Foundation of University Hall, 1887

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Sir Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) founded University Hall, the first purpose-built student accommodation, in 1887.

Until the late 19th century, Edinburgh had traditionally been a non-residential university, with students either living at home or in private lodgings. Following the reforms triggered by the Universities (Scotland) Act 1858, there was a growing desire to strengthen the corporate life of the university. Geddes, then working as an Assistant to Alexander Dickson (1836-1887), the Professor of Botany, opened the first of a series of residences at Riddle's Court in 1887. It was an independent, extra-academical experiment, and University Hall remained autonomous and self-governing. It began with ten rooms and seven students who had the right to elect new residents and manage the internal affairs of the residence.

Other University Events in 1887


  • 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.
  • Sir Thomas Henry Holland, 'Introduction', in A. Logan Turner (ed.), History of the University of Edinburgh 1883-1933 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1933), pp. xiii-xxx.