The Madras College Archive


 The Sir William Robertson Medal of Madras College

The Sir William Robertson Medal was presented to the Dux in Science at Madras College, St Andrews.


First we give some details of Sir William Robertson. He was born in 1856, the son of William Robertson (died 1893) of Dunfermline and his wife Mary (died 1882), the daughter of William Whyte, of Kinross. William was educated at Dunfermline and at St Andrews. He spent the last year of his education at Madras College, as a boarder with 46 fellow pupils at Seaton House on the Scores. He made his money as a linen manufacturer. In 1887 he married Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of William Berry, of Scotston, Insch, Aberdeenshire. He was knighted in 1910. Sir William Robertson was a Justice of the Peace, Hon. Sheriff Substitute of Fifeshire, a Manufacturer in Dunfermline, Vice-Chairman of the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust and of the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, and a Member of the Extra Parliamentary Panel under the Scottish Provisional Orders Act. Sir William Robertson died in 1923. We note that Robertson Road in Dunfermline is named after him. Also we note that in 1933, the Carnegie Dunfermline Trustees purchased Benachie, Robertson's residence. They converted it to be used as the headquarters of the Music Institute.

Let us now look at Madras College's Dux of Science Medal. In the early 1900s the main academic prizes are all medals "presented by the Madras College Club". Although the Dux in Mathematics medal is not named as the Tullis Medal, it is the only one described as a gold medal. In 1907-08 the Tullis Medal is named and the Dux of Science appears for the first time as "Silver Medal presented by Mr David Simpson". In 1908-09 the Dux of Science appears as "Silver Medal presented by Mr John W Robertson". No Dux of Science was awarded in 1909-10 but, in 1910-11, Dux of Science appears as "Silver Medal presented by Sir William Robertson, Chairman of the Madras College Club". In 1911-12 Dux of Science appears as "Silver Medal presented by Sir William Robertson, Dunfermline". In 1912-13, and for several subsequent years, no Dux of Science was awarded. We can only pick up the trail again in 1927-28 when the Prizes List gives "Dux of Science, Sir William Robertson Medal". For many years after that the named Dux Medals are "Dux in Mathematics, Tullis Medal" and "Dux in Science, Sir William Robertson Medal". The other main academic awards are all "Presented by the Madras F.P. Club".

In 2015 the Madras Trust reinstated the three historic prizes - the Madras Medal, the Sir William Robertson Prize, and the Tullis Prize. We will have a medal (engraved with the winnerís name and the date) awarded to the winner each year for the winner to keep as well as a prize of £100. The last three awards on the attached list give the winners this year. Each winner will also receive a certificate with the history of the award on the reverse side of each certificate with the date and name of recipient.