The Borough Muir is an important part of Edinburgh history. Not far from the club and the School, and still to be seen today, is the site of the Borestone. The Scottish Saltire was placed in the Borestone and the Scottish army gathered around the flag before they marched to the ill-fated battle with the English on Flodden Field (Battle of Flodden,1513.)
It is the emblem of the Borestone and Scottish Saltire which is represented in the School and the club badge. Both the club and the School are unique in Scotland in their use of the Saltire on their badge.
Extracted from the official history of the Club by Ian Nicholson:
Seventy five years – A History of Boroughmuir Rugby Football Club
Boroughmuir Rugby football Club Ltd, 1996
In 1919 Boroughmuir Former Pupils RFC was formed by a group of founder members, led by John H.W. Hunter , the first captain of the club. The team played in a strip of narrow navy and emerald stripes. At this time the club did not have its own home but did have loads of enthusiasm and was able to maintain one team 'wandering' around Warriston, Corstorphine and Murrayfield - the first season 1919/20 was described as “an adventurous yet enjoyable experience”. The club looked forward with confidence to the future.
By the end of 1920 a full fixture list had been arranged and playing membership had risen to over 40 members. Hopes began to form that Meggetland would provide a permanent home for the club.
In 1924/25 the club adopted a new strip of a navy blue jersey with a broad emerald green band.
Training was primitive: now and again members met up in The Meadows where they trained with the help of street lighting in Melville Drive. Facilities for changing were provided by the Captain, D.M.Webster in Lauriston Gardens. The years leading up to the second World War saw a steady increase in the numbers of playing and non-playing members. In May 1939 the club was admitted to full membership of the Scottish Rugby Union. The outbreak of war caused the SRU to recommend that all club fixtures for the 1939/40 season be cancelled. An effort was made to keep going in some form and although Meggetland housed an anti-aircraft searchlight battery and was studded with long poles set in the ground to act as landing obstacles for aircraft, it remained available for games.
Games were organised and played on an ad hoc basis by D.M. Webster, Ronald Tait and William Blackie. By 1945, 2200 names of former pupils appeared on the role of service with 197 names of these killed or died in service added to the School war memorial. Things returned to normal in 1945 and once again there was the prospect of fielding two XVs.
The aim of the club in the post-war period was to establish its position within Scottish rugby. Floodlighting was provided at Meggetland in 1952/53 which made evening training a possibility and by the end of that season The Scotsman was referring to the first XV as “an accomplished side”. A year later the name Boroughmuir FP was included for the first time in the unofficial club championship and this new status provided the club with a great deal of confidence.
In 1954/55 Boroughmuir FP headed the championship table. A breakthrough had been achieved which gave the opportunity to work for a permanent place among the leading clubs. By the end of the decade the size of the crowds had grown - with spectators lined 3 or 4 deep all around the pitch for important matches.
The beginning of the 1960s saw such an increased membership that six XVs could be fielded each week. In January 1961 Boroughmuir had its first capped player when Ken Ross was selected to play against South Africa.
September 1970 saw the opening of the new clubhouse at Meggetland, giving the club a new identity and the opportunity to hold social functions. The club was now established as an open club but playing and non-playing membership remained settled and the club was able to field six teams every week.
1972 saw major changes in competitive rugby – at the SRU that year arrangements were made for National Leagues. The Club Championship would comprise of 4 divisions of 12 clubs and a fifth division in 2 geographical sections – east and west and come into effect at the start of the 1973/74 season.
Boroughmuir were originally placed in division 2 but took up the SRU’s invitation to comment on the initial placing and after some persuasive advocacy, Boroughmuir were placed in division 1. Boroughmuir embarked upon the last “Unofficial” Club Championship in 1972/73 and won. In the first season of the National Leagues, Boroughmuir finished the season mid-table, 7th out of 12.
In 1974 Bill Watson became the club’s second Internationalist, playing against Wales in Cardiff on 19th January.
The “FP” in the club’s name was dropped at a special General Meeting in March 1974 making the club more inclusive to non FP members but not severing the club’s association with Boroughmuir School.
1975 saw continued International success for the club as Bruce Hay was selected for the Scotland team meeting the All Blacks in New Zealand. The following season, 1976/77 saw twelve Boroughmuir players selected to play for the Edinburgh XVs and Bruce Hay selected to tour New Zealand with the British Lions. Before the end of the decade Duncan Wilson, Brian Halliday and David Cockburn were capped for Scotland 'B' and Norman Rowan was capped for Scotland.
The 1970s also saw success for Boroughmuir in sevens competition: Langholm sevens winners in 1975: Edinburgh and Melrose sevens winners in 1976; Hawick sevens winners in 1978; Langholm sevens winners in 1978; and the 1980 sevens squad winning at Royal High, Haddington, Lismore and Peebles. A barren period followed until success in the Hawick sevens of 1987.
In 1980 a development sub-committee was formed to arrange and supervise construction work at Meggetland with the building of the stand, changing rooms and terracing and levelling the pitch. By 1984 a “new Meggetland” and Boroughmuir was no longer the butt of after-dinner jokes. New floodlighting, not included in the original plan was added in 1986 as the direct result of Norrie Rowan’s initiative and practical assistance.
The late 1980s were a time of considerable changes of personnel and the arrival of many new faces with the success of two young props Grant Wilson and Peter Wright forcing the selection committee to come down on the side of youth and the arrival of All Black trialist Sean Lineen, who brought a change of fortune to the club.
Boroughmuir ended the 1990/91 season as Scottish Club Champions. It was only the 2nd time that the title had left the Borders in 18 years. In 1992, Boroughmuir beat Currie 37-9 to win the Alloa Brewery Cup for the first time.
Sadly, Boroughmuir were relegated for the first time on the last day of the 1998/99 season. The 1999/2000 season saw us promoted back to Premier One as Champions of Premier Two.
In recent years we have won the BT Cellnet Cup three times, the BT Scotland Premiership Division 1 title twice and the prestigious Melrose 7s tournament.
Some of the Boroughmuir teams from days gone by. Click on a picture to see a larger version.