Andrew Young (1858–1943)

Materials for the Study of Andrew Young

Scotsman 1943-02-17 p3 - Obituary


Teacher, Magistrate, and M.P.

MR ANDREW YOUNG, J.P., F.E.I.S., a former headmaster, Magistrate, and member of Parliament, died in Edinburgh in his 86th year. A remarkably virile man for his years, he was going about in his usual way until two or three days ago.

Mr Young had a long and varied life, which to a large extent was sincerely devoted to public service. He knew intimately the underside of city life; but he never lost a characteristic kindliness and optimism. It was this faculty of seeing the best in all circumstances and in all people that served to make him popular with colleagues of all shades of opinion. Mr Young's personality was always greater than any post or authority which he represented. The greater part of his lifetime was devoted to the service of his native city of Edinburgh. He worked patiently, with insight and knowledge, for the improvement of conditions in some of the poorer quarters of the city, and he had the satisfaction of finding an outlet for his energies and aspirations in his daily work. He was headmaster for many years of North Canongate, and it was said of the school that it "was not merely a school but one of Scotland's greatest social laboratories."

In 1922, after his retirement from the headmastership of North Canongate School, Mr Young became a Socialist candidate for the Town Council of Edinburgh, being nominated for Gorgie Ward. He was the only Socialist candidate returned at the November election of that year, and in the Town Council the Party then numbered three. He was soon recognised as a sincere and knowledgeable advocate of all progressive municipal measures. He was elected M.P. for the Partick Division of Glasgow in the Socialist interest in 1923. His parliamentary service ended the next year. In 1926 he re-entered the Town Council of Edinburgh. He served on various committees, notably on those dealing with housing and public health. He was elected a Bailie, and after serving a term retired in 1933.

Amongst the teaching profession Mr Young exercised an important influence, and he was honoured by election to the Chair of the Edinburgh district of the Institute in 1923. He was a Fellow of the Institute. In all his public work Mr Young was constructive and helpful, and had the satisfaction of seeing many of his ideals and efforts realised in social progress. Mr Young was a Curator of Patronage of Edinburgh University, a Governor of the Heriot Trust, a member of the Edinburgh Educational Endowments Trust, and of the Scottish Central Aftercare Council and Earl Haig Unity Relief Fund.

Scotsman 1924-03-17 p5 - His Life]




A COMPLIMENTARY dinner to Mr Andrew Young, F.E.I.S., the Socialist member for Partick, was held in the Royal Arch Halls, Queen Street, Edinburgh, on Saturday evening, under the auspices of the Edinburgh Association of the Educational Institute of Scotland. Between 80 and 90 members and guests were present.

Mr William J.S. Little, president of the Association, was in the chair. There were also present the Right Hon. Lord Provost W. L. Sleigh and Mrs Sleigh, Mr F. R. Jamieson, of the Scottish Education Department; the Rev. D. McMillan, chairman of the Education Authority of Edinburgh; and Mr. A. Blackwood, Dundee, representing the Educational Institute of Scotland.

The Chairman said that Mr Young was a man with the highest ideals, a man of great heart. He had devoted his lifetime to giving them an example of service, and had done his little part to make the little corner in which he laboured a little better than he found it. No man in Edinburgh knew every stone of the city in the same way as Mr Young, particularly in the district in which he laboured. He knew the poor more intimately than any other man in the city. His school was not merely a school, but one of the greatest of Scotland's social laboratories. His success in the Canongate was phenomenal; but on of Mr Young's greatest works was perhaps that in connection with the medical inspection of children in his district. He showed the parents of that district how to toe the line and do better for their children. Since Mr Young began his work there had been an improvement, not merely in the social, but in the spiritual welfare of the people in the Canongate. It was only natural that a man with these capabilities should at once identify himself with the work of the Educational Institute. Last year he was their president. In his educational work he had all along fought for the advancement of the child, and had always shown a readiness to advance the interests of the teachers. They found him associated, naturally, with everything that appertained to the city and its welfare; they found him a pillar of the cooperative movement, and fighting keenly, sometimes bitterly, for the rights of the ex-Service man. (Applause.)


Mr Young was one of the pioneers of the Labour movement in Edinburgh, and to him was due the credit of introducing to the city most of the great leaders of that party, to name only Mr Keir Hardie. Mr Young was one of Edinburgh's greatest citizens, and in the course of time they would come to look upon him as one of her greatest Parliamentarians. He hoped that they would yet see him Minister of Education. (Applause.)


Mr Young's reply was a speech of reminiscences. He recalled how from his father, who had been wounded in the Crimea and had helped to take Sebastopol, he had learned absolute fearlessness, and from his mother a deep sense of the mystery of things. These were the things he had inherited from his parents, together with a marvellous physique. He had been in turn a shoemaker, a map mounter, a joiner, and a compositor, and at length had become a teacher, and had then had the easiest time of his life. (Laughter.) He had been a wicked little gutter-snipe, as wicked as they made 'em. His name was "Blood," because he was the ringleader of one of those clubs that read "Blood." He was swept into the Sankey movement, which had a kind of revolutionary effect upon his life at the time, and joined the workers for the morning free breakfasts. Edinburgh today was not the Edinburgh he knew then. One could not have walked down the Grassmarket without passing half-a-dozen fights. To-day the Grassmarket and Cowgate were almost as respectable, if not more so, than Prices Street. (Hear, hear.)


