Tollcross Primary School

Supporting every child to become a confident lifelong learner.

100 years at Tollcross


Celebrating 100 years at Tollcross Primary School – 1912 to 2012

In 2012 Tollcross Primary School was 100 years old. Our centenary celebrations included a whole school concert, celebrating each decade our school had “lived” through and a centenary picnic at Harrison Park.  Mrs Robertson, one of our Learning Assistants, compiled a short history of our school, including the mystery of the Egyptian Gates.

A Short History of Tollcross Primary School

In 1896, Andrew Usher, a well-known philanthropist and son of the famous distilling family, made an offer to the City Council of £100,000 to found a Concert Hall for the people of Edinburgh. The site chosen for the Concert Hall was that of Lothian Road Public School.

As a result a new school had to be built and the site of the City Slaughterhouse on Fountainbridge was chosen. Pupils from Lothian Road Public School were “decanted “to a school in West Fountainbridge, until the new school was completed. The architect of the school was John Alexander Carfrae (born 1868). He had worked for Robert Wilson, architect to the Edinburgh School Board, taking over from him in 1901.

Tollcross Primary School, as we see it today, is situated on the site of the former Municipal Slaughterhouse of Fountainbridge. The slaughterhouse was right on the kerbside but it was decided to set the school building back from the road as it gave an opportunity for Fountainbridge to be widened.The only part of the original slaughterhouse, which is still standing today, is what we know as the Janitor’s House. The ornate “Egyptian” style frontage was taken down and stored, with a view to being re-erected at a later date. However it has never been found!


12 thoughts on “100 years at Tollcross

  1. Tollcross is a very good school in whole entire Edinburgh.

  2. If you are looking to put your child in a school in Edinburgh the best school would be Tollcross Primary School !

  3. I have many happy memories of my time at Tollcross. I was there during the late sixties and remember the headmaster Mr Douglas and Mr McLeod who used to take the boys for football and Miss Blackwood who broke my heart by coming back after the summer term as Mrs Kelly. Happy times.

    • I seem to remember your name Laurence Harvey my name at the time was Doreen Laurie my elder brother was called Billy. My friends were call Heather Slead n Camila Begg. There was James Ferguson, James Cranston, Violet Blyth, Evelyn Green etc n Miss Blackwood was my teacher…it would be lovely to hear from any one of the above n where they are now. xx

  4. I have very very fond memories of Tollcross School. my brother George, sister Carol and myself attended this school from the mid sixties. Teachers I remember are, and there is a lot, are Miss Nesbit, Mrs Cook, Mrs. Douglas, Mr Baxter, Mr Douglas, Mr Fox, Mrs Matthews (who stood in when a teacher was off sick), Miss Hastings, Mr Macleod and a teacher who came from New Zealand called Miss Trikka (sorry about the spelling), she was very special.

    Tollcross gym hall was where I learnt to dance in preparation for the ‘qually’ , I loved it.

    I also remember the aviary that was outside the headmasters office which on occasion I got a chance to help clean out.

    It is fantastic that this brilliant school has continued to grow when so many schools have gone, congratulations on reaching such a milestone and sorry I missed it.

    • Alex Roberts, I had some goodtimes at old Tollcross with Alex Duff and Peter Woodley. What a great football team in the 1968 when we used to be Scotland against England. happy days

  5. I started p1 at tollcross primary school in 1968 I was pals with donna smile james O’Neil. And George malone we used to go round to my house in gardeners cressent and get money from my mum for chipped fruit out rankings the fruit shop or broken biscuits mostly me and James went we were stuck like leeches lol . I can remember of a few teachers there Mrs Hastings miss Nisbet Mr Mcleod can’t remember thar many has anyone got any old photos of our p1 class

  6. I believe I was in Tollcross nursery 1953/4 then on to main school 1954/5. Our family then moved at this time from 155 Fountainbridge to Gorgie Road and I was shipped off to Dalry but I have a distinct memory of a teacher called Miss Bunn at Tollcross. Can anyone out there confirm if this is correct. I also remember a May Cleat living in same stair 155 Fountainbridge.
    My maiden name is Janette Drinan.

    • Hello Janette, please get in touch with the school office. We would love to hear about your experience at Tollcross Primary. Would be lovely if you could come along and speak to pupils in class or if you feel brave enough at a school assembly.

  7. My grandfather, my father, my brother and I all went to Tollcross school. Miss Gellatly was my final teacher. A fierce lady of her time!

    • Hi Patricia, we love hearing from former pupils. It would be great if you could get in touch with us and arrange to come and talk about your experience of being a pupil. We would love to see any photographs.

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