ross developed a prototype and 3D<br />

models for his CORE Vent product.<br />

“It took me a while to take in the news that I had reached<br />

the finals of the challenge, being the only UK finalist,<br />

up against such strong international competition. I was<br />

pleased to have been able to use my design skills and<br />

experience in such a worthwhile way while my own<br />

family business was in lockdown, and to be able to<br />

involve colleagues in this fast-moving challenge. We’re<br />

now working hard to develop our CORE Vent prototype<br />

into a fully-functioning ventilator that I hope will end up<br />

helping those people affected by coronavirus.<br />

“I studied mechanical engineering and product design<br />

and have always enjoyed tinkering and inventing.<br />

At Watson’s, the IT department and Technology<br />

department and its teachers and fantastic facilities<br />

really inspired me to be creative. Living on a farm, as a<br />

youngster, also helped shape me; hands on experience<br />

welding at the age of ten, working with my grandfather<br />

who loved engineering and fixing things, which allowed<br />

me to learn real practical skills. I feel really privileged to<br />

have had the opportunity to attend a school that had so<br />

much to offer everyone, and to be able to use the skills<br />

I have learned over the years to do something I love.<br />

And, the Watsonian network really has helped shape my<br />

career - I have met Watsonians all over the world while<br />


travelling for business. If I was to give any advice to young pupils<br />

leaving school, it would be to do something you enjoy and take any<br />

opportunities given to you.”<br />

Shortly after the finalists were announced, Ross and his team,<br />

having clearly impressed the US Senate with their work, received a<br />

letter of congratulations for their efforts from former Presidential<br />

Candidate and United States Senator Elizabeth Warren.<br />

The winning design was created by a team of engineering alumni<br />

from Smith College, Massachusetts with their SmithVent design.<br />

We send our congratulations to Ross and his team for flying the<br />

flag in this global competition.<br />


Rod Slater<br />

An S3 Projects Legend, Mentor and Friend<br />

We are pleased to share the following two articles, written by Rod Slater in<br />

