First Charities Week, 1932

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The first official Edinburgh University Charities Week, also known as 'Rag Week', was organized by the Students' Representative Council in 1932.

The event had its origins in the student 'Rag' organized in 1867 by a group of students shocked by the levels of poverty in the streets surrounding Edinburgh University. They set up a body now known as the Edinburgh Students Charities Appeal to carry out a collection of used clothing to be given to the destitute. Further 'rags' and charity events were a prominent feature of university life over the next six decades. In 1931, however, the Students' Representative Council decided that too much time time and effort was being expended on individual charity initiatives which would prove more efficient and lucrative if centrally coordinated. It was decided to hold a grand Charities' Week in the summer of 1932, and to divide the proceeds among the various charities that students had hitherto campaigned for.

The form adopted in the 1932 Charities' Week remained constant for many decades. The centrepiece was a parade of floats accompanied by a street collection by students in fancy dress. A theatrical review was organized, taking the place of the traditional Students' Representative Ceenium, and a comic magazine published to raise further funds.

In the 1980s responsibility for organising the event passed from the Students' Representative Council to the Edinburgh Students Charities Appeal. Since 2006, it has been co-hosted by the ESCA and Edinburgh University Students' Association and renamed as the RAG (Raising and Giving) Week.

Other University Events in 1932


  • Robert D. Anderson, 'The Construction of a Modern University', in Robert D. Anderson, Michael Lynch, and Nicholas Phillipson, The University of Edinburgh: An Illustrated History (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003), pp. 103-207.
  • Edinburgh Rag [[1], accessed 21 August 2014]
  • Edinburgh Students Charities Appeal [[2], accessed 21 August 2014]]
  • Sir Ian Macpherson, George Gordon Stott, Alan Stewart Orr, and John J. M. Shaw, 'The Life of the Student Community', in History of the University of Edinburgh 1883-1933, ed. A. Logan Turner (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1933), pp. 338-61.