High School Yards

Arches at High School Yards - Edinburgh University
Venue details
High School Yards
Edinburgh Area
Telephone (box office)
0131 662 6892 (Zoo at Fringe)
Fringe Venue
About the venue

Edinburgh University owned building, with recording facilities and courtyards, that is used for education and rented out for private use. During the Edinburgh Fringe, this has been the base for various organisations - Zoo Playground at Fringe 2022-2023, the BBC in 2021.

High School Yards Background

High School Yards has been an educational facility since, in medieval times, it was the site of the Blackfriars Monastery. The church and monastery were destroyed in 1558 by a Reformation mob.

The original High School building was built here in 1578, at the cost of £250, which was subsequently replaced by the current building, built by Alexander Laing in 1777, at the cost of £4000.

After the new Royal High School was opened on the side of Calton Hill, in 1832 High School Yards reopened as a Surgical Hospital, with the university holding its Anatomy classes here.

Today the department of Geography occupies the building.

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) was a pupil here and James Pillans (1778-1864) invented the blackboard and coloured chalks for use in his geography class.


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