The people who helped shape Edinburgh Libraries: Charles Boog Watson

On retiring from his duties as an ARP warden in 1943, aged 84 years old, Charles Boog Watson received a letter of thanks from the Civil Defence Warden’s Service. It stated,

“…and I feel that if everyone could show the same keenness that you have done everything would be easier and the world would be a better place…”

Edinburgh Libraries also owes a huge debt of thanks to Charles Boog Watson who donated many valuable items from his personal collections.

Charles Brodie Boog Watson was born on the 7 November, 1858 in Bombay, India and was educated at Edinburgh Academy. He later entered the engineering profession becoming a partner in the West End Engine Works, retiring in 1908. Charles Brodie Boog Watson

For many years after his retirement, he was given a room in the City Chambers to continue his voluntary task of using the City Council records to research all aspects of the city’s history and topography. This extensive and meticulous research comprising 14 volumes he presented to Edinburgh Libraries.

He also donated his notebooks, memorabilia and correspondence from his time as a World War II ARP warden to the library giving us a unique record of the home front in Edinburgh. Browse our Capital Collections exhibition to get an impression of what life was like for Charles during the Second World War. He also donated a magnificent collection of 40 editions of Holbein’s Dance of Death, including David Deuchar editions. He had collected these over many years, adding annotations and auction record entries.

For over 30 years he was director, then chairman, of the Edinburgh City Mission. He was also a member of the Edinburgh Public Libraries Committee and a vice-president of the Old Edinburgh Club.

Charles Brodie Boog Watson died on the 16 November 1947 at his home at 24 Garscube Terrace, Edinburgh.


3 thoughts on “The people who helped shape Edinburgh Libraries: Charles Boog Watson

  1. I was taught History in the late 40s/early 50s at George Watson’s by a Miss Boog Watson. She was a very good teacher and i presume she was a daughter of Charles, or possibly a much younger sister. being in my teens at the time and regarding everyone over 25 as ancient, I have no idea of her age.


    • I believe you are speaking of Miss Boog Watson of Garscube Terrace. She was my great aunt and I had pleasure of visiting her in 1967/68. I located her from a proprietor of a bookstore in Edinburgh, with a letter of introduction from my Grandmother. I never learned of her passing. I presume she communicated with my grandmother at least a few times. She was a lovely lady.


  2. Also taught by Miss Boog Watson in the 1950’s. If memory does not deceive, her forename was Elspeth. Vikings and Celts formed the subject matter of those lessons.


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