1955 First Year and Ecurie Ecosse

Posted by Edward Ashleigh-Hogg

First Year 1955 or 1956 with fom master Fred Scott
First form 1955 or 1956 with form master Fred Scott

The date is indicated as 1956, but might even be from 1955. I was either in 1st or 2nd year at the time.People I can remember in it are our Form Master, “Fred” Scott (top right), myself (middle row, 2nd from right) Harry Coghill (on my right), Bill McCosh (on Harry’s right), Herbert Spencer (top row, 2nd from left, now I believe deceased), Bruce Findlay (middle row, 3rd from left), Colin Beak (bottom row, right on the corner below Findlay).

Harry was a fine golfer, lived just alongside Bruntsfield links, Bill went on to be the School Rugby Captain, Herbert was in my primary class at Sciennes, and we both went to the Boroughmuir “M” classes before joining the RHS in the September. I counted 27 boys in the photo, but we were or became 28 – the “missing” one was called Eric Notariani if I remember correctly. We were all so eager to do well – those who had come from the prep school at Jock’s Lodge (like my younger brother Bruce a few years later), had already a head start on the rest of us, and it took time to get into the swing of things, although there were similarities with the primary school, queuing for the morning distribution of milk – little glass bottles of 1/3 of a pint in the courtyard, in front of the library.

Having read some of the other comments from FP’s, and having had Bill Bowie as music teacher for the best part of 5 years, including time in the school orchestra, I honestly don’t remember him as being such a sadistic ogre as he has been painted. Perhaps we were lucky. 

Ecurie Ecosse D-Type Jaguar

High moments of my time: the institution of an annual lecture by an eminent FP sponsored by a family to commemorate their son, an RAF pilot killed in the war (Perhaps the John Gordon Brown Memorial Lecture – Ed). 

The first, I think it was in 1957, and the most spectacular, was given by David Murray, the owner of Ecurie Ecosse, and Wilkie Wilkinson his chief mechanic. They brought one of their D-type Jaguars which had just won the Le Mans 24 hours and regaled us both with racing stories and the sight and sound of this magnificent machine as it sprinted up and down the lower playground. That rather left its mark – and I eventually got to drive one (photo attached). 

Another lecture I remember was by a boffin from ICI who made us some gifts of self-heating soup! I also joined “the Corps”, subsequently transferring to the RAF section. Whilst there, I was given the chance to do a gliding course at the RNAS “HMS Condor” at Arbroath. That effectively started my flying career. I still have that glider licence, signed by Lord Brabazon of Tara. All part of the legacy of RHS.

Best to all,



  1. Ah I remember those days so well.
    Sadly my time was not so happy and having done well at primary school ( Stenhouse) I never settled into the High School’s more formal style of teaching and discipline. Bill Bowie was a nasty monster as were a few others some of whom delighted in the use of the belt, imagining it would result in cowering obedience.
    Unfortunately my inability to conform and my constant truancy resulted in an early departure for me.(1959).
    I remain friends with Aly Black ( standing next to Fred…in fact I had lunch with him and a few friends this week) and also George Lawson who was a year ahead of us.
    Some memories are good…I remember the ‘Jaguar’ connection and I loved playing rugby.
    I moved to Falkirk in 1959 but returned later in 1963 when I worked in Patrick Thomson’s Record dept. Again in 1965 when I opened my own record dept in Mr Smith’s coffee bar in Lothian Rd. I finally opened my own stand alone record shop ( Bruce’s Record Shop ) in Rose St and remained a retailer in partnership with my brother Brian ( Heriot’s)until 1980. At that point I went on to concentrate on artist management. I managed Simple Minds (1978 to 1990). Sorry to rant but although I really had a torrid time at school, it was mostly my own rebellious non conformist behaviour that was my downfall. I did ok in ‘real life’ though and maybe it was my desire to prove those teachers that tried to humiliate me wrong, that drove me on.
    Many ex pupils that I meet talk with genuine fondness for the school and schooldays and I love that…I love the fact the school is as old as Edinburgh itself and I do boast to my foreign friends about it’s history. Shame on me.
    Vivas Schola Regia

    1. As I recall, back in the early sixties, we were allowed to forego the wearing of a tie in the summer term. This didn’t meet with the approval of many of the more conservative masters!

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