On 5th October 1870, Fettes College opened its doors to welcome its very first pupils. On 5th October 2020 we could not wait to celebrate the 150th anniversary of this moment!
We would have loved to invite everyone back to Fettes to celebrate with us, however, due to current restrictions, we had to change our plans and keep everyone safe. That did not stop us having a jam packed (albeit socially distanced) day marking this special occasion.
While most of the pupils enjoyed their 150th birthday lie in granted by the Head, Mrs Harrison, the Head Boy, Toran E and School Prefect, Ianthe F joined Mrs Harrison and piper, Jamie B, for a rooftop ceremony. The school flag was raised to the familiar sound of the bagpipes before those gathered on the roof descended to Callover Hall. They were joined there by the School Prefects and Heads of Houses to hear Mrs Harrison read the names of the first 53 boys to come to Fettes, exactly as would have been done 150 years ago to the day.
Mrs Harrison, Toran and Ianthe then laid a laurel wreath at the bust of Sir William Fettes to commemorate all Old Fettesians who are sadly no longer with us, reviving a Fettes’ tradition dating back to the 1930s. This small group of students then, representing the school as a whole, made their way to Chapel where they heard readings from Toran and Ianthe, and the Chaplain led them in prayer. Mr Goodenough played the organ, including Floreas Fettesia. It was hard for those present to resist the urge to sing, which is currently against Covid Safe guidelines. Mrs Harrison, Toran and Ianthe then headed to Queen’s Lawn to cut a special birthday cake and raise a toast to the first 150 years of Fettes College. Highlights from the celebrations can be viewed here.
At morning break each of the Houses were presented with a copy of our 150th anniversary book, Fettes: Our Place, which was launched virtually on the 2nd October 2020. If you weren’t able to join us, you can watch the interview and live Q&A with the editorial team here. All staff and pupils then enjoyed cake and were gifted a commemorative badge to mark this momentous day. Following lunch break, some 3rd Form pupils gathered with Mrs Harrison and Senior Leadership Team, at the College West arcade, to re-enact the first school photograph. This image was then used to launch an in-House photo competition which will see all the houses re-creating a selection of photos from the last 150 years.
The day was rounded off with the premiere of our specially commissioned film, introduced by the Chair of the Governors, Michael Osborne, Mrs Harrison, and Toran and Ianthe. It emotively conveys the true sense of Fettes and has been enjoyed by many members of the Fettes community all over the globe.
We were so sorry that our Head Girl Lucy R was unable to participate in the celebrations. We know that Lucy will be a part of other celebrations that we have planned over the year.
Despite the current restrictions, we had a truly wonderful day to celebrate Fettes’ 150 years and thank everyone for the part they played in marking this memorable occasion.