June 2020 and originally featured as part of #WatsoniansLinked. Shortly<br />

before he left for France this summer, we asked Rod if we could share<br />

these amusing pieces, which had proved so popular online, with the wider<br />

Watsonian community and he heartily agreed.<br />

We were greatly saddened to hear that Rod had passed away on<br />

7 August and we publish these here in tribute to him.<br />

A Bad Day on Projects<br />

Wake up just after six. Oh no, the wind is howling<br />

through the gaps in the window frame, the rain is<br />

beating against the flimsy glass-panes. No cosy<br />

double glazing in this hostel! Pull the quilt over my<br />

head, try to go back to sleep, but can’t. This is the third<br />

day running of this stormy weather. I’m beginning to<br />

run out of low level plans, but weigh-up the options.<br />

Maybe a figure-of-eight walk round the two lochs with<br />

two groups going round in opposite directions.<br />

Get up, put the kettle on, naturellement, and then go<br />

to the “drying” room to get my stuff. Open the door<br />

and am almost overwhelmed by the hot stinking<br />

odour of damp cagoules, overtrousers, woollen hats,<br />

gloves, boots stuffed with newspapers. I somehow<br />

retrieve my stuff, resisting the urge to gag.<br />

Breakfast. A dreary, silent affair. The kids obviously<br />

want to be somewhere else. So do I, to tell the truth.<br />

“Do we have to go out today?” “Yes,” I reply. “Why?”<br />

comes back the answer, with the forensic precision<br />

of a future QC. I stumble for an answer and then say,<br />

“Because we have to. It’s good for the character.” Did I<br />

actually say that? Send the kids off to kit up. Just one<br />

thing to do before we leave – foot inspection for the<br />

walking wounded. Two bad cases of blisters from<br />

the day before.<br />

The first one, no problem, more plasters and then<br />

a bandage. The second one, oh dear. Poor Fiona<br />

developed a massive blister along the outside of her<br />

right foot. Last night it had the size and consistency<br />

of a slug. Expert opinion amongst the staff was divided.<br />

To lance or not to lance? Perhaps it will subside during<br />

the night, we hope. But no such luck. The poor girl<br />

can hardly get her boot on. So the medical experts say:<br />

“OK we’ve got to drain it.” Preparations are made –<br />

plasters, bandages, a needle sterilised by the gas ring.<br />

And then the incision. As soon as the surface of the<br />

slug-blister is pierced, a high pressure jet of clearish<br />

liquid comes gushing forth. I will spare you the further<br />

details. Within minutes the slug is reduced to flappy<br />

skin, and, yes Fiona is smiling, even daring to peep<br />

through her fingers. We dress the wound, bind it up<br />

nice and tight, ensure that Fiona has clean socks –<br />

a rare commodity in the group on the tenth day of<br />

Projects – and after a few cautious steps she manages<br />

to walk for the rest of the day. Not sure what a<br />

professional medic would have done.<br />


Perhaps the best person to ask would be Fiona herself,<br />

who is now a doctor.<br />

Off we go in the two minibuses, everyone hunched up,<br />

not looking out of the windows (steamed up) at the view<br />

(what view?). The smell of sweaty, damp outdoor gear<br />

is overpowering, so it is a relief to get out of the buses,<br />

even with a gale blowing. We decide to stay together as<br />

a group and not split into two – what would happen if<br />

one group got lost, I thought.<br />

Off we trudge, a long trail of orange anoraks following<br />

the path, the folk at the back scarcely able to see those<br />

at the front. Remember we used to have 24 in each<br />

group! There’s not much chat, just squelch, squelch,<br />

squelch along the way we go. Where the two lochs<br />

meet head on, there is a substantial stone bridge,<br />

and we all manage to squeeze in underneath, beside<br />

the raging burn, but out of the direct wind and rain.<br />

We extract our lunches, mostly sodden fish-paste<br />

sandwiches and an apple, and even begin some chat,<br />

a few jokes, then folk are beginning to get cold, start<br />

shivering, so off we go, round the second half of the<br />

figure of eight, now on a broader land-rover track.<br />

Look, there’s even a break in the cloud, a glimpse of<br />

a distant hill, but it doesn’t last for long. Some kids<br />

even start singing old girl guide songs and the rest<br />

of us join in. We are like soldiers trudging up to<br />

the trenches in Ypres. Our boots are soaked, our<br />

waterproofs have given up the struggle, but there in<br />

the mist, the comforting shapes of the minibuses.<br />

We pile in, the temperature rises, the windows fog up,<br />

and morale rises. We play a game to see who will get<br />

first dibs for the shower, and then back in the entrance<br />

hall of the hostel we peel off our sodden layers. Most<br />

of the kids just leave their waterproofs where they take<br />

them off so I have to call them back and get them to<br />

hang them up in the drying room. The duty group makes<br />

a cup of tea for everyone and then get going on dinner<br />

– 10th day of Projects – corned beef hash. An hour later,<br />

everyone, showered, refreshed, is at the table, so hungry<br />

that even the corned beef tastes good. I speak to my<br />

inquisitor of the morning: Well, was that good for your<br />

character? I shrink under his withering stare!<br />

We sit around, play cards, reminisce, hope for better<br />

weather. Yes, it was a horrible day on Projects.<br />

But do you know, it was also a good day on Projects.<br />

We got through it and we’re smiling, even Fiona with<br />

the pink and raw remains of the slug!<br />


A Perfect Day on Projects<br />

This is a perfect Project day. I have had all of these<br />

experiences, but not necessarily all on the same day,<br />

as Eric Morecombe might have said. Some names<br />

have been changed to protect the innocent, others<br />

have been kept to indict the guilty.<br />

Six o’clock, sun in my eyes, time to get up. I am in a<br />

single room in the Youth Hostel – the other two chaps on<br />

the staff have to share, but I got the privilege of a single<br />

room, actually a store cupboard, because I snore! There<br />

is an overwhelming smell of disinfectant and Dettol in<br />

my room, but it’s better than the sweaty sock smell in<br />

my colleagues’ room!<br />

Get up, stretch, a bit of stiffness after the long walk<br />

yesterday, but feeling good. I look out, blue sky, sun<br />

clearing the mountain tops and lighting up the loch. Go<br />

down to the kitchen, no one about, make myself a cup<br />

of tea and then go out and sit on a boulder – too much<br />

dew on the grass.<br />

Spot two figures running along the lochside road<br />

towards the hostel. Wait a minute, they’re two of our<br />

chaps, out for an early morning run. They flop sweatily<br />

next to me, and I offer to bring them a cup of tea as a<br />

reward for their efforts. We chat, and I point out the hill<br />

that I’m aiming to climb that day. Both boys are rugby<br />

lads, and good runners, but strangely enough they find<br />

the climbing difficult.<br />

miles up the glen. Out of the buses. I tell them we’ll<br />

take the path, cross the burn at the wooden bridge<br />

and then start climbing.<br />

Quite a lot of chat to start with. I’ve got one of the<br />

colleagues at the head of the file, and I bring up the rear<br />

– my usual position on Projects. I hang back and see this<br />

chattering, bubbling bunch of kids drawing away, and<br />

watch the procession against the background of the big<br />

hills, thinking how lucky we are. About twenty minutes<br />

in, the group stop, take a drink and peel off a layer or<br />

two of clothing.<br />

Then we set off again, more serious, not so much chat as<br />

the path becomes steeper. This is the moment when we<br />

develop a rhythm, head down, plod on. At about 11.30<br />

we stop for our first lunch, or elevenses. However big<br />

breakfast was, the kids are always ravenous about this<br />

time so they eat their first sandwiches.<br />

Then onwards and upwards. We look down into the<br />

glen, where the minibuses are, impossibly small. Feels<br />

good to have gained that height.<br />

The next section is a bit tricky, the ridge narrows and<br />

there’s some scrambling. A couple of kids are a little<br />

unsure, but we help them through. After this local<br />

difficulty we set off along the next section where the<br />

ridge broadens and the views open out, A spectacular<br />

Corrie to the left, with dark cliffs and sparkling water in<br />

the lochan. Over to the south you can glimpse the sea<br />

loch, and the islands beyond.<br />

Time to wake the troops, get the duty group up to<br />

make breakfast. Eventually everyone gets down to the<br />

kitchen but just as we’re about to tidy up and make our<br />

packed lunches, someone says: Has anyone seen Nick<br />

today? No, where is he? I send someone up to the dorm.<br />

Nick is there, head under the duvet, fast asleep. A rude<br />

awakening, but he manages to get breakfast and his<br />

packed lunch in record time.<br />

Everyone is now ready – they know the form and<br />

have their day-sacks ready, boots on. I do a check –<br />

everyone got their emergency clothing? Shorts and<br />

suncream? Not words you usually associate with<br />

Projects. I tell the group what the plans are for the day.<br />

Pile into the minibuses. Not far to go, just four or five<br />

One false summit after the other. How far is it, Mr S?<br />

Not far, I say. Then finally, there we are, on top of a<br />

broad grassy ridge, with the summit cairn about 200<br />

meters away. The pace quickens, but I stop the group.<br />

There’s the summit, I say. Off you go, sprint, jog, or walk.<br />

And just as they set off, I say “please don’t go higher<br />

than the summit”. But no one gets my joke. Where do<br />

they get their energy from? Almost all of them tear off<br />

towards the summit, even one of my young, fit, and<br />

still competitive colleagues, who much to everyone’s<br />

disgust, arrives first. I arrive last.<br />

The usual photos, the group on the cairn, views all<br />

round and then lunch. Everyone sits, there’s a slight<br />

breeze so I tell them to put on an extra layer or two.<br />

Any blisters, I ask. No, they say. Can we take our boots<br />


off, ask some. Yeah, sure. Some lie back and drowse off,<br />

others chat, one or two jump from boulder to boulder.<br />

They have too much energy to burn. I check the horizon,<br />

no clouds. We’ll be OK.<br />

Then after about three-quarters of an hour, we saddle<br />

up and head down, following the same route. There is<br />

much laughter and light-heartedness, bad jokes, a feeling<br />

of fun and good fellowship. The young ones jump down<br />

springingly from rock to rock, I have to rely on walking<br />

poles to take the strain off ageing joints. We are moving<br />

fast and getting quite sweaty.<br />

the hostel, just a couple of hundred feet, to watch the sun<br />

set over the loch.<br />

Back down to the hostel in the gathering dusk – the<br />

midgies are out, so we seek refuge inside. Time for a<br />

last cup of cocoa, and I tell them a ghost story. Of course<br />

it’s true, I tell them, otherwise I wouldn’t tell it to you.<br />

Everyone off to bed. Too tired to be noisy. Yet myself and<br />

the colleagues sit out in the corridors until they have<br />

settled. Then it’s a shower, off to bed for me, back to my<br />

broom cupboard smelling of industrial disinfectant.<br />

By mid afternoon, we are down by the road and we<br />

take the time to stop by the burn for some paddling<br />

and splashing, throwing in boulders, skimming stones,<br />

building dams. Poor old Mhairi, she slips on a rock<br />

and falls backwards into a pool. Much laughter from<br />

everybody, including, eventually, Mhairi. So that’s a sign<br />

to head back to the hostel. We draw into the carpark<br />

and there’s the usual rush for the showers. Mhairi gets<br />

priority. We all agree.<br />

The sun is still high, blazing down. Time for a cup of tea,<br />

glass of juice and a slice of homemade cake. (God I could<br />

murder a beer!). There’s an hour before the duty group<br />

have to start preparing dinner, so some down time. I take<br />

a book and lie out on the grass. A bit of chat with the kids.<br />

A feeling of deep contentment. I doze off. No book.<br />

Post script<br />

I taught at Watson’s for 25 years and took part in Projects<br />

about twenty times. I realise that there are those in the<br />

School who have a significantly higher participation rate.<br />

My summer terms were often taken up with language<br />

exchanges too (for me to Thonon, the Ile-de Ré, Pessac,<br />

Paris and Munich). Very often I would return from<br />

Projects, have a quick turn-around, and then go off on<br />

exchanges. There is a very exclusive club amongst the<br />

pupils – those who went to Harris on S3 Projects and then<br />

Paris the following year in S4 – the Harris and Paris Club.<br />

It’s not my group on duty tonight, so my principal worry<br />

is getting my feet under the table in time for dinner.<br />

Everyone excited, pink, comparing tans. Luckily they’ve<br />

all showered and put on cream. Spaghetti Bolognese<br />

(yum)and Angels’ Delight (yuk). Then after dinner,<br />

people can do what they want. Board games, cards,<br />

writing up logbooks, chatting, joking. Some play football<br />

in the field next to the hostel. Then supper at 9.30 and<br />

afterwards a small group climb up the hill at the back of<br />

The Rod Slater S3 Projects Fund<br />

Established by the Slater Family in August 2020,<br />

this fund provides a way for Rod’s family, former<br />

colleagues and many friends to celebrate and<br />

mark their connection with him. For some, that<br />

will have been a lifetime of friendship, for others<br />

a fleeting association.<br />

This is being written in June 2020 during lockdown, the<br />

closing off of opportunities for our young people. Let us<br />

hope that very quickly, all of our pupils will be able to<br />

make the most of the wonderful opportunities for travel<br />

and study that Watson’s has always offered.<br />

Rod Slater<br />

The Fund will provide financial bursaries of between<br />

£100-£250 to ensure that every pupil participating<br />

in their S3 Projects trip has all the essential kit<br />

requirements. If you would like to read more about the<br />

Fund, or make a donation, you can do so online here<br />

gwc.org.uk/rodslaterbursaryfund, or by contacting<br />

the Development Office.<br />


150th Anniversary of the fo<br />

of George Watson’s Ladies<br />

2021: A Year of Celebrations<br />

Our plans to mark the 150th<br />

Anniversary of the founding of<br />

George Watson’s Ladies’ College<br />

(GWLC) are now well advanced and<br />

throughout 2021 we will gather<br />

together to celebrate the role that<br />

this very special institution played<br />

in the education of girls and young<br />

women in Scotland.<br />

Established in Edinburgh’s George<br />

Square in 1871, the School remained<br />

on this original site for more than<br />

100 years, with additional buildings<br />

acquired in the Square itself and also<br />

at St Alban’s Road. To this day, many<br />

women Watsonians hold with great<br />

affection their time at both St Alban’s<br />

Road and George Square, fondly<br />

referring to themselves as the<br />

‘George Square Girls’.<br />

The School is working with the<br />

Watsonian Club to curate this special<br />

year of celebrations which will involve<br />

not only those former pupils and<br />

staff to whom the Ladies’ College<br />

means so much, but also our<br />

current pupils and staff as we seek<br />

to acknowledge the part the School<br />

played in the advancement of<br />

women throughout the tumultuous<br />

century of its existence.<br />

As part of the commemorative year we<br />

are encouraging former GWLC pupils<br />

to help us with a number of projects<br />

that will form a lasting legacy to the<br />

institution. At present, the School’s<br />

Historic Archives and Collections hold<br />

very little material relating to George<br />

Square or St Alban’s Road and it is our<br />

hope that by the end of 2021 we will<br />

have both rectified that situation and<br />

made many of our resources much<br />

more accessible.<br />

We are actively seeking photographs,<br />

school work, personal letters or<br />

diaries, artwork and objects that<br />

relate to the Ladies’ College, which<br />

you would be willing to share with<br />

us to be either added to the<br />

permanent School collection or on<br />

a temporary loan for 2021. If you<br />

have something that you think might<br />

be of interest, then please email<br />

our Archive Officer, Tom Bennett,<br />

at t.bennett@gwc.org.uk.<br />

Our interest in your own personal<br />

stories stretches far beyond the<br />

physical items you have treasured<br />

and kept. We are particularly<br />

interested in hearing stories and<br />

memories first hand, good or<br />

bad, big or small. The University<br />

of Edinburgh is supporting us to<br />

record the oral history of GWLC, with<br />

current pupils discussing the school<br />

experiences of former pupils. It is of<br />

great importance that we record this<br />

unique aspect of Edinburgh’s social<br />

history and we feel 2021 provides a<br />

fitting moment to look back. If you<br />

have a story to share then please<br />

email our Heritage Officer, Catherine<br />

Stratford, at c.stratford@gwc.org.uk.<br />

In 1921, Headmistress Charlotte<br />

Ainslie commissioned a School<br />

Banner to mark the 50th Anniversary<br />

of the founding of the Ladies’<br />

College. It was a significant<br />

undertaking and took more than<br />

four years to complete. This banner,<br />

although its colours may not be so<br />

vibrant today, has hung for many<br />

years outside the Senior School<br />

Assembly Hall at Colinton Road.<br />

Inspired by this beautiful work we<br />

have commissioned Edinburgh artist<br />

Andrew Crummy, who previously<br />

designed the Great Tapestry of<br />

Scotland, to create a GWLC 150<br />

tapestry, which will record the<br />

history and stories of the School.<br />

Andrew is delighted to be working<br />

with us and looks forward to<br />

hearing our stories which will be<br />

immortalised in stitch. We will invite<br />

all current and former pupils to<br />

join us in placing a stitch in the new<br />

commemorative piece, allowing the<br />

threads to literally and figuratively<br />

bind us all together in 2021.<br />


unding<br />

’ College<br />

Anniversary Events in 2021<br />

Friday 5 February - Founder’s Day and Installation of the new Watsonian President.<br />

To officially launch our celebratory year, we are delighted to announce that Dame Mariot Leslie, former Diplomat,<br />

will be our guest speaker for this annual event, which will also see Gillian Sandilands (Class of 1978) installed as<br />

