Tag Archives: alumni

Edinburgh University Students in Spain

It is 80 years since the Spanish Civil War broke out.  Unlike both World Wars, we have no record of University of Edinburgh students who fought (and died) in Spain and this is the start of a process of trying to identify who did.  This is very much work-in-progress and will be updated as we find additional information.

If you know of anyone missing from the list below, please contact the Deputy University Archivist, Grant Buttars


George Drever

George was born 31 March 1910 in Leith, the son of George Drever and Louisa (Balfour).  He spent 6 years at Leith Academy before enrolling to study Science at the University of Edinburgh, gaining a First Class Honours BSc in Pure Science in 1933.  Two years later he was awarded a PhD, his thesis being, Electrochemical studies in oxide formation on some metals.

First Matriculation: George Drever

First Matriculation: George Drever

Links


Frances Hughes Drew

Frances was born 12 May 1914 in Southampton.  She was educated at Falmouth High School then at Blackpool Girls’ Secondary, enrolling to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 1932 and graduating MBChB in 1937.

First Matriculation: Frances Hughes Drew

First Matriculation: Frances Hughes Drew

She was a member of the International Students’ delegation and one of six students in the British delegation of the (strongly Communist) World Student Association who visited Spain in the 1936/7  Christmas vacation and campaigned for the Republicans on her return.


John Peter Cowan Dunlop

Born 2nd July 1915 in Winnipeg, Canada, John was an accountancy student (non-graduating).

First Matriculation: John Peter Cowan Dunlop

First Matriculation: John Peter Cowan Dunlop

John is listed on the International Brigades website:

Born: 2/7/1915, Winnipeg, Canada. Enlistment Address; 9 East Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh University Accountancy student. CPGB (1936) OTC in England. Single. Age 22. Arrived in Spain 19/5/1937. Enlisted in Battalion 22/5/1937. Joined the British Anti Tank-Gun Battery. Action’s participated in: Jarama, Brunete, Teruel, Belchite, Ebro. Wounded at Brunete in July 1937, (between the 6th and 12th) by shrapnel in the back. Recovered in hospital at Barcelona. Joined British Battalion on 10/11/1937. Wounded on 20/1/1938. In Hospital February-April 1938. Rifle  No; 98101. No. 4  Company, Section 2, platoon 2. Confirmed Corporal on 30/4/1938. Sergeant. Wounded during the Ebro Offensive on 31/7/1938. In hospital 3/10/1938? Invalided home in October 1938. Set up his own printing business in Edinburgh upon his return.

He later became accountant to the International Brigade Association.

Links


Hamish Fraser

Hamish was born 16 August 1913 in Inverness.  He was educated at Preston School, Duns, Duns Public School, Berwickshire High School and at the Royal High School, Edinburgh.  In 1931/2, he enrolled at the University of Edinburgh to study Technical Chemistry. The fact that his record specifies the subject rather than, as was the norm, simply recording the Faculty, suggests he was not enrolled in a full degree programme.

First Matriculation: Hamish Fraser

First Matriculation: Hamish Fraser

 

He claimed to have joined the Young Communist League while at University; he was certainly Propaganda Secretary of the Central London Federation of the YCL by the time the Spanish Civil War erupted in 1936,

Links

  • Biographical sketch at Apropos (a magazine of which he served as editor after his conversion to Roman Catholicism)

Margot (Marguerite Rosabelle) Gale (later Kettle)

Margot was born in 1916.  She was educated at King Arthur School, Musselburgh and St. Bride School, Edinburgh, enrolling at the Univerity of Edinburgh in 1934.  While at University, she served as President of the Women’s Union, 1937-38.  She graduated MA in 1938.  In August 1938, she joined the Young Communist League.

First Matriculation: Margot Gale

First Matriculation: Margot Gale

She was mother of Guardian journalist Martin Kettle.

Links

  • Her papers are held at the Labour History Archive and Study Centre (Manchester)

David Mackenzie

His full name was William David Beveridge Mackenzie and he was born 14 November 1916, the son of Rear Admiral W. B. Mackenzie, in Rock, Cornwall.  He was educated at Copthorne School, Sussex and at Marlborough College.  He enrolled as a summer term only medical student at the University of Edinburgh in 1935, having previously studied history at Oxford.

