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Aberdeen Grammar School
History and Development
The old Grammar School
The old Grammar School
The date of Aberdeen Grammar School's foundation is unknown, but the school has existed for at least five and a half centuries. The first documentary reference to the town Grammar School occurs in the Burgh Records for the year 1418, when the Provost and the Council nominated John Homyll as 'Master of the Schools', in place of Andrew of Chivas, deceased, and the Chancellors of the Cathedral confirmed his appointment. The succession of Rectors since 1479 is known.

Until 1863 the school was situated in Schoolhill and the curriculum latterly consisted of Latin, Greek and Ancient Geography. Supported by the public spirit of local citizens, the Town Council used the design of James Matthews (1861-3) and additions by Matthew and Mackenzie (1894) to erect the present handsome building on the edge of the Denburn, using Rubislaw granite. The new building was opened on 23 October 1863 and allowed expansion of the curriculum to include English, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Drawing and Gymnastics. Aberdeen Grammar School was one of the eleven schools in Scotland scheduled in the Education Act of 1872 as Public Secondary Schools. Its management was thus vested in the School Board of the Burgh. Since 1882, substantial additions and alterations have been carried out, culminating in a largescale programme of expansion and modernisation in 1964. The tall two-storey ashlar Aberdeenshire baronial E-plan building now includes set-back L-plan wings which were added after the main building but probably intended from the start. Within the court centre there is a feature of the Old Grammar School - a single-storey one-bay building with pedimemnt and bellcote. The clock tower and turrets were additions in the 1960's and 1970's.

The present day Grammar School
The present day Grammar School
Statue of Lord Byron
Statue of Lord Byron
In the-mid 1790s, the famous poet and writer Lord (George Gordon) Byron attended Aberdeen Grammar School for four years. A commemorative statue to Byron sits in front of the school entrance. It is a granite sculpture with granite plinth and was created by Inverurie born sculptor James Pittendrigh MacGillivray (1856-1938)

As a result of a decision by the former City of Aberdeen Education Committee on the naming of comprehensive schools in the City, the School had its title officially changed to Rubislaw Academy (Aberdeen Grammar School) at the start of session 1970/71. Girls were admitted to the School for the first time at the beginning of session 1973/74 and the title of Aberdeen Grammar School was restored as a result of a decision by Grampian Regional Council taken on 31 March 1977.

The school was greatly damaged by fire on 2 July 1986, with 70% of the 1863 buildings being destroyed, including the large library, a collection of Lord Byron's notebooks, the trophy room and other classrooms, although the historic fa├žade was mostly undamaged. The school was rebuilt over many years, incorporating modern facilities, while pupils studied in temporary classrooms in the playground.

Aberdeen Grammar School is now a six-year comprehensive school serving the central west-end area of Aberdeen. It is scheduled to undergo extensive refurbishment during the third stage of the '3Rs' ('Reorganise, Renovate, Rebuild') Project.