President of the Watsonian Club.<br />

Saturday 19 June - The Principal and Watsonian President’s Summer Celebration<br />

School Principal, Melvyn Roffe, and Watsonian President, Gillian Sandilands, will host a celebratory afternoon of<br />

events at Colinton Road. Guests will have an opportunity to be taken on a tour of the campus by current pupils,<br />

enjoy a specially curated exhibition based on the history of GWLC, as well as enjoying an afternoon tea and<br />

musical performances in a marquee on the front lawn.<br />

Sunday 20 June - Exhibition at George Square and Service at Greyfriars Kirk<br />

With kind permission of The University of Edinburgh, guests will have an opportunity to tour George Square,<br />

reminisce and relax with friends.<br />

The culmination of the Anniversary weekend will see a congregation of former pupils gather to give thanks for the<br />

founding of George Watson’s Ladies’ College in the Greyfriars Kirk, which will be so familiar to those who attended<br />

George Square.<br />

Saturday 13 November - Gala Ceilidh<br />

To close the year of celebrations, the Senior School Assembly Hall, at Colinton Road, will play host to a rousing<br />

Gala Dinner and Ceilidh.<br />

2022 - A Celebration of George Square Music<br />

Postponed from spring 2021, the concert will be a celebration of the music for which George Watson’s Ladies’<br />

College was so renowned. This concert will also include a specially commissioned recording of the School Hymn.<br />

We will announce further events ahead of 2021 and more information on ticket prices and how to book for<br />

these events will be shared before the end of the year.<br />




The horror of the fire that engulfed the upper floors of Myreside Pavilion on a grey February morning was felt<br />

by Watsonians around the world. Those who found themselves nearby, as the fire service worked to bring the<br />

blaze under control, watched in disbelief as flames burst through the roof and the scale of the disaster at hand<br />

became apparent. Photos were shared across social media and messages of concern came from former pupils<br />

to whom Myreside remains such a special place, despite the years and miles that lie between them and their<br />