First Matriculation: David Mackenzie

First Matriculation: William David Beveridge Mackenzie

David is listed on the International Brigades website:

c/o 16 King Street, London. (CPGB HQ) Oxford University. (History & Law) Medical Student at Edinburgh University. YCL. CPGB. Age: 20. Spain, 09/10/1936. French Commune de Paris Battalion, (Dumont Battalion) 11th International Brigade. Reported killed in error (25/11/1936) at the University City, Madrid, in the Daily Worker dated 05/12/1936. Returned to UK on 05/01/1937. (V.11 37a PF 45600) Battalion No. 947.

Links


Acknowledgements

I am very grateful to a number of people who have provided various leads on this subject, particularly Mike Arnott and Fraser Raeburn and of the Scotland and the Spanish Civil War Facebook Group.

James Miranda Steuart Barry and the Crimean War

We recently became aware of a single letter from James Miranda Barry, written just before (s)he was due to depart for Sebastopol shortly after its capture by the ‘allies’ in 1855. We acquired in in 1977.

Margaret Bulkley was born in Ireland: a bright, precocious child, she moved to London, with her mother in 1805 and there had access to General Francisco de Miranda’s library with ‘treatises such as might be considered to form a tolerably complete Medical Library for a private gentleman’. As her father had been declared bankrupt, she had no hope of a good marriage so it was decided she should go to university but this was not an option for a female.

Thus she took the name of James Barry (after her uncle) and went to study medicine, at Edinburgh University, one of the most demanding and rigorous courses in Britain. Barry graduated with a MD thesis dedicated to her patrons, General Francisco de Miranda and David Steuart Erskine, 11th Earl of Buchan (1742-1829). Then, even more extraordinary, after further training, Barry joined the army and travelled throughout the British Empire. There is no definitive version of her adopted name.

Read more about Barry on Our History

We knew about Barry’s matriculation and graduation records and MD thesis.  This letter, while recorded in our sheaf index to manuscripts, had not yet made its way into our online catalogue and was stumbled upon while looking for something else.  It makes interesting reading.

A Life Cut Short: Stephanie’s Story

Stephanie (courtesy of Lauren McGregor)

In 1936, Julia Stephanie Evadne McGregor was in the final year of a five-year medical degree and showed all the signs of a highly motivated and conscientious student who would do well.  In January 1936, she was admitted to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, again in May and then June.  She died on 4th July of rheumatic fever.  On the anniversary of her death this year, the University is awarding a posthumous degree, with her family in attendance.

Stephanie (as she was known) was born in Gayle St. Mary, Jamaica on 9th April 1911, the daughter of Peter James McGregor and his wife Julianna Drucilla Marsh. She attended Wolmer’s Girls High School in Kingston, Jamaica from 1923-1929 and matriculated at the University of Edinburgh to study medicine in April 1931, having obtained her matriculation certificate at the University of London the previous August. On 21 October 1931 she registered as a student member of the General Medical Council.

Her first year of study saw her study under (amongst others) Professors James Hartley Asworth (Zoology), George Barger (Chemistry) and William Wright Smith (Botany), passing her first professional exams in 1932. In her second year her Professors were Edward Sharpey-Schafer (Physiology) and James Couper Brash (Anatomy). She passed her second professional exams  in 1933.

Holiday at Kirn, Argyll, 1932

On holiday at Kirn, Argyll, 1932 (courtesy of Lauren McGregor)julia2back

In October 1933, Marjorie Rackstraw in her capacity as Adviser of Women Students, wrote to Professor Sir Sidney Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, informing him that Stephanie was in financial difficulties, having received no allowance since the previous August, due to her family being in financial difficulties themselves. As a result, she was able to gain an award of £25 from the Medical Bursaries Fund. By the following February, this plus money Stephanie had managed to raise elsewhere was once again exhausted and Miss Rackstraw wrote again to Prof. Smith to explore other options, specifically a loan

She described Stephanie as capable and sensible, “one of the best of her class and has gained merit certificates in four of her subjects and one prize in Botany”. The letter also recorded that Stephanie was planning to apply for a Vans Dunlop Scholarship and, “if the  banana harvest is satisfactory she should be able to meet her expenditure during the next two years”. A further grant of £50 from the Medical Bursaries Fund was awarded.

Further troubles arose in late 1934. On 29th October Miss Rackstraw wrote again to Prof. Smith, explaining that Stephanie’s father had died a few weeks earlier, presenting more financial problems over and above dealing with the bereavement.  She was to receive further small pots of money.

By 1935, Stephanie was living in Masson Hall of Residence, where Marjorie Rackstraw was warden.  The building no longer exists, having been demolished in the 1960s to make way for the Main Library building.  However there are extensive records, including photographs, and one that includes Stephanie survives.

