David Leask's Maddiston Pages

Muiravonside Parish, the way it was.

THE STORY OF THE EDUCATION OF THE CHILDREN OF MUIRAVONSIDE PARISH

BY




DAVID E. LEASK


Illustrations sources

Acknowledgements

Muiravonside School

Mathew M. Henderson

David B Watt

Muiravonside, Maddiston Public School

Miss Beattie 1897-1898

Miss J.D. Baxter 1898-1905

Miss Annie Aldiss 1905-1911

Mr. James S. Wilson 1911-1926

Mr. William Bowden 1926-1933

Maddiston School in the 1920’s

Mr. Robert Fyfe 1933-1942

A day at the school in the 1930’s

Mr. John White 1942-1952

Mr. John Marshall 1952-1961

Mr. Daniel Black 1961-1971

Mr. James Wilson 1971-1984

Mrs. Agnes J. Hotchkiss 1984-1987

Mrs. Inez Torrance 1987-1997

Maddiston Local History Workshop

100 Years

Mr. Eddie McLennan 1988-Present

Mrs. Granville 2000-Present

Staff at Maddiston Primary School 2006-2007

Mrs. Linda Blair 1978-Present 

The parting words on the old school

Log Book One, From 16-10-11 to 22-2-26 Headmaster Mr. J. D. Wilson

Log Book One, From 22.2.26 to 4.9.33 Headmaster. Mr. W.M. Bowden



…………….………….

ILLUSTRATIONS SOURCES

Muiravonside Church                                 -  Author

Gravestone                                                - Author

Datestone Muiravonside                            - Author

Old Muiravonside School                           - Author

Muiravonside School Site                          - Author

Muiravonside School Staff                         - Falkirk Museum & Archive

Gravestone, Mr. Watt                                - Author

Old School Badge                                      - M. Gibb/Author

Old School                                                 - Author

Class Photograph                                      - T. B. Hunter

Class Photograph                                      -  T. B. Hunter

Class Photograph                                       - S. Whitrick

Maddiston School                                      - I. McNiven

Class Photograph 1911                             - T. B. Hunter

Class Photograph                                      - Maddiston Local History Group

Teachers 1927                                          - Miss Smart

Welfare                                                      - Maddiston Local History Group

Cairneymount Church                               - Author

Mr. Fyfe                                                     - Maddiston Local History Group

Class Photograph 1932/3                          -  L .Hynds

Class Photograph 1935/6                          - J. Donaldson

Class Photograph                                      - Maddiston Local History Group

Class Photograph 1951                             -  M. Gibb

Maddiston Infant School                            -  Author

Class Photograph                                      - L. Hynds

Class Photograph                                      -  Maddiston Local History Group

Twins                                                         -  Mrs. Scobbie

Class Photograph 1966                             -  Maddiston Local History Group

Class Photograph 1970                             -  Maddiston Local History Group

Teacher 1981/82                                        -  J. Wilson

Class Photograph 1980                             -  J. Close

Class Photograph 1982                             -  M. Gibb

Mrs. Hotchkiss                                           -  J. Wilson

Mrs. Torrance                                            -  Maddiston School

Class Photograph 1995                             - Maddiston School

Centenary Cake                                         -  Falkirk Herald

Centenary Children                                    - Falkirk Herald

Plaque Unveiling                                        -  Falkirk Herald

Street Party                                                 - A. McDermott

Assembly                                                    - A. McDermott

Tea Room                                                   -  Author

Class Photograph 2005                              - Maddiston School

Class Photograph 2006                              - Maddiston School

Mr. McLennan                                             - Maddiston School

Gala Day Queen & Retinue 2007                - Maddiston School

Mrs. Granville                                              -  Maddiston School

Nursery Class A.M                                      -  Maddiston School

Nursery Class P.M.                                     -  Maddiston School

Class Photograph Pr1M                              -  Maddiston School

Class Photograph Pr1R                              - Maddiston School

Class Photograph Pr2B/M                          - Maddiston School

Class Photograph Pr2M                              - Maddiston School

Class Photograph Pr3R                              - Maddiston School

Class Photograph Pr3H                              - Maddiston School

Class Photograph Pr4                                -  Maddiston School

Class Photograph Pr5/4                             -  Maddiston School

Class Photograph Pr5                                -  Maddiston School

Class Photograph Pr6                                - Maddiston School

Class Photograph Pr7B & 7N                    - Maddiston School

Twins & Triplets                                         - Maddiston School

Linda Blair                                                  - Maddiston School

…………….…….


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank the pupils and staff of Maddiston School (especially Shona, Kathryn and Linda) for asking me to write this book, for their support, for their contributions and for giving me access to the Log Books where much of the story of the school had already been written by past Headteachers.

I’d also like to thank the people of Maddiston and Rumford (past and present) who have been a tremendous source of information throughout the years the History Group ran and still are now. Nothing could have been done without those who could name “everybody and their dugs” sadly some have passed away but there are still enough of them left to help on occasions such as this.

The Log book of Muiravonside School Board gave me lots of information on Muiravonside Parish School, it now resides at Callander House Museum but at the time I sourced it it was in Central Region Archives in Stirling, Moray House College of Education proved an invaluable help through their website with information on early education and the Fife Family History Society website helped with information about David Watt and The Dictionary of Scottish Architects website for information about the Architects involved in building the school.

To all the people who have helped or contributed towards this book, my wife Rona, who seldom got tired of my prattling on about Maddiston and Rumford, our friend Mary Gibb and her husband Alex, who it must be said often got tired of our prattling on about Maddiston and Rumford (the snoring gave you away Alex !).

To Lucy and John Hynds for their contribution about a day at the school in the 1930’s, thank you.


…………….……...

MUIRAVONSIDE SCHOOL

Education has always been important to the people of the parish and many children wound there way to the Kirk every morning after the formation of the parish in the late 1600’s and before that to Linlithgow or Falkirk or even then if you could afford it, private tuition.

Children would enter the parish school at the age or 6 or 7. School was attended six days a week; the day was often a long one, sometimes beginning as early as 5 in the morning although more often at 6, with one hour breaks for breakfast and lunch. In the class the younger pupils would work alongside the older ones the alphabet would be learned through the Shorter Catechism and from 1616 all children had to learn the Catechism by heart. Reading progressed through the Proverbs to the Bible itself. The minister would examine the pupils on their ability to read the Bible. The majority of children would not progress much beyond this stage of reading. However, some older pupils would advance to arithmetic and Latin and a few to writing. Many poorer families however could not afford the luxury of school, with some children never attending or only attending for two or three years as school was not compulsory. A number of parish schools prepared their more able pupils for direct entrance to university. In the Lowlands of Scotland even this basic education meant that there was almost universal literacy. A practice common throughout Scotland at the beginning of the 19th century was the public examination of pupils held on the morning of the last day of the summer term.

A school serving the whole Parish of Muiravonside existed as early as 1723, somewhere near to the Parish Kirk. Parliament had decreed around 30 years before that “every parish not already equipped with a school was required to establish a schoolhouse and to provide for a schoolmaster”. There is in the Churchyard, a memorial stone to Thomas Greenhill who was the Schoolmaster of the Parish for much of that time. It is of course difficult to say just who attended the school as most of the children were at work especially in the mines where women and children were much preferred to adult males for much of the work.

…………….……….



A School in the village of Muiravonside opened around 1800, a stone built into the wall in front of the new school (presumably moved after the old school became a private residence) gives the date 1817, but many of the local children were still not getting an education as it wasn’t until 1848 that an Act of Parliament was passed prohibiting the employment of women and children underground (which wasn’t popular with the miners as this done away with a great amount of their income if you had a wife and five or six children working alongside you, someone else had to do the work and get paid for it ).

Monitorial systems developed at the end of the 18th century in response to a shortage of teachers and the increasing number of pupils in school classes. Someone from the older and more able children would undertake the role of monitor. These children would receive additional instruction from the schoolmaster and in turn they would instruct a group of children. An account of one school using this system described it thus “the desks were arranged around the walls of the schoolroom. The remainder of the space was empty except for the schoolmaster’s desk. One half of the scholars sat at the desks with their faces to the wall, employed in learning to write or cipher, while the other half stood on the floor, either reading or practising the rules of arithmetic. The classes on the floor were arranged in groups facing the schoolmaster with a monitor keeping order over each group. At the end of an hour those at the desks would change over with those on the floor. Writing would be carried out on slates, although the older children might use paper”.
Whilst monitorial systems overcame the teacher shortages and were inexpensive to run they had major drawbacks. They were regimented and involved rote learning and repetition. The mechanical routines of instruction also prevented an understanding of words and language.


                                               

Muiravonside School, built 1817

The increasing role of the government in teacher training is reflected in the Council of Education’s Minutes for 1846 introducing a national pupil-teacher scheme. Schools could select from their most promising thirteen year old students those most likely to be able to undertake an apprenticeship of up to five years duration. During the day they would follow the school’s curriculum and then receive additional instruction outside school hours on the art of teaching from staff appointed for this purpose. The most able students, selected through a competitive examination, were awarded a Queen’s Scholarship. Successful male students were awarded a grant of £25 and female students two thirds of this. These grants supported their maintenance at the Normal School (the name given to the teacher training school). The school’s curriculum at this time was a broad one and included subjects such as drawing and music. At the end of their course the students would take an examination in both general and professional subjects conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspectors. The achievement of a Leaving Certificate carried with it an enhanced salary funded by the government.

Whilst not initially welcomed (‘it assumed a child could do two exacting things at once’), the pupil - teacher scheme, especially for elementary school teachers, was an improvement on the previous monitorial model, guaranteeing a minimum level of personal knowledge and achievement of recognised teaching skills. Certificated teachers were able to organise and teach the large number of children in sessional and subscription schools.

In 1858 the regular curriculum of the Normal Schools was extended to two years by regulation, with training ending in December instead of June. To qualify for their ‘parchment’ students, in addition to their Leaving Certificate, had to undertake a further two years of work teaching in a school. The final grade obtained depended on both their examination performance and the report of the HMI on their schoolwork. This new system of teacher training began to have a major effect on Scottish education. Newly qualified and certificated teachers were sought after and reasonably well paid. Their training gave them a wider knowledge than many parish schoolteachers previously and this in turn enabled them to teach a broader curriculum to children. The link with the churches was also lessening with increased government funding and the abolition of the need for teachers to sign the Confession of Faith.

The 1872 Education (Scotland) Act marked a watershed in Scottish education. For the first time elementary education was made compulsory for all children aged between 5 and 13.

The existing parish and burgh schools were taken over by the state and managed by locally elected School Boards (anyone was allowed to stand for election as long as they had property worth £4). The new system was co-ordinated nationally by the Scotch [sic] Education Department with the curriculum emphasising the teaching of reading, writing, and arithmetic (the three ‘R’s’). The churches made a crucial contribution to the new system by handing over their schools without charge to the School Boards.

The first Muiravonside School Board members were, in 1873;

John Logan,                                  Coalmaster Candy

David Rodger,                               Bookkeeper Falkirk

Andrew Reid,                                 Farmer Haining Valley

George Gray Esq.,                         Proprietor Windyyett

Thomas Livingstone - Learmonth, Proprietor Parkhall

Rev. George Keith,                        Minister Muiravonside Manse

William Orr,                                    Farmer Boxton

M.T. Hamilton,                               Land Stewart Callander

J.G. Urquart,                                  Proprietor Vellore

A. S. Aisling,                                  Proprietor Muiravonside House

The schools in the Parish were;

Muiravonside School, in the village of Muiravonside with accommodation for 55 children but had 57 at this time.

Drumbowie School, in the village of Standburn.

A subscription school at Avonbridge with accommodation for 62 but had 70 at this time, only a very small part of Avonbridge is in the parish and only a few children from the parish attended the school there..

A school in Maddiston which was situated down the close right in the centre of the village (variously mentioned as Maddiston School, Maddiston Classroom, Maddiston Schoolroom or Maddiston Infant School) with accommodation for 32 but had 70 at this time.

A shared interest in the school at Brightons (a Free Church School, which was just passing into the control of Polmont Parish School Board), 94 children from Muiravonside Parish were in attendance there.

A school at Linlithgow Bridge.

A school for Roman Catholic children in St Anthony’s Chapel in Rumford.

10 children were being educated privately and 40 children were not attending school between the ages of 5 and 13 (some of those were in employment at “public works”). The Board reckoned there was upwards of 600 children in the Parish of school age in 1873, this is nearly double what the estimate was only two years before. Muiravonside Parish School Board was capable of providing education for 352 children (allowing eight square feet of flooring for each child).

Towards the end of the 19th century secondary schools were developing as an identifiable sector and in 1901 the school leaving age was raised to 14. Students could leave schools with a variety of qualifications, including an Intermediate Certificate for those taking courses in industrial, commercial, rural and household subjects, and a Leaving Certificate for those intending to take up a profession.

The dominie had tenure for life; dismissals were uncommon, usually on grounds of religion, politics or morals or an over enthusiastic punishment of pupils with his tawse. There is a record of one Invernesshire schoolmaster who began teaching at the age of 29 and died 70 years later still in post. The dominie’s teaching would be subject to an annual scrutiny by local dignitaries until 1840, thereafter by government inspectors. Tradition has it that the dominie typically wore black clothes: dark trousers, frock coat all covered by his academic gown. His local salary would be augmented by the fees paid by the children, although the poorest could be supported from parish funds. He might also undertake other community responsibilities such as acting as clerk, book keeper, surveyor or factor; or he might provide private tutoring or even write textbooks. For some, the role of teacher was a steppingstone to higher things. The minister’s status and salary were a particular attraction and dominies often undertook further theological studies.

The site of the second Parish School of Muiravonside, one of the sheds still survives at the bottom of the former playground.

        ..………………..


MR. MATHEW M. HENDERSON 1830-40 - 1873


The dominie had tenure for life; dismissals were uncommon, usually on grounds of religion, politics or morals or an over enthusiastic punishment of pupils with his tawse. There is a record of one Invernesshire schoolmaster who began teaching at the age of 29 and died 70 years later still in post. The dominie’s teaching would be subject to an annual scrutiny by local dignitaries until 1840, thereafter by government inspectors. Tradition has it that the dominie typically wore black clothes: dark trousers, frock coat all covered by his academic gown. His local salary would be augmented by the fees paid by the children, although the poorest could be supported from parish funds. He might also undertake other community responsibilities such as acting as clerk, book keeper, surveyor or factor; or he might provide private tutoring or even write textbooks. For some, the role of teacher was a steppingstone to higher things. The minister’s status and salary were a particular attraction and dominies often undertook further theological studies.
Mr. Henderson hailed from Milnathort in Kinrossshire, as well as being the Head-teacher of Muiravonside School Mr. Henderson was also the Registrar and Inspector of the Poor, as headmaster he had a reputation for being over strict. Of twelve fathers summoned before the School Board to explain why their children weren’t at school, eight complained that their children had been punched and kicked around the back and face and that the children were not being taught properly, one saying his 11 year old son couldn’t read or write. The clerk of the School Board instructed that all the children be sent back to the school and that all complaints be sent to him.

The last mention of Mr. Henderson in the minutes of the School Board is a report by a Dr Hunter on a child aged 8 whose parents had lodged a complaint on Mr. Henderson of cruel treatment; he retired soon after on an allowance of 30 guineas. Mr. Henderson stayed on in the district as he can be found in the 1881 census living at Dykenuek Cottage in The Loan.

Monitorial systems developed at the end of the 18th century in response to a shortage of teachers and the increasing number of pupils in school classes. Someone from the older and more able children would undertake the role of monitor. These children would receive additional instruction from the schoolmaster and in turn they would instruct a group of children. An account of one school using this system described it thus “the desks were arranged around the walls of the schoolroom. The remainder of the space was empty except for the schoolmaster’s desk. One half of the scholars sat at the desks with their faces to the wall, employed in learning to write or cipher, while the other half stood on the floor, either reading or practising the rules of arithmetic. The classes on the floor were arranged in groups facing the schoolmaster with a monitor keeping order over each group. At the end of an hour those at the desks would change over with those on the floor. Writing would be carried out on slates, although the older children might use paper”.
Whilst monitorial systems overcame the teacher shortages and were inexpensive to run they had major drawbacks. They were regimented and involved rote learning and repetition.