former school.<br />

Inspired by many of these messages of concern and<br />

the stories that were shared, our Heritage Officer,<br />

Catherine Stratford, has looked back at this most<br />

unusual of Watson’s buildings.<br />

Sport came to the vicinity of the George Watson’s<br />

College site at Colinton Road long before the School<br />

itself moved there in 1932. In the early 1870s, boys<br />

played cricket on Bainfield, an area near which is now<br />

Harrison Park, even though it was far from ideal as<br />

a sports venue. The field remained in use as cattle<br />

pasture and the pitch featured an ancient gnarled oak<br />

tree. It could be argued that this oak was the School’s<br />

first pavilion as players sat under (and in) its branches<br />

waiting to play. Sometime later a shed was erected on<br />

Bainfield, but this was demolished by local youths who<br />

used the timber to light a bonfire.<br />

In 1878, school sport moved from the inadequacies<br />

of Bainfield to ‘Old Myreside’, an area stretching<br />

from Colinton Road to what is now the boundary of<br />

Merchiston Gardens and the Upper Primary School.<br />

An ornate brick pavilion with wooden shutters and<br />

two small dressing rooms was built where the South<br />

Gillsland Road gate now stands. The boys raised £22 10s<br />

(the equivalent of over £2,600 today) towards its fixtures<br />

and fittings.<br />

Despite the indifference of the then Headmaster,<br />

George Ogilvie, this period saw a significant growth<br />

in interest in sport at the School and amongst its<br />

former pupils. The Watson’s College Athletic Club was<br />

established to coordinate all School and Watsonian<br />

sport and within 10 years it had become obvious that<br />

Old Myreside was now too small. Intense negotiations<br />


with the Merchant Company led to the acquisition<br />

of land to the west of Myreside Road (then called<br />

Craighouse Road), to be known as ‘New Myreside’. After<br />

heated debate about how grand, or otherwise, a new<br />

pavilion should be, a budget of £4,325 was set and on<br />

Saturday, 1 May 1897 the current Myreside Pavilion was<br />

officially opened by Mrs Robertson, wife of the then<br />

Master of the Merchant Company.<br />

Although most would mainly associate Myreside with<br />

rugby and cricket, other sports have also prospered<br />

there. In fact, it was demand for lawn tennis courts that<br />

was the original reason that the Athletic Club asked<br />

the Merchant Company for more grounds. In 1898,<br />

the Groundsman, Andrew Scott, laid a curling rink<br />

at Myreside. This became the venue for the first ever<br />

international curling match involving a Scottish team<br />

when Watsonians played a team of visiting Canadians<br />

in 1903. Squash courts were added on the site beside<br />

the Pavilion and opened in 1935.<br />

Before the renovations of the 1960s, entry into the<br />

Pavilion was through a central door at the top of<br />

the steps from the cricket field. The home dressing<br />

rooms were on the right and the away dressing<br />

rooms on the left. With no central heating, a roaring<br />

fire was often a welcome sight in the hearth, lit and<br />

tended by the resident cricket professional and Head<br />

Groundsman, Bert Marshall, who lived in a flat at<br />

the top of the Pavilion. It was a place for friendship.<br />

As Dennis Carmichael, a Former President of the<br />

Watsonian Club (1982-83), puts it, ‘You went back to<br />

Myreside to find your pals.’<br />

The upstairs bar was then strictly for men only, whilst<br />

the current downstairs function room was a tea<br />

room with a wooden floor and trestle tables. Here a<br />

formidable team of ladies led by Mrs Henderson and,<br />

from the early 1960s, by Mrs Thelma Smith prepared and<br />

served the most famous cricket teas on the circuit. Each<br />

tea comprised five sets of sandwiches, (cucumber, meat<br />

paté or Spam, tomato and cheese, egg, and ham salad)<br />

made from fourteen loaves of Sunblest white bread.<br />

Cakes, gingerbread, fruit loaves and homemade biscuits<br />

were served alongside. On special occasions meringues,<br />

eclairs and pink iced buns were added to the menu.<br />

Improvements completed in 1969 provided a fully<br />

glazed veranda and an extended lounge and bar where<br />

the upstairs longroom had been. The Pavilion thus<br />

became an even better place for Watsonians to celebrate<br />

birthdays, wedding anniversaries and other significant<br />

family events. There are happy memories of parents in<br />

the upstairs bar dropping packets of crisps down to their<br />

children as they played outside.<br />


A new bungalow for the Head Groundsman meant<br />

that his former flat could be converted to become an<br />

office from which the Watsonian Club was run before<br />

the establishment of the Development Office in 1997.<br />

Watsonians from all over the world considered Myreside<br />

as their spiritual home. Donald Scott, former Head of<br />

PE (1952-1989), remembers often being asked by former<br />

pupils during his time as President of the Watsonian Club<br />

(1997-1998), ‘How is the School and the staff?’ rapidly<br />

followed by the question ‘…and how is Myreside?’<br />

Myreside has grown from Watson’s and Watsonians’<br />

love of sport, but rather than a desire to win at all<br />

costs, it has always been about participation, friendship,<br />

and the hospitality for which the Myreside Pavilion<br />

is famous.<br />

As Hector Waugh wrote in the 1970 ‘George Watson’s<br />

College. History and Record’ ‘Watsonians like to<br />

win, but to lose is no great disaster and this is as<br />

it should be.’<br />


Reimagining the Future<br />

of Myreside Pavilion<br />

The fire - though devastating - provided an opportunity<br />

for the School to reach out to former pupils, staff,<br />

parents and the Watsonian Club and Sections to find out<br />

what their vision for the future of the Pavilion would be.<br />

A chance to think about what changes could be made to<br />

enhance the facilities and bring it back to life as a hub<br />

for the School community during the day, while still<br />

retaining its important role as a home for sport and our<br />

Watsonian Sections after the school day ends.<br />

Much of the Pavilion’s past will be recreated as part<br />

of the vision for its future. Mrs Henderson’s tea room<br />

will open its doors again, but with a modern 21st<br />

century twist, a new focal point will be created - a<br />

place for Watsonians to meet friends, or drop in to<br />

see the Development Office team; a place for parents,<br />

senior pupils and staff to relax and enjoy each other’s<br />

company. A place for our neighbours, community<br />

partners and friends to drop by and find out who we are.<br />

An accessible building for all. And, as it has always been,<br />

a place for Watsonian Club and Section members and<br />

spectators to regale over matches won, and sometimes<br />

matches lost.<br />

The Development Office is launching a fundraising<br />

campaign to raise £350,000 to reimagine the Pavilion<br />

and return it to the heart of our community. If you<br />

would be interested in hearing more about the plans<br />

or how you can help us achieve our fundraising<br />

goal, please contact the Development Office at<br />

development@gwc.org.uk<br />


Being True<br />

Former Head Boy, Gregor<br />

Firth (Millar) (Class of 2002)<br />

is a screen and stage actor,<br />

whose love and passion for<br />

drama goes back as far as he<br />

can remember. <strong>Caritas</strong>, posed<br />

questions to Gregor about his<br />

memories of Watson’s and his<br />

career highlights - so far.<br />

What are the memories that<br />

particularly stand out for you from<br />

your time at Colinton Road?<br />

Hand on heart, my strongest<br />

memories are that of friendship.<br />

School can be a daunting experience<br />

for anyone, no matter where<br />

you fit in socially, so having a<br />

strong friend base can completely<br />

transform something awkward and<br />

unenjoyable into something you’ll<br />

cherish for the rest of your life.<br />

Although it’s now over 18 years<br />

since we left school, and despite<br />

my former classmates being<br />

scattered across the globe, I still<br />

consider them as some of my best<br />

and closest friends. In fact, I’d say<br />

we’re as close as ever.<br />

When you were at school, did you<br />

have a career as an actor in mind;<br />

and did that influence your<br />

subject choices?<br />

Yes, very much so! There were three<br />

obvious choices for me, Drama,<br />

Music and English. I also opted to<br />

take History and Physics. Choosing<br />

Drama, English and Music as a<br />

trio allowed me not only to express<br />

myself, but more importantly, to<br />

begin honing the skills I knew I<br />

was going to need for my preferred<br />

career. It was a tough decision<br />

to separate my enjoyment for<br />

Drama and Music as both<br />

recognise different aspects of<br />

the arts, and yet both work<br />

amazingly well together.<br />

I can imagine you must have felt<br />

very ‘at home’ in Drama and Music,<br />

as so many current pupils still<br />

do today. Did you find that your<br />

teachers encouraged you to follow<br />

your chosen career path?<br />

Absolutely. Mrs Denyer, who<br />

ended up as my guidance teacher,<br />

hugely influenced and supported<br />

the choices I made. My career<br />

had already started while at GWC,<br />

and where subjects really weren’t<br />

working for me, I was told to focus<br />

on the ones where my strengths lay.<br />

Mr Hughes was also championing<br />

my decisions. A straight to the<br />

point man, there was no mincing<br />

of words. He was heavily involved<br />

in the School plays and musicals<br />

and again, could see that the Arts<br />

industry was the place I wanted<br />

to be. It was always so refreshing<br />

to hear his very frank and honest<br />

advice - another great memory<br />

from my school days.<br />

Would you say that you picked<br />

your career, or did it pick you?<br />

It is most definitely a career that has<br />

chosen me. I grew up as a farmer’s<br />

son from East Lothian and was set to<br />

follow in my father’s footsteps, but it<br />

was clear - early on - that with such<br />

a vivid imagination and a penchant<br />

for singing (NOT DANCING) and<br />

generally being quite an extrovert,<br />

farming was not going to be the path<br />

I would follow.<br />

Once you realised acting had<br />

chosen you, did you waver from<br />

the path and consider other<br />

career options?<br />

It’s always been my main focus and<br />

I can say that with a lot of pride.<br />

Other options did come into play, at<br />

points, but were quickly discarded.<br />

It’s always been, and will always be,<br />

the one true job I was destined to<br />

do. I do know a lot of people who<br />

have chosen other paths, that say<br />

I’m lucky in what I do. I just smile<br />

and say “I absolutely love my job”.<br />

It’s as simple as that! I love what I do<br />

and I love the industry.<br />

I suspect that many young actors<br />

can face a difficult time getting<br />

their first break, did you find that<br />

the path to your first professional<br />

role was a bumpy one?<br />

Yes and No. It was a long path<br />

but not too bumpy - thankfully!<br />

I started performing from a young<br />

age. Whether it was singing along<br />


to Yourself.<br />

to songs in my bedroom, attending<br />

Summer Schools, local Edinburgh<br />

Youth Theatre, or the Edinburgh<br />

Acting School, opportunities<br />

began to arise quite quickly. All<br />

these elements, even something<br />

as simple as playing dress up at<br />

home, helped forge a way forward<br />

for me. Then there was attending<br />

drama school which teaches<br />

technique and the fundamentals<br />

needed to work. And from there,<br />

learning on the job.<br />

You’ve had lots of opportunities<br />

to learn on the job in recent<br />

years, your appearances on stage<br />

and screen have been plentiful.<br />

Is there a role that you have<br />

particularly enjoyed?<br />

That’s a tough question. Again,<br />

I’ve had amazing opportunities<br />

in theatre, TV and film and each<br />

comes with a very different<br />

sense of satisfaction. For theatre,<br />

definitely playing Robert in<br />

the Glasgow revival of Stephen<br />

Sondheim’s Company, which<br />

was not only an incredible<br />

challenge to sing, but also a<br />

character I could really invest time<br />

in. On television, I’d be remiss if<br />

I didn’t mention STV’s Taggart,<br />

but without a doubt, my most<br />

prominent role to date is playing<br />

Kinkade in Season 2 of Outlander.<br />

My latest film project is Only You<br />

which is currently available<br />

on Netflix.<br />

I am sure you get asked this all the<br />

time, but is there an actor you really<br />

admire and who inspires you?<br />

Ooohh, that’s probably the most<br />

difficult question an actor can be<br />

asked. There are literally hundreds<br />

of actors I admire, for different<br />

reasons. Some are theatre actors,<br />

some film, most undoubtedly both,<br />

but have all honed their craft to<br />

such a level that just watching them<br />

is a joy. I’ve seen shows with a said<br />

actor in it, and the show as a whole<br />

