In May 1833, Charles Chalmers took a lease of Merchiston Castle, (the former home of John Napier of logarithm fame) which at that time stood in rural surroundings, and opened his academy, starting with some 30 boys.
Like his famous brother, Dr Thomas Chalmers, mathematician, physicist and theologian, Charles was also a brilliant and original thinker in Mathematics and Science. It was therefore natural that he should include these subjects in the curriculum. So, at a time when most other schools confined themselves to the study of the Classics, Merchiston was already taking a lead, preparing its pupils for the world in which they would live.
Merchiston grew, but so did the boundaries of the City of Edinburgh. The Governors decided to move the School to Colinton, so that its 210 students should once again enjoy the advantages of both town and country and the new School opened its doors there in 1930. Soon after, in 1933, Merchiston celebrated its centenary, an event graced by their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of York. Fifty years on, at a time of further expansion and with 350 boys on the roll, their daughter, Her Majesty The Queen, in turn visited the School and honoured its 150th anniversary with her presence.
The School's motto 'Ready ay Ready' features in the chorus of the School song (last revised in the 1950s but much older in origin). This refrain is still sung enthusiastically by the School on frequent occasions.
In 2016, Shenzhen Merchiston International Education Co. Ltd. was founded. Due to the efforts of the company’s Chairman of the Board, Mr Wensheng Chen, and CEO Mr Jianjun Lyu, as well as Merchiston Castle School’s Governors and the Headmaster Mr Andrew Hunter, Merchiston International School opened its doors in August 2018 to students from all around the world and expands Merchiston’s fine traditions and high standards in China.
Merchiston is proud of its past, and looks forward to the future with confidence.