The mechanical routines of instruction also prevented an understanding of words and language.

The 1872 Education (Scotland) Act marked a watershed in Scottish education. For the first time elementary education was made compulsory for all children aged between 5 and 13.

The existing parish and burgh schools were taken over by the state and managed by locally elected School Boards (anyone was allowed to stand for election as long as they had property worth £4). The new system was co-ordinated nationally by the Scotch [sic] Education Department with the curriculum emphasising the teaching of reading, writing, and arithmetic (the three ‘Rs’). The churches made a crucial contribution to the new system by handing over their schools without charge to the School Boards.

The first Muiravonside School Board members were, in 1873;

John Logan Coalmaster Candy

David Rodger                   Bookkeeper Falkirk

Andrew Reid                    Farmer Haining Valley

George Gray Esq.            Proprietor Windyyett

T.Livingston-Learmonth   Proprietor Parkhall

Rev. George Keith           Minister Muiravonside Manse

William Orr                       Farmer Boxton

M.T. Hamilton                  Land Stewart Callander

J.G. Urquart                     Proprietor Vellore

A. S. Aisling (or Ainslie?) Proprietor Muiravonside House

The schools in the Parish were;

  1. Muiravonside School, in the village of Muiravonside with accommodation for 55 children but had 57 at this time.
  2. Drumbowie School, in the village of Standburn.
  3. Blackbraes Public Works School, in Blackbraes village, with accommodation for 185 children but had 155 at this time.
  4. A subscription school at Avonbridge with accommodation for 62 but had 70 at this time.
  5. A school in Maddiston which was situated down the close right in the centre of the village (variously mentioned as Maddiston School, Maddiston Classroom, Maddiston Schoolroom or Maddiston Infant School) with accommodation for 32 but had 70 at this time.
  6. A shared interest in the school at Slamannan which had accommodation for 50.
  7. A shared interest in the school at Brightons (a Free Church School, which was just passing into the control of Polmont Parish School Board), 94 children from Muiravonside Parish were in attendance there.
  8. A school at Linlithgow Bridge.
  9. A school for Roman Catholic children in St Anthony’s Chapel in Rumford.

10 children were being educated privately and 40 children were not attending school between the ages of 5 and 13 (some of those were in employment at “public works”). The Board reckoned there was upwards of 600 children in the Parish of school age in 1873, this is nearly double what the estimate was only two years before. Muiravonside Parish School Board was capable of providing education for 352 children (allowing eight square feet of flooring for each child).

The Board advertised in the Glasgow Herald and Review -

“Wanted by the Muiravonside School Board;

Certificated teacher, as a successor to the Parish Schoolmaster.

Emolument;

A salary of £55 0s 0d Sterling with fees and Government Grant.

Apply;

Mr. John Roberts, Manual Mill Linlithgow”

There were 36 replies, the Board cut the leet down to three and agreed to meet the traveling expenses of the candidates who were interviewed in “Mr. Johnston’s Temperance Hotel in Falkirk”.

The Board unanimously agreed on Mr. Coutts from Newcastle upon Tyne but he sent the Board a letter of resignation and the Board “angrily” decided not to pay his traveling expenses.

The appointment of the local schoolmaster, or dominie, was an important responsibility of the parish. The schoolmaster, because of his scholarship, was a key member of the local community, second only to the minister himself. More often than not he had studied at a university, although poorer parishes were not able to afford such a scholar.

All had to subscribe to the Confession of Faith – a 40 page document. Some parishes set an examination for their prospective dominie. In some parishes the tradition was for the new schoolmaster to teach their first lesson in the presence of both the children and their parents and local dignitaries. He would then be presented with the keys of the school together with rent free accommodation in the school house.

The local dominie often worked in isolation from others in his profession. Devising his own methods he would endeavour to teach his class despite its wide range of ages and abilities. He might take the older more able boys in a special class before or after the rest of the school. Some of these would progress to the larger burgh schools and a few to university usually at the age of 14 or 15. Here they would find even larger classes, with knowledge drilled in by the lecturer. Many lasted only one or two sessions before leaving for a job.


………………………………………..

Mr Watt and Staff


MR. WATT 1873 – 1914

.

The new Head-teacher was Mr. Watt; this was his second appointment since graduating in 1870 the first was in Newmains, Lanarkshire where he met his wife Janet Turner, who became the Sewing Mistress at Muiravonside. A new school was built in 1876 almost opposite the old one on land already belonging to the Board; the school was built to accommodate 174 pupils.

The population of the Parish had increased to 2900 by now, 650 of who were children of school age; education had now become compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 and 13.

Mr. Black, the architect proposed that “the present school be converted into rooms which may either be used for a female teacher or be used by the master, a new front door is to be opened. The present byre is to be converted into a scullery with a back door and a retaining wall is to be built at the back of the garden”.

The Board allowed each school in the Parish £5 per annum for cleaning School Houses and lighting fires.

The parents were paying fees of around 8d per annum, for their children’s books, and were paying for fuel for the classroom fires (4d per annum although no family was to pay more than 1/- per annum), door fees are also mentioned but no amount given.

To try and save money the Board put the School Glebe land up for sale but when no buyer was found for it, the Board made the decision that Miss Prentice the assistant teacher at Muiravonside School was surplus to requirements and let her go. The glebe land extended to 6 Acres and was an important factor in the early days as the headmasters would have to cultivate the land to help put food on the table. Mr. Watt kept some Roman Coins he’d ploughed up in the Glebe land which he passed on to one of his sons who emigrated to Canada and they held a great fascination to many later members of the family.

Maddiston School Room closed around 1879, a new assistant teacher Miss Jessie Murray was taken on at £35 per annum and it was around this time that a young man by the name of James Wilson became a Monitor in Drumbowie School (more of him anon).

Education was still not free of course but a memo from the Scotch (later Scottish) Education Department made it clear that no child should be excluded for not paying fees but any fees not paid should be collected, even if a parent produces a weekly fee as an installment and declares he is not able to pay more, the installment should be accepted. There was of course someone to chase up absentees, an attendance officer who called in at the school to receive a lit of those not at school then visit their houses to see what was wrong. Mr. Forsyth is the fist name mentioned in connection with this task around 1897 until his retrial in 1903. Fees were not stopped until 1889 then schools were paid out of probate duty at 5/9d per head for Muiravonside.

In the minutes of the School Board in 1889 it seems that Mr. Watt had been carrying on where his predecessor left off by acting as Inspector to the Poor and he ended up in trouble. The School Board called for his resignation, no action was taken but the board stated in 1892 that if things didn’t improve a change of headmastership would be taken into consideration.

The same year Miss Binnie the assistant teacher was asked “to procure another situation at her earliest convenience because of the state of the relationship between her and the headmaster”, Miss Binnie resigned.

It seems that Mr. Watt remained in the parish after he retired as Headmaster; it’s probable that he had a liferent of the school and remained there until he died in 1936 as the schoolhouse became a private residence in the 1930’s.

The appointment of the local schoolmaster, or dominie, was an important responsibility of the parish. The schoolmaster, because of his scholarship, was a key member of the local community, second only to the minister himself. More often than not he had studied at a university, although poorer parishes were not able to afford such a scholar.


Mr. Watts grave Muiravonside Cemetery

..............................


Mr. JAMES B. WILSON 1914 – 1920

No sooner had Mr. Wilson been appointed as headmaster he was called up for military duty and Mr. Watt came back as temporary headmaster. In 1917 Mr. Renyard of Manuel House presented to the school a marble plaque which the names the winners of the medals which he had given to the dux boy and girl would be inscribed. The school roll for most of early 1900’s hovered around the 200 mark. In November 1919 the old School Board was replaced by a new body, a School Management Committee for Polmont and Muiravonside. Mr. Wilson was appointed to the headmastership of Dennyloanhead school in 1920 and during the prize giving at the school he was presented with “a gold wristlet watch as a parting gift and a token of esteem.”

.......................................................


MR. JOHN FYFE 1920 – 1929


This photo shows Muiravonside School behind the class group.

Back Row,

M Horne, Tom Sorley, Tom Taylor, Headmaster Mr Fyfe, Charlie Main, John Alsop, John Hoggan, ? Johnston.

Middle Row,

Ivy Taylor, Jenny Clydesdale, Bessie Wilson, Mary Binnie, Mary Ferguson, Peggy Tant, Jean Porteous, Ella McNaughton.

Front Row,

Tom Leslie, ? Docherty, Danny Reid, John Fleming, Nessie Hoggan, Nan Ferguson._


In 1927 the Automobile Association placed two warning posts at Muiravonside School to ensure greater safety at the “Scaling o’ the Schule” (at the end of the day when the children were coming out of the school). The school broke all attendance records in the 1920’s with almost perfect attendance and Helen Horne (The Loan, Muiravonside) was praised by the School Management Committee for perfect attendance from August 1918 to the end of September 1927 at this school and Maddiston School. Praise came from Muiravonside Parish Council for Major Salveson of Toravon for carrying out repairs to pathway from Maddiston to Muiravonside School (The High Road) at his own expense as the Parish Council didn’t have the money to carry out repairs themselves. The prizes given at the prize givings in the 20’s were all donated by Mr Renyard of Manuel House. In April of this year two interesting cases came up in the J.P. Court at Falkirk when Ernest Dalgless, Newpark, Muiravonside and Henry Duncan, Linlithgow Bridge were charged with failing to provide education for their children (Ivy Dagless, aged 13 and Annie Duncan, aged 11, Jane Duncan aged 7, and Henry Duncan jun., aged 5.) The children had all been educated previously at Linlithgow Public School under a joint agreement between the two County Education Authorities for the education of pupils, but since the close of session 1927/28 all children residing in Stirlingshire were being educated by the Stirlingshire Education Authority. The accused children should have gone to Muiravonside School but both sets of parents thought that it was too far for the children to travel at their age (especially the younger children) it was noted that it was against the law to drive any child to school under a distance of three miles, except if the child be crippled, (a note present day parents might like to ponder on). Both parents were found guilty and fined £1.

Mr Fyfe left Muiravonside, he was appointed the headmaster of Limerigg School

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MR. W. TROUP 1929 – 1934

In March 1930 the school roll stood at 126, the School Management Committee still met at the various schools, in April this year the whole committee were bussed round the various schools then met in Slamannan School to discuss business and deal with the needs of necessities children (spectacles for the first time mentioned) then sat down to tea (in fine style) served by the Slamannan Cooperative Society. Miss Roedemer left Muiravonside after 14 years’ service, she went off to New York, no less !

Mr Troup left Muiravonside to take up the headmastership of Bridge of Allan School in June 1934.

………….…………………..

MR ARCHIBALD WILSON 1934 – 1938

Mr Wilson’s first big event was in May of 1935 when Muiravonside School along with all the other schools in the area celebrated the King’s Jubilee (George V), the children (the majority of whom were now from Whitecross) marched to the Parish church where the children were addressed by the Rev Bayne and the headmaster. The children then marched back to the school where a band of willing helpers had laid on “a sumptuous feast”. Following this Mr Arthur Stirling of Muiravonside, switched on a “magnificent five valve portable wireless set” which he had donated to the school. The children were presented with a souvenir pencil case, a tin of sweets, a service of fruit, and the Education Committee’s souvenir cups, this cost the Muiravonside Jubilee Celebrations Committee the princely sum of £23. 6s. 9d., which left a surplus of 12s which was handed over to Mr Wilson for the school funds. The roll had now increased to 154 and in June the Education Committee decided to shift the partition which divided the infant room to the “lumber room” so as to enlarge the infant room and clear the lumber room and utilise it as a medical inspection room, and to repair the cloakroom, it also had been agreed to provide extra heating for the infant room, new furniture and washhand basins were also installed. In 1937 the issue of children from Linlithgow bridge having to attend Muiravonside School cropped up again at a meeting of the School Management Committee, parents were complaining of the walk the children had to Muiravonside School and would prefer the children to attend school in Linlithgow, but the children (nine of them) lived within three miles of the school and no action was taken. The village of Whitecross was commended for the communal effort on the organising of the celebrations for the Coronation of George VI, the senior pupils attended a service in the Parish Church

then all of the children (120), each sporting a souvenir rosette, and accompanied by over 100 parents and adults assembled in the Welfare Field. A procession, headed by Pipe Major R. Hogan marched to Manuel Station where the “entrained for the Zoological Gardens”. The children arrived at Pinkhill Station and in groups of 10 were conducted to the Zoo. On their return they again processed to the school where they were “royally entertained” and at eight o’clock they listened to the King’s broadcast. All of the children of the area (including those under school age) were presented with a souvenir cup, saucer and plate.

Mr Wilson took leave of Muiravonside School in 1938 when he was appointed to the headmastership of Dennyloanhead School 

Top photo - Manuel High Station on the Edinburgh / Glasgow line.

Bottom Photo - Pinkhill Station,for The Zoo


MR JOSEPH G LOCKHART 1938 – 1947

The school roll had risen to 152 by 1939. The children were entertained to a Christmas Party by members of H. M. Forces who were stationed nearby.

Mr Lockhart was transferred to the headmastership of Laurieston School in 1947.


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MR ARTHUR DOYLE 1947 – 1950

The Gala Day continued and the school roll fell as the older pupils moved on to Redding Junior Secondary, Falkirk Technical School and Falkirk High. New houses were emerging in the village of Whitecross as Steins Brickworks expanded and talk of a new school began. Once again the pupils were on an outing to the Zoo in the summer of 1949 entraining as before at Manuel Station and spending an instructive afternoon before being let loose until leaving for home at 6’oclock.

Events that formerly were held in Muiravonside School slowly began to drift towards the Welfare Hall in Whitecross, at 11.40pm on the 11th March 1950, Mr Doyle, the headmaster the headmaster, took note of an earth tremor which was felt as far away as Polmont, causing buildings to shudder and rattling windows, the first time this had been experienced in the area. The school choir travelled to Hamilton to make their first appearance at the Lanarkshire Music Festival and came away with the first prize in the section devoted to schools with under five teachers.

In October 1950 a presentation was held in the school on Mr Doyle’s leaving. The pupils along with Mr Alex Millar, acting headmaster and staff, Mrs D Gardiner, Miss J Black and Mrs M Calder. Mr Doyle was presented with a chair which they hoped he would long use in his new position at Westquarter.


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Muiravonside School


MR GEORGE WILSON M.A. 1950 –


Mr Wilson was a native of Slamannan and had previously taught at Falkirk Technical School

Electric light was introduced to the school, the schoolhouse and the old schoolhouse when an electric line passed the buildings. The school roll was steadily rising through the 1950’s and it was decided to ask the Welfare Committee for the use of their hall to accommodate an infant class, it was reckoned that by 1954 there would have to be accommodation for 174 children. The teachers who were provided with a midday meal at the school were told that they would have to pay 1s 6d per meal instead of the present 1s 2d and the children would have to pay an extra 1d for their meal.

The Welfare Hall in Whitecross was redecorated and new furniture was brought in for the class that was to be held there. The school roll had now risen to 130 and there were now four teachers and the headmaster, Mr Wilson, Mrs Gardiner, Miss Wilson, Miss Mitchell, and Mrs Calder who was teaching primary V pupils in the Welfare Hall.

The Education Committee for the County of Stirling faced a call for providing a school at Whitecross to replace the “obsolete type of school” at Muiravonside which only had accommodation for 120 pupils and was a mile from the village, it was agreed to build a school at Whitecross as soon as a suitable site could be found. The headmaster had a television set installed in the Welfare Hall to allow the children to view the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth; this was done in relays from 10 in the morning till 4 in the afternoon. The school met in the parish church for a Coronation presentation service, the children all received either an illustrated book or a mug. The marble plaque presented to the school by Mr James Napier Reynard of Manuel House (who had since died and been replaced there by A Major Collville) had no more room left on it to take the next set of names, the decision to provide a new one was deferred until the building of the new school at Whitecross. Work started on the new school in August 1954 with the contractor being Messrs Duncan Stewart, Bonnybridge and a cost of £30,132 16s 5d, when the schools resumed from their summer holidays in August 1955 the school wasn’t ready and the pupils had to return to Muiravonside School (Primary classes 1, 2, 3, 4b, 6 & 7, classes 4a and 5 were to be taught in the Welfare Hall). A decision was made after inspecting the school that it would not be ready for occupation until Monday October 3rd. The school was designed by Mr A.J. Smith, A.R.I.A.B., the County Architect. The school was officially opened by ex-Provost Peter Symon, vice-convener of the County Education Committee on Friday 2nd December 1955.