can be disappointing, but if you can<br />

put that to one side, just watching<br />

the actor effortlessly demonstrate<br />

unbelievable skill is a treat in itself. I<br />

guess that’s a long way of saying it’s<br />

too difficult to pick one!<br />

Do you find that you can learn<br />

a lot from the seasoned actors<br />

that you have been lucky enough<br />

to act alongside?<br />

A lot of lessons have to be learnt<br />

whilst working, but the most<br />

important is understanding the<br />

industry, the way it functions and<br />

the etiquette that comes with<br />

it. I suppose that is true of any<br />

profession. There are different rules<br />

for theatre, for television and even<br />

more so in film. When you’re on set<br />

with over 150 people, knowing who<br />

to talk to, how to talk to them, when<br />

to ask questions and when you take<br />

the initiative. It can be quite strict<br />

depending on the circumstance,<br />

but it really is the number one rule.<br />

Learn it well and learn it quickly<br />

if you want to succeed!<br />

Looking back, what would you<br />

say that your time at Watson’s<br />

taught you?<br />

In a nutshell, GWC taught me to<br />

be an individual, to strive for the<br />

very best and to try and achieve as<br />

much as I could. Supporting and<br />

being kind to others around you<br />

and most importantly, in the words<br />

of the great Aretha Franklin, have<br />

“R.E.S.P.E.C.T” for yourself and<br />

everyone else. And, obviously, Love<br />

From The Heart. Simple.<br />

Do you have any last words of<br />

advice for pupils who might be<br />

struggling to make a decision<br />

about their future plans?<br />

Given my experience, I suppose<br />

my advice would be to decide<br />

exactly what you want to do and<br />

how you want to go about doing<br />

it. Study, study, study. Learn about<br />

practitioners and their methods.<br />

Read and watch plays and films.<br />

Absorb everything and anything.<br />

Don’t be afraid to take as many<br />

chances as you can, and don’t ever<br />

think you’re going to look stupid,<br />

because 99.9% of the time, you’re<br />

only being true to yourself. And,<br />

most importantly, don’t let rejection<br />

deter you. Take it, build on it, learn<br />

from it, and move on. Follow your<br />

head and your heart and strive to<br />

be the best you can be.<br />


This Scene Takes<br />

Place at Night!<br />

With this year’s school production of Les Misérables<br />

cancelled, we were pleased to have Amanda Aiken<br />

(Class of 2007) take us behind the scenes of some<br />

of Watson’s most memorable performances.<br />

It is impossible to talk about the Sound and Lighting<br />

Crew without mentioning the lab coat-clad Mr Tavener<br />

who lived in the AV room under the lecture theatre.<br />

At the introductory meeting, arms folded, he expounded<br />

the importance of dedication and hard work for anyone<br />

selected. Our doubts of his sincerity were soon dispelled<br />

when two more pupils entered the room. ‘Why are you<br />

late?’ Mr Tavener raged. Their rather feeble answer of<br />

‘Lunch’ did not impress. He made them leave, banning<br />

them from the crew forever.<br />

Sound and Lighting involved a huge amount of<br />

technical understanding. I still use many of the skills<br />

I was taught then, in my work today. At first there<br />

were many lengthy explanations of sound boards<br />

and different kinds of lights, and I learnt a lot watching<br />

others and by completing simple tasks like setting up<br />

mics. Though Mr Tavener was demanding, he taught<br />

us well and always got the best from us.<br />

It was the summer production of 2005, Grease,<br />

which was my first introduction to a full scale<br />

performance. To my delight I was able to miss<br />

certain classes (sorry, Mrs Pringle) in order to prepare<br />

for the show. I operated one of the followspots<br />

with Claire, a crew member from my year. Though<br />

these lights were only a small part of it I learnt a lot<br />

about teamwork – and that followspots become very,<br />

very hot. I still have a small scar on my arm from<br />

accidentally brushing against one.<br />

Not every aspect of sound and lighting was entertaining.<br />

I remember I once manned the sound desk for Model<br />

United Nations, possibly the dullest thing I’ve ever<br />

volunteered to do. It was briefly livened up by pupils<br />

who, being perhaps as bored as me, declared war on<br />

another country before being threatened with ejection<br />

from the session!<br />

I made, and learned from, my many mistakes while in<br />

the crew. A highlight of my low points remains the time<br />

I left the Principal’s microphone on during a hymn in<br />

assembly. Thankfully, the nature of the crew was to<br />

fix it, laugh about it, and move on. Even Mr Tavener<br />

was forgiving when I cut up an entire roll of (extremely<br />

expensive) lighting gel only to discover we’d been sent<br />

the wrong colour.<br />

For Les Misérables (2006) the already-challenging job<br />

of managing ten radio mics was coupled with the hiring<br />

of twice as many, along with a gigantic sound board.<br />

Our usual board was operated manually, with each mic<br />

raised individually. The trick was to do so at exactly the<br />

right time; too early and they caught people chatting<br />

backstage (yes, we could hear you); too late and the first<br />

words were missed. With this new board all the mics<br />

could be automatically raised by pressing one button.<br />

Of course, I was still able to make mistakes by mashing<br />

the button at the wrong time, causing chaos. Then I<br />

frantically helped Elspeth, a crew member in the year<br />

above, and Paul, the assistant AV technician at the time,<br />

pull all the sliders back down.<br />


Occasionally, I was able to rescue others. During<br />

a performance of Twelfth Night the lights stopped<br />

working. While the actors waited in darkness the<br />

Director, Mr Kettley, cheerfully cried out ‘This scene<br />

takes place at night!’ As we squirmed, it came to me –<br />

somehow the lighting board had been switched from<br />

‘Memory’, which stored the groups of lights for scenes,<br />

to ‘Channel’, which only brought up individual lights.<br />

One swift key-punch later, and there was light!<br />

at Watson’s – writing, drawing, acting, understanding<br />

of movement, programming, storytelling in light and<br />

sound – proved vital to my career development and<br />

I am now a storyboard artist and animator.<br />

I didn’t have a solid idea of a career I could pursue until<br />

the latter half of my time at Watson’s. During my Bronze<br />

Duke of Edinburgh Award I made a short film with<br />

some friends, and from that point onwards I explored<br />

becoming a filmmaker.<br />

At university I studied live action filmmaking, but<br />

afterwards I struggled to see a way forward in film.<br />

While working in a bookshop and considering my<br />

options, I looked back at what I’d particularly enjoyed<br />

at school. My subject choice through the years had<br />

been fairly eclectic, from Art, Drama, and English to<br />

Technology, Physics and Computing. Extracurricular<br />

groups like Sound and Lighting were also a hugely<br />

important part of my schooling.<br />

As I took up drawing again and wrote more, I learnt more<br />

about animation. I discovered that animation combined<br />

technical and artistic understanding with a thorough<br />

dose of storytelling. The things I had begun to learn<br />

I have since spent a year studying animation in<br />

Vancouver, completed a short animation course at<br />

Aardman Animations in Bristol, had mentorship in<br />

storyboarding from Sony Pictures Animation, freelanced<br />

on multiple productions from commercials and TV<br />

to features, and worked as a clean up artist on the<br />

Oscar-nominated Klaus. The film was a real joy to be a<br />

part of. Working on it was challenging but thoroughly<br />

rewarding, very much like my memories of being part<br />

of the Sound and Lighting Crew at GWC.<br />



The things people keep…<br />

Sir James Haldane Stewart<br />

Lockhart (Class of 1874) had<br />

been a clever boy. He was Dux of<br />

George Watson’s Boys’ College in<br />

1873. He had been a sporty chap<br />

too; Captain of both the 1st XI<br />

Cricket and 1st XV Rugby teams.<br />

After leaving school he spent a<br />

couple of years at The University<br />

of Edinburgh before, on his second<br />

attempt, passing the examination<br />

to join the Colonial Civil Service.<br />

He spent the first 23 years of his<br />

career in Hong Kong, settling himself<br />

amongst the ex-pat community of<br />

the colony. On Friday 12 February<br />

1886, at a meeting arranged by<br />

Stewart Lockhart at the Victoria<br />

Recreation Club, the Hong Kong<br />

Football Club was established. He<br />

1. Exhibit A<br />

rose to become Registrar General<br />

and Colonial Secretary. However,<br />

Stewart Lockhart never got his<br />

‘dream job’, Governor of Hong Kong,<br />

despite several applications. Some<br />

say it was because he had irritated<br />

too many of his superiors; others<br />

that he always seemed to side with<br />

the Chinese and not the British;<br />

and some that he was just ‘a bit<br />

too Chinese’.<br />

It was thanks to Stewart Lockhart’s<br />

seeming inability to throw anything<br />

away that led to his lasting legacy.<br />

In fact, he collected paintings,<br />

rubbings, artefacts, posters,<br />

coins and letters. In the 1960s, his<br />

daughter, Mary, gave her father’s<br />

collection to Watson’s and for a<br />

number of years it was kept at the<br />

School. The then Head of Art, Mike<br />

Gill, and his wife, Shiona Airlie,<br />

encouraged generations of Watson’s<br />

pupils to take an interest in these<br />

treasures. This valuable and unique<br />

collection is now cared for, on behalf<br />

of the School, by curators at the<br />

National Museum of Scotland, the<br />

National Library of Scotland and the<br />

Scottish National Portrait Gallery.<br />

Last year, a group of current pupils<br />

researched and presented some of<br />

the items from the Stewart Lockhart<br />

Collection. The reaction of the<br />

two boys opening the box, that<br />

contained the following items,<br />

was that of delight, excitement<br />

and mild horror.<br />

Iron Spike, part of a sheng pien found near the<br />

body at Yao Tai Kon on the night of January 1916.<br />

The spike was wrapped in a copy of the English<br />

language newspaper The Manchuria Daily News of<br />

27 November 1920.<br />

Stewart Lockhart and his wife, Edith, spent the<br />

months before they left Weihaiwei ‘packing cases<br />

and trunks [with his collections] to the virtual<br />

exclusion of all else.’<br />

You can imagine the pile of newspaper and<br />

packing boxes, strewn all over Government House!<br />


2. Exhibit B<br />

Herewith revolver bullet<br />

removed from man’s<br />

thigh. The man was shot<br />

by a robber fifty li [about<br />

one third of a mile]<br />

from here.<br />

Yours truly<br />

W.M.Muat<br />

3. Exhibit C<br />

Herewith the bullet<br />

removed from the man<br />

shot by pirates on the<br />

23rd____<br />

A wad was removed at<br />

the same time. The bullet<br />

looks to have come from<br />

a Winchester repeater.<br />

The bullet entered in the<br />

middle of the left groin<br />

and exited from the right<br />

buttock.<br />

In 1902, Stewart Lockhart was<br />

appointed to be Commissioner of<br />

Weihaiwei, a tiny British controlled<br />

enclave in the Shandong province in<br />

north east China. He was to remain<br />

there until his retirement in 1921.<br />

His annual reports to the Principal<br />

Secretary of State for the Colonies<br />

catalogued the wide range of his<br />

responsibilities, from education to<br />

policing, from lighthouses to getting<br />

opium addicts clean. Over 150,000<br />

people lived in the enclave which<br />

Stewart Lockhart had divided into<br />

two divisions, north and south, with<br />

a magistrate based in each. Reginald<br />

Johnston was in charge of the<br />

southern area. Johnston<br />

and Stewart Lockhart were great<br />

friends and Johnston was to go<br />

on to become the tutor to Pu Yi,<br />

the last Qing Emperor of China,<br />

whose story was the subject of<br />

Bernardo Bertolucci’s multi Oscar<br />

winning film The Last Emperor.<br />

Whether Stewart Lockhart acted<br />

as the ultimate magistrate and that<br />

is why he has notes addressed to<br />

him, accompanying a variety of<br />

bullets and spikes, we are<br />

not certain.<br />

W.M. Muat was the Senior Medical<br />

Officer in Weihaiwei. Another Scot,<br />

a graduate of the University of<br />

Glasgow, Dr Muat was to be awarded<br />

the CBE in 1923.<br />

Why Stewart Lockhart was to keep<br />

these items, some of which were<br />

exhibited in trials held in Weihaiwei,<br />

we do not know. Perhaps because,<br />

just like current pupils from his old<br />

school, he was intrigued and mildly<br />

revolted by Dr Muat’s descriptions?<br />

Catherine Stratford<br />

Heritage Officer<br />


Close<br />

Encounters<br />

With S3 Projects cancelled for the first time in more than 50 years, we missed<br />

hearing the wonderful stories that return with pupils and staff at the end of<br />

