School of Applied Art

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In 1858 the Trustees Academy School of Art was affiliated to the Government Science and Art Department in London. Under what became known as the 'South Kensington System', it was required to give up its traditional methods of teaching and become the Government School of Art for Edinburgh. Many felt that the Academy had thus lost its distinctive character.

Among those dissatisfied with the rigidity of its new curriculum, was the architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson (1834-1921), designer of Edinburgh University's Medical School and the McEwan Hall. Anderson founded the School of Applied Art in 1892 with finance from a body of subscribers including the Board of Manufactures. Classes were held in the Royal Institution Building on the Mound, which was already used by the Trustees Academy. The School quickly became recognized as a centre of excellence for the teaching of architecture. In 1903, however, it amalgamated with the Trustees Academy School of Art, becoming its Architecture department. In 1907 the Scottish Education Department took over responsibility for the Trustees Academy and it became the Edinburgh College of Art.