After 118 years of service to the Parish of Muiravonside, Muiravonside School finally closed and the council put the old building up for sale.



Whitecross Welfare

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Drumbowie School



MR. WILLIAM WEIR 1878 - 1888

The first school that Muiravonside School Board had built to cater for the children in one of the villages was Drumbowie School in Standburn which was opened in 1878.

On the 7th January that year the Log Book was started, by Mr. William Weir, Certificated Teacher.

“School opened this morning with prayer. Colonel Stirling, Chairman of the School Board, Captain Urquart, Rev. Mr. Keith, Mr. Reid, McHardy, Members of the School Board being present. The school was placed under my charge, William Weir, (Certificated teacher) assisted by Andrew Forrester, Pupil Teacher of the Second Year. – 28 students present.”

By January 14th the roll had increased to 72 and Mr. Weir commented that the children were very backward. Something that was to plague the school (and must have plagued the area always) was the weather as by the end of January the school was closed due to “severe snowstorms”. The work of the school was disturbed by workmen finishing the school and the fact that the school didn’t seem to have much in the way of heating (open fires at one end of the classroom) and was therefore very cold.

The cold weather and something else that stayed with the school, the health of the children, and the fact that many of the children didn’t have boots or proper clothing, affected the attendance which by February was close on 100.

Mrs. Weir, also a Certificated Teacher, started teaching the girls sewing, music was introduced as well and many of the children had no understanding of music having never been taught music – or anything else for that matter as the majority of them had never attended school before.

The first holiday mentioned in the Log Book was for the Sacramental Fast Day (a fast observed on one day in the week preceding the yearly or half-yearly Communion Sunday, one in early February, one in early July).

Summer Holidays never varied much, from the end of June or early July to late August and a day off for Linlithgow Marches seems to be normal.

Attendance varied week by week and the Attendance Officer called in at the school every week to receive a list of “defaulters”, a casual mention of older pupils assisting in “Sowing Operations” or “Agricultural Operations” throughout the year – sowing, harvest, hay making, potato lifting - without any recrimination, seems to point to this being tolerated by the Headmaster and by the Board, it being noted that the children were “beneficially employed”.

The end of the year brought more snow and again the school was closed. In general the school broke up around the end of December for the New Year Holiday (no mention of Christmas yet).

The school roll kept increasing and a year later there were 137 pupils on the roll and in March 1879 only 10 turned up at the school due to the snow blocking the roads and we see the first mention of James Wilson as a Monitor, transferred from Muiravonside School. The want of boots was again highlighted as a reason for pupils not attending school (especially in bad weather), the first report by H. M. Inspectors was not a good one, although no fault was laid at the masters’ door, he was praised for his work – up to the third standard at least. By the next year there were two Pupil-Teachers, James Wilson and Andrew Forrester and the school was in a state of “very creditable efficiency” snow, agricultural operations and again the want of boots kept the attendance levels poor at times.

In March of the following year the school was again closed by a “great snowstorm” Mr. Weir had his certificate suspended for a year for fraud and Andrew Forrester qualified and became an Assistant Teacher, the staff now consisted of Mr. J. Stitt (Certificated Teacher), Andrew Forrester (Assistant Teacher), James Wilson (Pupil Teacher), and Mrs. Weir (Sewing Mistress).

In the March and December of 1882 the school was again closed by snowstorms, the December snowstorm kept the children at home but Christmas Day became a factor as well for the first time.

1883 saw more of the same when in January only 16 out of 140 pupils turned up at the school due to snowdrifts, and again in March. The health of the children in the district hit home when one of Mr. Weir’s children died. For the first time a Stipendiary Monitor was allowed in the school and one J. Gilchrist joined the salaried staff. The end of the year brought the usual problems of snow, wind and rain; the roll had dropped by 10 and only 25 turned up for school.

Mumps, Measles, Scarlet Fever, Whooping Cough spread through the village in 1884, Mumps reaching epidemic proportions and kept the attendance of the school at a very poor level. The report from H.M. Inspector was much better this year and something that was mentioned in every subsequent report was the high standard of needlework produced at the school. James Wilson became a qualified Assistant Teacher and James Gilchrist began his career as a Pupil Teacher. Mr. Weir returned to his duties and Mrs. Weir stayed as Sewing Mistress. An annual holiday was mentioned for the first time, the children (and their parents) being invited to Muiravonside House. Snow closed the school as usual at the end of the year, 34 out of 134 turning up for school.

The H.M. Inspectors report on the school in 1885 has a very unflattering note on the children of the school reporting that the children were “of a different class“. Christmas Day seems to have been taken as an unofficial holiday again.

1886 brought chaos again when another “great snowstorm” swept through the area and the school remained closed for most of January. March brought yet another “great snowstorm” Mr. Weir calling it the severest since the school opened in 1878, the school gates were covered in snow and a path had to be cut through 6 feet of snow to the school door, a bit of a waste of time as only 9 pupils turned up, the school remained closed for most of March too. James Wilson left Drumbowie and went to the Training College.


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MR. GEORGE MCKAY 1888 - 1914

Mr. McKay and staff pictured outside the school.

Mr. Weir seems to have been in poor health and Mr. George McKay took over as an Interim Teacher, the school closed again in March due to snow and Mr. Weir died in April. The Inspectors report for this year is dismal; the reason seems to have been Mr. Weir’s illness affecting his teaching, James Gilchrist was dropped as a Pupil Teacher “having passed so bad an examination. “ The staff now consisted of Mr. McKay, the principal Teacher, William Taylor, Pupil Teacher of the 2nd Year (whose results were not much better than James Gilchrist but was given the chance to improve or share the same fate as James Gilchrist next year) and Margaret Milne or Weir (possibly Mr. Weirs wife, generally the wife of the headmaster became the sewing mistress).

In 1888 a new Compulsory Officer takes up duty, Mr. Galloway, still chasing up defaulters, Mrs Weir is replaced by Mary White and William Taylor who seems to be hanging on for his 3rd year as Pupil Teacher but he seems to be absent for extended periods because of illness and he died in November of that year. Mention is made that most of the children from Redford are absent as they attend Bo’ness Fair (maybe due to the fact that the pits at Redford were owned by the Caddell family, Coalmasters of Grange House, Bo’ness.) Scarlet Fever and the “dread of it” hit the attendance, many parents kept their children off school to avoid cross contamination. The Inspectors report of this year asks for the rooms to be “galleried”. Poverty never seems to be far away as there are still children not attending school “for want of boots”

1890 begins with the usual snowstorms blocking up the roads and closing the school for a full week then Influenza hits and the attendance plummets, the Inspectors report picks up on the overcrowding of the school and the defective fittings retarding the children’s education. Miss Mary Reid and Miss Jeannie Yeats joined the staff the former as Teacher the latter as an Ex Pupil Teacher, work in the Infant room closed the school at the end of the year, then when work came to a standstill all of the pupils had to be taught in one room ending the year in chaos.

The work which came to a standstill the previous year stayed that way till late March of the next year and the Inspector devotes most of his report to the irregular attendance, changes in staff (Miss Reid resigned) and failings in the school, he commented on the backwardness of the children being very serious indeed. Work on the school building dragged on (much to the annoyance of the headmaster) through the 1890’s in one form or another, attendance problems changed from trying to get the children to school to trying to find accommodation for them all, 383 being the highest attendance for many years, although the total on the roll isn’t mentioned. James Wilson appears back on the list of the staff again in 1896, this time as a ‘Certified Teacher of the second class’. Just as the dust settled and the school seemed to be settling down to the daily grind, dry rot was discovered in two of the classrooms and the children had to redistributed to other rooms to allow the work to be carried out. The school roll fell in 1898 when a large number of miners and their families removed from the district to Bannockburn.

In August 1899 the attendance dipped sharply when Barnum and Bailey’s show came to Falkirk (Westfield Farm on the Grangemouth Road) . 1900 saw extra holidays for the relief of Ladysmith (2nd March) and the relief of Mafeking (21st May) a half day was granted for each then a full day on the 25th May for the Queen’s birthday. The ceilings in several of the rooms became unsafe in late December 1900 and the children were sent home, things didn’t improve till February of the next year then Measles and Whooping Cough kept over a hundred children off school in March increasing to over 200 by May – June. A Miss Murray arrived at the school in November for a butter making class.

The staff had increased to five Certified Teachers and four assistant Teachers by 1902, but teachers moved around so much it seemed they were hardly there any length of time before they were moving on again (some to positions nearer home,– teachers were not local, anything but, others for better money Miss Aitken left for Fintry at an increase of £10 a year, a considerable amount at that time ) Mr. Mutter (late of the Scots Guards) was appointed as the Compulsory (or Attendance) Officer for Muiravonside in 1903 and again as in 1898 many miners and their families moved out of the district, this time as several pits closed down. Many of the problems with the school building seemed to be caused by undermining and the School was visited by Mr. Adam Nimmo, whose company owned the pits to examine the repairs charged against his firm.

The inspectors’ report of 1904 was scathing in its findings, mostly to do with the distribution of staff; In the Senior Division 3 Certified Teachers (including the headmaster) and an assistant were teaching 83 pupils, sufficient says the report for 215. In the Junior Division 2 Certified Teachers (including the Infant Mistress) and a Pupil Teacher were teaching 258 pupils, sufficient says the report for 230, farther comment, the report says, ‘is unnecessary.’

A new Log Book begins in 1906 with another record attendance, 321; the opening of the pits has brought some families back to the district. Snow drifts five feet deep closed the school several times at the beginning of 1909 (January to March) then just as things improved Scarlet Fever swept through the district again. Problems with undermining came up again in 1911 when the East wall of the playground collapsed. A soup kitchen for the children was set up in 1912 when a miners strike started in the district leaving families destitute.

Class photo 1910


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MR. JAMES RESIDE 1914 - 1923

(MR. MURRAY 1916 – 1919)

A new headmaster took over in 1914, Mr. James Reside, and the children got a half day holiday in honour of the occasion, for the first time ‘Santa Claus’ visited the school and presented the Infants with oranges, and Carols were sung throughout the school. In early 1915 the school was again in the hands of the workmen and as the work hadn’t finished the school stayed closed till mid-January. The first mention of the doctor examining the children is made and many of the Infants were underweight.

March brought the usual snow storms and the school was closed as many of the roads were blocked. When the school opened after the Summer Holidays rooms 7 & 8 had been changed by removing the partition and putting in a new partition and fireplace, two rooms became three each accommodating 50 children. January of 1916 brought snow which lasted till February. In December Mr. Reside was called up for military duty. Mr. Murray took up duty as Interim Head Teacher, an interest in botany saw three classes visiting the valley of the River Avon and bringing back sixty wild flowers which were named by the Headmaster (wild flowers were so abundant then, no thought was given to the preservation of wild flowers as there is today). Snow and frost kept the attendance down at the beginning of 1918.

A boiler in the Workshop-Cookery room exploded on the morning of January 8th and four boys were injured;

William Arthur, 144 Standburn, scalp wounds and burns on both arms and legs.

John Mackie, 2 Standburn, scalds and burns to face and eyes.

William Rattray, Avonbridge, left leg and arm burned.

William Wilson, 154 Standburn, cut on right cheek, hands are burned.

It just so happened that the school medical inspector was there that day to examine the children and the Workshop/Cookery room was the place chosen as the examining room and the four boys were setting up tables etc. for the doctor when the explosion happened, which meant that help was on hand for the boys, the local doctor (Dr. Garrand) and District Nurse Vaughan and some neighbours were also sent for to help.

Early March snowstorms kept 180 children off school then Measles caused the school to close at the end of the month, the outbreak of Measles didn’t finish till the end of May. October brought severe snowstorms and the usual attendance drop. In November as the news of the signing of the Armistice spread around the district most of the children were kept at home and the school was closed. The coal pits stopped working just after the signing of the Armistice and once again the school closed as only 186 out of the roll of 466 turned up. Mr. Murray finished his term as Interim Headmaster in 1919 when Mr. Reside returned from military service, the snow waited till April this year and the snowstorms returned. The feeding of necessitous children began again in 1921 and by May nearly 300 children were being supplied with soup and bread six days a week. The Teachers gave the Infants a Christmas party this year, the first Christmas party mentioned in the Log Book.

January 1922 was blighted by severe snowstorms yet again and Measles broke out in the district in April. As well as the Infants having a party this year Mr. J. Cunningham (the Missionary for Standburn) conducted a service for the Supplementary and Senior classes.

In 1923 the snowstorm arrived in February and although many children were kept off school the attendance was pretty good (even though some children had no proper clothing or boots).

Diphtheria broke out among the children in 1924, this coupled with severe snowstorms kept the attendance down, the building was disinfected in May but there were still reports of cases breaking out in June and August, the Log Book noted that all the children with the fever were removed from the district. Mr. Reside was transferred to Grange School, Grangemouth in June and Mr. James Walker was transferred from Avonbridge School to be the new Headmaster.

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MR. JAMES WALKER 1924 – 1929

By May of 1925 150 children were being fed again, a hot dinner being supplied 6 days a week. On a happier note Lizzie Simpson was presented with an inscribed wristlet watch for 9 ½ years perfect attendance. By August the pits were still closed and 150 children (out of the roll of 412) were still being fed. A Whooping Cough epidemic swept through the district along with several cases of Scarlet Fever and Diphtheria then the weather closed in again and many of the children were so badly clothed and booted that they were kept off school, by December 100 children were still being fed their midday meal at school (in many cases this was about the only meal these children had in a day)

Remembrance Day this year changed from being just a service in the school to a service for all the children then 100 of the children processed up the main street to the War Memorial where a short service was held.

In 1926 Mr. Charles Bonello was appointed as the Compulsory Officer for the parish, the boys football team won the White League Championship by 18 points out of 20. In May the bus (run by Marshalls) taking Teachers to the local schools was ‘held up’ on account of the General Strike and the Teachers had to walk, a day later the bus stopped running altogether and the Teachers had either to walk or cycle to school. 116 children were getting their midday meal at school; these were mainly the children of strikers. By August this year 250 children were being fed, 114 being the children of strikers, Diphtheria and Scarlet Fever appeared again at the end of August, the school was disinfected but the cases kept on increasing. 109 children had breakfast at school (porridge and milk) in September, then a great snowstorm arrived which combined with the sickness in the district kept the attendance well down, the weather worsened that winter and Scarlet Fever stayed with the bad weather. The ‘Coal Dispute’ was settled in November and the headmaster expected the numbers needing fed to go down ‘rapidly’. The Education Authority supplied 207 pairs of boots, 395 pairs of stockings, 2 jerseys and 2 pairs of trousers that winter (many children were turning up to school barefoot).

January 1927 opened with rain and gales blowing chimneys of the school roof and in February an epidemic of Mumps hit the district followed by Scarlet Fever, Influenza and Diphtheria. 45 children from the senior classes visited Edinburgh in May spending time at the Castle, St. Giles, Parliament House, the Advocates library, several famous closes, and then the Zoo. A school exhibition this year attracted 150 adults and 250 children. To add to the problems of the district an epidemic of Whooping Cough joined in with the other ailments and the school was ‘thoroughly scrubbed with soap and water’ during the summer break.

1928 seemed to be a quiet year for the school, snow in January and February blocking the roads. 89 pairs of boots and 178 pairs of stocking were supplied to necessitous children.

The roll at the beginning of 1929 was 387, snow was lying all over the country and an Influenza epidemic hit Falkirk and District, even in February there was ‘blinding snowstorms’ and it was ‘abnormally cold’. James Walker left Drumbowie after 5 years in his last entry in the Log Book he writes

“I wish to record a most happy five years in this school. A loyal and helpful staff and most likeable children (though a large number of them are abnormally dull) have modified the strenuous time to some degree. The school is in quite good condition.”


