Celebrating
150 years

Save the dates! To celebrate Cargilfield’s 150th anniversary since its founding in 1873 there will be a series of events throughout the year to celebrate this important milestone in the school’s rich history. We cannot wait to bring our community of staff, pupils and their families both present and past together to mark this special year.

Details of each event will be posted nearer the time on our social media channels and on this page, but for now here are the dates for your diary.

Cargilfield was founded on September 19th 1873 by the Rev Charles Darnell, in a house in Trinity, Edinburgh, before moving to its present site in Barnton in 1898.

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Our alumni records for former pupils and parents are very incomplete, so please do register your details if you are a former parent or a former pupil by clicking here.

2023 is marks Cargilfield’s 150th Anniversary, and we have a number of exciting events planned throughout the year to celebrate this important milestone in the school’s long history.

Thursday 19th January 2023

  • 150 Drinks Reception at The New Club, Edinburgh

Saturday 11th February

  • Drinks and canapes at Innerwick House, Murrayfield EH12 6HZ, courtesy of Mr and Mrs Green, former Cargilfield parents

Guest: Mr Finlay Calder, former Scotland International and Captain of the British and Irish Lions

Friday 24th March

  • 4pm Former Pupils’ Music Concert in Chapel - please email [email protected] if you would like to come and perform

Thursday 13th April

  • 150 London Drinks Reception at The House of Lords for Former Pupils, Parents and Friends

Saturday 27th May

  • Former Pupils’ Cricket Match and family picnics/BBQ

Saturday 17th June

  • Summer Fair

Thursday 22nd June

  • Former Pupil and current pupil Art Exhibition and drinks reception (for two weeks)

Tuesday 4th July

  • 150 Show at The Queen’s Hall

Saturday 30th July to Saturday 5th August

  • Western Front Way Walk for Cargilfield families and friends

Saturday 5th August

  • Cargilfield at The Menin Gate, Ypres

Sunday 27th August

  • 150 Golf Day at Bruntsfield Golf Club for Former Pupils, Parents and Friends

Friday 8th September

  • 150 Whole School Beach Day at Seacliff

Tuesday 19th September

  • 150th Foundation Day

Friday 10th November

  • 0900 Remembrance Service and 100th Anniversary of Chapel

Friday 15th December

  • Former Pupils’ Hockey match

Saturday 1st June 2024

  • 150 Ball at Cargilfield

Please get in touch with us at [email protected] for more information.

Thursday 19th January - Drinks at The New Club, Edinburgh

We hosted a drinks reception at The New Club on Thursday evening where we welcomed 170 former pupils and parents to launch our 150th anniversary celebrations which will continue throughout 2023.

It really was a wonderful evening and after a short welcome from Lord Sinclair, the Chair of Governors and also a former pupil, and the Headmaster, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the chance to chat with old friends and there were many stories told about bygone days at Cargilfield!

It was a special way to begin our 150th year, and we look forward to a year full of celebrations where we hope to reconnect with the Cargilfield family of former pupils, parents, members of staff and friends as we celebrate this important milestone in the school’s history.

Please do look at our dedicated 150 page on the school website to keep up to date with our exciting plans for this year. https://www.cargilfield.com/150-years

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Saturday 11th February - Drinks before Scotland v Wales 6 Nations Rugby

1.30pm to 3.30pm

Courtesy of former parents Edward and Maryla Green, we are hosting a reception before the Scotland v Wales 6 Nations Rugby match on Saturday 11th February.

Just a stone’s throw away from the stadium, come along for some drinks and nibbles before the match, and catch up with former pupils and parents and current parents, as we celebrate Cargilfield’s 150th birthday, before heading in to Murrayfield to watch Scotland beat Wales! Kick off is at 4.45pm.

All welcome, and you do not need to be going to the rugby to come along. There is no charge for this event . Please respond so we have an idea of numbers for catering arrangements, however places are limited so book early to ensure you do not miss out!

Parking is not available, but Innerwick House is only a couple of minutes’ walk from the stadium.

Finlay Calder, former Scotland International and Captain of the British Lions, will be joining us.

Click here to book tickets.

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Friday 24th March - Former Pupil and Former Parent Concert in Chapel

Please find below information regarding our 150th Anniversary Former Pupil/Parent concert in Chapel on Friday 24th March at 4pm.

Cargilfield 150 Concert

As part of our celebrations this year, we are putting together a concert for former pupils and parents to take place on Friday 24th March at 4pm.

We would like to invite our former pupils and parents to join an All-Comers’ Choir which will rehearse on the afternoon from around 2pm to perform in the concert. We have chosen two popular and uplifting anthems which I know our pupils will love to hear live: Parry ‘I was glad’ and Handel ‘Zadock the Priest’. I am delighted to let you know that former Director of Music for 34 years, Vaughan Townhill, will be directing the choir on the day.

Please get in touch by emailing [email protected] to indicate your participation, stating voice type (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) so that we can be sure of having enough copies. We hope to bring together a large choir, so please don’t be shy about taking part!

Additionally, I would love to hear from any former pupils who would like to take part in the concert as a soloist or in a small group with others. It would be lovely to include a range of musical styles and instruments as well as a range of generations of Cargilfield pupils. If you are able to organise yourself into a group with others from your time here that would be amazing and we can of course provide rehearsal space on the day.

At the end of the concert the Pipe Band will be performing our new tune, specially commissioned for our 150th year, and we would love former pupils who are pipers to join us for this. Please get in touch and I will email you a copy of the new tune.

We very much look forward to welcoming you back to Cargilfield for this event.

