Glenalmond College tomorrow (May 4, 2021) celebrates its 174th birthday and we are starting the countdown to our special 175th anniversary year.
Glenalmond librarian and archivist, Elaine Mundill, has kindly delved into the archives and found a picture of the very first pupil to attend Glenalmond - a young man who arrived a day early!
Glenalmond's first pupil, Schomberg Henry Kerr - who later became the Marquess of Lothian - arrived the day before the other 13 members of the first intake of pupils. Though, he did later point out this was by mistake rather than through over-enthusiasm.
Our first pupil was the third Captain of College before leaving in 1851 to attend New College, Oxford. He had a career in the Diplomatic Service before succeeding to his title in 1870. His later involvement in many public activities most notably included being Secretary of State for Scotland.
He became a member of the College Council in 1872 and the first President of the newly re-founded O.G. Club in 1888. He made a speech at the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1891, in which he told of how the fishing and the woods had lured him to Glenalmond from England. He remained a benefactor and loyal supporter of the College until his death on 17th January 1900.
In honour of the College's first pupil, the name Lothian was chosen by Warden Matheson in 1926 for the accommodation (now part of Goodacre’s) for new boys or Probationers. A plaque was also placed in the Antechapel commemorating the important part he played in the history of Glenalmond.
With the removal of all Probationer boys to the Cairnies by 1947 Lothian house ceased to exist. However, the original dormitories continued to be known as the Lothian Dormitories for many years and were used as an overflow for in-College houses.
With the opening of the first girls' house in 1990, the name Lothian was once again adopted to commemorate Lord Schomberg Henry Kerr and to perpetuate the name of the original Probationers' house. The official opening was carried out by the Countess of Dalkeith, a descendant of Glenalmond's first pupil.
After 13 years as Housemaster of Reid’s, Mr Noel Barrington Prowse was appointed Housemaster of Lothian and his wife, Sue, was appointed Housemistress. This was the first, and, so far, the only, time that a husband and wife were jointly appointed Housemaster and Housemistress.
Twenty-two Lower Sixth formers made up the first intake of girls and the Warden reported at the following Commem that Coll’s first year of co-education had been an unqualified success. Numbers grew fairly quickly and the following year there were forty girls in Lothian.
In 1995, girls were admitted to the Second, Third and Fourth Forms and Lothian became home to 58. The success of the venture meant that plans to extend Lothian were brought forward and, by 1996, there were 77 girls in the school. These increasing numbers soon necessitated the building of a second girls’ house in 1998.