The Royal High School Club
 

             

 

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Annual Records
Club Records

RHSFP Rugby Club History

1868 - 2002

 

Hugh MacKenzie, known to many High Scholars as the prime mover in Old Crocks Rugby in the FP Rugby Club is extremely keen to ensure that the records and legacy of the Club is not lost, given that it was merged with Corstorphine Rugby Club in 2002 and is now known as RHC (Royal High Corstorphine).   Hugh has published a book, which will be treasured by generations of rugby players who will leave it in a prominent position on their coffee tables.

While the book was being planned, the RHS Club web administrator compiled an extract from the potential publication, and given that many rugby photographs already feature here, it was seen seen as a welcome addition to the chronicles of the School.   Many of photos originally sourced by the web administrator found their way into Hugh's publication.

This history History is divided into a number of sections, and includes records, anecdotes, individual and group photographs.     It has been decided to limit the annual records in this website, which consist of a team photograph and tabular information, to around a dozen specific and memorable years.   It is also intended to produce a CD in due course which will contain records of all one hundred and thirty four years.

If You feel that you have spotted any errors, omissions, or can add anything to this record, please contact the website administrator.

 

 

Topic List

 

The following topics are effectively the contents list of the proposed paper publication.    The first list is available on this page, while the other two are available on separate pages.    Click a topic to view it, and click back to top (which can be found at the end of each topic) to return to the index of topics.     Where a hyperlink appears in the text and you elect to follow it, return via the back button in your browser.

 

Introduction and Dedication

A Brief History of the Club

International Players

Mark Morrison

Pringle Fisher

Grounds

The Centenary

Special Games

Newspaper Cuttings

Memorabilia

Bibliography

 

The Club Records pages contain the following topics

 

Barbarians

Co-optomists

International trialists

Inter-City Players

Representative Players

Leading try and points scorers

Players in the Century Club

Presidents of the SRU

Club Officials and Annual playing record

Honorary Members

Seven’s Winners

Brian Scott’s record

H.D.M.’s record

 

The Annual Records pages records the individual records for a number of special years, from the late 1880's to the late 1990's.    Although most records exist for these 134 years, a dozen have been selected as representing the halcyon days of the Club.     It is hoped that a CD will be produced which comprises all years in addition to the other material shown here.

 

 
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Introduction and Dedication

THE PUBLICATION IS DEDICATED TO ALL THOSE PLAYERS WHO HAVE PULLED ON THE BLACK AND WHITE JERSEY AND ROLLED IN THE MUD  FOR THE HIGH SCHOOL OVER THE LAST  HUNDRED AND THIRTY FOUR SEASONS     IT ALSO FORMS A SPECIAL DEDICATION TO THOSE PLAYERS AND MEMBERS WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR COUNTRY IN THE TWO WORLD WARS.

This publication is primarily the work of the late Sandy Thorburn, a former High School teacher, cricketer and Rugby Club Historian. In 1950 Sandy started to collect information in order to establish and develop a statistical record of all Royal High Rugby matches including the results, players and scorers from day one in 1868.during his involvement with the Club Sandy meticulously  kept a record of  all the  matches as they were played week by week until 1972.   This momentous undertaking resulted in him being recognized  as the leading Scottish Rugby Historian of this time, a status also recognized by another famous Scottish rugby personality and fellow native of Hawick Bill Maclaren.   In 1968 Sandy’s work was taken over by Jock Dewar, at that time a Royal High School teacher, who moved the records forward into the electronic age but basically following the statistical pattern created and established by Sandy.  In 1988 the post of club Historian was handed on to Hugh MacKenzie who carried on Jock’s electronic system  until the club amalgamated with Corstorphine Rugby Club in 2003.   This amalgamation seemed like the appropriate time to close the book on the former club’s historical records.   This meant that the Royal High records may be unique in that the club could well be  the only club in Scotland to have a statistical record of all the matches played, results, points scored and the names of players. This publication was produced to make sure that all Sandy’s endeavours were not lost and would be maintained in honour of   the many that wore the Black and White of this famous club, which was one of the eight original members of the Scottish Football Union.