Mr Young recalled the weakness of the Labour movement in those days, and how he accompanied William Morris to a meeting in the Assembly Rooms at Leith when Morris got only an audience of three. He referred to his experiences in Parliament, and said that his first feeling was one of the utter futility of the place. He took it too seriously at first, but how he saw the meaning of it all. It was, he thought, the best club in Europe. One could get everything there - all kinds of food, drink, gallases, studs - anything. But, behind all that there was a wonderful feeling that this was no joke. One had a feeling of history made there in actuality, of men sitting there guiding the destinies of the Empire - an Empire unique in the history of the world, the only co-operative Empire that had been built, the greatest entity for civilisation we had known; something all the other nations admired and wished they had. One mad there he had the greatest regard for was dear old Baldwin. (Applause.) One felt that he was one of those fellows who were playing the game. He loved his dear smile and the peculiar way in which he twirled his tongue. In Mr Ramsay MacDonald he could see a man who was being slowly wasted. His burden was greater than he could bear, but he was bearing up cheerfully. To-day things were not looking well - the miners, tramwaymen, dockmen, engineers all demanding a better wage at a most inopportune time, but demanding it, and, in his opinion, rightly demanding it. It would take all the goodwill and good sense of the Government to keep down the feeling that was rising. It was easy to smash up a civilisation, but it was their duty, if they were statesmen, to assuage that feeling, and they were trying the best in their power to do so.


The toast of "The City of Edinburgh" was proposed by Mr T. J. Burnett, headmaster of James Gillespie's School, who said that in preserving the amenity of the city a new standard of public values had been set. This advance was in a measure due to the schoolmaster, for into the crowded curriculum had been introduced a new subject, rejoicing in the dignified name of Civics. Lord Provost Sleigh, who replied, said that, although they recognised that a lot had been done for the city, they recognised that a lot remained to be done.

Miss M. Tweedie proposed the toast of "Education." She said that Scotland tended, as a nation, to be rather cowardly about experiments. There was a great opportunity for experiment in the teaching of English as a language and as literature. Mr F. R. Jamieson, the Rev. D. McMillan, and Mr A. Blackwood replied. The toast of "The Chairman" was proposed by Miss A. B. Jack.

Scotsman 1922-07-14 p7 - Retirement from School


At a reunion of present and past members of the staff of North Canongate School, Edinburgh, occasion was taken suitably to recognise the retirement of Mr Andrew Young, F.E.I.S., after serving as headmaster for twenty-seven years. Mr Young was the recipient of a gold watch, and Mrs Young was presented with a Cairngorm brooch. In making the presentation, Mr Greenlaw, a member of the staff of the school, singled out as the chief characteristics of Mr Young his cheerfulness, his sense of comradeship, the confidence he inspired in others, and his courage. The school, he said, was famous all the world over, and this was due largely to the headmaster's personality. In replying, Mr Young referred to his long service in the school, and stated that he first entered it in December 1881. He contrasted the conditions that obtained in his early days with the present state of the school. He had been thoroughly democratic in his guidance of the destinies of the school under his charge, and he had been amply rewarded. He thanked the staff for their great kindness to his wife and to himself, and while it was with a pang of regret that he was leaving, he would carry very pleasant memories with him. Mrs Young also suitably replied. In the afternoon, Mr Young was presented with a gold chain and seal by the pupils of the school. One of the senior girls, in presenting these, stated that the boys and girls of North Canongate School could not let Mr Young go away before they had given him a gift to show how much they loved him. Mr Young was obviously touched by the simple little ceremony, and advised the children to be proud of their school, to uphold its reputation, and to climb the ladder that led to success.


The Edinburgh Branch of the Educational Institute of Scotland met last night in the Provincial Training College, Moray House - Mr Andrew Young, J.P., presiding....

Scotsman 1922-05-13 p13 - Canongate Children



THE Edinburgh Women Citizens' Association had an opportunity of seeing educational work among the children of the Canongate on the occasion of a visit to North Canongate Elementary School yesterday afternoon.

Mr Andrew Young, the headmaster, conducted the party round the school, where the visitors saw the children at work - at drawing, singing, woodwork, and physical exercises; in the Montessori class, in the kindergarten class, and the swimming bath. They also saw the arrangements for feeding the necessitous children, who numbered 270.

Mr Young mentioned that he had been forty years in this school, and he could tell from personal experience of the great changes that had taken place in that time, largely due to the medical treatment, the clothing and feeding of the children. The children in this school did not look at all as if they came out of the slums. Edinburgh was very far ahead of other towns in this country in this matter of seeing to the physical welfare of the children. Their chief function in this school was to civilise the young savages of the Canongate and turn them into decent men and women. Some people said that the standard was not so high as it used to be in the "good old days." He knew that the standard had risen immeasurably in every direction. The standard of general intelligence and knowledge of the children had risen very considerably. They were doing higher work in their qualifying classes to-day than the pupil-teachers were doing in their second and third year forty years ago. The children kept the law very well - except when it was quite impossible, as, for example, boys playing football in the streets. He remembered a case of some boys being taken up for playing football in the streets. They were put into a cell with bread and water. After a while a great commotion was heard in the cell, and it was discovered that the boys were playing football with the roll of bread. Twenty-fiver percent of their bairns lived in one-roomed houses; sleeping sex in a bed was quite a common thing, also sleeping under the bed, and without any bed at all. Yet in spite of that, they brought up their bairns to be self-respecting citizens. They taught them discontent and self-respect - discontent with the conditions in which they found themselves living, and respect for themselves, for they were as good as any other children.

Edinburgh - Charitable Trusts Update 2008

£100 left in 1944 for prize in the name of Andrew Young. For Milton House School failing which another school in the Canongate district. Trust is Annually Distributed to Schools.