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Flat in Edinburgh former boarding school that inspired St Trinian’s goes on market

A FLAT in the former school that inspired St Trinian’s is on the market for well over £500,000.

The grand Victorian villa in one of the most exclusive postcodes in Edinburgh was once home to 60 pupils.

Two girls from the school – called St Trinneans – meet cartoonist Ronald Searle in Scotland in 1941 and their stories inspired his cartoons which were later made into a series of films.

The original St Trinneans, in the city’s upmarket Grange district, long ago closed and was converted into three spacious flats.

St Trin
Girls from St Trinneans were evacuated to the countryside during WW2 where they met Searle and inspired St Trinians with their stories


Now anyone with a spare £550,000 can get their hands on part of the former boarding school behind the riotous St Trinian’s of fiction.

The B-listed property boasts beautiful cornice work, an original fireplace and the bay window and stunning views towards Arthur’s seat.

Residents of the expensive suburb have included the author J.K. Rowling and the former Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Fred Goodwin.

It was an unlikely setting to provide the inspiration for the most unruly school children in literature.

But when Searle met two of the girls from the boarding school while stationed as a soldier in Kirkcudbright he was enchanted by their tales.

The pupils, who had been evacuated to the countryside during the war, caught his attention with their keenness to return to school.

Tickled by their stories and intrigued by headmistress Miss Lee Fraser – who is said to have simultaneously intimidated and inspired her “gals” – he tweaked the school’s name and set about creating a series of cartoons.

His St Trinian’s became a boarding school full of mayhem, where the pupils were always badly behaved, constantly plotting and, more often than not, armed.

The converted three or four bedroom flat is on the market for £550,000


The tales of the out of control boarding school were turned into a series of comedy films in the 1950s starring Alistair Sim as the school’s permanently hard-up headmistress.

The remake in 2007, which saw with Rupert Everett in the role of headmistress, was the launching pad of the career of Hollywood star Gemma Arterton.

It became a box office smash making more than £12m and led to St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold in 2009.

But the real St Trinneans were much better behaved than their fictional counterparts.

In an interview just before the 2007 film was released one former pupil said the most radical thing she did at the school was make bamboo pipes.

“Not for smoking with,” she insisted. “For playing! We all made them and then we had a band. It was a wonderful sound.”

The original Edinburgh school eventually moved to St Leonard’s House, now part of Edinburgh University.

The Villa on Palmerston Road was turned into three spacious flats – one of which has just hit the market.

Andrew Riddell, from Strutt & Parker’s Edinburgh office, said: “This is a very beautifully presented flat in a very popular area of Edinburgh.

“The current residents of the property are certainly much better behaved than those in the films inspired by St Trinneans.”

He added: “I am sure that there are many people who don’t actually believe that the school existed.”

The brochure states: “This is a beautifully-presented 3/4 bedroom first floor flat forming part of a handsome B-Listed converted Victorian villa.

“The property was originally ‘The Manse’ for the St Catherines Argyle Parish Church before being used as St Trinnean’s Girls’ School which inspired the title of Ronald Searle’s cartoons of a fictional boarding school called St Trinian’s School.”

It adds: “Many fine period features have been retained including the stripped wooden doors, the cornice work, the fire place and the bay window in the master bedroom.”

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