 

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A Brief History of the Club

 

The Royal High Rugby Club's origins are to be found in the Royal High School, which means they are covered in the mists of time.   There is some evidence, supplied by a famous Academical sportsman, that there was a 'carrying' game played in the School in about 1810.   This provides a link with Sir Walter Scott, who was a pupil at that time.   The original rules of Rugby Football were brought to the school in 1856 by an English Public schoolboy.

 

  This letter (a facsimile of the original), was written by H.J.Stevenson and sent to the Scotsman newspaper in 1937.     In it, he claims that he spoke in 1923 to a to Rugby School representatives of the Centenary of the 'Carrying Game', and they said that the game had been played at a School in Scotland as early as 1810.

 

The first game played by the FP Club was in 1867 against the Academicals (Accies), but the Club was not formed until the next year when it played its games at Holyrood.      At that time the Club was open, but unfortunately the Rector of the School in 1870 insisted that only FP's would be allowed to play.

In the early years, the Club produced many internationalists, including the honour of having Angus Buchanan in the first international against the Auld Enemy (27th March 1871 at Raeburn Place).   He scored the first ever international try in the victory over England.

 

When the Club moved to Grange Loan it entered one of its purple patches (1881 to 1884), under the Captaincy of Nat Watt.   The team was known as Nat's Lambs, a nickname which did not reflect their style of play as in 1883-84 they lost only one game and were recognised as the Scottish Champions.

The turn of the Century was dominated by the career of Mark Morrison who played for Scotland 23 times, captaining them to a triple crown in 1901 and then captaining the Lions on their tour of South Africa.    This outstanding sporting record led to Mark being posthumously inducted into the SRU Hall of Fame, and also in 2002 into the Scottish Sporting Hall of fame.

 

In common with other Clubs, there was no play during the First World War.   Thanks to the efforts of J. Hume and 'Podger' Laing who played for Scotland before and after the War, the Club was revived with games against Stewartonians and Heriotonians.    The War Memorial was the purchase of Jock's Lodge for £1000, so the Club moved on to its eighth ground.

 

The second purple patch was in the 1930's under the Captaincy of W.D. Emslie, an international stand off, when crowds of 2000 were experienced.    A three season spell of fast open rugby culminated in 1933-34 when the team shared the unofficial championship with Hillhead.    In 1935 Peter Tait had mixed emotions when he received two postcards in one week, one selecting him for the Club seconds and the other for Scotland versus England !

Following instructions from the SRU, no official games were played during the Second World War.    The Club still managed to play over 100, using players on home leave supplemented by School boys.

Normal play was resumed in 1946-47 before the Club had another few successful seasons, particularly in 1951-52 under the Captaincy of Alec Harper when they were runners-up in the unofficial championship.   Two now famous characters, Tom McGlashan and Jimmy Dignall played often and well during this period, Jim eventually passing P.W. Tait's record number of games.  

 

In 1972, after an expensive visit to the courts, the Club returned to its original open status.   Life continued as normal with the curate's egg, the occasional good seasons including Pringle Fisher in 1962-63, Eric Ireland in 1963-64 and Gerry McCosh in 1976-77.

 

Two City Council decisions adversely affected the Club.    Firstly the decision to build the new school not beside Jock's Lodge but at Barnton, and subsequently the withdrawal of the City's annual grant to Jock's Lodge.    These two decisions ultimately resulted in the sale of Jock's Lodge, and the move to Barnton where the money was used to build a pavilion, all weather playing surface and a bowling rink.

 

When the new Scottish League structure was implemented in 1975, the Club was placed in the First Division, but after a protest from Boroughmuir were relegated without playing a game.    Life in the leagues was basically a downward spiral with few exceptions.   Promotions included Robin Ford's 1978-79 team to the Second Division, Roy Ross's 1981-82 team  to the First Division, and Alan Wardrop's 1989-90 to the Second Division after a sharp decline in the 1980's.     The decline was due in no small part to the erosion of talented School pupils to senior clubs to enhance their playing careers.   Several were successful in gaining international honours.

On the 9th March 2002 B.J. Scott played his 400th first team game, still a little short of Hugh MacKenzie's estimated 750 games in all teams and garbs for the black and whites.