May. Thankfully, Head of Biology, Geoff Morgan, was able to share some of<br />

his experiences from years gone by.<br />

One of the less well-known impacts of the pandemic<br />

was the lost opportunity for our S3 pupils to get<br />

up close and personal with the fantastic wildlife of<br />

Scotland while away on Projects. Mid-May is a prime<br />

month for experiencing wildlife in Scotland, and<br />

having visited many different parts of the country<br />

on various S3 Projects over the last 20-plus years I<br />

am one of those lucky enough to have witnessed a<br />

lot of exciting encounters. Here are just a few of my<br />

favourites…<br />

On the very first day of my very first Project, as<br />

I arrived in Mull, I discovered an American surf<br />

scoter swimming off Craignure. As a genuine rarity<br />

on this side of the Atlantic, this bird species was a<br />

very unlikely tick to kick-off my 'S3 Projects wildlife<br />

list'. Being the new teacher joining a project group,<br />

half-way through the trip, and being a nerdy birder<br />

to-boot, I wasn't sure that peering at an obscurely<br />

plumaged and distant duck was the ice-breaker<br />

activity that I had been urged to prepare, so I let the<br />

moment pass. As the week progressed, sightings of<br />

eagles and deer whetted the appetite of the group,<br />

so we headed out on a trip to Isle of Lunga to spend a<br />

day relaxing among the portly puffins and flowering<br />

thrift. For me, the highlight of that whole trip was<br />

seeing the excitement in the faces of the pupils<br />

stretched out on the cliff-top among the birds. More<br />

than one pupil found themselves being tickled by a<br />

puffin as it emerged from a tunnel that the pupil was<br />

inadvertently blocking. Since then, I've tried to build<br />

puffin moments into as many projects as possible.<br />

The trip to Lunga seemed to really engage the pupils<br />

in the wonders of birdwatching, so on the last day of<br />

that trip I suggested a quick expedition to see the surf<br />

scoter as we headed back to the mainland. The speed<br />

with which the pupils departed in the direction of the<br />

ferry and its bacon rolls was the first of many lessons<br />

for me about which wildlife species S3 pupils will<br />

tolerate and which ones just don't make the grade.<br />

For most pupils, it is the closeness of the encounter,<br />

rather than the rarity of the species, that counts, so a<br />

frog in the hand trumps a soaring eagle. Occasionally,<br />

a sighting meets both of these criteria, such as a<br />

caspian stonechat fluttering about a roadside ditch in<br />

Fair Isle – a mega in a mecca for rare migrant birds. It<br />

is possibly not entirely coincidental that I have visited<br />

Fair Isle several times on S3 Projects.<br />

Many Projects days involve hill walking, and as a<br />

result pupils and staff have had close encounters<br />

with a range of mountain flora and fauna. Colleagues<br />

often catch me in the corridor in June to mention<br />


From top left:<br />

The Cliffs of Noss in the Shetland<br />

Islands, Bearded Seal, Storm<br />

Petrel, Puffin and a Bonxie<br />

the adder, capercaillie or wild cat that they stumbled<br />

upon on the side of a Munro. On more than one occasion<br />

I have been fortunate enough to stumble upon a<br />

beautifully tame and camouflaged ptarmigan on its<br />

nest. I'd like to pretend that my field skills allowed me<br />

to point it out to the pupils, but on both occasions a<br />

pupil pointed the hen out to me just after I'd put my<br />

foot only inches away from it without noticing. Another<br />

iconically beautiful and confiding montane species is<br />

the dotterel, but it is only once that I've been treated<br />

to their presence on Projects. My memory is that after<br />

a wind-whipped ascent that was an assault to the<br />

senses, the birds were running around at our feet in<br />

an eerily-silent mist-filled pocket of wet air on the<br />

shoulder of Ben Macdui. With many of these mountain<br />

species, a close encounter leaves a sense of wonder that<br />

such apparently delicate animals can survive such a<br />

challenging environment.<br />

The coasts of Scotland offer an abundance and<br />

excitement of wildlife that is definitely world class. One<br />

memorable morning involved starting off with watching<br />

a vagrant bearded seal lounging nonchalantly in Lerwick<br />

harbour and then taking a boat tour of Cliffs of Noss<br />

to hand feed bonxies and gannets. A few days later we<br />

spent the evening a few miles south on the island of<br />

Mousa exploring the world's best preserved broch whilst<br />

being treated to the nocturnal love songs of the storm<br />

petrel – this ancient monument is also the UK's largest<br />

colony of this rarely seen seabird. It really is a tough life<br />

when this counts as work!<br />

My hope is that others on Projects return with at least<br />

some of the enthusiasm that I have for our wildlife. I<br />

know that it does not always rub off but sometimes<br />

the excitement is infectious. A few years' ago I glanced<br />

out of the window of our hostel at Birsay on Orkney.<br />

By glanced I actually mean stared intently through<br />

binoculars. There in the sea at the Brough of Birsay<br />

a mile-and-a-half away was a shape that I was fairly<br />

sure was a basking shark. I was not 100% sure, dinner<br />

was already being prepared, projecteers were already<br />

working on their logbooks, we would have to get back<br />

into the minibus, the tide was not ideal for crossing<br />

the causeway to the Brough, and basking sharks are<br />

exceptionally rare in the seas around Orkney, so it<br />

would have been sensible and understandable to let the<br />

moment pass. All I can say is that many excited people<br />

got their first ever views of a basking shark that day and<br />

the views looking down from the Brough as it fed in the<br />

water below were stunning. If I remember correctly very<br />

few of us got our feet wet on the causeway on the way<br />

back, if any of us did at all…<br />


Watson<br />

Birthday Honours 2019<br />

We send our congratulations to<br />

Boyd McAdam (Class of 1973),<br />

who was awarded the OBE for<br />

services to young people.<br />

Roz Colthart (Class of 1991) has been named as<br />

one of 50 people in Britain to be recognised as<br />

GREAT Inspirations, by a Government campaign<br />

recognising those who have gone above and<br />

beyond during COVID-19 to help other people,<br />

for her work in launching The Salonpreneur<br />

community, a free digital platform to support<br />

self-employed salon professionals which is<br />

now close to 3000 members. Roz said “The<br />

community is made up of a Facebook group,<br />

Instagram page and members only community<br />

where I share business planning guides and<br />

more... I started it as a bit of fun and never<br />

imagined in a million years this would happen!”<br />

Lev Demyanov (Class of 2017) hit the headlines<br />

recently. Currently working with Skyrora Ltd, Lev<br />

is believed to be Britain’s first apprentice Rocket<br />

Engineer since the country abandoned the Blue<br />

Streak ballistic rocket in the early 1970’s.<br />

New Year Honours 2020<br />

Congratulations go to:<br />

Margaret Beels (Class of 1969)<br />

who has been awarded an OBE<br />

for her services to tackling and<br />

preventing modern slavery and<br />

labour exploitation.<br />

Sarah Aitken (Class of 1989) who<br />

was awarded the CB, for public<br />

service.<br />

Catriona Stewart (Class of 1975),<br />

who was awarded an OBE for<br />

her services to autistic women.<br />

Skyrora is a UK launch vehicle provider aiming<br />

to support the government plans for space<br />

sector growth through the development of an<br />

orbital vehicle and carefully selected supply<br />

chain innovations that will reinforce the industry<br />

for years to come.<br />

A former pupil is the newly appointed<br />

Whanganui Collegiate (New Zealand) Director<br />

of Cricket. Tom Dryden (Class of 2015) was<br />

Vice-Captain of the 1st XI in 2015. Announced in<br />

December 2019, the academy is a partnership<br />

between the Whanganui Collegiate and the New<br />

Zealand Cricket Foundation and will be open<br />

to promising male and female cricketers of<br />

secondary school age.<br />


ians<br />

in the<br />

News<br />

Leigh Fell (Class of 2003), of <strong>Caritas</strong> Neuro<br />

Solutions, was shortlisted as a finalist in<br />

the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards<br />

category of “New Entrepreneur of the Year”.<br />

<strong>Caritas</strong> Neuro Solutions is a clinical<br />

research organisation that supports the<br />

development of new medicines and<br />

therapies for neurological and psychiatric<br />

illnesses. Leigh, Chief Executive Officer said,<br />

“I’m absolutely delighted to have been<br />

shortlisted for this prestigious award. It’s<br />

an incredible feeling to have our hard work<br />

recognised and appreciated in this way.”<br />

Ross Hunter (Class of 1996) and his<br />

father, Archie Hunter, founded Armadilla,<br />

a Scottish outdoor living company, in<br />

2010. In April this year, the company<br />

received a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in<br />

recognition of its outstanding achievement<br />

in innovation. At the same time as<br />

receiving that news, Ross had entered a<br />

global challenge Innovate2Ventilate. You<br />

can read more about this on Page 14.<br />

On 27 June 2020 Andrew Kerr (Class of<br />

1969) was elected President of the Royal<br />

Caledonian Curling Club - the governing<br />

body for Curling in Scotland.<br />



Sections<br />

Branches<br />

The Watsonian Club<br />

All current and former pupils, staff, and parents are eligible for membership of either the Watsonian Club, or its<br />

Sections. The main purpose of the Club is to promote and maintain relationships at home and abroad, strengthen<br />

friendships, to promote the Club’s recognised Sections and Branches and encourage participation in sports and other<br />

activities. We would encourage all Watsonians to be involved in Club activities.<br />

Angling Club<br />

Last year, we recorded our worst season on record. Various<br />

theories have been advanced, from global warming to the impact<br />

of salmon farms, to high seas fishing. The least apocalyptical<br />

theory is that it is a cyclical thing. In recognition of this, day rods<br />

on the beat have been free this year. Permits are required, both<br />

to control numbers and satisfy the law, so please contact me if<br />

you wish to fish. We were optimistic that this year would be better<br />

but so far, although the Tweed generally is fishing fairly well, we<br />

are still struggling, with only one fish by mid September. Trout<br />

fishing is also available and can be very good. There was a fish of<br />

14 pounds taken from the beat last season, which is a superb wild<br />

fish by anyone’s standards.<br />

For more information contact John Buchanan.<br />

E: john@john-buchanan.com<br />

BAME<br />

The shocking killing of George Floyd has highlighted the ongoing inequalities faced by people<br />

from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, causing us to reconsider our part<br />

in tackling these injustices and improving our communities. While George Watson’s College<br />

provides students with a fantastic education, more can be done to make the School a more<br />

welcoming place for people of colour.<br />

A group of former pupils have founded a BAME section of the Watsonian Club with three<br />

objectives: (i) serve as a network for the School’s current and former BAME pupils (ii) aid<br />

the school in making Watson’s more inclusive (iii) publicly recognise and celebrate the<br />

achievements of BAME Watsonians.<br />

Regardless of whether you are a former pupil, teacher or parent, and irrespective of your racial<br />

background, if these objectives resonate and you would like to get involved then we would be<br />

pleased to hear from you.<br />

For more information contact Keshav Arvind:<br />

E: karvind1017@gmail.com<br />


Community Choir<br />

The Watsonian Community Choir had a very successful season; notwithstanding the obvious<br />

curtailment of activity in March. An exciting year had been planned for 2020, with a performance<br />

of Carmina Burana, in the Usher Hall, with the massed GWC choirs in March and our own concert<br />

set for May. Undeterred by lockdown, the Choir Master, Steven Griffin, kept his choristors on<br />

song with a “Tuesday Tune” video, vocal warm ups, and even managed to bring them together<br />

for a virtual session. All of which helped to keep members motivated and connected with each<br />

other. Despite restrictions, the Choir will continue with digital rehearsals over the coming<br />

months. Although at capacity, the Choir does have a waiting list in operation.<br />

For more information contact the Watsonian Community Choir:<br />

E: watsonianchoir@gmail.com Twitter: @watsonianchoir<br />

Cricket Club<br />

After the frustrations of idly watching the finest spring and early summer weather - for many<br />

a year - pass us by, we finally resumed practice on 29 June; albeit restricted to playing in<br />

the nets. Matches within the Club were permitted from 1 August and inter club fixtures<br />

resumed on 15 August. On a positive note, we are running four senior men’s sides, a women’s<br />

team, and a full complement of junior teams. We were fortunate to keep playing until mid<br />

