A History of the Trust

(c) Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Sir John Leng, by William Quiller Orchardson, 1901

Sir John Leng, Member of Parliament for the City of Dundee, who resided at Kinbrae, Newport, set up the Trust in 1901 “to stimulate literary and scientific pursuits amongst the youth of Dundee” and also to encourage and promote the teaching of the Songs of Scotland. He instructed his Trustees to provide a Gold Medal for the writer of the best essay on the subject specified in an advert to appear in a local newspaper. The first year the subject would be literary and the second year scientific and so on in each succeeding year. The essays should be written by young men and women aged between fifteen and eighteen years of age. As well as the Gold Medal, a sum of money would also be payable each year.

The Trustees were also directed to offer Silver Medals to Public Schools in Dundee and if funds permitted a Gold Medal for a competition amongst the winners of silver medals of that year.

Sir John was one of the Leng family who owned the Advertiser which later amalgamated with the Courier owned by the Thomson family to become The Courier and Advertiser.

1946-47 session certificate

1946-47 session certificate

In 1943 the Government prohibited the making of medals. Silver medals for the Scots Song Competition were replaced by framed certificates and the Gold Medal by 5 units of National Savings Certificate and a Book of Scots Songs. The Essay Prize Gold Medal was replaced by 5 units of War Savings Certificates.

The Essay Competition has been discontinued and instead prizes for Science and English Literature were awarded in senior secondary schools in the city.

In 1961 an Inquiry was conducted on behalf of the Secretary of State into endowments in the city and in 1962 a Draft Scheme was published by the Secretary of State proposing inclusion of the Trust in “The City of Dundee Educational Trust”.  The Trustees submitted a transcript of the proceedings at the Inquiry and a copy of the Draft Scheme for the Opinion of Counsel in 1964.  Objections were then submitted to the Secretary of State and the Trustees argued the Sir John Leng Trust funds should be excluded from the Draft Scheme and should not be transferred to and amalgamated with the City of Dundee Educational Trust Scheme. The Trustees also suggested that the Macrae Essay Prize and Musical Educational Fund Prizes be amalgamated with the Sir John Leng Trust funds.  The Secretary of State agreed that the three endowments should be amalgamated and he prepared the Sir John Leng Trust Scheme 1967 setting out the Trust purposes and administrative arrangements.

The Trust is run by Governors who meet annually and who are nominated by

(a) the University Court of the University of Dundee
(b) the Senatus Academicus of the University of Dundee
(c) the Directors of D C Thomson & Co. Ltd
(d) the Directors of the High School of Dundee
(e) the Director of Education, Dundee City Council