 

2003-04 found the team in the third Division of the National Leagues, and struggling to survive.   An approach from Corstorphine was welcomed as many Club members concurred that there were too many clubs chasing a shrinking pool of players.   A strong club in the west of the City seemed to be a logical solution.   As a result, the highly mobile Royal High School FP Rugby Football Club, founded in 1867, and having played at nine grounds in its 134 years, returned to Union Park in Corstorphine as RHC (Royal High Corstorphine), the ground where in 1912 they had installed a bath in the pavilion for the princely sum of £5.10s.

 

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International Players

 

This most important category is prefaced by an introduction, and includes a full list and photographs of all international players.

The club has produced 26 international players who have been capped on 210 occasions by Scotland.   Those players capped in the 19th century and in the pre 1914 – 1918 period had only a few opportunities to play for their country in comparison  with opportunities open to players in the recent past. .This difference in the number of matches makes Mark Morrison's 23 caps all the more amazing.

A large percentage of the total High School caps were won by three players; Mark Morrison with 23, J. Pringle Fisher with 20 and Ivan Tukalo with 37.   It must be remembered that J. Hume and A. D. Laing’s total of 7 each were won before and after the 1914-1918  War.

The Club has produced 4 Scottish captains.   W.R.Gibson  on one occasion, Mark C. Morrison 15 times, J Hume 3 times and J. Pringle Fisher with 9.    As always Mark Morrison was the most successful.  He was the first Scottish captain to win three matches against England and remains the only one to win three Calcutta Cups.    His record of nine victories, two Triple Crowns and three championships over five seasons remains a record that none of his successors have come close to matching.   Pringle Fisher did however captain Scotland on nine occasions and also played in their sole 'success' against the All Blacks - the 0-0 draw in 1964.    Six of his caps were from he Club, while the balance were from London Scottish.

There is also a group of players, listed ,who played for a Scottish XV  in games that the S.R.U. did not award caps.

W. A. Gunn, J. Hume, South Africa 1912

J. Hume   France 1912, 1920, 1921

W. A. Ferguson  Waratahs  1927

A.V. Orr  Argentine 1969

B. Laidlaw  Argentine 1969

The Australian R.U. retrospectively declared the Waratahs Tour an Australian Tour and awarded caps to all who played against the Home Counties.    Perhaps the S.R.U. could make a similar magnanimous gesture!

It is also possible to argue that the group of High Scholars who were international reserves would have become capped players under the current laws which allows substitutes. That would have meant in recent times G. Gramhamslaw and J. Blake may have become capped players.

There are two interesting stories concerning High School internationalists which feature in Sandy Thorburn's History.    In the 1880-81 season the by-passing of A.G (Gordon) Petrie as captain of the Scottish XV led to a spell of furious disagreement between the Clubs and the Union, followed by an uneasy truce. Until finally at the A.G. M. there was a complete sweep of Union Office-Bearers and Petrie found  himself elected  President.    Petrie played on eight consecutive occasions against England.

Angus Buchanan was a member of the first Scottish XV, and is credited with scoring the first try in an international game - against England at Raeburn Place on the 27th March 1871.

J.P.Veitch was selected to play for Scotland against Ireland in the 1886 season but decided to give up his cap so he could tour with the club and play against Halifax on the 20th February 1886.    He was selected for the next game against England!

Other players to be capped only by clubs other than RHSFP RFC included Colin Telfer (Hawick) and Gordon Hunter (Selkirk).    The latest to join this category is Ben Cairns (leaving year 2003) whose debut was in Scotland's victory over Argentina in Buenos Aires on 14th June 2008.

 

 

 

List of Full Internationalists

 

With the exception of A Buchanan, these players were all enrolled at the Royal High School and appeared in the FP XV.    On several occasions, all in the 19th Century, there were three High School FP players in the same international side.    Click Photographs to see images of the Internationalists.