September, some three weeks later than usual and there have been a significant number of<br />

new players, which augurs well for next season. We were also able to run our junior camps,<br />

which proved to be very popular. In summary, a very frustrating early summer, but at least we<br />

did get back to playing club cricket again!<br />

For more information contact John Reid:<br />

E: john.reid1@btinternet.com www.watsoniancricket.com<br />

Curling Club<br />

Having persevered with curling into early March - with disinfectant wipes and social distancing<br />

- the ice rink closed and our last couple of games were cancelled, as was our Annual Dinner<br />

and Prizegiving. However, we had managed to complete almost all of the season’s programme<br />

though that, alas, meant conceding the FP League to Stewart’s Melville and not awarding the<br />

trophy for our annual tussle with Edinburgh Accies. Still, we had clear winners for our other<br />

games and competitions and although we had lost a couple of players at the start of the<br />

season, we gained a couple during it and we should be in a good position to resume activity<br />

whenever the new season might start.<br />

For more information contact Dan Lean:<br />

E: danjlean@yahoo.co.uk<br />


Rugby/Football Club<br />

The 2019/20 season saw the biggest change in men’s club rugby in Scotland since the<br />

introduction of the National Leagues in 1973, with the start of the FOSROC Super6 semiprofessional<br />

league. COVID-19 brought an early close to all rugby, but not before Watsonians<br />

Rugby topped the Super6 league ahead of the cancelled play-offs, Watsonians Women won<br />

all their games to win the Premiership and the Watsonians Club XV finished mid-table in<br />

National League One, with a very good home record. Club second and third XV’s also played,<br />

when opposition teams were available, and enjoyed some success. The Watsonian Warriors<br />

increased their P2-P7 player base to over 200, for the first time, and were victorious at the<br />

Biggar and Currie festivals. During lockdown and the subsequent phases, players from all<br />

teams helped elderly and vulnerable Club members with shopping and other tasks.<br />

For more information contact Iain Leslie:<br />

E: iain@leslieandco.co.uk www.watsoniansrugby.com<br />

Men’s Hockey Club<br />

For more information contact Catie Craig:<br />

E: catie_craig@hotmail.com or<br />

info@watsonianshockeyclub.com<br />

www.watsonianshockeyclub.com<br />

Women’s Hockey Club<br />

For more information contact Catie Craig:<br />

E: catie_craig@hotmail.com or<br />

info@watsonianshockeyclub.com<br />

www.watsonianshockeyclub.com<br />

Rifle Club<br />

For more information contact Ian Thomson:<br />

E: ciht@hotmail.co.uk<br />


Overseas<br />

Australia (Sydney): Pat Stevenson E: trish@stevensons.com.au<br />

T: 04 1204 1777 FB: SydneyWatsonians<br />

Australia (Victoria): Donald MacLaren E: maclaren1942@gmail.com<br />

T: 04 5266 0109<br />

Belgium (Brussels): Andrew Brown E: andrew.brown@skynet.be<br />

Canada (Toronto): Robert Chassels E: facebob@mybest.net<br />

T: 001 905 272 2222<br />

Dubai: Iain Munro E: iainalexandermunro@gmail.com<br />

France (Paris): Patrick Bartholomew E: development@gwc.org.uk<br />

Germany: Markus Schroeder E: macschroeder@web.de<br />

Hong Kong: Mario Maciocia E: mmaciocia@aol.com<br />

New Zealand: Douglas Bridges E: d.bridges@math.canterbury.ac.nz<br />

T: 0064 3351 5058<br />


Golf Club<br />

The 2020 season may have suffered due to lockdown, but that was in sharp contrast to<br />

the success of the 2019 season for the Watsonian Golf Club. Within the Club, the year<br />

belonged to Richard Johnston, who not only won the Gold Medal at Muirfield and the<br />

Club Championship, but was also selected to represent Scotland in the Senior Home<br />

Internationals. His excellent form survived lockdown and continued into 2020 with a seven<br />

under round of 65 in the 2nd round to win the Scottish Seniors event at Strathmore in<br />

August. Our 2020 Annual Dinner may have been an early casualty of lockdown, but we are<br />

delighted that plans are already in place for a blockbuster follow-up to our successful 2019<br />

dinner, in March 2021. Golf has been one of the fortunate sports to emerge successfully from<br />

lockdown. We have a full schedule of events planned for 2021 and a thriving membership, so<br />

please join us and get involved. Former pupils, parents of pupils or staff of George Watson’s<br />

College are welcome and can join online at www.watsoniangolfclub.com<br />

Swimming Club<br />

Members have been enthusiastic users of both the Galleon pool and the Myreside Pavilion<br />

and as such, activities were greatly reduced post lockdown. However, members patriotically<br />

held a joint whisky tasting with Colinton Bowling Club on Friday 6 March. For photographs<br />

of this, and other Club events, during the last year, go to the Club website at: http://www.<br />

watsonianswimmingclub.co.uk<br />

Sadly, the Club’s long-time Social Convenor, Geoff Bulmer, who had arranged many dinners<br />

and golf outings, died on 6 August.<br />

For more information contact Alan Masson:<br />

E: alanjmasson@virginmedia.com<br />

Squash Club<br />

For more information contact Richard McIntosh:<br />

E: info@watsoniansquash.co.uk<br />

If you would like to view the Watsonian Club Branch and Section full reports go to:<br />

www.gwc.org.uk/community/the-watsonian-club<br />

South Africa: Douglas Scott E: douglas.graham.scott@gmail.com<br />

South East Asia (Singapore): Stephen Wise E: sdwise99@gmail.com<br />

USA (East Coast): Robin Macdonald E: robin@optonline.net<br />

USA (North California 1): Jake Mackenzie E: blumacjazz@aol.com<br />

USA (North California 2): Brian Williamson E: brian@triadcon.com<br />

UK Contacts<br />

Highland and Moray: Richard Cavaye E: r.cavaye@btinternet.com<br />

Lancashire: Nigel Kirkness E: nigelkirkness@yahoo.com<br />

T: 01606 558 038<br />

Border: Woody Morris E: woodymorris3@gmail.com<br />

London: Alan Mackie E: alanbmackie@btinternet.com<br />

Perth Women: Elizabeth Aitken E: aitkeneliza@aol.com<br />

Yorkshire: Jill Mitchell E: jilliantomory@hotmail.co.uk<br />


Calendar<br />

of Events<br />

2019 - 2020<br />

Despite the sudden halt to physical social calendars in March, we are pleased<br />

to share some of our event highlights from 2019-20 and our future plans.<br />

Dates for your Diary 2020 - 2021<br />

2020<br />

Wednesday 16 December<br />

A Watson’s Christmas<br />

2021<br />

Friday 8 January<br />

London Watsonian Club Annual Cenotaph Observance<br />

Saturday 30 January<br />

Annual Sydney Watsonian Club Burns Supper<br />

Friday 5 February<br />

Founder’s Day<br />

Friday 2 April<br />

Hong Kong Watsonian Club Dinner, Hong Kong Football Club<br />

Sunday 16 May<br />

Yorkshire Watsonian Club Lunch<br />

Saturday 19 to Sunday 20 June George Watson’s Ladies’ College 150th Anniversary Weekend<br />

Saturday 26 June Annual Reunion Groups (1940s, 1951, 61, 71, 81, 91, 2001, 2011)<br />

Friday 17 September<br />

Annual Highland and Moray Watsonian Dinner<br />

Thursday 30 September<br />

Paris and Belgium Branches Joint Watsonian Dinner<br />

Friday 1 October<br />

Daisy Coles (Class of 1911) Memorial, St Omer, France<br />

Saturday 13 November<br />

GWLC 150th Anniversary Gala Ceilidh<br />

As events may be changed or postponed at short notice, please visit our website for up to date event information.<br />


