A brief history of Leith Academy
Leith Academy is one of the oldest schools in
Scotland. Its usual date of founding is given as 1560, but there are references to the "grammer scule of
Leith" as early as 1521. In 1560 Leith Grammar
School was placed under the
Control of the Kirk Session of Leith Parish, and
remained there until 1806.
The Leith Links Site, Leith Academy 1806-1931
During its first years, there is no information as to where the school was sited.
However, in 1636 the school is mentioned as meeting in Trinity House, where, apart
from a few years when Cromwell's army used Trinity house for stores, it stayed until
After disagreements about the rent for Trinity House (£3 per year) the Kirk Session
moved the school to the King James' hospital, which stood within the present ground
of South Leith Churchyard. But by 1792, the school was "damp confined and otherwise
unhealthy for boys". Following such protest from the local people, the Kirk Session
agreed to build the new Leith High school on Leith Links. Public subscriptions raised
almost £3000 and the new school was completed in 1806.
The Duke Street Site, 1931-1991
This building served the students of Leith for many years, changing its name to
Leith Academy in 1888. But the increasing numbers of students finally resulted in the building of Leith Academy in Duke Street in 1931. The building remains as Leith Primary School.
The Present Site at Academy Park
The Leith Academy we know today was opened in May 1991, following a long campaign
by parents, students and staff. Regarded as one of the finest school buildings in
Europe, it is a fitting testament to the long and proud history of Education in
For an insight into the management and running of the Academy from 1803-1872 see
pages 7 & 8 of the 1921 Leith Academy Magazine while
a more comprehensive account of the first 400
years of Leith Academy can be found in Leith Academy 1560 - 1960