One School, many famous Alumni
For nearly 200 years and across many generations of pupils, the Edinburgh Academy has produced leading lights in a multiplicity of disciplines.
Dr Joseph Bell (EA 1847–54)
B 1837 – D 1911
Joseph Bell was an eminent surgeon and said to be the inspiration behind the character of Sherlock Holmes.
Guy Berryman (EA 1987–90)
Guy Berryman is the bass player in UK band Coldplay. Whilst at EA Guy played trumpet and drums in the school band.
Mike Blair (EA 1986–99)
Mike was a Scottish international rugby union player and is now a coach. He represented the Scotland national side 85 times, as well as touring with the British and Irish Lions in 2009.
Edwina Brown (EA 1966–67)
The first ever girl to attend the Academy, Edwina is Honorary Professor of Renal Medicine, Imperial College London. She is a nephrologist and academic clinician.
Adrian Butchart (EA 1977–86)
Screen Writer and Producer
Adrian is a screen writer and producer. He began a career as a writer of film and television, in Los Angeles with first indie hit film ‘I Love Your Work’ and then the Disney films ‘Goal!’ 1 and 2.
Francis Cadell (EA 1890–98)
B 1883 – D 1937
Cadell was a Scottish Colourist painter, renowned for his depictions of the elegant New Town interiors of Edinburgh, and for his work on the Scottish island of Iona.
Nicky Campbell (EA 1966–78)
Broadcaster and Journalist
Former BBC Radio 1 DJ, is now a regular presenter on BBC Radio 5 Live alongside frequent television appearances. He was awarded an OBE in 2015 for his services to children.
Archibald Campbell Tait (EA 1824–27)
B 1811 – D 1882
Archbishop of Canterbury
The first Scotsman to hold the post of Archbishop of Canterbury. Campbell Tait also succeeded Dr Thomas Arnold as Headmaster of Rugby School (1842).
Professor Andrew Chisholm (EA 1977–82)
Professor of Biological Sciences, UC San Diego. Andrew works between his own lab at University of California, San Diego and the Wellcome Trust in London.
Anneliese M Day (EA 1988–90)
Anneliese won ‘Barrister of the Year’ at the ‘The Lawyer’ 2014 Awards and was named one of the 500 most influential people in the UK by Debretts in 2015.
Sophie Cooke (EA 1992–93)
Writer and author and of ‘The Glass House’ and ‘Under the Mountain’ amongst others.
Tam Dalyell (EA 1939–41)
B 1932 – D 2017
Politician and Author
Thomas ‘Tam’ Dalyell was a Scottish Labour Party politician who was a member of the House of Commons from 1962 to 2005. He represented West Lothian and Linlithgow.
Alastair Dorward (EA 1973–86)
Entrepreneur and Businessman
Entrepreneur and businessman, Alastair is the founder of Own Products, CEO at Yummy Spoonfuls and Method Products.
Sionaidh Douglas-Scott (EA 1977)
Sionaidh read Law and Political Science at LSE. She specialises in constitutional law, public law, human rights, and legal and social theory, and has published widely in these fields.
Nick Ede (EA 1980–91)
Media and PR
Described as ‘the Simon Cowell of Style’ by the media, Nick’s career led him to work as a brand consultant and he now directs the development of lastminute.com’s entertainment stream.
Charles Falconer (EA 1957–65)
The Rt Hon the Lord Falconer of Thoroton is a Barrister and Labour Peer. Charles was appointed as Shadow Attorney General in the Starmer Shadow Cabinet in 2020.
Cordelia Fine (EA 1990–92)
Cordelia is a philosopher, psychologist and writer. Cordelia was awarded the Edinburgh Medal in 2018. This medal is awarded to “men and women of science and technology whose professional achievements are judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity.”
Iain Glen (EA 1966–79)
Iain won the Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in ‘Downton Abbey’. From 2011–19 Glen starred as Ser Jorah Mormont in the HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’.
Patrick J Grant (EA 1981–86)
Patrick was awarded ‘Menswear Designer of 2010’ at the British Fashion Awards and is a judge on the BBC series ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’.
David Gregson (EA 1961–74)
Businessman and Philanthropist
David is Chairman of the Lawn Tennis Association, and of CRI, a leading UK health and social care charity. He is also a Director of the London Legacy Development Corporation, which transformed the Olympic Park following the 2012 Games.
Richard Burdon Haldane (EA 1866–72)
B 1856 – D 1928
Politician, Lawyer and Philosopher
Haldane was an influential British Liberal and later Labour politician, lawyer and philosopher. He was Secretary of State for War 1905–12, and Lord Chancellor 1912–15.
The Lord Hope of Craighead KT QC PC FRSE (EA 1944–51)
Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, from 2009 to 2013.
J Michael Kosterlitz (EA 1959–62)
Mike was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2016, the Maxwell Medal and Prize from the British Institute of Physics in 1981, and the Lars Onsager Prize from the American Physical Society in 2000.
