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History

The Students Association received its charter in 1966 becoming a Students Association, at that time, it was located in Brown Square House, next to the Chamber Street Museum, this building was later demolished, making way for the National Museum of Scotland.

New premises were acquired for the Students Association. 30 Grindlay Street, opposite the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh had recently been vacated by the Territorial Army and, with a bit of renovation, we duly moved in 1970. Over three levels this space was palatial to Brown Square House affording us the opportunity to open a shop, catering and finally a bar.

Grindlay Street Hall Grindlay Street Snack Bar

Main Hall (left) and Snack Bar (right) in Grindlay Street Union. The mural on the back wall of the Main Hall was painted by an Edinburgh art student.

Grindlay Street entertainment was very popular, especially on Friday nights we had to employ security people to manage the queues that formed. The neighbours said that the Territorial Army made less noise bringing tanks into the building than we did on a Friday Night. Grindlay Street was also a popular place for Edinburgh Fringe shows giving us a substantial annual revenue.

Grindlay Street DiscoGrindlay Street Entertainment

The disco at Grindlay Street (left) and The Vicious Boys entertain HWUSA students (right).

In 1972 a suite of office was made available, in the Physics Department, to the Students Association on the newly acquired Riccarton Campus, over 400 acres of land donated by the Midlothian Council. The Deputy President at the time and a member of staff were sited there for the support of the students attending the first three departments that moved out, Maths, Physics and Chemistry. A small shop was also started selling confectionery and a limited supply of stationery.

The Union Shop

The Student Shop - when it first opened.

This area in the Physics department housed us for about three years, when we were again relocated to the Hugh Nisbet Building, (Core II). To provide entertainment space for the students, a small stone building was given to us, located at the bottom of Gait 2, later demolished and is now the site for the new Postgraduate Building. This housed a bar offering limited catering facilities, a disco and snooker table well, I did say it was small. This building was nicknamed the Temporary Union as a more permanent building was promised. The Temporary Union remained for over 18 years.

Temporary Union Bar Temprary Union Bar

The Temporary Union, situated where the new Postgraduate Centre now stands, was in use for 18 years.

Our Students Union in Grindlay Street closed its doors at the end of 1989 and, for a short time, home was a portacabin next to the Sports Union, but, after a short delay, our purpose-built Union, which had been planned for a number of years, finally opened in 1990.

The Union Portacabin

The Union 'Portacabin' housed HWUSA until our current building was finally complete.

This building had disco area, bars, catering, offices all that was needed at the time. As the Campus grew, the Union had to grow with it and an extension was added in 1998. The extension consisted of a meeting/training room and offices for the Sabbaticals and volunteers.