Records of the Watt Club

Scope and Content

Records of the Watt Club, 1854 - to present

Administrative / Biographical History

On 12 May 1854, the Directors of the Watt Institution and School of Arts unveiled Peter Slater's statue of James Watt outside their premises in Adam Square, Edinburgh. During the celebrations following the ceremony, the revellers agreed that a club should be formed to bring together the students of all years to

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on the anniversary of Watt's birth. Thus was founded the Watt Club. Its membership included all that had been or were students, and others who were friendly towards the School of Arts. Its aims were: to honour the memory of James Watt by celebrating his birthday on the 19th January; to promote the interests of the School of Arts, by encouraging people to enrol; and to provide a fund for the purchase of prizes, competed for by students at the end of the Winter Session. The Watt Club is still active as the Heriot-Watt University Alumni Association, and continues to hold an annual meeting as well as various functions. It has branches throughout the world including London, Norway and Singapore. For further information about the Watt Club, please contact the Development and Alumni Office at Heriot-Watt University.


Records are arranged chronologically according to provenance.

Access Information

By appointment. Access to unpublished records less than 30 years old and other records containing confidential information may be restricted. Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.

Other Finding Aids

Printed list plus item level computerised list available in the Searchroom.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents. Permission to publish material from the Archive must be sought in advance from the University Archivist. Responsibility for obtaining copyright clearance rests with the applicant.

Custodial History

The records were inherited and accrued by Heriot-Watt College and subsequently Heriot-Watt University as successor bodies to the School of Arts and the Watt Institution & School of Arts.


Further accurals from the Watt Club are expected.

Related Material

Records of the School of Arts and Watt Institution and School of Arts (GB 582 HWUA SA), Heriot-Watt College (GB 582 HWUA HWC) and Heriot-Watt University (GB 582 HWUA HWU).

For information regarding other records, please contact the Watt Club


  • Heriot-Watt University: From Mechanics Institute to Technological University 1821-1973,Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, July 1973
  • Wallace, Leslie A. 1921-1992: a History of Physics at Heriot-Watt University,Heriot-Watt University, 1993
  • Alex Anderson and Brian G Gowenlock, Chemistry in Heriot-Watt 1821-1991,Heriot-Watt University, 1998
  • Heriot-Watt University History forthcoming.