dr guthries statue edinburgh

The  statue  in  Princes St  Gardens  is  a  sarcastic  mockery  of  the  child  abuse  survivors  who  attended 

  Dr Guthrie's  schools.

Before survivors of horrific child abuse at Dr Guthrie's Schools started a petition on Change.Org and created this website, a web search for Dr Guthrie's Schools produced page after page of glowing accounts of  'Ragged Schools'.
In reality, however, for 132 years, from at least 1854, the institutions known as 'Dr Guthrie's Ragged Schools' were actually children's prisons.
Hundreds of websites have promoted Dr Guthrie's schools as the best thing since sliced bread, completely ignoring the schools' classification as Industrial/Reform Schools, Approved Schools and List D Schools dating back to 1854.

Only "Ragged Schools" are mentioned.

The abuse, cruelty and suffering inflicted on the children who attended these schools is completely hidden from the public and is not mentioned on any of these 'Ragged School' websites.

This website is designed to give the public an authentic insight into Dr Guthrie's schools. 


Dr Guthrie's Ragged Schools – Exclusively for sadists to abuse the Impoverished 

In 1970, these schools not only gave children no education, but much less, including very little food, dormitories that mirrored the workhouses of the 1840s, swimming lessons in a now invisible pool where children were sexually assaulted, super treats like having their pockets sewn up in winter, and     outings where children were photographed and filmed naked. 

These schools were never Christian

They were evil

Thomas Guthrie statue Edinburgh


                             Isaiah 44:9

In memory of my friend Frank Docherty, a true fighter for abused children,

 born in Glasgow on the 25th of May 1944, who passed away on the 30th of April 2017 at the age of 72 


This  website  is  dedicated  to  the  hundreds,  if  not  thousands,  of  abused  and  sexually  assaulted  children  who  attended  Dr Guthrie's  schools  in  Edinburgh.

The  boys'  school  was  closed  in  1985  and  the  girls'  school  in  1986. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Whoever the child abusers are, it doesn't really matter. Because no one has ever been arrested, and no one ever will be.

There has been no apology from the Dr Guthrie's Association and under Scottish law survivors can't sue Dr Guthrie's schools.

It's bad enough that those who survived horrific child abuse at Dr Guthrie's schools have no choice but to seek redress from the government. It is completely unacceptable to us survivors that the Dr Guthrie's Association continues to mock us with his statue.

The statue is an insult to all survivors

If you have been a victim of child abuse at one of Dr Guthrie's schools, you should not keep it a secret any longer. If you haven't already told the police, please do so immediately.

Once you have been issued with a crime reference number, you will be able to make a claim for criminal injuries or compensation through the Scottish Government's redress scheme.

No matter how serious the abuse you have suffered, you will not be able to sue Dr Guthrie's Association SCIO in a Scottish court. So don't waste your time trying to take them to court.

You can also contact the Scottish Abuse Inquiry, although I wouldn't recommend it.

Of all the groups I have been involved with since the Scottish abuse inquiry began in 2015, only the police have treated me with respect and responded to my inquiries


No one is being held accountable

 for the abuse

The suffering of the pupils of Dr Guthrie's 'ragged schools' was so horrific that only a tiny fraction of the 450 Scottish child abuse witness statements I have read come close to describing it.

 "As of early 2023, this statement was accurate. However, I have since come across distressing reports of abuse following the Abuse Inquiry's investigation into Approved and List D schools that began on Tuesday 9 January 2024."



According to Edinburgh City Council,

 they claim they are not responsible for the abuse because they did not employ the workers

      The Scotsman - Thursday 20 February 1969      

When the administration of Scotland's approved schools changes into the hands of local authorities under the new Social Work "Scotland Act"

In December 1970, the same council classified the statue of Thomas Guthrie as B-list

In the same year, children were sexually abused and tortured in Dr Guthrie's schools


The Dr Guthrie's Association

 claims that because they registered as a charity in 1986, the schools have nothing to do with them and they are not accountable for any abuse

However, before we can obtain any records that a survivor might need about their time at a Dr Guthrie school, the Dr Guthrie's Association must give their permission.

This blatantly corrupt set-up that doesn't take survivors into account is another example of the disregard with which survivors are treated.

Under Scottish law.

 The only thing Dr Guthrie's Association is being held responsible for is our records, not the abuse.



Many of the schools' records are closed for 100 years: individual closure dates are given in the catalogue.

 Access to closed records cannot be granted except with written authority from: Azets, Secretaries and Treasurers, Dr. Guthrie's Association SCIO, Exchange Place 3, Semple Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8BL.


In 1970 you drove through the front gate of Dr Guthrie's Boys' School in Liberton, Edinburgh.