 

A Buchanan   1   E 1871         J. Hume   7   E   1921      
A Wood   3   E 1873, 74,75                 I   1921      
W St C Grant   2   E 1873, 74   Craigmount             W   1921      
A.G. Petrie   11   E 1873 - 1880                 F   1912, 20-22      
        I 1877, 79, 80         A.D. Laing   7   E   1914      
N.T. Brewis   6   E 1876, 78,79,80                 I   1914, 20      
        I 1879, 80   Edin Inst FP             W   1914, 20      
W.H. Masters   3   E 1880   Edin Inst FP             F   1920, 21      
        I 1879-80         E. McLaren   5   E   1923      
J.P. Veitch   7   E 1882, 84, 86                 I   1923      
        I 1883, 84,85                 W   1923      
G.R. Wilson   5   E 1886, 90                 F   1923, 24      
        I 1890, 91         W.G.Ferguson   5   E   1928      
        W 1890                 I   1928      
A. Duke   6   I 1888, 89, 90                 W   1928      
        W 1888, 89, 90                 F   1928      
WA. McDonald   3   E 1892   Glasgow Univ             NSW   1927      
        I 1892         W.D. Emslie   2   F   1930      
        W 1889                 I   1932      
I. McIntyre   6   E 1890, 91   Wanderers     J. Park   1   W   1934      
        I 1890, 91         P.W. Tait   1   E   1935      
        W 1890, 91         W.M. Penman   1   I   1939   RAF  
W.R. Gibson   14   E 1891-95         D.I. McLean   2   E   1947      
        I 1891-95                 I   1947      
        W 1892-95         TPL McGlashan   8   E   1947, 54      
R.S. Davidson   1   E 1893                 I   1947, 54      
H.F. Menzies   4   E 1894   West of Scot             W   1954      
        I 1893                 F   1947, 54      
        W 1893, 94                 NZ   1954      
J.W. Simpson   13   E 1893-95, 97,99         E.H. Henriksen   1   I   1953      
        I 1893-96         J.A. Nichol   3   E   1955      
        W 1894-96, 99                 I   1955      
M.C. Morrison   23     see record                 W   1955      
A.M. Butcher   1   E 1897   Edin. Acads.     J.P. Fisher   25   E   1963-68      
A.Ross   5   E 1905                 I   1964-68      
        I 1905, 09                 W   1964-68      
        W 1905, 09                 F   1964-68      
GA Sanderson   4   E 1907                 NZ   1964, 67      
        I 1907, 08                 SA   1965      
        W 1907                 AUS   1966      
A.W. Gunn   5   I 1912         I. Tukalo   37              
        W 1912                            
        F 1912, 13                            
        SA 1912                            

 

 

Photographs of Full Internationalists

 

Photographs are available for all 34 players excepting that of W. St C Grant.

 

     
     

 

Iwan Tukalo

Scotland 1985-92

P37 W20 D2 L15

15 tries - 60 points

 

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Mark Morrison

 

Full name - Mark Coxon Morrison

 

Born 2nd April 1877 in Dalmeny   Died 17th May 1945 in Longniddry

 

Educated at the Royal High School, Profession - Farmer, in East Lothian

 

Represented:

Scotland (23 caps, Captain 15 times)

British Isles (South Africa 1903, Captain)

Inter-City (Glasgow) 8 appearances

Representative games - 8 appearances

 

International appearances (* as Captain)

1896 v Wales, Ireland, England

1897 v Ireland, England

1898 v Ireland, England

1899 v Ireland, Wales*, England*

1900 v Wales*, England*

1901 v Wales*, Ireland*, England*

1902 v Wales*, Ireland*, England*

1903 v Wales*, Ireland*

1904 v Wales*, Ireland*, England*

 

President of Scottish Rugby Union, 1934-35

 

Inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002

     
 
 
         

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Pringle Fisher

 

 

 

Full name - James Pringle Fisher

 

 

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Born 17th March 1939 in Edinburgh

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Married to Liz, three children

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Educated at the Royal High School 1953-58

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Profession - Dentist in London, Singapore, Germany while in RADC (Royal Army Dental Corps), then Wokingham and Edinburgh in private practice

 

 

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Played Basketball for Scotland and GB in the 1960 Rome Olympics

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BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) (Edinburgh) 1964

 

 

Represented:

 

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Scotland 25 caps, (Captain 9 times)

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Barbarians East Midlands 25/3/1965, Llanelli 2/11/1965, Australians 28/1/1967, Wasps 19/4/1967

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Schools Inter-City 1956-57

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Captain of Army and Combined Services

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Surrey County

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Inter-City (Edinburgh v Glasgow) 8 appearances

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Representative games - 8 appearances, including New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, English Regions and Counties, Paris

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Captain of winning Seven at Melrose (1961) and Hawick (1962)

 

 

International appearances (* as Captain)