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1930’s picture. 


MR. JOHN FRASER 1929 - 1936



Mr. John Fraser of Blackbraes School was transferred to Drumbowie. Armistice Day was a short commemoration service in the school then the advanced division pupils laid a wreath at the war memorial. Chicken-Pox and Measles once again kept the attendance down towards the end of the year, a year when for the first time the holidays became Christmas and New Year .A party for the Advanced Division began in 1930 and was held in January, a party not just for the children but for adults (parents presumably) too, Gala Days and concerts continued and for the first time whist drives, dances, jumble sales and cake and candy sales were held to raise funds for the school, applications for relief are now made to the School Management Committee, some children were still without boots or adequate clothing. A miners strike began at the end of December caused ‘considerable destitution’ among the children.

March 1931 brought the snowstorms once again and through the year 168 children were granted boots and stocking, clothing, or both.

Easter Holidays appeared for the first time in 1932, the roll was now 359 and only 27 children needed relief grants.

Sadly in 1933 the relief grants rose to 144 and again mostly for footwear and clothing. Chicken-Pox rose to epidemic proportions once again at the end of the year.

1934 saw the district once again plagued by infectious diseases, Mumps, Chicken-Pox and Scarlet Fever.

The Stirlingshire Education Committee started providing 1/3 of a pint of milk (at the cost of a1/2 d) in March of 1935.

In May the children celebrated the King’s (Silver) Jubilee (George V )with a party at the school which began with a service, Mr. Fraser, the headmaster, gave a talk to the children ‘illustrated by little anecdotes the devotion and loyalty of the King to his people in the time of their great misery and need’. The children sand the National Anthem and Rule Britannia. Souvenirs of the occasion were given out and the children played games then the school was dismissed.

The school prize-giving in June saw Mrs. Rendall, a former teacher return to the school to hand out the prizes, a concert was held and an exhibition of the pupils work was given in the evening.


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MR HAROLD MISKIMMIN M.A. 1936 – 1945

1936 saw Westquarter village opening as Standburn was declared ‘industrially derelict’ and families started moving away from Standburn.

Mr Harold Miskimmin M.A. was appointed interim headmaster in August of this year.

The school roll was 246 in February and in May 1937 the children assembled at the school to celebrate the Coronation of King George (VI) with a treat (cakes and milk, a Coronation mug and shilling then a sports programme, the under-fives got their cakes, milk and a Coronation penny)

The poor health of the children still proved a problem for the attendance at the school.

By 1938 the school roll had fallen to 100. 1939 saw life continue as near to normal, the children’s excursion in June was an educational visit to Edinburgh and the ‘Zoological Gardens’, the Infants spent the morning at Portobello, while the older pupils paid visits to Hollyrood House, John Knox’s House, St. Giles cathedral, and the castle. En route to Edinburgh the children were shown Linlithgow Loch and the Forth Bridge and were lucky enough to see the Fleet leaving Rosyth.

In December a committee was formed to give all the local lads serving with the forces a ‘New Year Box’.

By 1941 the roll had again fallen to 80 and the children were learning to carry their gas masks and how to use them if need be, along with all the other children in the country.

In February 1942 it was reported that the recent snowstorms had affected the attendance, whist drives for the comforts fund, collections for Warship Week continued through the year, the Armistice Day service and parade carried on as usual and the Christmas service was held in the school.

Miss Mackay who had been a teacher at Drumbowie for 25 years took her leave of the school in a ceremony at the school, Miss Mackay had not only been a teacher at the school but had become a friend to many people in the village, Mr Miskimmin thanked the pupils and the staff for their ‘splendid efforts during the year, culminating in a pass for every pupil entered in the various examinations’.

Mr Miskimmin left Drumbowie School in November 1945 to be the headmaster of the Territorial School, Stirling.


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MR. JOHN MARSHALL 1945 - 1948

The next mention of a headmaster for Drumbowie in the columns of the Falkirk Herald was when Mr. John Marshall left to become the headmaster of Chapelgreen School in May 1948.


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MISS MARGARET HUTCHIESON 1948 – 1951

By the early 1950’s the school had been reduced to using two of its twelve classrooms, with 19 pupils, two teachers and Miss Margaret Hutchieson the headmistress.


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MRS MENHARD 1951 -

In 1951 Mrs Menhard became the headmistress and the school was eventually condemned by Stirling County Council, the remaining pupils were to be sent to either Maddiston or Avonbridge schools but so little was left of the village that there was an instant outcry and happily a smaller school was built.


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Blackbraes School is the next building to the right of the two storey house


ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL. 1890 - 1914

Blackbraes School was unusual in the parish as it was built and paid for by the owners of the local coal pit and the village itself, Messrs Russell of Blackbraes.

The school opened in 1890 under the headmastership of Archibald Campbell.

The end of that year saw the school attendance falling due to “colds and other ailments” and the state of the weather, New Year holidays were the norm, no mention of Christmas.

1891 saw the school with the same problems, attendance falling due to the illness of the children and the Inspectors report criticised the “inadequate premises.” No mention of a Children’s Day but the children did have a holiday in June to coincide with the annual Free Gardeners Walk.

(The Order of Free Gardeners is a fraternal society that was founded in Scotland in the middle of the 17th century and later spread to England and Ireland. Like numerous other friendly societies of the time, its principal aim was the sharing of secret knowledge linked to the profession and mutual aid. In the 19th century, its activities of mutual insurance became predominant. By the end of the 20th century it had become almost entirely extinct.)

Although education was based on the three R’s, religious knowledge figured highly in the curriculum. As with the other schools the attendance went down when potato lifting was in full swing.

At the end of 1891 and the beginning of 1892 the children were being educated in the local church while work went on in the schoolroom, March saw severe snowstorms, again as in the other schools in the parish the children were granted two days holidays after H.M. Inspection.

A measles epidemic in early 1893 affected attendance severely, March brought back snowstorms and Miss Hamilton who was the Infant mistress since the opening of the school, left to be replaced by Miss Agnes Samuel of Linlithgow Burgh School. The stormy weather of December this year led to the school being closed early for almost all of the month.

January 1894 brought the stormy and cold weather and this again affected the attendance of the school, the children still had their day off for the annual Gardeners walk, whooping cough, colds, croup and sore throats took their toll at the end of the year.

1895 started very cold and influenza affected many of the children, by April the weather had improved and in June it had to the stage where it was remarked on as being “very warm and oppressive.” H.M. Inspector again remarked that the answering of questions fell to a handful of clever children. The roll had gone up to 134 by June and 147 by August and the weather finally broke with heavy rainstorms and thunder.

Miss Samuel left the school in May 1896 and was presented with a tea service on her leaving, Miss Isabel C.J. Stewart was appointed in her place. The children were given two days holiday in June of this year for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

By 1897 the roll had risen to over 160.

The reliance on pupil-teachers can be seen when Miss Stewart (a pupil teacher) was left in charge of a class for two weeks in April 1898, she was replaced by Marion S.L. Turner in May.

The school closed when the Barnum and Bailey show came to Falkirk in August 1899 (traveling from Motherwell through the night on a train ‘a mile long’ they made the Dalderse goods yard their terminus and set their tents up in Westfield Farm, Grangemouth Road Falkirk. A procession along Grangemouth Road, Dalderse Avenue, Grahams Road, Meeks Road, Hope Street, Newmarket Street, Vicar Street, Weir Street, Orchard Street, Kerse Lane, Kerse Road, Ladysmill, Grangemouth Road and back to the show field was watched by thousands who had travelled (not just from the immediate area but coming in by train or bus for the day) to see the parade and attend the show. One thrill happened in Orchard Street when a panther attacked its keeper, there were Roman Charioteers, men in armour, ladies, cavaliers all on horseback, a 40 strong team of horses driven by one man, there were Zebra’s Elephants and all manner of wild beats to see, thousands attended the two shows at the show ground)by December an outbreak of Scarlet Fever and Measles took the attendance down.

1900 brought severe snowstorms to the area, coupled with colds and influenza meant the attendance was pretty poor. In May the children were given a day off in honour of the relief of Mafeking then a day off for the Queen’s birthday. In June that year the school was again closed for a day to celebrate the occupation of Pretoria by the British.

In 1901 we are given a list of the Salaries given to the staff –

Mr. Campbell Headmaster £16.3.4d

Miss Turner      £6.13.4d

Mis Boyd          £6..5s

Miss Brunton    £5.8s.4d.

Mis Ross           £3.15s.

Miss McAlpine   £3.15s.

Miss Smart        £3.6.8d.

Cleaner             £1.5s.

In 1902 we are given a breakdown of how many children attend the school and how many were in each class, and from that record we can see the school was a little overcrowded.

April 28.  Class Roll   Present   Accommodation of room

I                       45        43                32

II                      47        44                32

III                     42        40                42

IV                     45        43                50

V                      48        45                42

VI                     54        40                42

Infants             141      124             126

Totals              422       379            366

For the first time the New Year holiday included Christmas and the school closed on the 24th of December.

In April 1904 a scathing report from H.M. Inspector was issued.

“The buildings are poor and lack floor space, little or nothing having been done to keep equipment in respect of desks, presses, blackboards & apparatus up to date. The partition in the infant room should be shifted to equalise the size of the rooms and the whole department should be fitted with dual desks. The office should be reconstructed and arrangements should be made to have them regularly cleaned, the conditions were found at a recent visit was such as to constitute a gross offence against decency. In the big head class there is evidence of solid work but it is not shown to best advantage because of their method in keeping records of exam tables etc. The log book also showed to be not methodically kept. The lowest classes of the junior division, with 40 on the roll, were left practically a full year in charge of a junior pupil-teacher in a separate room must be charged as unsatisfactory.”

[[PASTING TABLES IS NOT SUPPORTED]]

The first mention of a Children’s Day comes in June 1904, H.M. Inspector’s report for this year shows that things have not improved much.

1904 report –

“Writing and counting have shown improvement, counting however is still backward. Discipline should be stricter; in particular children should not be allowed to bury their faces. In the junior section the discipline is not at all satisfactory.

Class I (the lowest) with 46 on its roll is taught in a room simply unsuitable for teaching purposes with accommodation for 40 this is a very mixed and on the whole a backward class with a considerable proportion of over age children.

It is however very well handled by the present teacher and is making progress. Writing and figuring are creditable and reading is taught.

Class II- writing is very well advanced but shows some tendency to degenerate. Reading is good but the intelligence of the pupils would be better developed if more ground were covered and if more interesting reading matter were selected.

Class III is fairly successful in grammar, geography, spelling and repetition. Reading is somewhat monotonous.

Senior division

Class IV Dictation is very good as is most of the oral work. And reading is not so good.

Class V In class V repetition, history, writing and arithmetic are good grammar wants attention and pupils do not answer very successfully questions on the sense of the passage read.

Class VI Shows very fair work throughout, the answering might be better distributed. More passages for repetition are well selected and decidedly good but the tendency to backhand must be guarded against. The test papers are experientially kept and shows progress in work. “

The report of 1905 shows that things had improved;

May 8 Summary of inspector’s report

“The attendance shows slight improvement on last year, still greater regularity should be aimed at. An effort should be made to decrease the proportion of overage pupils in the various classes. The improvements in on the premises recommended in last year’s report have been carried out”

In September Charles Wilson who had been on staff as an ex Pupil Teacher since completing his apprenticeship left for E C Training College.

1906 started stormy and with an outbreak of Measles which led to the school being closed for a time in February. This year saw the first mention of the school closing for Easter holidays, H.M. Inspector’s report shows that things had improved but the inspector was not pleased that a supplementary class had not been formed and that the allocation of staff was wrong. The grant for 1904 was suspended.

The children had Christmas Day as a holiday but the main holiday was still for the New Year, from 28th December to the 8th of January.

Severe snowstorms kept attendance down at the beginning of 1907 but by March the weather had improved and the attendance was reported as “grand”. After the summer holidays the school reopened after being thoroughly cleaned and painted and receiving a gift of a library by Mr. Coats and maps of Canada from the ‘Agent’ The school was still overcrowded with 135 children and accommodation for only 120. Diphtheria, whooping cough and influenza hit the school attendance in December.

The whooping cough epidemic lasted until April 1908 only to be replaced by Measles and Scarlet Fever, the latter was still causing problems in October when the school was closed for three weeks and in November the school reopened to 111 children present out of a roll of 145. In December the school, was forced to use the church hall again and eventually the school board dismissed 30 of the older children from the school to reduce the overcrowding.

Scarlet Fever cases were still cropping up throughout the beginning of 1909, but the overcrowding was now under control as can be seen from the following chart – 

Salaries                         May                                        August

A Campbell                    £16.13.4                                 £17.10

J Beattie                         £5.  08.4                                 £5.  12.6

J Williamson                   £4.  03.4                                 £4.  07.6

M Edwards                     £3.  15                                    £3.  15

L Smart                           £3.  15                                    £3.  15

Fenton                            £5.   08.4                                £5.   08.4 

M McAusland                  £6.  13                                   £6.  13.4

J Nelson                          £5.   08.4                               £5.  08.4

C Wilson                          £1.   09.2                               £1.  13.4

Cleaner                            £1.   09.2                               £1.  09.2

Total                                 £49. 03.0                               £55.12.6 

H.M inspector’s report for 1910 shows a school making progress –

April 24 Report

“The lower infants read and create well and do fairly good work in arithmetic and counting. The children are somewhat restless and prone to answering simultaneously. In the senior infants counting is good; reading fairly good and arithmetic is satisfactory. Kindergarten exercises and drawing accuracy successfully taught in the infant department. In the lowest junior department the girls read well, arithmetic is good and cookery fairly good, dictation exercises are well done. There is a tendency for a few members of the class to monopolise the answering when under oral examination. The next class is a good one all round.

Class junior 1 is under a capable teacher who has been here only two months and is successfully bringing forward a slow class. The flooring of the room in which this class is taught is much worn and near the fireplace is in a dangerous state.

Class senior 3 does well in arithmetic but should be provided with divided rulers and should do more work in fractions. Composition and history are fairly good.

Class senior 2 which is the exam qualifying class exhibits a good knowledge of both theory and practice of arithmetic. Composition was neatly written. Reading was good as was the supplementary class and associated a few of the brighter pupils with the unfortunate result that the roll exceeds 40. The supplementary course of pupils who qualified only in December and it appears that they have not yet begun to keep individual records of work, so that it is very difficult to assess the value of their work. Needlework is very good and drawing good. The singing, a better tone might be aimed at. Physical exercises are confined by the lack of accommodation. There should be a thermometer in every room and would be well to keep a record of the temperature. The department should be informed of the courses of unsatisfactory attendances shown by the following pupils S. Heeps, J. Fowler, M. Mc Diarmond, M. Pryde, D. Norman, A .Pringle, M. Heeps, H. McAlpine, J. Irvine, J. Heeps.

Although a report on the actual building could not have been welcomed by the school board –

Nov 28 report on school

“In some of the rooms the temperature was low 44°F (6.6°C) and 46°(7.7°C) being noticed in others, a comfortable temperature was not maintained. It appears as if structural alterations might be required to improve the ventilation, and if this be so the board should do well to consider whether it is worth while spending money on altering a building such as this. The frequency with which cracks appear in the plaster lead to a suspicion that the actual fabric of the building cannot be very sound – though only an expert after full examination of the building can speak with certainty on this point. The floor space is so limited in some rooms the children in the front seats have to turn their backs on the teacher when counting to save a few inches between their desks and those behind them and the low ceilings add to the feeling of congestion. While it cannot be said that the letter of the regulations as to accommodation under which the school recognised is broken of judged by present day standards, the conditions are decidedly adverse. It is understated that the board have before them the whole question of school accommodation in the parish a question which the opening of more pits and the consequent increase of population have made a cause. The possibility of abandonment or complete renovation of these buildings might well be taken into account to part of the whole question. The department should be informed what decision the board arrive at with reference to recommendations referred to in his report.”