 There was a sign saying 'Dr Guthrie's School for Boys'. I thought that the symbol on the sign resembled the emblem of the Free Church of Scotland.

The Church of Scotland's logo is dark blue and the sign had the burning bush against a sky blue background.

 Although I'm not sure if the Free Church of Scotland had anything to do with Dr Guthrie's schools

 - as it would be easier to find a needle in a haystack than information about Dr Guthrie's schools - Thomas Guthrie was a founding member and moderator of the Free Church of Scotland.


Dr Guthrie's Schools are currently under investigation for child abuse. The schools have been listed as a non-religious voluntary organisation.

During my time at Dr Guthrie's Boys' School, it was exclusively for Protestant boys, and attendance at church every Sunday was mandatory.

 Job advertisements in the 1960s newspapers often specified that only Protestant applicants would be considered for school jobs.


So many people have been denied a decent future by these Dr Guthrie's schools.

 Children who were abused within the walls of the institutions have cried so much that the buildings are saturated with horror.

 They were simply children's prisons and torture centres masquerading as schools.


There  is  a  100  year  D  notice  on  Dr  Guthrie's  schools.  No  matter  where  I  look  on  the  internet,  I  can't  find  many  photographs.

  There  was  a  swimming  pool  at  the  Boys'  School  which  was  also  used  by  the  local  schools.

  I  can't  find  any  photographs  of  the  swimming  pool 

Protest Dr Guthrie statue Princes St Edinburgh


The  schools  were  institutions  where  vulnerable  children  suffered  torture  and  sexual  abuse.

  The  truth  about  these  atrocities  will  be  exposed. 

The  buildings  hold  a  history  of  horror.  

In 1970, I was sent to Dr Guthrie's Boys' School. I was eleven years old. I was sentenced to three years care and protection. I was falsely accused of stealing three empty ginger bottles.

 My father struggled with alcoholism and mental illness.

 He suffered from PTSD and was on a war pension.

 He ended up as a patient at Erskine Military Hospital. 

                                                 Instead of receiving care and protection                                                   I was tortured and abused for 29 months and given virtually no education

I first complained about the abuse in 1988. My complaints were then dismissed and I was told I needed witnesses. I have made no progress since my first complaint in 1988.

 I contacted the Child Abuse Inquiry in December 2015. No one has been arrested. I haven't received an apology and the Abuse Inquiry has still not investigated Dr Guthrie's schools at the time of writing (28.10.23).

Added on the 26th of May 2024. The investigation into Dr Guthrie's schools will begin on the 28th of May 2024.


In Scotland, the average life expectancy for people who were in care as children is only 63. These statistics would suggest that more than half of the children who attended Dr Guthrie's schools before 1972 have died.

 How many victims of abuse have died over the years without ever receiving even the most minimal form of recognition or justice?  


Anyone who attended a Dr Guthrie's Boys' or Girls' School is welcome to post a comment on this website, as are family members.

 To contact me, please click on one of the options below

                Survivors  have  our  own  Facebook  group                 controlled  and  operated  by  us 


        Please  sign  the  petition  below

    Do  not  let  them  get  away  with  horrible  child  abuse. 

      You  can  find  me  at  

        https://twitter.com/  search for GuthriesSu24583


    Here  is  the  best  lawyer  in  Scotland 


dr guthries boys school edinburgh dormitory

I complained to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry over eight years ago about horrific child abuse. Eight years on, there has been no apology to me or to any survivors of Dr Guthrie's schools.

Children's homes, private fee-paying boarding schools, children in foster care and child migrants have all been investigated. And a full apology has been made to all survivors.


The approved schools, also known as List D schools, are the places where you would expect the most horrific child abuse to have taken place. These institutions have received absolutely no attention. Survivors of Dr Guthrie's schools have to put up with being ignored and hearing about other institutions where children were abused.

    "On Tuesday 9 January 2024, the Abuse Inquiry began its investigation into Approved and List D schools."

What is particularly disgusting is the way in which the Dr Guthrie's Association is still being portrayed online and in the Scottish media as a Christian 'ragged school' charity.

 These people have refused to apologise to survivors of Dr Guthrie's schools and have denied any responsibility for the abuse that took place there.   


Even if Dr Guthrie's schools were approved or List D, we were abused there as children.

 Survivors of Dr Guthrie's schools suffered the most appalling forms of child abuse and torture.

 We deserve the same level of justice as other abused children.

   We will not go unheard. We expect justice and closure, as any abused child would want


                                                                       Boys' School


Dr Guthrie's invisible swimming pool, apparently no one cares if you were sexually abused in it



                                                                       Girls' School


Guthrie statue protest Princes St Gardens Edinburgh

They  can  cover  up  as  much  as  they  want.

  It  won't  stop  us  from  speaking  out.