 

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1963 v England

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1964 v England, Ireland, Wales, France, New Zealand

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1965 v England, Ireland, Wales, France, South Africa

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1966 v England, Ireland, Wales, France, Australia*

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1967 v England*, Ireland*, Wales*, France*, New Zealand*

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1968 v Ireland*, Wales*, France*, England

 

   
 
Olympic Basketball 1960   Pringle Fisher BDS
 
Capt Fisher RADC 1967 Scotland Captain
1957 Edinburgh v Glasgow (note the six RHS players) 1957 Accies Centenary, Scottish v English schools
1958 School Cricket France 8-9 Scotland 1967
       
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Grounds

 

The club has played on many grounds during it’s history and has often been described as a very mobile club, a description that has been made more often about its playing fields than the teams that played on them.

 

 1870-1873 Holyrood

 1873-1874 Raimes Park Bonnington

 1874-1877 Warrender Park

 1877- 1878 No ground

 1878-1879 Warrender Park

 1879-1880 Old Merchiston Castle Ground

 1880-1887 Old Carlton Ground at Grange Loan

 1887-1897  Newington

 1897-1920 Union Field Corstorphine

 1920-1987  Jock’s Lodge

 1987 -1999  Dunfermline College Campus  Cramond

 1999- 2002 Royal High School Campus Barnton

 
 
 
 

The Club’s first ground was at Holyrood which was a small area of the Royal Park and was shared by the Royal High F.P. cricket club, and laterally by the Athletic Club.    This relationship has lasted through the many moves but the different uses of the grounds lead to many an argument between the sections, mainly centring on how to protect the wicket.   Although the rugby club moved many times trying to find a more suitable ground , the club retained the use of Holyrood for the Regent road school and as a training area until 1971 when the ground was handed back to the Royal Estates.     It has in the last few years been absorbed into the ground used for the Scottish Parliament, and the site of the debating chamber is very close to the’ footprint’ of the pavilion and changing rooms.     Has its use been improved one asks?

The search for a suitable ground continued from 1873 until 1897.  The six moves were motivated by the demands of finding a ground that had space for a large size pitch, a pavilion and accessibility.  The last factor was helped by the suburban railway which made the grounds that were used on the north side of the town more accessible for matches and training which was not a great feature of Victorian rugby.    Although the club only played at Newington for a short time, it was agreed at the S.R.U.’s 1895-1896 A.G.M. that the club’s ground  at Newington would be used for  the Trial and District matches.

The Newington ground was considered too small and another search for a suitable ground was started  in 1896.  At this time an opportunity to lease the ground at Corstorphine, which had been leased by the University, who were moving to their new ground at Craiglockhart.   A large Bazaar, supported by the P.P .s and F.P .s, was held to raise the finance to lease the ground at Corstorphine.   The S.R.U. even considered  buying the land and building a new International stadium, but before they made up their mind the ground was taken over by the City.   Royal High might have played at the international ground !

It was decided on 12th June 1919 that a purchase of a playing would be part of a memorial for the F.P.s who gave their lives in the 1914-1918 war.    Dr. James Watt purchased the ground and access at Jock’s Lodge and sold it on to the School and F.P.s at a sum less than the original purchase price.    Jock’s Lodge was to become the home of the club for the next 70 years.   A pavilion was built in 1925 and in 1932 a stand was added.    Jock’s Lodge featured in the sporting life of thousands of High School P.P.s and F.P.s until the school moved to Barnton 1968.   The fact that there were playing fields at Barnton meant that the City’s support for Jock’s Lodge was withdrawn.    This event plus the stopping of an athletic fee meant that the Club could no longer support the finances needed to run Jock’s Lodge.    As the club’s debts increased it was reluctantly agreed to sell Jock’s Lodge and move to the School’s grounds at Barnton.   The money from the sale was used to build at Barnton a pavilion, a bowling rink and an all-weather hockey pitch in the hope of developing a community sports complex.

The rugby club moved yet again with a brief stay at the Dunfermline College Campus while the pavilion was being built at Barton.    The Barnton  campus, which was opened in 1999 with a game against the Cooptimists, was to be the last Royal High Club ground.

