Opening Ceremony

Firrhill High School opened in 1960. The official opening ceremony took place on 7th October 1960.

You can view the programme for the official opening ceremony by clicking on the links below:

Opening Ceremony front cover

Opening Ceremony page 1

Opening Ceremony page 2

Opening Ceremony page 3

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Opening Ceremony page 5

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Opening Ceremony programme insert


Firrhill Secondary School

The information below we believe was compiled by Robert Mackay, first Headteacher of Firrhill Secondary School (as it was named then):

History of the name

In 1719 the Foulis family sold the lands and park of Firhill to Baillie Alexander Cleghorn of the New Mains of Colinton. This spelling is repeated when the land passed to Captain Rigg in 1788 and again in 1844 when it was bought by Andrew Wellwood of Garnock.


The spelling “Firrhill” appears first in the Ordnance Survey of 1852, and probably represents the whim of the owner – possibly a Victorian pseudo-archaism.


It is interesting to note that though earlier maps such as General Roy’s Military Survey (1747) and John Laurie’s Plan of the County (1786) do not give the name, they do mark a plantation.


This ties in with Norman Dixon’s interpretation in “Place Names of the Lothians” (1947) that the name is a straightforward botanical description. The Scots pines in the gardens of Firrhill House offer some confirmation of this view.


A request for the Education Committee to approve “Firhill” as the name of the School met with refusal on the grounds that the City Engineer had earlier committed them to “Firrhill” by using that spelling on street nameplates and ‘bus destination indicators long before the School was built.


The Badge

The badge follows the botanical origin of the name. It shows a fir (Scots pine) rising above bare rock.


The colours – navy blue, light blue and tan – have their own special significance. The navy and light blue are a tribute to Tynecastle High School wich housed the first Firrhill pupils who started on their secondary courses before the School was ready for occupation. The slim tan stripe through the light blue reverts to the symbolism of the badge and represents a fir trunk against the sky.


The Motto

“air carraig” (upon a rock) is taken from Matthew Chapter 7 verse 25 – the parable of the house founded upon a rock – as appropriate to the badge and to the physical situation of the School – witness the outcrop beside the pool at the main door. It can be extended to the firm foundation of learning offered to pupils.


The Gaelic links with the early inhabitants who gave the place names before the coming of the Angles, and built the hill fort on Wester Craiglockhart Hill.


House Organisation

To encourage competition in sports, pupils were divided into four houses – Allermuir, Bonaly, Caerketton and Dreghorn.


Historical Maps of the Area

You can follow the changes in the area the school now occupies by clicking on the dates below to online versions of historical maps held in the collection of the National Library of Scotland.








Historical Photographs

Finally, these two photos show the orginal look and layout of the school. The photos are undated but probably date from around the time of the school opening in 1960.

Undated photographs (2) possibly c. 1960


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