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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4710
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1803-2005
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 13.5 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Royal Caledonian Education Trust xx Royal Caledonian School


Administrative/Biographical history:

In 1808 the Highland Society of London launched an appeal to raise subscriptions to open an Asylum to support Scottish children orphaned in the Napoleonic wars. The school opened, by Act of Parliament, on 14 June 1815. With the end of the war in that same year (1815) the remit of the school was changed to 'the support and education of the children of soldiers, sailors and marines, natives of Scotland, who have died or been disabled in the service of their country; and also the children of indigent and deserving Scotch parents resident in London, upon whom poverty has fallen or by worse death they have been left unbefriended and helpless orphans'.

The first school opened in Cross Street, Hatton Garden in 1819 and admitted 12 boys, Numbers quickly increased to 40 and the premises became too small and inadequate to accommodate these number. In 1826 land was purchased in Copenhagen Fields, Islington and a purpose built asylum was founded. The Asylum survived for 77 years at the site and gave its name to the 'Caledonian Road'.

In 1852 Queen Victoria became the patron of the Asylum and it was renamed the Royal Caledonian School. The attendees until 1844 were all boys but by 1844 the building was altered to allow provision for girls. At first the area where the school was situated was open fields, however as the area around Caledonian Road grew and became more populated, and with its proximity to Pentonville Prison, it was felt to be ‘undesirable’, the Directors of the school decided to find a new more spacious site. They opted to move to Bushey in Hertfordshire and in 1897 started to raise the estimated £37,000 for the building of a new school.

By 1902 the new residential school was completed and opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice. Until 1947 pupils boarded and were educated on site at Bushey school, but in 1948 although children still boarded at the school, they were educated at local state schools.

In 1995 the Directors decided the objectives of the charity could be better met as a grant giving body. The Bushey school site was closed and sold and the proceeds invested to produce an income to enable the Trust to provide educational grants to both individuals and organisations.

The charity was renamed the Royal Caledonian Education Trust in 2012 as a reflection of the work they do now. They continue to 'support the educational needs of the children of Scots who are serving or who have served in the Armed forces' and in 2015 celebrated the 200th Anniversary of their incorporation.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Royal Caledonian Education Trust from its inception, including records of the Royal Caledonian Asylum and School LMA/4710/D, the Gaelic Chapel LMA/4710/E, the Society of Old Caledonians LMA/4710/F, including copies of the groups magazines. Also includes Records of Governance LMA/4710/A including Court of Governors and Directors minutes, Finance records LMA/4710/B and early accounts, as well as records of early subscribers to the school; Records of Administration LMA/4710/C these include the Secretary’s correspondence and the main series of registers of petitions and admissions of the pupils to both the Asylum and School dating from 1819; Records of the Asylum and School, including class registers, log books and reports of the school staff (Headmaster, Matron, School Mistress and Medical Officer) . There are also a large series of photographs of pupils and school events as well as a series of scrap book and press cuttings covering school events, Clan days and sports days and the Caledonian Ball.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in series as follows:
LMA/4710/A - Governance;
LMA/4710/B Finance;
LMA/4710/C Administration;
LMA/4710/D Royal Caledonian Asylum/School;
LMA/4710/E Gaelic Chapel;
LMA/4710/F The Society of Old Caledonians;
LMA/4710/G Friends of the Royal Caledonain School;
LMA/4710/H Publicity and History;
LMA/4710/I Audio-visual

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in March 2013.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Added September 2017.

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