 

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The Centenary

 

The centenary of the Club was celebrated in the 1968-1969 season. Three major events were held to commemorate the centenary of the founding of the club.  A match, at Jock’s Lodge, against an International XV captained by Pringle Fisher, at that time the club’s most capped player.    This match was preceded by a XX a side match between a High School Crocks XX and an Invitation Edinburgh XX featuring many players who had played against the club.  The game was played to the original laws of rugby which was scripted and rehearsed by Sandy Thorburn and Hugh MacKenzie. This event took place at Jock’s Lodge before the main event of the day, the International game, which featured a school XV captained by John Fraser against a team composed entirely of current or ex-international players captained by Pringle Fisher.   The third event was a Centenary Dinner, held in the Assembly Rooms, George  Street, on the 14th March 1968.   This large function was attended  by  many past and present famous  Rugby players from various major Scottish clubs, including representatives from the other founding members of the S.R.U.    The club was also very fortunate to have guests from other Unions, a group lead by Dannie Craven of South Africa.

 

The following images are of the teams, from both games, action photos and a menu card and photos of the dinner.

 

  Under Construction

 

 

The  Centenary dinner programme

Photos from the Centenary dinner

The international match programme

The teams pose before the International match

Under Construction

 

  Under Construction

 

The XX side teams take the field from the comfort of the grandstand The XX side teams pose before the match in the Junior School quadrangle (Sandy Thorburn standing second left)

 

 

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Special Games

 

Hugh MacKenzie has compiled a list of 'Special Games' from his memory.    Details of the games and more photographs will be added in due course.

In Hugh's words ..."This section of the history depends on my memory of events and photographs I have seen over the years".

 

  1. A Team photograph and reports on the Club's tour to Bordeaux, which must have been one of the first club visits to the south west of France.

  2. There is a strange report of the 1886 tour to northern England.

  3. The game at the opening of the pavilion at Jock’s Lodge. There is a picture of the opening ceremony before the game against ?.

  4. A team photograph at Penarth, which was the club’s first game in Wales. It took place before Scotland’s first win at Cardiff since the second world war.

  5. The photograph of the team that played the last game at Jock’s Lodge.

  6. The programme of the last game 13th September1987

  7. The photograph of the team that played in 20 aside game at Murrayfield against an Edinburgh Accies 20 to commemorate one of the club’s earliest fixtures.

  8. A wartime team captained by Sandy

  9. A photo of the first visit of an Irish team

  10. A photo of joint F.P. and school team

  11. An action photo of Jimmy Nichol in his first international

  12. The photograph of the team that won the inaugural Golden Oldies tournament at Raeburn  Place

  13. The photograph and programme of the teams that played in the game at the dedication of the memorial gates.

 

The following images are from our own archives, and fulfil a number of the 'Special Games' requirements.

 
         
1950's Old Wesleyan (Irish) tour to Jock's Lodge.   Harper, Squires and MacKenzie prominent   1951 FP's v PP's Rugby.  Alec Harper prominent for the FP's with Eric Ireland on his left representing the school   1960's Golden Oldies winners at Raeburn Place.   Messers Anderson, Ross, Adamson, McConnell, with Mackenzie receiving the beer   1971 Murrayfield Centenary 7's versus Accies.   George Neilson featuring with Penny-Farthing    
       
Opening of the New Field, Jock's Lodge, 2nd October 1920 versus Stewarts FP. (Ball kicked off by Mark Sanderson) Match V Stewarts on 30th September 1950 to celebrate the opening of the memorial gates 1970 Jubilee match versus Stewarts.   Ian Robertson captaining, and a 7'3" Stewarts player in the back row 10th September 1987 saw the last match at Jocks Lodge, as usual against Stewarts FP.  The end of an era after 67 years 2nd September 1990 saw the Cooptimists grace the opening of the new pavilion at Barnton.   The Club was only 3 years without a proper home!

 

 

 

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Newspaper Cuttings

 

To be added

 

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Memorabilia

 

To be added

 

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Bibliography

 

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RHSRFC Centenary Publication, 1968.   Sandy Thorburn, Bob Ironside

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History of Scottish Rugby, 1980.   Sandy Thorburn

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A Compendium of Scotland's Matches 1994.  John MCI Davidson - based on an original volume by and dedicated  to the memory of A.M.C. (Sandy) Thorburn

 

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