1933 to 1934: Edinburgh Settlement Annual Report; Kirk O’Field College

After the official opening by Sir James Barrie on the 28th October 1933, the College opened for the enrolment of students. By the end of the first week 300 students had enrolled, and by the 27th November the number was in­creased to over 400. We discovered that although the first programme covered a large number of subjects, it was in­sufficient to meet the needs of students.

Sir James Barrie

Extra classes had to be formed in such subjects as German, French, Spanish, and Physiology. Twenty-five classes now meet each week; the subjects are Scientific, Medical, Economic, and Languages. There are also classes in Music, Drama, and Art. The athletic part of the programme has been very successful and is directed by Mr Donald Liddell, of the University Settlement, High School Yards.

Mr Liddell reports that he is very pleased to find that most of his men also attend other classes. Mr Liddell has still need of assistance from University students in his Boxing and Fencing Classes.

Although the College has been very fortunate in securing voluntary service for office work during the day, there is room for more volunteers to take charge of the Library and general office work in the evenings. The University students who help in the classes are doing splendid work. They all say that the work is interesting because they have an opportunity of hearing points of view they would not hear in ordinary University circles.
Roughly, 50 per cent, of the College students are in work and 50 per cent, unemployed. Students come from all parts of Edinburgh, and even from Niddrie, Portobello, and Musselburgh. They have been extraordinarily grateful for the work of the College, and very willing to put up with the necessary inefficiency of a new venture.

The heavy enrol­ment for foreign languages reveals an interest in international affairs, which in intensity is without parallel in the history of Scotland. The students were charmed by a lecture from the Viscount Astor, on the 17th November, on ‘British Agri­culture’ Lord Astor came down from London specially to deliver the lecture to College students. He refused to have the public invited.

The members of the Occupation Centre, who have been transferred to the College from High School Yards and Cameron House, were delighted by a private visit from the Prince of Wales on the 1st November. The Prince inspected the whole building, chatted with the members, and met the staff. He was impressed by the general scheme of the College. The Occupation Centre has settled down happily in the new building. It has been found necessary to limit the member­ship, and there is in consequence a long waiting list of potential members.

The College is very grateful to University Lecturers and students and the men and women of Edinburgh who take charge of the educational programme or the administrative work. Their effort is fundamental to the success of the College. The College is also very grateful to those who have gifted books or other articles.

The numbers enrolled in the various classes were as follows :—

  • Britain’s Industrial Future – 18
  • German – 98
  • English Reading – 10
  • Human Biology – 25
  • Economics – 38
  • Singing – 33
  • Geography – 10
  • Public Speaking – 38
  • Social Health – 19
  • Wireless Construction – 96
  • Scotland’s Industrial Future – 8
  • Drama – 26
  • Model Railway – 27
  • English Composition – 23
  • French – 40
  • Spanish – 21
  • Shorthand – 18
  • Physiology and Anatomy – 22
  • Electyrical Engineering – 8


Annual Report of Edinburgh settlement

This is part of the Edinburgh Settlements digital archive collaboration with Ragged University:

Edinburgh Settlements Digital Archive