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Timeline :: Edinburgh University Settlement begins


The Edinburgh University Settlement was the last one to be established in Scotland. It was founded in 1905, by well-known members of the university (including Professor Lodge from History), and was based in High School Yards.

The building was geographically very close to the New College Settlement, which was based at the Pleasance, but, as outlined by the historian Lynn Bruce, the two organisations 'served distinct communities' (2012: 14). Bruce continues:

'Unlike Toynbee House [Glasgow University's settlement], this settlement was not founded to foster fraternal relations between university men and the working classes, but with the ultimate aim of becoming a centre of social work which would provide training in social policy and work. This aim, however, proved abortive due [...] to a lack of consistency and professionalism within the leadership of the settlement and a seeming inability to work out how to take the settlement beyond being a largely recreational facility. In the end, it was the female branch of the settlement, which was run as a separate arm of the settlement, that was able to work with other bodies and which would become the training arm of the School of Social Study and Training at the University, whilst the men’s branch was disbanded. [This was in 1919.] As the community that the settlement was based in was moved to Prestonfield in the inter-war period, the settlement followed them there and established a branch of the settlement to serve this new estate. During this period the settlement also began a working extensively with unemployed men and established the Kirk o’ Field's College which provided them with educational courses’ (pp14-15).

Professor Richard Lodge is an important person in the history of social work at Edinburgh University. He was Dean of the Faculty of Arts. and he worked for years to encourage the University to establish a training programme for social workers, along with Professors Nicholson (Economiocs) and Seth (Moral Philosophy) who were both Honorary Presidents of the Edinburgh School for Promoting the Study of Ethical, Social and Economic Subjects (later called the School of Sociology).

Edinburgh uni setllement

Source: Bruce, Lynn (2012) Scottish settlement houses from 1886 – 1934. PhD thesis.