In 1912 shows that the department for education are losing patience with the school board about the state of the building –

May 24 Report from HMI-

“The lowest infant class consisting of 59 pupils taught in various sections – heavy work for one teacher. It is gratifying therefore that very fair progress has been made during the session. Class 2 being at present without its regular teacher is taught by the infant mistress along with class 1 here the mistress has been very effective: the arithmetic is very smartly and accurately done and reading is altogether without hesitation. In the latter subject an improvement might be made. A song was delightfully rendered. In the lowest class reading and recitation was fairly good. Geography was well known and history fairly well. Composition was not very fluent and was full of errors in grammar and spelling. The school board are reminded of the comments of last year’s report on the building now that the work on Maddiston has been completed; there is no longer any reason for delay with this school.”

It was noted in November that 131 children from Grangemouth Parish were attending the school and in June of 1913 the children were given notice to leave by the 26th – the date of the school holidays.

The children excluded were from California and district and eventually after a lot of arguing and acrimony Grangemouth parish erected a school in the California .

Blackbraes School was then extensively renovated and extended as the School Board had no choice if they wanted to carry on receiving their grant.

Mr Campbell, the headmaster intimated his retirement to the school board in January 1914 and his replacement Mr. Blyth from Denny School took over in April. The decision of how to heat the new school went before the board in the summer and boiler room and radiators were installed, happily for the children this took a little longer than expected and they got an extra week’s holiday.

The roll was now down to 270.

Mr. Campbell was awarded a retirement award of £38 per annum by the board; a month or so later after this was agreed to a new board was elected and immediately rescinded the payment, Mr Campbell took the case to Court and an unhappy school board ended up having to pay – as it was the school board’s idea to offer a retirement allowance in the first place.

California School


………………………


MR JOHN BLYTH, M.A. 1914 -1923

MR PETER BIRRELL1914 -1918

A new headmaster was appointed in February 1914, Mr John Blyth, M.A., his salary was £150 per annum with free house, etc. (fuel and a cleaner possibly).

At a meeting of the school board it was agreed to borrow £2200 from the Public Works Loan Board at 3 ½ per cent. to meet the cost of the reconstruction of the school, repayment to be spread over 30 years.

As was the case in Drumbowie School the headmaster here, Mr Blyth, was called up for military duty and a Mr Peter Birrell from Perth, a retired headmaster, was appointed as the interim headmaster.

Dry rot was discovered in the hall, staff room and corridors of the school at the end of 1917 which didn’t go down well with the school board as the school had not long been reconstructed, Mr J.G. Callander, architect, Falkirk was called in to inspect the whole school and report back.

Severe flooding damaged the school in early 1918, The Rubberoid Company made an inspection and held that there work was not at fault, Mr Callander was again called to make an inspection. The school roll was now 230.


……………………...

MR JOHN FRASER 1923 - 1929

A new headmaster, Mr John Fraser, first assistant in the Territorial School in Stirling was appointed in 1923, Mr Blyth went to East Plean School.

In 1926 the Education Authority was having trouble with Muiravonside Parish Council over the feeding of necessitous children, the new School Management Committee had been instructed to stop feeding or clothing those children whose parents were eligible for unemployment benefit or Parish Council relief, Muiravonside Parish Council refused to admit responsibility for feeding necessitous children or to come to a mutual arrangement with the Authority on the matter. As there seemed to be no possibility of the collieries being opened for the next three months this meant there was an acute need to feed the children. As it still is today one party passed the buck to the other party and the children were caught in between. Mr Bonallo, who was the janitor at Drumbowie was relieved of his duties and was appointed the attendance officer for Drumbowie, Maddiston, Blackbraes and Muiravonside Schools in place of Mr Mutter, it is interesting to note that not long after this appointment the Education Authority were looking for an attendance officer for the schools mentioned above with the salary of £162. 10s per annum and a cycle allowance of £5 per annum, In March 1927 Mr James Black (Jimmy) was appointed.

As was the case with the old parish school board the School Management Committee (for Muiravonside, Slamannan, and Drumbowie District) met monthly in the various schools in the district receiving attendance reports, dealing with defaulters (those parents who failed to send their children to school) dealing with the fabric of the schools and sadly still receiving applications for boots and clothing. In June 1928 the teachers of Sheildhill, California, and Blackbraes (22 in all) went on a staff outing in one of Mr Marshall’s “new luxurious coaches” to Creif via Stirling, the Hillfoots, Glendevon, and Gleneagles, high tea was partaken of at the Drummond Arms Hotel. 


…………….……...

MR JOHN MATHIESON 1929 - 1930

By December 1929 the headmaster was Mr John Mathieson but the school was now being referred to as Blackbraes-California school and in December 1930 Mr Mathieson was appointed to Craigs school Stirling.


…………….…………..

MR. JAMES HOGG 1930 - 1935

Mr James Hogg became the headmaster. In April 1931 30 children under the watchful eye of the headmaster and his wife visited Edinburgh visiting Prices Street Gardens, the Castle where the gun reminded them it was lunch time (at Patrick Thomson’s) then to Holyrood Palace, and lastly the Zoo

It was in 1931 that talk of evacuating Blackbraes began under the slum clearance scheme, the council had begun building 52 houses in the Rumford area (St. Catherine’s) where the prospect of work for the miners was much better.

The first mention of an Armistice Day service being held in Blackbraes School occurs in this year, the two minutes silence was observed and the headmaster explained the meaning of Armistice Day to the children and a collection was taken for the Earl Haig fund.

In January 1933 the Education Committee decided that due to the migration of the population they should temporarily close California School and house all the pupils (195) in Blackbraes School, the Scottish Education Department who raised no objection to the closure for the current session thought that it would be better to make the best use of the accommodation available, pointing out that California School was competitively modern and in better condition than Blackbraes School.

The Children had an annual treat (The Gala Day) in June 1934 and the usual routine was followed.


…………….………..

MR FREDERICK DEAN 1935 - 1938

The King’s Jubilee (George V and Queen Mary) was celebrated in May when the pupils processed to the parish church and were addressed by the Rev John Easton, following the service the children headed by Sheildhill Silver Band, marched to Blackbraes where each child received a box of cakes and milk. The infants were given a small mug, the juniors a larger one, the qualifying pupils a cup and saucer, and the advanced division a cup saucer and plate all with a picture of the King and Queen.

Just two years later the children were assembled to celebrate the Coronation of George VI, and once again headed by Lauriston Silver Band the children of both schools marched from Blackbraes School to Blackbraes Parish Church (in California) to take part in a service then moved on to California school and listened in to the Coronation broadcast from London.

The school roll for Blackbraes-California school had fallen to 156 as many families moved out of the condemned housing in Blackbraes to the model village of Westquarter, new housing in California and Maddiston, very few families now lived in Blackbraes Square.


…………….…………….


MR JOHN WHITE 1938 - 1941

In 1938 Mr Dean was transferred to the headmastership of Greenhill School and Mr John White, headmaster at Banknock took over at Blackbraes-California,. prize givings concerts, fund raisers etc. were held to raise funds for the school.

1939 saw the arrival of children evacuated from Glasgow being brought up from Polmont Station to the reception centres at Blackbraes, Maddiston and Muiravonside Schools, the children were in their new homes within half an hour of leaving the station.

By 1941 the roll for California Blackbraes schools had fallen to just over the 100 mark with 7 Evacuees (out of 188 in the parish of Muiravonside). 


…………….……………

MR CHARLES SIMPSON M.A. 1941 – 1948

Mr White was transferred to Maddiston School and was replaced by Mr Charles Simpson M.A.

1942 saw the procession reinstated for the Gala Day, Blackbraes and District Band led the procession to California school, this year the local Home Guard took part.

The cold wintry weather at the start of 1947 held up the building of houses at Merville Crescent California (Peggy’s Knowe) and the last families in Blackbraes were eagerly awaiting their completion.

The Blackbraes Gala Day that was held this year seems to have missed Blackbraes village altogether, the children leaving from California School and processed around the California before assembling in a field for the usual sports.

The Education Department placed an advert in the Falkirk Herald in August for the parents of the children who formerly attended Blackbraes School :-

SPECIAL NOTICE TO PARENTS IN

BLACKBRAES AND CALIFORNIA AREAS:

The children who formerly attended the Primary Department of Blackbraes School will now attend California School.

The children who formerly attended the Secondary Department of Blackbraes School, and those enrolling in the Secondary Department for the first time, will now attend Redding School.

NOTE. – For the conveyance of children to Redding School, a bus will leave California at 8.40 a.m. On the return journey the bus will leave Redding School at 4.5 p.m.




The Stirlingshire Education Committee announced that they intend to open the disused school at Blackbraes, in conjunction with local Co-operative Societies and junior employees of the societies will be sent there for training.


MUIRAVONSIDE, MADDISTON PUBLIC SCHOOL


The case for building a school at Maddiston was now reaching a climax and it was a new Board member Mr. Murray who first proposed to the School Board the need to build a primary school at Maddiston in 1894.

The following year the decision was taken by the Board to build the school and Messrs Binnie, Murray and Bryce of the School Board went to see Mr. Livingston-Learmonth of Parkhall who agreed to “fue Muiravonside School Board ¾ of an acre of land on the east side of the road from Rumford to Maddiston at £8 an acre for the erection of a school house the frontage to the road to be about two chains”, on the following conditions;

  • That the children be kept from trespassing on any adjacent land at all times and to be assisted in doing so thus
  • A wall not less than 6’ high to be built on all sides of the fue
  • The drainage to be done entirely at the expense of the School Board.

It’s interesting to note that a plebiscite was held to find out what kind of school the parents wanted, i.e. a Mixed School, an Infant School or any school at all, 401 papers were issued, 77 were returned, 21 for the Mixed School, 8 for an Infant School and 40 for no school at present! (Plus 8 spoiled papers).

The Architect was James Strang of Denny who had his business in Vicar Street in Falkirk he was the Architect for The Oddfellows Hall in Grahamston and the E.U. Congregational Church in Falkirk and later for Cairneymount Church.

The contractors for the new school were;

Messrs McLachan Builders

William Thomas Joiner

Walter Doig Paintwork

The school was opened in September 1897 by Mr. Murray (who died the following year) and, as far as can be ascertained it consisted of the head-teachers room and two classrooms, accommodation for around 100 children, the school was built at a cost of £1,171.


…………….……………….

MISS BEATTIE 1897 – 1898


The first Head-teacher was a Miss Beattie from Jedburgh, she and an ex pupil teacher Miss Elizabeth McKay, had charge of 78 children, infants only, the older children continued to attend Muiravonside school. The increasing role of the government in teacher training is reflected in the Council of Education’s Minutes for 1846 introducing a national pupil-teacher scheme. Schools could select from their most promising thirteen year old students those most likely to be able to undertake an apprenticeship of up to five years duration. During the day they would follow the school’s curriculum and then receive additional instruction outside school hours on the art of teaching from staff appointed for this purpose. The most able students, selected through a competitive examination, were awarded a Queen’s Scholarship. Successful male students were awarded a grant of £25 and female students two thirds of this. These grants supported their maintenance at the Normal School (the name given to the teacher training school). The school’s curriculum at this time was a broad one and included subjects such as drawing and music. At the end of their course the students would take an examination in both general and professional subjects conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspectors. The achievement of a Leaving Certificate carried with it an enhanced salary funded by the government.

Whilst not initially welcomed (‘it assumed a child could do two exacting things at once’), the pupil - teacher scheme, especially for elementary school teachers, was an improvement on the previous monitorial model, guaranteeing a minimum level of personal knowledge and achievement of recognised teaching skills. Certificated teachers were able to organise and teach the large number of children in sessional and subscription schools.

In 1858 the regular curriculum of the Normal Schools was extended to two years by regulation, with training ending in December instead of June. To qualify for their ‘parchment’ students, in addition to their Leaving Certificate, had to undertake a further two years of work teaching in a school. The final grade obtained depended on both their examination performance and the report of the HMI on their schoolwork.

This new system of teacher training began to have a major effect on Scottish education. Newly qualified and certificated teachers were sought after and reasonably well paid. Their training gave them a wider knowledge than many parish schoolteachers previously and this in turn enabled them to teach a broader curriculum to children. The link with the churches was also lessening with increased government funding and the abolition of the need for teachers to sign the Confession of Faith.

Miss Beatties' salary was £65 (rising to £70 maximum) per annum and that of her assistant, Mrs. McKay £35-£40 (rising to £50 maximum) per annum.

The children continued to leave Maddiston aged eight and a half, their education continued at Muiravonside until reaching the age of 11 when they sat the Leaving Certificate Examination, “The Quali” when the ‘brightest’ children had the chance to take their education further by going to Falkirk High School which was of course fee paying ( some applied and got bursaries) or just staying at Muiravonside till you were 14. 


…………….…………………..

MISS J D BAXTER 1898 – 1905

This Class photograph shows Mary Clayton, third from the right on the Front Row, Mary was five years of age when she joined the school in 1897 and she was the second pupil to be enrolled in the new school (The first was Elizabeth Penny who left the District in 1898). Mary looks older than six in this photograph and as the children moved to Muiravonside aged eight and a half perhaps this is a ‘graduation’ photograph.


Miss Beattie was replaced the following year by Miss J.D. Baxter of Portobello.

The parents in the village welcomed the new school, but worried about the effect a two-mile walk to school would have on the "older" children in all weathers, but there was still the spectre of the attendance officer for those who were less than keen on attending school, Mr. Mutter who came from Drumbroider near Avonbridge was the man now chasing up the absentees.

Towards the end of the 19th century secondary schools were developing as an identifiable sector and in 1901 the school leaving age was raised to 14. Students could leave schools with a variety of qualifications, including an Intermediate Certificate for those taking courses in industrial, commercial, rural and household subjects, and a Leaving Certificate for those intending to take up a profession.

Standards 1 & 2 were taught at the school and the pupils moved to Muiravonside at eight and a half years of age.

MISS ANNIE ALDISS 1905 – 1911

This Class photograph shows Robert Clayton at the extreme right of the back row.

The Headmistress in this photograph is Miss Annie Aldiss.


In 1905 permission was granted to use the school for a marriage and Miss Annie Aldiss of High Blantyre took over as head-teacher.

1910 brought matters to a head when Carron Company intimated to the School Board their intention to build 48 room and kitchen type houses between Rumford and Maddiston and four houses of room and kitchen and a manager’s cottage of five apartments at Craigend.

The School Board calculated that at least another 120 children would need to be accommodated in the school and it was time to expand. A census of school children held in August 1910 showed there to be 1209 in the Parish and 91 were attending schools outwith

the Parish.


…………….…………..

MR. JAMES S WILSON 1911 – 1926


The Architect chosen this time was Alexander Malcolm who came from Millbar, Polmont Station and had his practice at Charing Cross in Grangemouth, he had already built two schools in the area, Wallacestone and Sheildhill and later would build may more schools throughout Stirlingshire as well as St. Anthony’s chapel in Rumford.

The school now consisted of five classrooms, the hall ( the original plans were for a central corridor not a hall), staff and head-teachers room and the porches for the girls and boys entrances with the dates of the extension on them above (not as most people think, the date when the school was built), a part at the back (a description of which must remain rather vague) which seems to have run the full length of the back of the school, but was only one storey high, and was used for cookery and handwork.

Mrs. Gillespie of Muiravonside House presented the new school with a flag staff, the school opened on the 1st October 1911.

Mr. Wilson (he was known in the village as “Cocker” Wilson) was at that time the Assistant Head- teacher at Drumbowie, and he was to be paid £165 per annum.

The school cleaner was dismissed and received one months pay in lieu of notice plus 7/6d for extra work concerned with the extension, the post was advertised at £1 15s 0d per month.

Classes at the new school were to be up to and including the qualifying classes but no pupil attending qualifying classes at Muiravonside was to be enrolled at Maddiston.

Teachers’ salaries;

Minimum Maximum

Untrained Certificated Female £65 £85

Trained Certificated Female £70 £90

Infant Mistress (required to teach Cookery) £85 £100

Infant Mistress (not required to teach cookery) £80 £95

(Annual Increase to £2 10s 0d, Board retain the right to increase this or decrease this depending on circumstances)

Ex Pupil teacher female £65

(Annual increase to depend on circumstances) 

It was at this time that teaching practice opportunities became more widely available in local schools. On the successful completion of their training students would undertake a two year probationary period in approved schools, after which they would be awarded their Teaching Certificate (or ‘parchment’). By 1915 all teachers in Scotland’s state schools were required to possess a Teaching Certificate. Uncertificated teachers had to undergo a training programme by December 1914 or lose their provisional recognition.