NOVEMBER 2019<br />

On Armistice Day, this busy month<br />

got off to a poignant start, as<br />

the Senior School Hall was filled<br />

with staff, guests and pupils from<br />

the Senior School, and - for the<br />

first time - the Junior School, for<br />

our annual Remembrance Day<br />

Service. GWC marked the 100th<br />

Armistice Day since the end of<br />

World War One, commemorating<br />

the 810 Watsonians who lost their<br />

lives during the conflicts of the<br />

20th Century. Prior to the service,<br />

the name of every Watsonian<br />

recorded in the Roll of Honour was<br />

read aloud as a single bell tolled.<br />

After the service, guests, pupils<br />

and staff were invited to watch<br />

a tree planting by Watsonian,<br />

Thomas Dykes (Class of 1946) to<br />

honour the service of those who<br />

returned from the First World War.<br />

Mr Dykes is the grandson of Dr<br />

John Alison who was Headmaster<br />

of Watson’s throughout World<br />

War One and who led the first<br />

Remembrance Service one<br />

hundred years ago to the day.<br />

Later that month, the President<br />

of the Watsonian Club welcomed<br />

guest speaker Jacqui Lowe to a<br />

Business Breakfast for current<br />

and former pupils. Jacqui is a<br />

communications professional<br />

with more than 30 years’<br />

experience in media, business,<br />

politics and government. Jacqui<br />

gave us a very moving and<br />

thought provoking insight into<br />

her personal battles and the<br />

challenges of rising to the top as<br />

a woman in business.<br />

The Class of 1975 gents celebrated<br />

their 44th anniversary reunion in<br />

Edinburgh. After the success of<br />

their previous events, word had<br />

clearly spread, as this well<br />

attended event seems to have<br />

been a thoroughly enjoyable<br />

occasion - as you can see from<br />

the photo!<br />


DECEMBER 2019<br />

Our fallen heroes were also<br />

remembered in December,<br />

as members of the London<br />

Watsonian Club gathered in<br />

Battersea Park to plant a young<br />

oak tree to mark the Club’s<br />

contribution to our Forest of<br />

Remembrance. The small group,<br />

some of whom had served in<br />

the armed forces, took turns<br />

laying soil into the foundations<br />

of the tree; after which followed<br />

a dram and a toast to the Fallen<br />

of GWC (including a wee nip<br />

poured into the roots of the<br />

tree) and a moment’s silence.<br />

A unique event for the Club,<br />

it was certainly one of the<br />

most enjoyable, and poignant,<br />

in recent memory. Those in<br />

attendance were proud to pay<br />

their respects, on behalf of all<br />

London Wasonians, and to have<br />

been present at the start of a<br />

growing and lasting tribute set in<br />

the heart of the nation’s capital.<br />

On Saturday 14 December,<br />

the Watsonian Club of Victoria<br />

(Melbourne) held their annual<br />

summer barbecue. Attended<br />

by 21 Watsonians and guests,<br />

a fun time was had by all - in<br />

perfect weather.<br />

On the evening of 17 December,<br />

following a Christmas reception at<br />

the French Consulate in Parliament<br />

Square, the annual Festival of Nine<br />

Lessons and Carols took place at<br />

St Giles’ Cathedral, where pupils,<br />

parents and members of our<br />

Watsonian community gathered<br />

together to enjoy this traditional<br />

start to the festive period.<br />


JANUARY 2020<br />

The annual London<br />

Watsonian Club Cenotaph<br />

Observance took place<br />

on Friday 10 January<br />

in Whitehall. As is now<br />

customary, there was an<br />

impressive turnout, including<br />

representation by the School<br />

Captains, Phoebe Fogarty<br />

and Lachlan White. The day’s<br />

events concluded with lunch<br />

at the Caledonian Club.<br />

FEBRUARY 2020<br />

February started with a very<br />

Scottish affair taking place, a<br />

bit further from home, with the<br />

much anticipated annual Sydney<br />

Watsonian Club Burns Supper.<br />

Harry Laing’s (Class of 1980)<br />

professional expertise was missing<br />

this year, as he had a better -<br />

paying - offer in Queensland,<br />

but the performance by David<br />

Lyon (Class of 1968) and Hamish<br />

Gregor (Class of 1967) proved a<br />

big hit with their adaptation of the<br />

Address to a Haggis, complete<br />

with props.<br />

On Thursday 6 February, the<br />

President of the Watsonian Club,<br />

Johnny Bacigalupo, hosted an<br />

event for Past Presidents at the<br />

Merchants’ Hall. Guests enjoyed<br />

a fascinating presentation about<br />

the history of The Royal Company<br />

of Merchants of the City of<br />

Edinburgh from Johnny, before<br />

having the opportunity to tour<br />

this remarkable building and it’s<br />

vault, where priceless artefacts<br />

are stored. This was the first time<br />

the annual gathering had not been<br />

hosted at Myreside Pavilion and<br />

the Gods were either with us, or<br />

against us, as only the day before<br />

fire had torn through the Pavilion’s<br />

upstairs bar and roof causing<br />

significant damage to this iconic<br />

and much loved building.<br />

We were delighted that our 2020<br />

Founder’s Day speaker, Donald<br />

Runnicles (Class of 1972), was<br />

able to take time out of his<br />

busy schedule to fly in from<br />

Berlin. Indeed, within an hour<br />

Class of arriving of 1984 he Reunion, was on July stage 2019 in<br />

the Senior School Assembly<br />

Hall. Concurrently the General<br />

Music Director of the Deutsche<br />

Oper Berlin and Music Director<br />

of the Grand Teton Music<br />

Festival (Jackson, Wyoming),<br />

Donald regaled pupils, staff and<br />

Watsonians with stories of his own<br />

time at Watson’s and highlights<br />

from his career since. We were<br />

delighted that he also officiated<br />

over the inauguration of the<br />

new School organ, which was<br />

purchased thanks to donations.<br />

The organ has been dedicated<br />

to the former Head of Music,<br />

Norman Hyde.<br />


And finally...<br />

Remembering<br />

It is said: “School days are the best of your life”, and I would definitely agree that this can be true in many cases. The ten<br />

years I attended George Watson’s Boys’ College were some of the best years of my life, even though during that time the<br />

Second World War was raging. And, it was upon receipt of a birthday card from the School - on the occasion of my 85th<br />

birthday - that those happy memories of my days at Watson’s were brought to mind.<br />

For me, my school achievements<br />

lay not in academic subjects, but<br />

in sport. I held several swimming<br />

records, which led to me being<br />

awarded my School Colours for<br />

swimming in my final year. I was<br />

proud to Captain the School when<br />

we competed against Robert<br />

Gordon’s College, Aberdeen, both<br />

at home and away and, as I recall,<br />

we won on both occasions. My love<br />

for sport was not restricted to the<br />

pool, I also played rugby and<br />

squash, along with Brian Adair<br />

(Class of 1953). Outside of school,<br />

I was a member of the Edinburgh<br />

Sports Club where Alistair<br />

Groundwater, a Watsonian,<br />

was the professional.<br />

From my time at Watson’s,<br />

I am, perhaps, proudest of my<br />

involvement in the establishment<br />

of the Naval Cadet Unit as part<br />

of the School’s Combined Cadet<br />

Force (CCF). At that time, the CCF,<br />

founded by former pupil Sandy<br />

Morrison in 1904 - who was sadly<br />

killed in action during the Battle<br />

of Loos at Hohenzollern Redoubt,<br />

on 25 September 1915 - only had<br />

an Army and Airforce unit. As my<br />

English teacher, Mr McInnes, was<br />

ex-Royal Navy and I was already a<br />

Sea Cadet out of school, I persuaded<br />

Mr McInnes to help me establish this<br />

missing Senior Service. This, I am<br />

delighted to say, was achieved, with<br />

Mr McInnes, its first Commanding<br />

Officer and I the first recruit.<br />

The Cadet Pipe Band was<br />

established some two years after<br />

the formation of the School’s Cadet<br />

Corps, as it was originally called.<br />

Ted, the Head Janitor, tried tirelessly<br />

to teach me to play the cornet and<br />

bugle - but it was not to be! Instead,<br />

I became a Tenor Drummer. Naval<br />

Cadet Unit numbers began to grow<br />

and Ian Livingston, Bass Drummer,<br />

and myself, Tenor Drummer, were<br />

recruited to the CCF Pipe Band,<br />

proudly wearing our naval uniforms<br />

and not the kilt and tunic dress<br />

other band members wore.<br />

The true meaning of the words<br />

“Combined Cadet Force”<br />

represented for the first time by<br />

two cadets in their naval uniforms.<br />

I embraced every opportunity<br />

Watson’s offered, I was a Cub Scout<br />

in the School’s Scout Troop, a<br />

member of the Scripture Union and<br />

the Scottish Schoolboys Club (SSC)<br />

- a Club founded in 1912 for the<br />

youth of Scotland by Stanley Nairne<br />

- and I went on summer camping<br />

holidays with them over my latter<br />

years at school. I was also one of the<br />

many school boys who went to the<br />

Harvest Camp at the Hirsel Estate,<br />

owned by Alex Douglas-Home,<br />

where we worked for local farmers.<br />

In spite of leaving Watson’s at the<br />

age of 15 - without any school<br />

certificates - I went on to study<br />

at night school and served a<br />

five-year apprenticeship with a<br />

Civil Engineering Consulting firm<br />

in Edinburgh.<br />


After qualifying as a Chartered Civil Engineer, I became<br />

a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers (AMICE),<br />

as well as gaining membership of the Civil Engineering<br />

Institutes/Associations of Australia, America and<br />

Switzerland (SIA).<br />

I eventually became the first Civil Engineer in Scotland<br />

to become a Partner in a multi-professional partnership<br />

firm of Architects, Engineers and Planning Consultants in<br />

Edinburgh. In 1970, I joined a Swiss Textile, Engineering<br />

and Management Organisation as a Project Manager<br />

for Overseas Projects and spent many years, until my<br />

retirement in 1999, resident in European, African, Middle<br />

East, Asia, Far East and South American countries in<br />

construction of cotton, wool, silk and garment textile<br />

plants, aluminium smelters and steel plants, as well<br />

as telecommunications installations, hotels and a<br />

Foreign Embassy!<br />

If you would like to share memories from your<br />

time at school, or since, then please email<br />

development@gwc.org.uk<br />

I was extremely pleased to have received a card, from<br />

my old school, on my 85th birthday. It was very nice<br />

to know that I am not yet forgotten.<br />

Douglas McWhannell (Class of 1952)<br />


Planning<br />

an event?<br />

George Watson’s College offers a unique and inspiring venue with<br />

modern facilities, close to the beautiful city centre of Edinburgh.<br />

George Watson’s College offers a unique and inspiring<br />

venue with modern facilities, close to the beautiful city<br />

centre of Edinburgh.<br />

Although events aren’t something we are able to enjoy<br />

all together at the moment, we know that they will<br />

return and when they do we will be ready to welcome<br />

you at George Watson’s College.<br />

The school offers a range of space to hire including our<br />

Assembly Hall, Dining Hall and Music Auditorium, all<br />

ideal for large events including gala dinners, weddings<br />

and exhibitions. Our lecture theatre, classrooms,<br />

meeting rooms and our Centre for Sport with its<br />

facilities are perfect for a range of events from<br />

training courses, dance and drama classes to<br />

intimate celebrations and sporting events.<br />

Please contact Amy Hutchison for more details<br />

and to discuss planning your event with us:<br />

E: a.hutchison@gwc.org.uk T: 0131 446 6000<br />

We are delighted to offer Watsonians a 25%<br />

service level discount on the hire of all our facilities<br />

when booking an event at the school. Please visit<br />

our website for more details on our facilities<br />

and event services.<br />


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