The Old Edinburgh Club – exploring the city through history

The Old Edinburgh Club is the city’s local history society, concerned with all aspects of the capital’s history and development.

For more than one hundred years we have encouraged interest through lectures, visits and projects. Join us and take advantage of these and our other activities, exploring Edinburgh through history.

Next event

Our next event will be our Members Evening on 13 December 2023, 7pm at the Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge. 

This features short talks by OEC members, John Malden, ‘When the Elephant Came to the Fair’, Derrick Johnstone, ‘Sweet Singers of Israel’, and Karen O’Brien and Iain Duffus of the City Libraries, ‘From Quill to Computer, Edinburgh Manuscript Collection and New Age Discoverability’.

Wine, soft drinks and mince pies!

Latest news

We have announced the first successful applicants (pictured left) for the Jean Guild Grants programme, which offers small awards for projects and research which expand what we know about the city and bring our history to life.

The successful projects are:

  • James Gillespie’s High School: Gaelic in Edinburgh – A History
  • Northlight Productions: Visiting 1700s Edinburgh through virtual photography
  • Trinity Network: Reviving the Trinity Stones (fragments of the medieval royal collegiate church).

The researchers gaining funding are:

  • Jenny Bruce: Linen Weavers in Edinburgh
  • Graeme Cruickshank: Port Hopetoun, the Union Canal Basin
  • Charlie Ellis: Table Tennis in Edinburgh
  • Naomi Wells: History of the South Bridge.

Dr Ted Duvall, President of Club, said: “We were delighted with the number, range and especially the quality of the applications we received. Every application had its strong points but our funds are limited and we had hard choices to make. In launching the programme we have entered uncharted territory and we are determined to help ensure that it has an impact and that we learn for future years. 

“The grants programme is named after Jean Guild, a senior librarian at the University of Edinburgh and a long-term member of the Club, who left a legacy to the Club. We are extremely grateful for her generous donation. This is enabling the Club to fulfil our mission to promote research and interest in the history of Edinburgh and do this in new and imaginative ways.”  

The pilot programme was open to local history and heritage organisations, schools and colleges and to individual researchers.

New Council members and web vacancy

We were delighted to appoint new trustees at our AGM on 20 September. You can find details here. We have one vacancy, for a Web Manager to keep the site up-to-date and ensure its smooth running.

Lectures and visits

Our 2023-24 programme of talks:

  • 18 October 2023:  Reinventing Edinburgh: The Fall and Rise of the Municipality 1830-70 by Richard Rodger
  • 15 November 2023: Royal Society of Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century by Bill Jenkins
  • 13 December 2023: Members’ Evening – When the Elephant came to the Fair by John Malden and Sweet Singers of Israel by Derrick Johnstone
  • 17 January 2024: Trinity Church: Medieval Edinburgh by Lizzie Swarbrick
  • 14 February 2024: The University of Edinburgh in the Eighteenth Century by Alasdair Raffe
  • 13 March 2024: Books and Borrowing: Edinburgh 1750-1830 by Karen Baston

These will be held as usual at the Augustine United Church on George IV Bridge at 7pm and streamed live for anyone who cannot attend in person. Non-members are welcome, for a small charge.


We publish the Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, renowned as an authoritative source for residents, researchers alike or, indeed, anyone who shares our delight in the city’s rich heritage. The latest edition – volume 18 – has been sent to members and is available to new members.

Earlier editions from 1908 are available to download, and we have recently added volumes covering 1995 to 2008.

Please browse our Bibliography of Edinburgh History too – it’s an essential starting point for exploring your interests.

Explore our website

We hope our website will help you to explore the fascinating past of Scotland’s capital.

For more on Edinburgh’s rich history, explore our detailed resource of useful websites and books, as well as links to local history and heritage organisations.

Contact us if you have any questions, suggestions or resources.

And please visit our other social media channels for the latest updates and information from the Old Edinburgh Club: