History of the School


Originally the land for the school was secured from the Governors of George Heriot’s Hospital by the Leith school board. Building was started in 1875 and completed the following year. The main two storey building was for boys and girls, each with their own entrance, stair and classrooms.

The single storey back building (our dining hall) was an infant school. Each infant child paid 2 1/2 pence each week. The school was designed to hold 500 pupils. It’s first Headmaster on the opening day of 21st February 1876 was the Reverend James Forsyth.


The school was enlarged twice, the biggest change in 1898 when a third storey was added. More land was secured form the George Heriot Hospital Trust to add the back playground. The former public well became part of our playground. Tenements were built to replace the old works yard and Jameson Place was created.

In 1901 Lorne had 900 pupils … more than 3 times our current roll.

Second World War

The building was closed as a school and became a civic restaurant feeding locals bombed out of their homes or anyone who had used up their rations or had other social needs. The then Headteacher was responsible for the evacuation to other parts of the city and out into the villages of the Lothians. Some children stayed and were educated in local homes with a teacher from the school touring around and teaching for a short period before moving on to another household.

Lorne Primary closes in 1960

New housing estates on the outskirts of the city attracted young families away from Leith. Dr Bell’s Primary was also suffering from a lack of new infants coming into the school. Lorne closed on December 23rd 1960 and the pupils started at Dr Bell’s after the Christmas holidays.

Roof Fire 17th May 1962 4:17 pm


Fire starts in ventilation duct in wooden roof space




Lorne became an annex for the Ramsay Technical Institute, Portobello from around 1963 to 1971. It was their engineering wing and students could be full-time or on day release from their paid employment as joiners, welders etc. When Telford College took over the Ramsay Institute they wanted to be rid of the many annexes around the city and concentrate on fewer campuses. Lorne was therefor surplus to requirements and duly closed.


Lorne Primary rises from the ashes

The school name dropped the word street and  Lorne Primary re-opened on 18th April 1973. There were 282 pupils attending. Our school badge depicts a phoenix – the legendary bird famed for rising from the ashes. It has gone through several changes over the subsequent years, with the Pupil Council selecting our latest design in 2016 and it being created by one of our parents.


70s and 80s version


90s to 2015 version


present day school badge

Do you have a story you’d like to share about Lorne Primary? We’d be happy to add these remembrances to our website. Please feel free to drop them into our office or reply to this post.