Historic artefact found during restoration of former school building

A housebuilder has presented an Edinburgh high school with its original 1930s school bell discovered during the refurbishment of its former home.

The CALA Homes (East) construction team rescued the artefact during its work on the former Boroughmuir High School building.

CALA gifted the bell to pupils and headteacher David Dempster at the school’s new premises, where it will sit in the display cabinet.

David Dempster said, “We’re delighted that CALA has recognised and restored this significant part of our school’s long history. The bell will remain with us as a reminder to all of our staff and pupils of the past.”

The Grade B-listed building which housed the former Boroughmuir High School was one of the first in Edinburgh to use steel frame architecture. The large school bell was installed in the elevated tower and used until February 2018, when the move was made to the new location at the bottom of Viewforth.

The recovered bell was produced in 1938, as is inscribed by specialist bell casters and hangers, John Bryden & Sons.

Craig Donaldson, CALA’s project manager at Boroughmuir added, “As with every restoration project that we undertake, at Boroughmuir we are working to breathe new life in what is an important building for the city. Externally the building will remain largely untouched. We are sensitively restoring all 430 windows, as well as repointing and painting where required to bring it back to its best.

“Inside, we’re carefully renovating the former school into beautiful modern apartments, with nods back to history throughout. We were delighted to get to a point where we could safely retrieve the bell. It’s a privilege to be able to give something back to the school that spent so many years on this site and it will hopefully give the staff and students a small reminder of their heritage every day.”