Group photograph of residents and others at Masson Hall of Residence, 1935

Group photograph of residents and others at Masson Hall of Residence, 1935

1936 did not start well for Stephanie.  She fell ill on the 17th January and ended up in the Royal Infirmary but was let out after 15 days on the condition that she go away for convalescence.  She went to say with a Mrs Corrigall at “Stromness, Kirn, Argyll”, but the ordeal journey there resulted in a week in bed and further time away from study.  She wrote to Prof. Smith to explain her situation.

Mrs. Corrigall, with whom I am staying, called in her family Doctor and I have been under his care ….. I am still quite unfit to face classes and work ….. I am very troubled about my attendance and classes ….. This is the first time in the five years of my academic life, Sir, that I have for any reson or other been forced to miss my classes

Steph's signature

Signature, from letter in her student file

On 5 July 1936, Marjorie Rackstraw again wrote to Prof Smith but this time she was not looking for financial assistance.  Instead she had the task of informing him that Stephanie had died the day before, a victim of “rheumatic fever following tonsillitis which affected her heart”. Her funeral was held at St. John’s Episcopal, where she had been a member of the congregation, and she was buried at Piershill Cemetery.

Funeral notice (copy from her student file)

Funeral notice (copy from her student file)

Since the later 19th century, women students had been battling to gain parity with their male counterparts.  It was not until the 1890s that women were able to matriculate as students and it was only in 1915 that they gained an equal status to men within the Faculty of Medicine.  Even by the time Stephanie was studying, numbers of female students were very small compared to men, having only just edged over 10%.  Had Stephanie graduated, she would have made up one of only 19 women who were awarded a degree of MBChB that year.  Although she probably never saw herself as such, Stephanie can be seen as a contributor towards a major change within medical education, paving the way for those who followed.

At the graduation ceremony which takes place on 4th July 2015, coincidentally on the 79th anniversary of Stephanie’s death, the University of Edinburgh is awarding her a posthumous degree.

Edinburgh University Union Committee, 1899

Edinburgh University Union Committee 1899We recently acquired this photograph.  It shows the committee which had responsibility for running the University Union, one comprised of both staff and students. We have researched each of the names and found out something further about most of them.

At this time and for some time to come, the Union was an all male affair. The date also means that many of the students depicted would also see service during the First World War – where known, this is noted.

Leonard Crossley
Medical graduate: MBChB 1900, MD 1903.

Frederick Nelson Menzies
Medical graduate: MBChB 1899, MD 1903.

James Myles Hogge (1873-1928)
Arts graduate: MA 1898. Later Member of Parliament.

Andrew Binny Flett (1875-1961)
Medical graduate: MBChB 1902.

Robert Dundonald Melville (1872-1927)
Arts and Law graduate: MA 1894, LLB 1896.

David Barty King (1873-1956)
MA from University of St. Andrews. Medical graduate: MBChB 1899, MD 1902. Served as Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Francis Mitchell Caird (1853-1926)
Later Professor of Clinical Medicine.

Dr Richard J A Berry
Lecturer in Anatomy. Medical graduate: MBChB 1891, MD 1894.

John Rankine (1846-1922)
Professor of Scots Law.

Hugh Nethersole Fletcher (1877-1962)
Medical graduate: MBChB 1903, MD 1909. Served as Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps (Territorial).

Hugh Crichton Miller (1877-1959)
Psychotherapist and founder of the Tavistock Clinic. Arts and Medical graduate: MA 1899, MBChB 1900, MD 1902. Served as Lieutenant, then Major, Royal Army Medical Corps.

Harry Malcolm Mackenzie (c1872-1947)
Medical graduate: MBChB 1899. Served as Lieutenant, then Major, then Lieutenant Colonel, Indian Medical Service.

James Walker ( -1922)
Chartered Accountant. Honorary Treasurer to the University Union

Samuel Butcher (1850-1910)
Professor of Greek.

Dr Francis William Nicol Haultain (1861-1921)
Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. Medical graduate: MB CM 1882.

The Foundation of Anatomy: Class List of Alexander Monro (primus)

From time to time we ‘rediscover’ items in our collections.  It’s not that we didn’t know we had them; rather that they have not come to anyone’s specific attention within the many, many items we hold.

This is certainly the case with the earliest class list we hold for anatomy students.  It has a comprehensive name index, which is usually what people refer to, seldom asking to see the item itself.  However, when double checking some catalogue references, it was necessary to have a quick look at the original item.  It revealed itself to be far more significant than the index recorded.

