History of Gordon's

Robert Gordon was a merchant from Aberdeen who spent much of his life based in Poland.  On retiring to Aberdeen, he decided to leave his considerable fortune to found a ‘Hospital’ for boys’ accommodation and education.  The school was built on the site of the old Dominican (Black) Friars building.  The ‘Auld Hoose’, as it is known, was designed by William Adam.  Before it could be occupied, it was taken over by the Duke of Cumberland as a fort for his troops on the way to crush the Jacobite rebellion at Culloden.  As a result, the school opened with 14 pupils in 1750.

In 1881, the ‘Hospital’ was reconstituted as a day school under the name of ‘Robert Gordon’s College’.  It continued to attract support from benefactors. In 1909 its charitable constitution changed to allow the development of adult education, a move which developed in the course of time into the Robert Gordon University. 

The next major change in the nature of the school was in 1989 when girls were admitted.  Gordon’s is now a coeducational day school in the Scottish tradition, which remains true to the charitable and educational principles on which it was founded by Robert Gordon over 250 years ago.

For further information on the history of Robert Gordon's College, please contact our Archives team.