Dr Joanna Allsop Director of Music

We would love to hear of former pupils who would like perform, and we are welcoming Vaughan Townhill, former Director of Music for 34 years, who will be conducting an All-Comers’ Choir; I know he is really looking forward to seeing some old faces taking part!

Look at our 150 Events page for news of what we have planned throughout 2023. https://www.cargilfield.com/150-years

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Thursday 13th April - London Reception at The House of Lords

We are hosting a 150 Reception at the House of Lords, in the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace, between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Thursday 13th April 2023.

All former pupils and parents, as well as prospective parents, who are interested in attending should email [email protected]

It promises to be a wonderful occasion and a chance to reconnect with friends. We look forward to hearing from you! This is for Over 18s only.

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Western Front Way Walk - Sunday 30th July to Sunday 6th August

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Dear parents, former pupils and friends of Cargilfield,

Now that we have reached 2023, I wanted to be in touch about an exciting project that will form part of our 150th anniversary this year.

As some of you will be aware, Cargilfield is very proud of its connection to the Western Front Way, the route that was conceived by 2nd Lt Alexander Douglas Gillespie, Cargilfield’s Head Boy in 1903, when he wrote from Northern France to his headmaster at Winchester College in 1915.

“when peace comes, our government might combine with the French government to make one long avenue between the lines from the Vosges to the sea….I would make a fine broad road in the ‘No-Mans Land’ between the lines, with paths for pilgrims on foot and plant trees for shade and fruit trees, so that the soil should not altogether be waste. Then I would like to send every man, woman and child in Western Europe on a pilgrimage along that Via Sacra so that they might think and learn what war means from the silent witnesses on either side.”

Indeed, our large astroturf is named after Douglas Gillespie and his brother, Thomas (an Olympic oarsman who was killed in the first few months of the conflict) and I would like to use this anniversary as a means of following ADG’s wish by making a Cargilfield pilgrimage to the Western Front.

As I mentioned in my letter to parents in the Publiciser of 18th November last year, I plan to walk at least 150km along this route in late July/early August of 2023. In doing this, I would like to place a personalised Cargilfield 150 poppy wreath on the graves/memorials of about 75 of the former pupils who lost their lives in that part of France/Belgium.

Learn more about the Western Front Way by clicking here.

The walk will start from Albert on the Somme on Monday 31st July and will finish at Ypres on Saturday 5th August with Cargilfield playing a part in the Last Post memorial at the Menin Gate that evening (pipers especially welcome!). Indeed, I hope that the weekend of 5th/6th August might be the focus for a gathering in Ypres with opportunities to visit battlefield sites and memorials, attend the Last Post event and a 150 dinner in Ypres and be present to unveil a plaque for the Cargilfield fallen at St George’s Church in Ypres at their service on the Sunday morning.

The purpose of my letter is, at this stage, to advertise the walk (should there be current families or former pupils/parents/friends who would like to join me for some or all of this adventure) and the other opportunities of supporting this event.

While joining the walk or the Ypres weekend might not be possible for many of you, I hope that some of you might like to support the project by purchasing a 150 wreath from the Lady Haig Poppy Factory (Earl Haig being a Cargilfield parent during the 1920s) and writing a personal note for the individual soldier before the wreath is placed on a grave or memorial. More details of how to do this will follow.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this year might see someone visit every Cargilfield grave or memorial (126 in total) which include sites through other parts of the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Israel, Malta, Greece, Macedonia and India. Between us, we might be able to conceive ways of doing this?

I do hope that this project might capture the imagination of some of you. For those who want to read more, I can recommend Anthony Seldon’s book The Path of Peace (Walking the Western Front Way) or the article describing Tom Heap’s cycle ride along the route on a vintage bicycle (Tom is the great nephew of the Gillespie boys and a BBC journalist who opened our astroturf in 2018): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/what-like-cycle-western-front-knowing-uncles-dug-trenches/

My proposed itinerary for the walk is:

Sunday 30th July

  • Arrive Albert

Monday 31st July

Tuesday 1st August

  • Arrive Arras

Wednesday 2nd August

Thursday 3rd August

  • Arrive Armentieres

Friday 4th August

  • Arrive Ypres (or somewhere close)

Saturday 5th August

  • Complete route and/or museum visit/ battlefields trip around Ypres

5th August evening

  • Last Post Ceremony/Cargilfield Dinner

Sunday 6th August

  • Commemorate Cargilfield Plaque at St George’s Memorial Church

Having completed a recce of the likely route last summer, I am now working from the latest version of the route as appears on the Western Front Way app (something I would recommend for anyone considering a walk/cycle ride on the route). As recommended accommodation and amenities are still being finalised on the app, I propose to finalise destinations for the Monday and Wednesday nearer to Easter. By then, we hope to have welcomed Rory Forsyth, the CEO of the Western Front Way, to speak to us at Cargilfield.

I am aiming to walk about 30km each day and hope that this will then also allow time to travel (by support vehicle) to visit some of the graves/memorials in Northern France/Belgium that aren’t directly on the walk.

The Eurostar station at Lille serves trains to Albert, Arras, Armentieres and Ypres for those wanting to join the walk without bringing a car. I would be delighted to discuss the project with anyone who is interested in supporting the adventure.

Yours sincerely Rob Taylor  Headmaster

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Cargilfield where everyday is an adventure

Welcome to Cargilfield! We hope this short film gives you a glimpse of what life is like for the girls and boys at our school. We would love to welcome you in person to tour Cargilfield and explain more fully exactly what makes a Cargilfield education so special and so different. Please get in touch with Fiona Craig, our Registrar if you would like to find out more; her email address is [email protected] or you can telephone her on 0131 336 2207.

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