The Muiravonside School Board members in 1911 were;

David Abercrombie,   Joiner Redding

David Bayne,             Minister Muiravonside

Archibald Binnie,        Railway Inspector Brightons School House

Francis Gardener,      Draper Sunnyside Cottages, Maddiston

John Haldane,           Tailor (Terra Cotta?) Maddiston

Thomas Harper,         Miner Osborne Cottage, Standburn

Isaac Park,                 Clerk Compstone Linlithgow

Charlotte Stirling,        Spinster Tarduff

The school roll had now risen to over 300 (Infants, 100, Standard I and II, 49, Standard III, 53, Standard IV and V, 50.

Evening School, 34 on roll 1st Division, 20 on roll 2nd Division and seven girls in the sewing class.

The school bell was purchased in the spring of 1912.

According to the log book, things were far from perfect; the heating was a problem from the start as each classroom was heated by its own open fire (which was fine for those at the front of the class but not for those at the back). Anthracite stoves were installed in the class rooms which seemed to help for a few years and when gas came into the village (from the Redding Gas Company) the School Board considered heating by gas but turned it down and only had lighting installed, this cost them £27 10s 0d but they sold the oil lamps for £2 0s 0d.

Secondary Education continued as before when children sat the 11+ and went into either the Quali or Control classes, six children are noted as going to Falkirk High from 1911 to 1926 (out of nearly 1400 who’d registered at the school during this period), the first one mentioned being Willie Marshall from Kendieshill Farm in 1916. Attending Falkirk High entailed a walk to Polmont Station, catching the train to Falkirk, getting off at Falkirk High Station then walking to Rennie Street where the school was then staying there till 4pm which made it a long day.

Sad little instances appear in the minutes of the School Board -

Neglected children Frank S-------, Muiravonside School and James W-------, Blackbraes School. Clerk to communicate with the parish Council and endeavor to get them admitted to the Poorhouse (which was in Linlithgow).

Girl from Tinplate (H------ Cottage), Susan P------, to be admitted to Larbert Imbecile Institution.

Overcrowding was a problem and many children just had to be put off until there was room for them, several instances of older children being asked to enroll in other school in the Parish appear in the first Log Book, conversely many children didn’t enroll in the school at the correct time, some being 6 or nearly 7 before enrolling (Mr. Wilson seemed to keep a beady eye out for them and gets the Mr. Bonallo the Compulsory Officer to chase them up) The school roll seemed to go up and down every week with no set "intake", partitions were erected in the hall and cookery room to create more teaching space when it was needed.

In 1913 Craigend Gala day Committee was allowed the use of the school in the event of inclement weather. Christmas holidays didn’t become the norm until after 1916, the holiday before then was always referred to as the “New Year Holiday”, although half the Roman Catholic population of the school stayed off one Christmas and the Board was forced to close the school early. The Roman Catholic children got into trouble this way on quite a few occasions such as St Patrick’s Day and All Saints Day, staying off when really there was no need as the services were usually ended before 10.00 am giving them ample time to get to school.

Some sort of falling out occurred between Miss Dunne and Miss Ross and Mr. Wilson the Headmaster but it was never fully documented, it had something to do with discipline in the school and led to Miss Dunne and Miss Ross being transferred to Blackbraes School and Miss Sandilands and Miss McOwan from Blackbraes replacing them.

On the 19th December 1917 the minute book of the School Board recorded a great achievement for a pupil, Marjorie Cunningham, she enrolled at Maddiston School on May 4th 1908 and left on the 24th June 1914 and was absent only once (11th November 1908). She then enrolled in Muiravonside School on the 11th August 1914 and left on the 2nd November 1917 and was never absent, nine years six months, Marjorie was presented with a wristlet watch, suitably inscribed (at a cost not exceeding £3 0s 0d).

A census of the school children of the Parish in 1918 gave the following results

Aged between 5 & 7      - 265

Aged between 7 & 12    - 668

Aged between 12 & 14  - 265

Total 1189

The 1918 Education (Scotland) Act rationalised the management of the state school system by replacing the then 1000 School Boards with County or City Education Authorities, and Muiravonside School Board were replaced by a school management committee for Polmont and Muiravonside District in January of 1919.

Hardly a week passed by without mention of Whooping Cough, Scarlet Fever, Measles, Chicken-Pox all of which reached epidemic proportion in the villages and in some cases led to the school being closed down and disinfected as were the homes of the sufferers. Sadly some of the aforementioned diseases left the children susceptible to a far more serious disease, Diphtheria, which often proved to be a killer.

During the winter of 1917 and the spring of 1918 children were kept off school to go to the Co-op and wait (for hours on end) for whatever was being delivered, most mothers had enough to cope with, with younger children etc to be able to do this as well.

First mention of the Boys Brigade was in 1919 when use of school hall was granted. The charge to be two shillings per evening, one shilling to be paid to the cleaner, and the balance to the authority.


1914. Middle Row, 3rd from left, Wullie Russell, 7th from left, Harry Oliver. Front Row, 2nd from left, Jimmy Hislop


…………….…………..



MR WILLIAM BOWDEN 1926 – 1933

Mr Wilson retired in 1926 after a long career in teaching stretching back to 1879 when he became a classroom monitor at Drumbowie.

The new Head teacher was Mr William Bowden, school life continued as normal, the roll continued to be around the 300 mark (and rising), the new Compulsory Officer Mr. Black (just call me ‘Uncle Jimmy’ was one of his favourite saying to the weans) was now treading the streets keeping an eye on the attendance.

Teachers of 1927.

Miss Hogg, no mention of a Miss Hogg in the Log Book.

Miss Helen McOwen, she was the Infant Mistress from 1914 until she went to Bainsford Public School in 1934.

Miss Christina B. Kirk, joined the school in 1923, went to Comely Park School in Falkirk in 1933.

Miss Brown, joined the school in 1927, left to get married in 1933.

Miss Margaret (Maggie) Binnie, came to Maddiston School in 1914 and left to get married in 1927.

Mr Kenneth J. McKenzie M.A., came here in 1926 as the Woodwork Teacher and left to go to a teaching job in Ploctkton, Rossshire in 1928.

Miss Margaret N. Smart, joined the school in 1924 and stayed until she was transferred to Carmuirs School, Falkirk in 1942.

Miss Marion Fraser, came here in 1926 and left in 1931.

Miss Amy Baxter M.A., joined this school in 1925 and left in 1926.

Miss Robena S. Kerr, came to Maddiston School in 1924 and was transferred to Comely Park School in Falkirk in 1935.

Headmaster Mr Bowden stayed at Maddiston School until he retired in 1933.

The last major building work to the school was in 1929 when the old cookery/handwork room was demolished and the five classrooms at the back built with a boiler room and cookery room below, the boiler room provided central heating for the school thus solving problem of keeping the classrooms at a reasonable temperature. Overcrowding was a problem that was not going to go away. During this period some classes were held in the Welfare Hall situated opposite the school (The Police Station now occupies the site). 

Control of the school now passed from the School Management Committee in to the County Council under the 1930’s Education Act which required Councils to set up Education Committees.

The school regime was very different to what we see to-day, the boys and girls having there own entrances gates at the front of the school, cloakrooms and playgrounds divided by central walls at the back and front of the school, the only one remaining is at the front. As traffic increased a barrier was placed at the edge of the Main Road just outside both gates to stop the children from running out into the road. In 1931 1st Muiravonside Co. Boys Brigade was founded under the leadership of Adrian Brown of Vellore, Captain of the Company until his resignation in 1950 when Lieut. A. Fleming was appointed, and then in 1951 Captain A. Mitchell took over. The Boys Brigade moved from the school after the old church hall down the Coal Road was demolished and Cairneymount Church took over the role in the 1970’s.

In 1932 the Qualifying classes moved out of Maddiston School to Redding School along with Miss Peterkin and Miss Taggart who were transferred along with the children.

Falkirk Technical School was built in 1932 and now all the children were sent to Redding School for the trades, Falkirk Tech for those who were expected to make middle management and Falkirk High for the professions.

End of session services, Easter services and Christmas Services were sometimes held in Cairneymount Church (some 300 children on parade all through the village up to the church must have been a sight!) and sometimes in the school hall. The annual prize giving (the last one was in 1967) with local dignitaries, ex Headteachers etc (Brown of Vellore, Kennard of Haining, Whitelaw of Toravon) handing out the prizes, the prizes gave the children that little extra pride in their work, many of the books given at this time became treasured possessions.


………………………...


Maddiston School in the 1920’s

Maddiston, the very name means 'School' to me for I spent many years of my life there teaching hundreds of children.

When I first came to Maddiston it was a long straggling village stretching from Cairneymount in the South to Bellvue in the North with many residences between.

It was Lady Well Cottages with Mrs. Hunter's shop, a stretch of field then Johnny Miller's chip shop. Then Carron View spread-eagled along the side of the road to the school. The road to Rainhill and on the other side of that Pender's Buildings, nothing on the other side - oh yes, Johnny Clayton's caravan and a row of cottages beyond the school. Beyond the bridge was less familiar to me but I recollect several cottages on either side of the road leading up to the busy part of the village. Here we find Janet and Jemima Hunter's shop, the Salvation Army Hall, Bella Hastie's shop and on the other side of the road, the Store, the Public House and more cottages between there and Cairneymount.

In school we taught Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (known as the three R’s) History, Geography, Nature Study and P.E.

The most exciting day of all was our Gala Day. On that occasion the children arrived at school dressed in their best. I well remember Archie coming to school in full Highland Dress complete with plaid on a sweltering June day.

I remember the same Archie coming in late one morning and informing me that “the knock was stoppit and we did not ken the time ".

When ready each class would move off, bands playing, flags waving, children singing down past Carron View, along through Rumford back to the Main Road again up to the school and into the park.

We teachers had simple duties to perform as the indefatigable committee carried out all arrangements.

Races were run - ordinary races, three legged races, washing day races, egg races, and sack races etc - the finals of the football matches were also played off.

At intervals the committee members saw that each child received a bag of goodies and that his or her tinny was filled with milk.

A lovely day was had by all.

Miss Smart.

Teacher, Maddiston School, 1924 - 1942



…………….………..

MR ROBERT FYFE 1933 – 1942


A wireless set was installed in the school in 1934. The first lesson of a music course for pupils aged 9-11, was taken by senior 1a and 1b on Thursday at 2.30 p.m. Messer’s Stewart and Adam of the B.B.C. were present. All the pupils assembled in the school hall on Wednesday 24 January 1936 to hear the Proclamation of King Edward VIII from London.

In June of 1938 twenty pupils from senior 1 under the supervision of Mr. Stark and Miss Anderson visited the Empire Exhibition.

September 1939, owing to the war emergency primary pupils only were in attendance. Each class was divided into two equal sections, one section attending in the forenoon during the period, 9.30am till 12 noon, the other section attending in the afternoon during the period 1 pm till 3.30. The headmaster and staff were instructed by the director of education to be on duty every day from 9am till 4pm and to take lunch in school. Twelve evacuees were admitted. All classes received instruction in the use of gas masks and air raid drill was taken daily. Miss Isabella McClelland Milroy, teacher, evacuated from Parkhouse School Glasgow - under the government's evacuation scheme- began duty.

In November another 22 children arrived at Maddiston where they were fed then taken to the people who were looking after them, 10 went to Standburn and 11 stayed at Maddiston, most of the children stayed here till the end of the war.

In December the cookery room was darkened for the use of the school cinema projector. The first film "Life in the Desert" was shown to primary V.a, V,b and VI. b.

In April 1941 more evacuees arrived from St. Mary’s' R.C. School Glasgow (Calton) 10 were sent to Drumbowie school in Standburn and 15 admitted to Maddiston School.

In December a beginning was made with the feeding of pupils under the County scheme when 166 pupils were provided with dinner.

Mr Fyfe (Cherry Ripe was his nickname after a song he constantly tried to teach the children, much to their amusement) was transferred to Comely Park School in Falkirk in 1942.

A day at the school – 1934.

At 9 o’clock every school day morning each class stood in their lines, boys at the bottom of the stairs at the boys entrance, girls at the bottom of the stairs at the girls entrance, waiting for the bell to ring. We marched into school 2x2 to the sound of the piano being played in the hall, we had to march round the outside of the hall until we came to our classroom, never across the centre of the hall. Once in our classrooms we sat at our desks then we said our prayers,

The Lord’s Prayer –

‘Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts. As we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever’.
Amen.

Religious Instruction continued until 9.30 am when the Roman Catholic children came in after attending their own church from 9 o’clock. After that we usually got Arithmetic, which meant learning our multiplication tables and chanting them out loud in unison time and time again until we learned them off by heart (even now at 83years of age I can still repeat them all). Then it was time to do our sums, long division was the hardest, no calculators in those days! During the morning we got a small bottle of milk 1/3 of a pint, for which we paid ½ d., not much when we think that 12 old pence equalled 5 new pence, just think, 24 little bottles of milk for 5p!

Then we had to learn English which would be spelling, meaning of words, dictation and composition (writing essays).

One day in the week we would get History, one day Geography, one day singing and learning music and one day we had drill (P.E.) in the hall.

We had a 10 minute playtime in the morning and another in the afternoon out in the playground, boys and girls were separated by a high wall in the playground, there was a small opening in the wall but woe betide anyone caught on the wrong side.

It was around this time that the school got a wireless (Radio) and occasionally we would have a lesson from the wireless that we did look forward to because it was so unusual, something new and a bit different.

Dinner time lasted for one and a quarter hours in the summer and for three quarters of an hour in winter, because in winter time the school finished at 3.30pm and in the summer at 4.0 o’clock

If you lived too far away to get home at dinnertime you had to bring sandwiches with you as there were no school dinners in these days.

If there was any spare time before 4 o’clock we sometimes had mental arithmetic and if you were quick enough to answer a question correctly you could get away 5 minutes early.

Then it was time to go home and do your homework.

Lucy & John Hynds (Lucy McNiven and John Hynds both appear in the picture below)

Back Row;

Frank Buchanan, Adam Ferguson, William Ferguson, Robert Wilson, John Reid, Alec Easton, William Thomson, ? , Peter Wilson.

Fourth Row;

Jim Stewart, Tom Scobbie, Hugh Mc Cauley, Pat McCutcheon, Allan Mitchell, John Lambie, William Sheilds, Charles White, John Hynds, George Dalrymple. Third Row, Mary Stewart, Jean McLay, Agnes Love, Georgina Easton, John Anderson, Cathy Inglis, Jessie Laird, Isa Wilson, John Allison, Nessie Bernard.

Second Row;

Jean Black, Mary Thomson, Bessie MacGgregor, Margaret Bryce, Betty Wilson, Nellie Bell, Agnes Kane, Cathy McWiliam, Nellie Docherty.

Front Row;

Annie Jack, Lucy McNiven, Euphemia O'Donnell, Prudence Aitken, Sarah Convoy.

Teacher Miss Areusa Tiplady, joined Maddiston School in 1930 and left in 1934 to be married

Back Row;

Robert Hamilton, Alec Finney, Alec Easton, Jock Reid, John Donaldson, Mitchell, Jimmy Kenny, Henry Orr, Jimmy Dougall

Third Row;

Frank Jarvie, Wullie Fullerton, Alec Anderson, Nan Forsyth, Nan Bradley, Jean Todd, Annie Bryce, Agnes Penman, Fred Dougall, Jimmy Robertson.

Second Row;

Lexie Allardyce, Isa Gow, Mary Craw, Lizzie Duncan, Margaret Kelly, Jean Johnston, Helen Gardener, Sarah Convoy, Mary Mills, ? McKenzie, Mary Henderson.

Front Row;

George Hunter, Bobby Robertson, Tam Muirhead, Corry Kerkhoff, John O'Conner, Benny Montague.

Teacher, Miss C.D. Scott, came to Maddiston School in 1934 and left to be married in 1939.

 ………………………….


MR JOHN WHITE 1942 – 1952

Mr John White took over as Headmaster.

The summer holidays were extended to mark the end of the war in Europe in 1945, then to mark the victory celebrations in August the school children were given another two extra day’s holiday.

