The historic school where the famous poet Lord Byron studied has become a hotspot for parents who want their children to follow his footsteps. Aberdeen Grammar School, which was founded in 1257, has seen a spike in applications for the next academic year, coinciding with the 200th anniversary of Byron’s death.
A legacy of excellence and creativity
Aberdeen Grammar School is one of the oldest and most prestigious schools in Scotland, with a long list of notable alumni, including Lord Byron, who attended the school from 1794 to 1798. Byron, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest Romantic poets of all time, wrote some of his earliest verses while studying at the school. He also developed a passion for swimming, boxing, and horse riding, which influenced his adventurous and rebellious lifestyle.
The school has a tradition of excellence and creativity, offering a broad and balanced curriculum that caters to the needs and interests of its pupils. The school also boasts a range of extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, drama, and debating, that foster the development of skills and talents. The school’s motto is “Bon Accord”, which means “good agreement” or “harmony” in French, reflecting its ethos of respect and cooperation.
A bicentenary celebration of Byron’s life and works
This year marks the 200th anniversary of Lord Byron’s death, which occurred on 19 April 1824 in Greece, where he had joined the Greek War of Independence. To commemorate his life and works, the school has organised a series of events and activities, such as poetry competitions, lectures, exhibitions, and tours, that celebrate his legacy and inspire the current and future generations of students.
One of the highlights of the bicentenary celebration is the unveiling of a new statue of Byron in the school grounds, which was commissioned by the Aberdeen Byron Society and sculpted by local artist Alan Herriot. The statue depicts Byron as a young boy, holding a book and a quill, and wearing a kilt, which he wore proudly as a sign of his Scottish heritage. The statue also features a plaque with a quote from Byron’s poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”, which reads:
Yet in my lineaments they trace
Some features of my father’s face,
The wandering outlaw of his race,
Who scorned all earthly fame.
The statue was unveiled on 22 January, Byron’s birthday, by the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Barney Crockett, who praised the school and the society for their efforts to honour the poet and his connection to the city.
A boost in popularity and demand
The bicentenary celebration of Byron’s life and works has also generated a lot of interest and attention from parents who want their children to attend the school where he studied. According to the school’s headteacher, Alison Murison, the school has received a record number of applications for the next academic year, which starts in August 2023. She said that the school is delighted by the positive response and the recognition of its reputation and achievements.
However, she also warned that the school has a limited number of places available, and that the admission process is based on a number of criteria, such as catchment area, sibling priority, and special circumstances. She advised parents to check the school’s website for more information and to submit their applications as soon as possible.
She also said that the school welcomes visitors who want to learn more about the school and its history, and that the school is open for tours on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., subject to Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines.