Inter Scholastics 1866 – 1870: 1866

The official SAAA sponsored Inter-Scholastics Championships date from 1900 and were contested by private schools, mainly from Edinburgh but including Glasgow Academy and Dollar Institute.  The concept had existed well before that albeit entirely in Edinburgh.   The 1869 version describes itself as the fourth year of the event, and the 1867 is referred to as the second.  The text of the report below says that the concept had been discussed by a meeting of the various schools two months before that, ie in February 1866. 

The Games meeting on  20th April, 1866 was an interesting one with Royal High School, Loretto House, Edinburgh Academy, Merchiston Castle and Dreghorn Castle, which had started out as Grange, and there were 14 events. It aroused a torrent of letters to the ‘Scotsman’.   But first, the report on the meeting from the same paper of 21st April 1866.

Like all proper athletics meetings of the time there were an assemblage of spectators, a military band to keep the spectators entertained, and a large attendance.   As for the contestants, we were told they were dressed in the uniforms of their respective schools and easily distinguished.   I note these points because they featured in a correspondence which began a week before the Games on April 12th with the following.   The individual schools’ games ,it should be pointed out, had all been held before this meeting.

This elicited several letters in response. 


An interesting correspondence so far with hints that there had been similar events in the previous three years, but the Eronian was not done yet!


The event seemed to go off well despite the fears expressed by this series of letters to the ‘Scotsman’.   It might be useful however to have a look at the individual Schools games in 1866 before these took place.   They were not in any sense a national inter-scholastics sports meeting but they did sow the seeds of the SAAA-supported series from 1890 which led to the present Scottish Schools Athletic Championship.

The  records of the 1867 Games have not yet been unearthed but the results for the others will appear below:

1868   1869   1870   1871  1876   .

We can and maybe should have a look at some of the individual school games that came before this gathering to put them in some sort of context.   The Royal High Schools Games came first being contested on 7th April, 1866, followed by Dreghorn and Merchiston Castles.

Royal High School Games     Dreghorn Castle    Merchiston Castle