Miss Fleming, the Infant Mistress retired after 45 years of service in August 1945 (12 of them in Maddiston) and the pupils and staff held an assembly in the hall to honour her parting, led by the School Chaplain, Rev. James Hamilton. Mr Joseph Bland took over as the Janitor around this time as well.

The school leaving age was increased to 15 in 1945 and Secondary Education was now free to all children.

Changes in the structure of the school continued, in 1946 rooms 2&3 were altered to create a large Infant room; the school received a new piano in October of 1949.

School camp became an annual event, Dounans Camp, Aberfoyle, Meigle and Glengonnar Camp are mentioned in the Log Books.

Road Safety became a bit of an issue with the rising traffic levels the children had to become a bit more aware of the dangers of crossing the road and the Traffic Police from Falkirk visited the school every year to give the children instruction on Road Safety (This became “The Mobile Safety Exhibition” as the trend grew to give anything a fancy name).

All the Royal holidays, births of Princes and Princesses, weddings of Princes and Princesses, Silver Weddings, Coronations, deaths were all held in common with the other schools in the country and as a bonus sometimes there was even a mug or a medal handed out as well. In 1951 because of the lack of space, Primary VII moved over to the Miners Welfare Hall and in 1952 the dining room was taken over as a classroom, (shades of 1929 all over again). . A new School Chaplain Rev. J.C. Downie took over in 1952.

It was during Mr. White’s time that the Gala Day took a change of direction from being a glorified sports day into being a full blown Gala Day with a coronation ceremony, the procession still went walked round the streets of the village and ended up in the Welfare Park, but now a stage was set with bunting and flags for the ceremony.

Back row;

? , Nelson Gray, Bill Fyfe, John Paterson, Jimmy Robertson, Billy Gow, Peter McGuiness, Robin Roberts, Jackie Leadbetter.

Middle row;

? , Donaldson, Sandy Gow, ? ? , ? Irvine, Margaret Tripney, Rose? , Ann Robertson, Isobel Muirhead, Moira Thomson, Alex Davie, Jim Ferguson.

Front row;

George Anderson, ? ? , ? ?, ? Angus,? , McLay, Richard McMeechen, Jim Johnstone, Tom Risk, Richard Greive, Jim Kelly, George. ?, Alec Anderson, Richard Wilson 
…………….………….

MR JOHN MARSHALL 1952 – 1961

In August 1952 Mr John Marshall took over as Headmaster. Alexander Mochar (he was in Primary IIB) must have a lingering memory of how half of the school gate fell on him one morning (the 7th of June 1953 at 11:15 in the morning to be precise) and broke his leg, but of course that was the girls side of the playground so he shouldn’t have been there in the first place, one wonders if this taught him a lesson or not.

The building that I remember being called nothing other than “The Wee School” was started in April 1956 and was occupied by the Infant Classes in August of the same year. It was of course the Infant School and in December 1956 it was formally opened by Councillor A Cockburn.

Some alteration took part in the main school at the same time as it is mentioned in the School log book that “all rooms are now of a good size”.

The spectre of the 11+ still hung over all the children, the general idea seemed to be, pass and your future was rosy fail and you were a failure, the children were still sent to the three Secondary Schools (Redding – oh dear, could have done better, the ‘Tech’ – well done but could’ve done better, Falkirk High – the best, the cream of the crop, are you going to be a teacher, a doctor ?). Falkirk Tech changed to Graeme High in 1957 to save confusion with the newly opened Falkirk Technical College.

In 1957 the school opened 65 children short; these children had been transferred to Westquarter School when people were moved out of The Blocks (Carron View).

The school roll stood at 359 in 1959. Mr Marshall left Maddiston School in 1961.


After 118 years of service to the Parish of Muiravonside, Muiravonside School finally closed, the children occupying the school moved to a brand new purpose built school in the village of Whitecross.

Infant School Maddiston

Maddiston School made it into the Daily Record when ten sets of twins attended the school

Two sets standing back left and right.

Left, Margaret and Ann Smith. Right, Georgina and Agnes Moverly.

Two sets inside the semi circle.

Front, William and Janet Jack. Behind, Linda and Morag Scobbie. Semi circle from left, Thomas and Dorothy Alison, Billy and Bobby Robertson, Rosemary and Richard McCarthy, Charles and Thomas Ballie, James and William Kane, Jacqueline and Campbell Dixon

Dux Medal presented to Elizabeth (Betty) Brennan 1957 – 58

Back Row;

? , Tam Smith, Alan Crooks , Ronnie Hamilton, Norman Davie, Andrew ? , Stewart McCallum, ? , Kenny Anderson, Ernest McKluckie.

Third row;

Helen Mochar, Freda Mochar, Hilda Wilkinson, Helen Smith, Mary Gillespie, ? , Janice Kanieu, Rossanah Gray.

Second Row;

Wullie Spiers, James Paterson, Roy Cochrane, Irene Watson, Annie Winning, Milka Zlotoswka, Betty Smith, Jean Muir, Carol Callaghan, Anne Ferguson, Jane Duncan, ? , ? , Hugh Hunter.

Front Row;

Sammy Small, William Ellis, Jimmy Easton, Roy Leask, ? , Lesley Paterson, Wullie McMeechan, Ronnie White. Teacher, Miss Primrose.


………………………….

MR DANIEL BLACK M. A. 1961 – 1971

Mr. Daniel Black M.A. became the new Head-teacher and the school said a fond farewell to Miss Goodfellow who retired from teaching; she had been in Maddiston School since September 1939, 23 years service to this school.

The dreaded 11+ was finally done away with and the comprehensive system of education was introduced, Redding Junior Secondary was closed (Laurieston Primary School moved in while a new building was built for them) and the last of the pupils went to the Graeme High which became the school for all children to the East of Falkirk.

In 1964 the school choir which was composed of members of Primary 5, 6, and 7 gained first place in the Music Festival (the School log book doesn’t say where) and another stalwart of the school, Mr Joe Bland, retired as Janitor after 18 years service and was replaced by Mr Robert Jack. 1965 brought two firsts to the school, the first time ever a Nativity Play was mentioned and the first student attending the school for teaching practice from Callander Park College of Education, any student before this time came from Moray House College of Education. The Reverend J. C. Downie, the School Chaplain for 14 years left to attend Moray House College of Education to train as a teacher of religious education in schools.

The Gala Day finished in 1966; maybe the children had become too sophisticated for Gala Days when colour television, video’s and all sorts held their attention, but getting anyone to run a Gala Day (or anything else for that matter) was becoming more and more difficult owing to the scarcity of parents who were willing to give up their spare time.

1967 brought Nativity Plays, Carol Services and a selection box for each pupil at Christmas. By 1968 the school roll had fallen to 300. In 1970 the first Harvest thanksgiving service was held, the new School Chaplain, Rev. Duncan McPherson took the service and fruit and flowers were distributed to the Maddiston and Rumford over 70s by the primary 7 girls. Decimal Day came in February of 1971 and the old pounds, shillings and pence went out of the door to be replaced by the new Decimal Pound.

1970

Back Row;

William Mitchell, George Kenny, William Hunter, Jim Munro, Robert Gardener, Peter Downie, Colin Pryde, William Smith, Norman MacDonald, Robert Wilson, Jim Laird.

Third Row;

Aileen Cruikshank, Christene McNiven, Fiona Forsyth, Elizabeth Rennie, Elizabeth Gavin, Elaine Hunter, Margaret Winters, Jean Thomson, Marlyne Rankine, Shona Weir, Martha McAuley.

Second Row;

Robin Craw, Steven Bryce, Shona Cameron, Jeanette Small, Elizabeth Gray, Pauline Jakub, Rosemary ? , Mary Watson, Lavinia Meaney, Heather Cox, Glenda Jack, John McTague.

Front Row;

Jim McKinnon, Joe Crawford, John Russell, Gordon Kenny, John Millar, Peter Fellows, Alex Arneil, Jim Alison.


…………….…………..


MR JAMES WILSON 1971 – 1984

Mr Wilson and Staff 1981/2

Back Row;

Mrs. Joyce Ferrie, joined Maddiston School in 1978 and retired in 1989.

Mrs. Morag Spence joined the staff in 1997 and retired in 1994.

Mrs. Shanks (Wilma Gow) came here in 1976 and left to become the Assistant Headteacher at Victoria Primary School.

Miss Barbara Gardner was only at Maddiston School for a year 1981 – 1982.

Don’t know.

Mrs. Angela Hunter joined the staff in 1977 and was promoted to Senior Teacher at Airth Primary School.

Mrs. Elizabeth Fleming, came to Maddiston in 1973 and left for a post in Shieldhill School in 1981

Front Row;

Mrs. Linda Blair joined the staff in 1972 and is now the Assistant Headteacher.

Mrs Agnes Hotchkiss, came to Maddiston School in 1971 became Headteacher in 1984 and retired in 1987.

Mr. James Wilson, Headteacher 1971 – 1984.

Mrs. Eileen Hutton joined the staff in 1975 and left in 1984 when she was appointed Headteacher of Falkirk Nursery School.

Mrs. Catherine McNeil, came to Maddiston School in 1984 and was transferred to Wallacestone School in 1987

Mr Black resigned as Head-teacher in 1971 to be replaced by Mr James Wilson; informal Halloween activities (Halloween parties to you and me) were mentioned for the first time this year as well. The next year saw Councillor James Anderson and 14 other County Councillors visiting to inspect the premises with a view to planning a new school and the school leaving age rose to 16. Fame at last for the school in 1975, when pupil, Rhona Craw appears on S.T.V’s “Housecall” as a prize winner in a Kellogg’s Art competition. Control of the school now passed to the new Regional Authority. The school hours changed to 9 to 12:15 then 1:15 to 3:30 except for the infants who finished at 3. In 1976 the school welcomed a new School Chaplain Rev. Richard Goodman.

Temporary Classrooms were built at the back of the Infant School in 1978 and were used by P.5 & P.5/6, they were still in use in 1985; the school roll was at 331. In 1982 the Gala Day makes a welcome return to the village after an absence of 16 years and the children of the school voted for the Queen and the retinue. A break in at the school (the school had been broken into many times through the years with minimal damage to the building) led to the need for complete redecoration and refurnishing the Head-teachers room. The Rev. Richard Goodman left for a new charge on the Isle of Mull and work began on the conversion of Room 4 into inside toilets.

Mr Jack the janitor retired in 1983 and was replaced by Mr James (Jimmy) Strang and work began on the building of a Community Centre on the School Playing Field, Anna Gillespie of Primary 7 won a gold medal in the Kanawaga Word Art Competition. Mr Wilson, the Head teacher left Maddiston to be the Head teacher at Moray Middle School in Grangemouth in 1984.

Back row:

Kirstie Jack, Elaine Allison, Daniel Cox, Amanda Wilson, Derek Dewar, Joy Gentleman, Leslie Ann Baird, Robertson.

Middle Row:

Stephen Small , Steven Carmichael, Tracy Mitchell , Mari Denton, Lorna Williamson , Laura Topping, Sharon Hall , James Robertson, Sean Cochrane.

Front Row:

Terrie Gibb , Julie Gemmell, Audrey Sharp , Anne Hagerty, Lorna K. Williamson, Jayne Gibb, Delores Paterson , Alison Gray.

Teacher Mrs. Linda Blair.

…………….…………..


MRS AGNES J. HOTCHKISS 1984 – 1987

Agnes J. Hotchkiss was already teaching here was appointed as successor to Mr Wilson, the first female Head teacher since Miss Aldiss away back in 1905. Assemblies were now held one morning every month with the Rev. Stanley Hill officiating. The school recorder group had great success taking part in The Falkirk Music Festival and other local Recorder Festivals, school outings took pupils to such places of interest as The Museum of Flight at East Fortune, Culross, Linlithgow Palace and The Museum of Transport in Glasgow. The new Community Centre was now open and the school was granted use of the hall for P.E. every morning. Although not always winning the school football team played a considerable number of matches throughout the district. The school received two visitors from Australia, a lady and a gentleman, the lady’s mother having attended Maddiston School from 1939 to 1934. Problems with the heating bugged the school during this period with classes evacuated because of smoke and fumes and temporary gas heaters having to be brought in. The new Dining Hall was opened and Falkirk East School Council visited the school and had their lunch there. Some travelling children were enrolled in the school and Mr. D Williamson visited the school and told stories of the Travelling People to Primaries 3 and 5.

The snow at the end of 1986 and the beginning of 1987 closed the school for a few days. Easter, End of Term and Christmas services were held in the school hall with the new School Chaplain Rev. Stanley Hill. On the 25th June 1987 a special assembly was held to say goodbye to Mrs Hotchkiss on her retrial.


…………….…………


MRS INEZ TORRANCE 1987 – 1997


Mrs Torrance took over as Head teacher in 1987 and this is the year computers arrived at the school when the teachers went to Riverside Primary School in Stirling to pick up their new B.B.C. computers and printers. Primary 1 had a chat and a video “Never Go with Strangers” and one about crossing the road. The Chairman of the P.T.A. Mr Muir had lunch in the school as there had been some complaints about the size of the portions being given out but he seemed quite satisfied that everything was OK. Assemblies were now part of school life, still one morning every month but now the classes from each year took the assembly with a theme chosen by them (United Nations Day – Chinese New Year – to name a few) and of course the Easter, Christmas, end of term Assemblies still continued.

The recorder group seems to have taken off in 1988 with visits to Festivals and other schools in the district and the Choir was still going strong This was the year that the old boiler was replaced (if that was the same boiler that was installed in 1929 it had done extremely well) – eventually - with a gas fired one, although it seems the work took a long time and temporary gas heaters had to be brought into the school. Venetian blinds were put on the front windows of the Main Building and all of the Infant School. Control of Education now moved from the old Regional Authority into the hands of the new unitary authority – Falkirk Council.

In 1989 the hall and the corridors in the Main Building were lined with wood panelling in an attempt to make it more modern looking and the school dinner system was privatised causing no end of agonies for the teachers. The children entered the Polmont Flower Show with various exhibits and a demonstration of how birds are kept in an Aviary; they won several prizes and a cup for the school. Room 6 was converted into a Resource Centre and the old Dining Room had to be brought back into use as in the new one (in the school playground) the ceiling has fallen down.

The porches were rebuilt in 1991 and a new office was built for the secretary and the auxiliaries opposite the Head-teacher’s room in the cloakroom where the sinks were.

A lot of upset was caused in the school when the S.W. Nursery was moved from Woodburn to the Infant Annex of the school. Primary 2 had to be moved back into the Main Building, for the first time in about 40 years infants were back being taught in the Main Building, room 6 was refurbished for Primary 2 and the cloakrooms were moved into the corridors as the North cloakroom became the central resource area and the South cloakroom became an Infant activity area and an auxiliary storage area. Snacks were added to the school meals which proved to be very popular but caused problems as many more children decided to stay over the lunch hour.


Back row;

George Thompson, Scott McLay, Thomas Ainslie, David Scullion, Daniel Wilson, Jeff Mcniven, Alan Appleby, Walter Walker, Stewart Copeland.

Middle row;

Mrs. Torrance, Alan McIntosh, Louise Gillespie, Sharell Gray, Jillian Wardlaw Elaine Dunsmore, Liza Peretto, Sarah Petch, Stewart Graham, Mrs Stewart.

Front row;

Alana Jacobs, Rachael Fowler, Leanne Hollarand, Elizabeth Heggie,

Sheryl Wilson, Lindsay Millar, Caroline Gibson.

Maddiston Local History Workshop

The History Group, as we became known, started after a series of talks were given to some Senior Citizens of Maddiston and Rumford in 1987. It was thought that a group was needed to find out about our villages past and gather photographs in one place which might otherwise be lost.

We met in various locations around the village, at first we started off in the Old Folks Hall, but we got moved on (or moved out) and ended up in the Community Hall (the ladies shower room to be precise) where much against the odds we managed to survive before the Salvation Army took pity on us and we met in their hall. Eventually in August 1988 we settled in the Old Cookery Hall below the school.

The group was initially funded by The New Horizons Trust who gave us enough money to buy our basic necessities after that we were in the main self financed through holding slide shows around the village.

