World Heritage Day

On World Heritage Day we celebrate the architectural and philanthropic legacy of our Founder, George Heriot, jeweller and goldsmith to King James VI/I. By the skill of his hands, Heriot’s reputation grew and he received the Royal Warrant to become King James Jeweller and Queen Anne’s Goldsmith, later using his business acumen to become a key figure in the royal court by lending money, as was the way of goldsmiths in the 17th Century.

When he died in 1623, George Heriot left his money to found a school for the poor fatherless bairns of Edinburgh. This year, the George Heriot’s Trust is 400 years old and likely the oldest Trust in Scotland. In the 1800s the Trust ran 18 Outschools in Edinburgh which provided a free education to over 100,000 boys and girls, and later supported the Watt Institute for over 40 years as it evolved to become Heriot Watt University.

George Heriot’s School is a landmark architectural gem within the World Heritage site and in Edinburgh’s cityscape and continues to educate the children of Edinburgh, including Foundationers (children who have lost a parent) and Bursary pupils, with great pride.

Thank you George Heriot for leaving your money to help transform Scottish education.