Robert Louis Stevenson

Poet, author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, alumnus.

Stevenson plaque
Photograph from the National Galleries of Scotland


Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh on 13 November 1850.

His father, along with his grandfather Robert and uncles, Alan and David, were leading lighthouse designers and engineers.

Stevenson intended to follow in his father’s footsteps in the family business. However, after enrolling at the University of Edinburgh at the age of 17, it was clear that he had little interest in the family profession or his studies in engineering. His father, although disappointed, accepted his decision to read law instead. 

Despite being called to the bar in 1875, Stevenson chose not to practise, instead deciding to focus his efforts on his writing, which he had greatly developed during his time at the University.

His thirst for adventure led him to travel all around the world and fed into the stories that he would eventually write.


Constantly plagued by ill-health, Stevenson spent the years between 1880 and 1887 travelling with his family in search of a place that would be suitable for his condition. In spite of his illness, these years were perhaps his most fruitful as he completed several of his most popular works of fiction including ‘Treasure Island’, ‘Kidnapped’, ‘Strange Case of Dy Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ and ‘The Black Arrow’.

Today, Stevenson’s works are read widely both in the world of academia and beyond, showing the nature of his literary reputation and influence.

The plaque

Stevenson's plaque is on the facade of 7 George Square.


In honour of Robert Louis Stevenson


Poet, author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, alumnus of the University

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