Professor Nick Kuenssberg (EA 1948–61)
B 1942 – D 2023
Nick is one of Scotland’s most distinguished and influential business leaders. Nick has extensive experience in textiles, engineering, software, utilities, and logistics. He is also an Honorary Professor of the University of Glasgow.
Magnus Magnusson (EA 1935–48)
B 1929 – D 2007
Writer, Journalist and Broadcaster
Magnus Magnusson was a distinguished writer, television broadcaster and author. He presented BBC’s ‘Mastermind’ with his best known catch phrase, “I’ve started, so I’ll finish.” He was made Knight Commander of the Order of the Falcon (Iceland) and received his KBE at Edinburgh Castle.
James Clerk Maxwell (EA 1841–47)
B 1831 – D 1879
Physicist, James Clerk Maxwell, was best known for his formulation of electromagnetic theory. One of the most outstanding physicists ever known who paved the way for others such as Albert Einstein and Max Planck.
Alistair McConnell (EA 1993–2006)
Alistair has developed a brain-controlled soft robotic exoskeleton for stroke rehabilitation. He has presented his work to NASA and leads multiple award-winning STEM public engagement projects.
Richard McLauchlan (EA 1992–2005)
Charity Founder and Author
Richard set up charity 'Light up Learning' to encourage children from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop a love of learning. Richard is currently writing an update of Magnus Magnusson’s ‘Clacken and the Slate’ to coincide with The Edinburgh Academy’s Bicentennial in 2024.
Catherine McQueen (EA 1989–91)
Presenter, Model and Actor
Presenter, actor, model and qualified lawyer. Catherine has modelled for Chanel and Dior, as well as Ultimo. Catherine is a non-executive director at The Reading Room, a digital media agency.
Sarah Pinborough (EA 1988–90)
Sarah Pinborough is an award-winning young adult and adult thriller, fantasy and cross-genre novelist and screenwriter. She has published more than 20 novels and has written for the BBC. Her novel Behind Her Eyes is now a hit Netflix series.
Ian Pringle QC (EA 1962–75)
Ian Pringle has been resident Judge at Ministry of Justice UK for over 38 years.
Robert Scott (EA 1969–82)
A clinical consultant of Ophthalmology for over 20 years, Rob was listed as one of the UK’s top 50 all speciality surgeons.
Robin Smith (EA 1983–96)
Robin Smith co-founded the product innovation company 4c Design in 2002. In 2013, his company was awarded the contract to design the Queen’s Baton for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games.
Sasha Spratt (EA 1997–2010)
Reporter and Presenter
Sasha is a Reporter and Presenter for STV in Glasgow. Sasha currently presents the morning, lunch and evening bulletins on the channel.
Dr Scott Steedman (EA 1963–76)
Businessman and Engineer
Scott was appointed Director of Standards BSI (British Standards Institution) in 2012. He is a former Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and of the Institution of Civil Engineers. In 2010 he was appointed CBE for services to engineering.
Clive Stiff (EA 1977–82)
Clive is President of Unilever in Australia and New Zealand.
Sir Ninian Stephen (EA 1933–36)
B 1923 – D 2017
Former Governor General of Australia. Stephen completed his legal studies in 1950 and was called to the Victorian Bar in 1952.
Eric Stevenson (EA 1930–40)
B 1923 – D 2012
Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
Eric expanded his family business by founding companies in Ireland, London and the Far East. He set up a company making fishing flies for export all over the world, originally employing only people with additional support needs. He employed nearly 250 people in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.
Robert Louis Stevenson (EA 1861–63)
B 1850 – D 1894
Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer. His best-known books include ‘Treasure Island’, ‘Kidnapped’, ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’.
D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson (EA 1870–77)
B 1860 – D 1948
Professor Sir D’Arcy Wentworth, CB, LLD, FRS, FRSE was a polymath: biomathematician, oceanographer, Greek scholar and naturalist. He wrote around 300 scientific articles and books, and was a noted classical scholar.
Georgina Usher (EA 1988–90)
CEO British Fencing and Commonwealth Games medal winner
Georgina is CEO of British Fencing. She is well known as a British Fencing Champion, and still competes, most recently winning the Women’s Épée at the Commonwealth Fencing Championship.
Iain Vallance, Baron Vallance of Tummel (EA 1948–54)
Businessman and Politician
Iain Vallance, Baron Vallance of Tummel FRSA is a British businessman and a Liberal Democrat politician. He was made a Knight Bachelor in 1994 and a Life Peer in Perth and Kinross in 2004.
William Whitehorn (EA 1965–77)
Entrepreneur and Businessman
Will is a prominent business man and until recently the President of Virgin Galactic, who specialise in commercial space travel. He hopes to be the first Academical in space!
Sarah Whitley (EA 1976)
Financier and Philanthropist
Sarah was Head of Japanese Equities for Baillie Gifford and is an expert Japanese equities investor.