It is a volume of principally students’ names and those they were studying under, beginning in 1720, when Alexander Monro primus began giving classes in anatomy in autumn 1720.  Monro had just been appointed Professor of Anatomy. Although the official establishment of the Faculty of Medicine was still six years away, many view the appointment of Monro as the clear starting point.

Page from 1820.  Includes the name of Martin Eccles. (Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Died 1778.)

Page from 1820. Includes the name of Martin Eccles. (Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Died 1778.)

Monro was educated at the Universities of Edinburgh and Leiden and learned anatomy under Frederik Ruysch in Amsterdam. He returned to Edinburgh in 1719 and passed the examinations for admission to the Incorporation of Surgeons.  The Professorship of Anatomy had been established by Edinburgh Town Council in 1705 but for Monro, unlike his predecessors, his appointment was clearly defined as a university chair.

Students were apprenticed to masters (surgeons), often boarding with them as well.  Teaching was conducted at Surgeons Hall and not within the precincts of the University until 1725, the move at least partly fuelled by public rioting over accusations of grave robbing.

A random check of names in the volume has as yet failed to yield a match with actual medical graduates, though names of identifiable surgeons and physicians are present, illustrating the fact that the formality of a degree was not mandatory to practice medicine.

The volume was donated to the University Library in 1924 by James Watt, LL.D., W.S., F.F.A., F.R.S.E (1863-1945).  He lived in Craiglockart House, which was built for Monro’s son, Alexander Monro secundus (1733-1817). The volume was found by Watt inn the cistern room of the house.  Fortunately, he was able to recognise its significance and pass it on to the then University Librarian, L. W. Sharp.

Copy of letter from James Watt to Lord Amulree, 1945, sent to Lauriston William Sharp, University Librarian.

Copy of letter from James Watt to Lord Amulree, 1945, sent to Lauriston William Sharp, University Librarian.

Sources:

  • Alexander Monro, class list (1720-1749), Special Collections, EUA GD60 (Dc.5.95)
  • Anita Guerrini, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Monro, Alexander, primus (1697–1767), surgeon and anatomist [accessed 30 Jan 2015]
  • Sir Alexander Grant, The story of the University of Edinburgh during its first three hundred years (1884)

Clerk Ranken

Clerk Ranken was born in 1880, Edinburgh.  Educated at George Heriot’s School, he then went to Edinburgh University, graduating BSc (Pure Science) in 1902, then DSc in 1907. He was recipient of both the Hope Prize and Mackay Smith Scholarships. At the age of only 21 he read a paper before the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

As a Carnegie Fellow, he worked with Georg Bredig at Heidelberg University.  On his return from Germany he became lecturer in Chemistry at the Heriot-Watt College, Edinburgh, and later Assistant Professor in Chemistry. In 1917 he left academia to take up as post with Messrs. T. & J. Bernard, Ltd., the Edinburgh brewers.

We recently became aware, thanks to Dr. Andrew Alexander (Chemistry) that two photographs we had labelled as “Dr. Rubens?” are actually of Ranken and taken (most likely) during his student days.

Chemistry students c1905

Chemistry students c1905

The first is a group photograph and we assume it is a group of Chemistry students.  The doorway has been identified as one of those leading into the Reid Concert Hall (adjacent to the Medical School, where Chemistry was based). Clerk Ranken is in the front row, furthest left.

Clerk Ranken in Chemistry laboratory

Clerk Ranken in Chemistry laboratory

The second shows Ranken in a laboratory.  In 1903 the number of Chemistry laboratories had been increased and, although we have yet to place this specifically, it is of a similar style to laboratories known to be known in the Medical School building.

Clerk Ranken died in May 1936.  An obituary can be found in the Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 42, Issue 4.

Quatercentenary Collection

The Quatercentenary Collection came about as a result of an appeal that was made as the University of Edinburgh approached its 400th anniversary in 1983.  Former staff, students and others responded and sent in all types of university-related items, from student magazines to prize books, from lecture notes to memoirs, from photographs to degree certificates and much more. The scale of the response meant that it has taken until now to start getting a handle on much of it.

We have now begun a full survey of items in the collection was begun and to date nearly 850 items have been documented.  These will form the basis of new catalogue records.

Largely though not exclusively representing the ‘student experience, this collection is a real treasure trove and we are glad to being close to make it easily accessible for research.