Jean Guild Grants

Grants for research, records and bringing history to life

The OEC introduced the Jean Guild Grants in 2023, to help us fulfil our mission to promote research and interest in the history of Edinburgh and do this in new and imaginative ways. We invited proposals which involved one or more of the following activities:

  • carrying out original research and sharing the findings
  • making records more accessible and promoting their use
  • pulling together existing research and knowledge to engage new audiences, or
  • involving Edinburgh residents in history projects.

This pilot programme was open to:

  • local history or heritage groups and organisations
  • schools and colleges, and
  • independent researchers, postgraduate students and early career researchers.

We sought projects with the potential for lasting benefits and announced the first awards at our AGM on 20 September at the City Chambers. Project awards were up to £3,500 and research awards up to £500.

We are working closely with each awardee to support project delivery, publicity and dissemination. The Club will review the exercise and consider running it again in future. 

Follow the links below for more information about each award. Details will be posted as and when they become available.

Projects awarded grants in 2023

James Gillespie’s High School: Eachdraidh na Gàildhlig ann an Dùn Èideann (Gaelic in Edinburgh – A History) 

A school project involving archival research on how Gaelic features in Edinburgh history, such as in place names and in the experiences and contributions of Gaelic speakers.

Trinity Network: Reviving the Trinity Stones 

What happened to the stones set aside for rebuilding the medieval royal Trinity collegiate church, dismantled to make way for Waverley Station? Not all were used in rebuilding the church in Leith Wynd. This project seeks to map and illustrate what became of them. 

Northlight Productions: Visiting 1700s Edinburgh through virtual photography 

Project developing photorealistic images of the Parliament Square and the High Street around 1700.

Researchers awarded grants in 2023

Jenny Bruce: Linen Weavers in Edinburgh

Under-researched topic on what was once a very, very significant industry. Research involves developing teaching models for use in schools.

Graeme Cruickshank: Port Hopetoun, the Union Canal Basin

Research drawing together what is known about Port Hopetoun, the basis at the terminus of Union Canal between Falkirk and Edinburgh.

Charlie Ellis: Table Tennis in Edinburgh

Project to chart the history of table tennis in Edinburgh and find a home for archival material. Rich in 20th century social history.

Naomi Wells: History of the South Bridge

Research into the design and construction of South Bridge as an early palace-fronted development and purpose-built shopping street


Miss Jean Ritchie Guild

The grants are named after our benefactor, Jean Guild, a long-standing member of the OEC. She joined the staff of the University of Edinburgh Library in 1948 and played a significant role in the post-war development of the Library’s collections. She became Reference Librarian, well-respected for her skills and knowledge, especially in relation to the Faculty of Arts.

Later she was responsible for publicity, Library publications, visitor programmes, and the Library’s relationship with the wider community. She co-edited Edinburgh University Library, 1580-1980: a collection of historical essays (1982).