Material relating to Florence Bruce Steven (1912-2008) and her education at St. Trinnean's School, Edinburgh.

Scope and Content

  • - Photograph album - dated 28 August 1926 - Florence B. Dorward - St. Trinnean's School, Edinburgh
  • - Photograph - Group - 1926-1927 - St. Trinnean's School, Edinburgh - Whole school
  • - Photograph - Group - 1933 - St. Trinnean's School, Edinburgh - Whole school
  • - Photograph - June 1986 - Florence Bruce Steven (right) with friend (left)
  • - Drawing - St. Trinnean's School, Edinburgh - by Charles G. Napier R.S.W. (1889-1978)
  • - Programme - Speech day, 24 July 1931 - St. Trinnean's School, Edinburgh
  • - 3 x copies of Lochran Cuimhne, school-magazine - Oct.1938-Jul.1939, 1941-1942/1942-1943, 1943-1944/1944-1945
  • - Newspaper and magazine cuttings relating to St. Trinnean's School (including correspondence from former pupils reacting to adverse publicity re: St. Trinnean's/St. Trinian's)
  • - Address book - School Reunion 1998
  • - Address book - 1922-1946 - St. Trinnean's School 1985
  • - Loose-leaf notebook - notes on patchwork, cookery/menus/utensils etc
  • - 5 notebooks, Edinburgh School of Cookery and Domestic Economy/Edinburgh College of Domestic Science - Theory of Cookery; Patching millinery; Sick nursing and hygiene; Scullery and elementary cooking and high-class cooking; Housekeeping
  • - Patchwork - a worked example

The collection gifted to Special Collections, Edinburgh University Library includes the following publications:

  • Practical domestic hygiene. Notter, J. Lane and Firth, R.H. London: Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd., 1928
  • The Edinburgh Book of Plain Cookery Recipes. Edinburgh School of Cookery and Domestic Economy. London: Thomas Nelson
  • Recipes for high-class cookery as used in the Edinburgh School of cookery. London: Thomas Nelson
  • Notes on practical laundry work. Edinburgh School of Cookery and Domestic Economy. Edinburgh: Thomas Allan

Administrative / Biographical History

Florence Bruce Dorward was born in Galashiels on 28 August 1912. She was the eldest child of Norman James Dorward and Elizabeth Haig Bruce. Her father, and his brother Adam, ran the family tweed clothing manufacturing firm J. & J. C. Dorward of Galashiels. In October 1925, following the death of her father, Florence was sent as a 'boarder' to St. Trinnean's School, Edinburgh. However, when the family moved to Edinburgh in 1928 she became a 'day-girl' at the school.

St. Trinnean's School had been founded in Edinburgh by Miss Catherine Fraser Lee in 1922 and when it opened in October of that year it had just 60 girls as students. It was located in a building at 10 Palmerston Road, just off Grange Road in Edinburgh. Miss Lee practised the Dalton system of education with an emphasis on self-discipline. Later, in 1925, the school moved to St. Leonard's House, off Dalkeith Road in Edinburgh, but the outbreak of the Second World War then forced the girls and staff to be evacuated to Galashiels, to Gala House. In the 1950s, a series of St Trinian's comedy films was made, starring Alastair Sim, George Cole, and Joyce Grenfell, and with the school depicted as a quite unorthodox one and where the girls wreaked havoc.

Florence left the real St. Trinnean's in summer 1930 and then attended the Edinburgh School of Cookery and Domestic Economy which was located at Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh. In October 1931 she obtained a Housewife's Diploma First Class, and a Cook's Certificate

From October 1931 to July 1932 Florence worked as a cook at Canaan Park School in South Oswald Road, Edinburgh, and between October 1933 and August 1935 she worked in Ettrick Road, Edinburgh - probably at a nursing home run by a Miss Eleanor Murdy - and then as a cookery demonstrator with the Southern Scottish Electric Supply Company Ltd., in Galashiels. Later in 1935, and until February 1936, she visited family in South Africa. Over 1938-1939 she was an Assistant Manageress at a Mackie's Buttery.

During the war, on 29 June 1940, Florence Bruce Dorward married Thomas Cowan Steven who later became a Chartered Accountant and partner in the firm William Home Cook, Robertson Maxtone Graham, and Thomas McLintock. The couple had a son in 1942, and then a daughter in 1945.

In May 1975, Florence gave her war-time wedding outfit, the receipts for it, and trousseau items, to the National Museum of Antiquities, Queen Street, Edinburgh, where it was displayed in the then 'Costume Gallery' a year later. She is also noted as having attended the St. Trinnean's School Reunion which was a 'sit down' buffet luncheon held on Thursday 22 October 1998 at the John McIntyre Centre, Pollock Halls, Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh. A look around the old school building had been planned too. A Reunion had also been held at the same place in 1985.

Florence Bruce Steven died on 25 November 2008. She had been pre-deceased by her husband, 10 May 1988. St. Trinnean's School had closed its doors in 1946 on the retiral of Miss Lee.

Conditions Governing Access

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

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Acquisition Information

Material gifted by daughter of creator, February 2009, Accession No: E2009.07


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using material passed on by the family and from material contained within the collection.

Other Finding Aids

None prepared for this collection.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Graeme D. Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections.