Material relating to the period spent by Elsie Cunningham studying at Dunfermline College of Hygiene and Physical Education in the 1930s

Scope and Content

The collection is composed of:

  • - badge, dated 1939: a silver dated 'spider badge' which features a 'spider' surrounded by the words 'Dunfermline College of Hygiene and Physical Education' underneath which is a 'rampant lion' with the date '1905'
  • - photograph, 10 students seated on ironwork stairway: noted on rear 'In our first year, sitting on the steps leading down from the Common Room to the lawn in Abbey Park'
  • - photograph, 31 students and staff member, 1939: noted on rear 'In our first year and around Miss Dowling our year supervisor'
 It is believed the photographs were taken at Abbey Park Place, the student residence, and at the College either at Canmore Street or Pilmuir Place, Dunfermline.

Administrative / Biographical History

Carnegie Dunfermline College of Hygiene and Physical Training was established in 1905 by the Carnegie Trust, through the influence of Dr Alan Tuke a local medical general practitioner who was a Carnegie trustee. The establishment of the college was due to a need to train teachers in physical education that had become apparent after the Carnegie Trust had provided a new swimming bath, gymnasium and teachers to visit schools to instruct children. The College only took female students until 1908 when men were admitted for the first time. Because of the provision of a new college building and school clinic, the school changed its name to Dunfermline College of Hygiene and Physical Education in 1914.

No sooner had the new college been provided but war broke out. Between 1914 and 1918 the college was used by the armed forces. In 1921 the College was affiliated to the National Committee for the Training of Teachers in Scotland. This meant that finances now came from national funds although the Trustees continued their administration of its work. The College had now received the status of a training college. 20 June 1930 the Central Executive Committee reached the decision that the women should be transferred to a University Centre as early as possible, and that male students should be transferred to Jordanhill College, Glasgow, from October 1931. As the trustees were not happy with a move away from Dunfermline money was used to build a new hostel for the women. In 1950 the College dropped 'Hygiene' from its title.

Dunfermline College of Hygiene and Physical Education originally operated from the accommodation that had been built when the college changed its name in 1914. In 1919 a hostel was purchased for women students which had formerly been the house of the British Linen Bank Agent in Canmore Street, Dunfermline. Between 1939 and 1946 the college buildings were commandeered by the armed forces and the college temporarily removed to Aberdeen University. In 1950 Dunfermline College of Hygiene and Physical Education transferred to Woolmanhill, Aberdeen due to problems at the Dunfermline site, particularly concerning overcrowding.

Elsie Cunningham probably attended the College from 1937, and completed her training in 1939.

Access Information

Open to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance of any visit.

We strongly encourage you to contact us before your visit as special access conditions and restrictions apply to some collections. Please see our information on requesting material

Acquisition Information

Material received from Valerie A. M. Veitch, March 2009. Accession no: E2009.11


The biographical/adminstrative history was compiled using information contained in the collection itself, and information drawn up for the GASHE project, 2000.

Other Finding Aids

None created for this collection.

Archivist's Note

Notes in the administrative/biographical field were compiled for the GASHE project by Rachel Hosker, GASHE project archivist, October 2000, and in other fields by Graeme D. Eddie, Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library, April 2009.

Related Material

By appointment, Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library, can provide access to papers relating to the Dunfermline College of Physical Education Old Students Association, but of course access to recent official records and records containing confidential information is restricted in accordance with University policies and relevant legislation.