Bell Chair of Education

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The Bell Chair of Education was founded in 1876, using funds bequeathed by Rev. Andrew Bell (1753-1832). Before he died in 1832, Bell transferred £120,000 of his estate to trustees. Part of this was committed to St Andrews principally to support the establishment of a secondary school: Madras College. By a separate deed the residue of his estate, some £25,000, was used to set up a trust dedicated ‘to the maintaining, carrying forward, and following up the system of education introduced by him, according to circumstances and occasion, and the existing state of things.’ The trustees gave sums to a number of different schools, including one in Leith. But after the 1872 Education Act the trust still had £18,000 remaining. The trustees agreed to contribute to the foundation of a Bell Professorship in the Theory, History, and Practice of Education at Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities. These two Chairs were instituted in 1876 and were the first Professorships of Education founded in any English-speaking country.



  • James Drever, 'The New Developments in the Education Department', University of Edinburgh Journal, 1 (1925), 4-8.
  • Hugh Perfect, 'History of Professional Training at Moray House' [[1], accessed 7 December 2017]