When we started we had about half a dozen photographs by the time the group folded there was probably a thousand – not only views but the people who lived here – something we were immensely proud of.

We came together for the last time to help celebrate the school’s 100th birthday.

The members were;

David E Leask, , Isa Mitchell, Chrissie Kotek, John B Donaldson, (Yankee) Jimmy Robertson, Roy Leask, Mary Wilson, Mary Kelly, Andrew Thomson

Annie Weir, Anna Livingstone, Annie Kerr, Jennie Callaghan, David Donald, Wullie Kenny, Lilly Kenny, Lucy Hynds (Leask), John Hynds

Ian McNiven, Margaret Towe, Donald Towe, Peter Duncan, Jimmy Strang, Janet Horne, Archie Ferguson, Jean Ferguson, Alex Baird, Agnes Wilson.

Rena Conlan, Mary Gibb, Jean Brown, Lindsay Moverly, Christian Muirhead, Rita Myles, Cathie Smith, Ian Hunter, Jeanette Hunter,

Julia McColl,  Andrew McDermott,  Isa Young,  Elizabeth Fabisiak, Joyce Faulds.

100 YEARS

In 1997 Maddiston School would reach its centenary and Maddiston Local History Group decided that such an event could not go unnoticed and decided to approach the school and all the other groups in the village to mark the centenary in some way.

Representatives from as many village organisations as we could gather together; the Local History Group, The school P.T.A. Maddiston Family Centre, The Community Council, The Community Centre, The Guides, and Muiravonside church and of course representatives of the school (teachers and pupils) came together from the end of 1996 to map out what it was we would do to celebrate the Centenary.

Local shops, banks, businesses, voluntary organisations and individuals donated money or prizes and without them we wouldn’t have been able to do anything.

On the 15th of September 1997 a special Assembly was held in the school with Mrs Elliot acting head teacher in the chair. Prayers were held by the School Chaplain Rev Hill.

A Prize Giving was then held for the various activities the children had been involved with was held then the Director of Education, Dr Young, gave the final speech before Rev Hill closed the Assembly with a prayer.

The children then moved out into the playground where a “street party” had been arranged for them, at the end of the street party the Provost and the Chairman of the Local History Group released over 200 balloons each with a tag with the name of a child from the school.



2005

Top Row:

Scott Ferguson, Aaron MacDiarmid, James Coyle, Gary Sharp, Iain Wainwright, Graham Savage, Mark Tait, Andrew Robertson, Ryan Peat, Brian Polson.

4th Row:

Michael Sutherland, Emma Watson, Jasmine French, Amanda Peterson, Dionne Dawson, Ruby Marshall, Ashley Campbell, Kristy Cheyne, Hannah Fleming, Claire Love, Charmaine Anderson, Kathryn McMillan, Chloe Weightman

3rd Row:

Mark Graham, Jamie Innes, Damien Dargie, Steven Langley, Iain Wright, Jamie Leadbetter, Mark Gavin, Mark Tole.

2nd row:

Alexandra Anderson, Chloe Hunter, Ruth McNiven, Nicola Alison, Natalie Roberts, Emma Simpson, Hira Sakander, Sedra ? , Jenny Dixon.

Front Row:

Dillon Wilson, Stewart Smith, Greg Savage, Stefan Byrne, Scott Cameron, Daniel Meechie.

Teachers: Left, Mrs. Chalmers, Right, Mrs. Noer.


2006

Back Row; Darren Wilson, Elliot McKim, Michael Sneddon, Rehan Haider, Jake Tritton, Marc Penman, Sam Mitchell, Jordan Duddy, David Black.

Row 3; Connaire Cameron, Holly Coombe, Marissa Buchanan, Megyn Gillespie, Rebbeca Wilson, Sophie Anderson, Lauren Buchanan, Adele Cook, Lauren Johnston, Kyle McGuire.

Row 2; Mr. G Grant. David Burns, Euan McLelland, Dale Robertson, Scott Rae, Johnathon Heggie, Justin Harrower, Andrew Hunter, Scott Stirling, Kristopher Faulds, Martin Coetzee, Mrs. P. Noer.

Front Row; Gail Small, Gemma Dickinson, Hannan Freer, Shivalika Imtiaz, Lucy Yule, Nicole Muir, Emily Stewart, Laura Darling.


………………………...

 

MR. EDDIE Mc LENNAN 1988 – 2000


Mr. MacLennan’s appointment to the post of Headteacher was highlighted in the local paper, The Falkirk Herald, using the analogy of a sea captain taking over the ‘helm’ of a ship!!
The catchment area was changed from its association with Graeme High School, Falkirk to the newly built Braes High School in Reddingmuirhead. The new high school and its associated primaries became known as the ‘Braes Cluster’ and included the primary schools of Wallacestone, Shieldhill, California, Slamannan, Limerigg, Avonbridge, Drumbowie, Whitecross and Heathrigg Nursery School in Slamannan.
The Primary 7’s annual residential school camp at West Linton associated with Graeme High School also changed. The newly formed Braes Cluster decided to help their pupils get to know each other and ease the transition from primary school to secondary at Dounans Camp, Aberfoyle. This year also saw the introduction of a residential experience abroad for Primary 7s. In conjunction with Wallacestone and then Shieldhill Primary, Maddiston pupils visited Paris, France as well as Valkenberg and Noordwich in the Netherlands. This involved a long overnight coach journey to Dover then an early morning ferry channel crossing and the final stage of the journey by coach again!
Due to the building of further housing developments, the school roll continued to rise which resulted in the ‘Braes Early Starts Nursery’, a satellite of Woodburn Nursery, Falkirk, merging with the school’s own nursery class. This enabled the primary twos to return to the ‘wee school’! However, the rising roll also meant that two additional mobile classrooms were erected in the field adjacent to the annexe.
The lack of space in the school enabled a new library to be fitted out in the lower section of the main building which had formerly been a dining area. £46,000 was spent on shelving, books, furniture and a computer programme called ‘Alice’ which parent helpers and pupils were trained to use.
Age was beginning to show in the main building when dry rot was discovered in the main hall and the porch at the south door had to be replaced!
As staff conditions of service changed in line with national agreements, the post of
senior teacher became defunct and the new post of Principal Teacher came into being.
This post was to have a more managerial role than the former senior teacher status.
The first ‘PT’ appointed at Maddiston was Mrs. Morag Robertson, who was teaching
Primary 1 at the school.

The post of ‘Classroom Assistant’ was also introduced into primary schools and Mrs.
Shona Thomson was the first classroom assistant to be appointed at the school. Mrs
Thomson had been working in the school as a supervisory assistant (school helper).
Clerical hours were extended to cope with the administrative demands and new computers introduced into the school, HT and DHT offices. Computers also became more prominent in the school curriculum. Two computers were put into classrooms and due to the lack of space in the school; the ‘bay area’ in the main building became a poor substitute for a ‘computer suite’.
Recognising the school’s difficulties with all its pupils accessing computer technology, Education Services piloted wireless technology which had its own set of challenges!!
‘Cake and Carol’ concerts were introduced at Christmas time to help fund the traditional Christmas parties and the nativity play was reintroduced by Primary One. These events were always very well attended by parents! Pupils (and staff) showed their talents at spring and summer concerts.
The school was inspected by HMIe in May 2005. All the features inspected were assessed to be ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and the school was put forward as a ‘school of best practice in Behaviour Management’.
HMIe returned in September 2006 but this time to inspect the nursery class which had escaped inspection when the school was done. This was a joint inspection with the ‘Care Commission’. Like the school, the inspectors were pleased with the standard of education being delivered and rated the care standards and quality indicators as being ‘good’ and ‘very good’.
The Headteacher was seconded to Education Services, McLaren House as a ‘Quality Improvement Officer’ which then saw Mrs. Helen Granville, Depute Headteacher, as Acting Headteacher and Mrs. Linda Blair, one of the longest serving members of staff, as acting Depute Headteacher.
The building of the new school started in the autumn of 2006 and is due to be completed in August 2007.

MRS. GRANVILLE 2000- 2007

Mrs. Granville although our Depute Head Teacher has been acting Head Teacher since September 2006. She started her teaching career in 1976 at St. Pats. Primary in Denny. In 1978 she went to St. Bemadettes in Tullibody. From there she went to Wallacestone in 1984. From January 1987 to October 1989 Mrs. Granville spent 2 years teaching in Kent at Brunswick House County Primary. There then followed a 3 year break from teaching when she had her son Anthony. She resumed her teaching career in 1993 at Clackmannan Primary, where she spent 7 years. Mrs. Granville has been at Maddiston since August 2000. Her love of France is legendary. Under her guidance Maddiston Primary is now twinned with Ecole Vincet Van Gogh near Paris.

Staff at Maddiston Primary 2006-2007

Mr. Eddie MacLennan. Head Teacher ( secondment at McLaren House since Sept 2006)
Mrs. Helen Granville. Depute Head Teacher (acting head since Sept 2006)
Mrs. Linda Blair. (acting Depute since Sept 2006)
Mrs. Morag Robertson. Principal Teacher/class teacher P1 R
Mrs. Eileen Bennie. Class Teacher P7 B
Mrs. Pam Noer. Class Teacher P7 N (presently on maternity leave April 2007)
Miss Kristine McGilp. Class Teacher P7 N (supply teacher)
Mrs. Margaret Chalmers. Class Teacher P6
Mrs. Jackie Woodburn. Class Teacher P5
Miss Penny Fleet. Class Teacher P5/4
Miss Karen Nichol. Class Teacher P4 (probationer)
Miss Lesley Haston. Class Teacher P3 H
Mrs. Anne Rae.
Mrs. Irene Russell. Class Teachers P3 R (job share)
Mrs. Suzanne Middleton. Class Teacher P2 M (emigrated to Austrailia Jan 2007)
Miss Susan Gore. Class Teacher P2 M
Mrs. Karen Black.
Mrs. Evelyn McDonald. Class Teachers P2 B/M (job share)
Mrs. Kirsty McOmish. Class Teacher P1 M
Miss Gillian Rae. Class Teacher P1 R (probationer)
Mrs. Irene Barnes. Learning Support Teacher

Mrs. Liz Campbell
Mrs. Margaret Barrie. Secretarial

Mrs. Shona Thomson
Mrs. Kathryn Craig. Classroom Assistants
Mrs. Julie Russell. Classroom Assistant (Friday Only)

Mrs. Bernie Rodgers
Mrs. Mandy Williamson. Special Needs Assistants

Mrs. Velvyn McMillan
Mrs. Lorraine Myles
Mrs. Ellenor Findlay. School helpers 

Mr. Alex McNiven. Janitor

Mrs. Diana Allan. Nursery Teacher
Mrs. Edna Baillie. Senior Early Years Officer
Miss Angela Fallon, Early Years Officer

Mrs. Rhonda Preston
Mrs. Karen Cruickshanks Catering
Mrs. Anne Fowler. (Breakfast Club)

Mrs. Caroline Gray
Mrs. Margaret Welsh
Mrs. Margaret Ferguson Cleaning Staff

Mrs. Lisa Martin. P.E. Specialist
MS. Whiteford Music Specialist
Mrs. Anne Cowan. Craft Specialist
Miss Gill Taylor. Piano Tutor


MRS. LINDA BLAIR 1978 - 2007

AND FINALLY -
I don’t know whether I’d call it fate or not, but since working on this piece of writing, I’m now convinced that there is such a thing. I didn’t just turn up in Maddiston Primary on the 6th of February in 1978 to start a new teaching post, which would last for more than half my life, for no reason. There are too many coincidences for that.
The year before, I had been happily making my way over to Tillicoultry Primary every day where I had been teaching for three years. Even although I was now living in Wallacestone, I decided to keep working there, but the 7th of September 1977 changed all that. I was involved in a very serious car accident which put me in hospital for thirteen weeks and that’s where I met the lady who was to change the direction my life would take. Her name was Grace Laird.
Grace and I were in the same ward in Falkirk Royal Infirmary. She lived in Maddiston and had children at that school, so was able to tell me there was a teaching vacancy there. From my hospital bed I wrote to the Director of Education asking if there was a possibility of being considered for the post. There wasn’t a problem. Once I was back on my feet, (three months later) I had a very informal interview with James Wilson and the job was mine. Changed days! Thanks Grace.
When I started in Maddiston Mr. James Wilson was Head Teacher, Mrs. Nannette Hotchkiss was Assistant Head and Mrs. Eileen Hutton was Infant Mistress. The roll was 322, more than we have today. We had eleven large classes spread between the two buildings. I was in room 4 (now the toilet area) with a P6/7. The toilets were outside, not very “convenient” during class time, but great during breaks. No one needed to be back inside the school at playtimes and lunch times. I wonder if Mrs. Craig and Mrs. Thomson would like to revert to those days.
The infants finished school at 3.OOpm and upper school at 3.3Opm. We had a morning and afternoon break then as well as a full lunch hour. It was amazing what we managed to do in that lunch break. The staff room in the main building, (now Mrs. Granville’s office) was tiny, but as soon as the bell rang for lunch the staff would gather up their marking and head for it. Generally after a quick bite of lunch we would get some marking done and then a variety of crafts would appear. People knitted, crocheted and embroidered. There were some beautiful pieces of work produced in that room. I was even inspired to take up knitting again, a thing I had not done since my own school days. Some even managed to go home for lunch. There didn’t seem to be the same pressure of work in these days.

The school building was very different from what it is today. There was no sink or fridge in the staff room when I started. Dishes had to be taken next door and washed in the toilet area. The infant annexe had its own staffroom, but unfortunately this meant staff didn’t come together very often.
Mr. Wilson’s office had an open fire, most welcoming on a chilly morning. Mr. Jack, the janitor at the time, took great pride in setting a good fire for the Head before he arrived at school. The secretary had no office in these days. She either worked in the Head Teacher’s office or in the infant annexe. The dining room was downstairs where the library is now and there were two sets of cloakrooms, one at each entrance. The school roll was growing so two mobile classrooms were erected. That same month the Education Committee visited the school with a view to rebuilding. Well they’ve taken their time but better late than never!
I remember thinking how well off we were in Maddiston for specialist teachers compared to other schools I’d been in. Mrs. Desmond taught art, Mrs. Kennedy music and Mrs. Monfries sewing. Music and art were taken in room 1 at that time. The following year Mrs. Murdoch began taking classes for P.E. and P5 were privileged in being the first class to have swimming lessons at Bo’ness pool.
Over the years a great number of things have changed for the better, many of which have been well documented already in this book so I won’t dwell on these, but I’d say technology has had one of the greatest impacts on education in my teaching career. Looking back over the last two decades in particular, progress has been rapid. It’s hard to believe that twenty years ago we had a few Sinclair Spectrum computers with cassette tapes which took forever to load and we thought they were a marvellous resource enhancing our children’s learning. Now children are computer literate and confident users. From loading cassette tapes to surfing the web in a relatively short space of time, where will we go from here? The latest addition to our hardware is an interactive whiteboard. Chalk and talk will still have its place, but this piece of technology will change the way we teach and really engage children in their learning.
Bricks and mortar and all the resources in the world, however, don’t make a school. People do. I must have worked with over one hundred staff in my career in Maddiston and at least eight hundred children and can honestly say I have really enjoyed my time in this school. Like everyone else I’ve had my ups and downs but it has been good to me. Maddiston is a very welcoming school and I value the strong friendships I have made over the years.
Pupils have come and gone but it has been wonderful to follow many of their careers. A few have actually returned as colleagues. It has also been really rewarding teaching the second generation. Two former pupils even got married and now have a little boy in P1. One of the best school trips I had with a class was when I had 4 parent helpers that I had taught many years before. It’s time to go though when the grandchildren are starting to appear in your class!!!
The new school is progressing well and looking good. It will be a wonderful place equipped with every resource necessary for the education of our young people. It’s an exciting time for everyone and I wish it every success for the future. I’m really going to miss it. Just as it is the end of an era for the old school, it is also a fitting time for the end of my era in Maddiston Primary School too.
Time to go? Yes, it must be fate! Thanks again Grace.
It’s time to say, “Goodbye” to the old and “Hello” to the new.
Goodbye!
Linda Blair 1978-2007

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