These notes are based on lectures given by Rhoda Fothergill – they were made by a local resident of Perth – Alan Darling – and have been passed to this website.
Schools of Perth 1790 to the Disruption 1843
1794 – Charity School funded by Society for Propagation of Christian Knowledge. Held in James VI Hospital by Mr Duff.
The Grammar School of Perth.
The Academy of Perth (1760).
From 1807 these became the Seminaries in Rose Terrace.
Stewart’s Free School, Mill Street – founded 1813.
Graham’s School – founded c.1820.
Perth Female School – founded 1815 – met in James VI Hospital.
Perth Infant School – founded 1827 – held in Blackfriars then Hospital.
Middle Church Parish School – Meal Vennel.
East Church Parish School – Kinnoull Street – Stormont Street.
West Church Parish School – (1838) South William Street.
St. Leonard’s Church Parish School – in Hospital.
National School in Watergate – 1837. National School in New Row – 1837.
Cathedral School (Boys) Atholl Street.
Cathedral School (Girls) Stormont Street.
1843 – The Disruption
The Free Churches formed their Free Schools.
Free West Church School – Mill Street in 1848 adjacent to Free Church.
Free Middle Church School.
Free St. Leonard’s Church School – Victoria Street adjacent to Free Church.
Sharp’s Institution founded 1860 (now Education Offices, Methven Street).
Seymour Munro Free School, Caledonian Road (founded 1855).
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, Caledonian Road.
By 1897 St. Ninian’s Episcopal School is in North Methven Street.
St. John’s Roman Catholic School was situated in High Street (east of Meal Vennel), formerly it had been in Melville Street.
By 1845 there was a House of Refuge for Destitute Girls at Coal Shore. In 1850 this establishment moved to Craigie (site is now a Nursing Home).
A School of Industry for Boys (founded 1843) was in James VI Hospital.
A School of Industry for Girls (founded 1846) was in James VI Hospital.
The School of Industry for Boys moved to Fechney Industrial School (off Glasgow Road) in 1850. The School of Industry for Girls moved to Wellshill by 1860.
There was early in the 19th Century a ‘Gallic School’ in Barossa Street.
The Knox Free Church (South Street) had a Knox Free Territorial School behind the church.
There were also private schools in various parts of Perth, Kinnoull Street, Rose Terrace and St. Leonard’s Bank.
1872 – Education (Scotland) Act
This brought into being School Boards. Most of the schools in Perth came under the jurisdiction of Perth School Board.
Middle Church School – Meal Vennel School – Central District.
West Church School – South William Street School – Southern District.
East Church School – Stormont Street School – a new school was built in Dunkeld Road called Northern District and now St. Ninian’s School. (Present Northern District built 1912).
Free West Church School – North Port School.
Infant School – King Street School.
These two schools were sold when Caledonian Road School was built in 1892. Caledonian Road School was built on the site of Seymour Munro School which ceased to exist.
The National School, Watergate – the Watergate School was closed and replaced by a new school Western District School (Craigie School) in 1885/6.
A new school was built in Kinnoull in 1876.
The Episcopalian School and the Catholic School remained denominational.
A Survey of Education in Perth made in 1835 prior too the establishing of two National Schools stated that the total children in the four parishes (i.e. of school age) were 3800. 2257 were at school and 1543 were not at school. The National Schools were set up with some council help, public subscriptions and a Treasury Grant.
Among private schools in the 19th Century
Misses Hindmarch. Academy School, St. Leonard’s Bank.
Miss Foggo, Board and Education of Young Ladies. 11 Rose Terrace (her mother was related to Neil Gow).
1820/30 – Mr and Miss Robinson – 48 Methven Street – English and ornamental branches of female education.
Miss Greig’s, Athole Street.
Some Additional Notes:
“The Church of Perth and that of Stirling and the Schools -.”
Granted to Dunfermline Abbey. Object of school was to train and maintain a supply of recruits for the Church – scholars taught to read and write in the vernacular and grammar i.e. to read, write and speak Latin. There was also a Sang School for music mainly for church purposes. These schools continued after the Reformation. Sometimes it was difficult to get a suitable teacher for the Sang School.
The Grammar School of Perth became renowned. Noblemen’s and Gentlemen’s sons were educated there. Teachers were appointed by the Church Session and Council. Places at the school for poorer children were paid for from Hospital Funds. Pupils were taught “to read English, to wrytt fair and grammar”. Appointments for teaching posts faced a very thorough examination. John Hallyburton (1649) had to give specimens of Cicero’s Epistles and grammar thereon (translation) then had to answer grammatical questions. He was given an ode of Horace and had to return eight days later and give a grammatical, historical and then rhetorical explanation of it. The Master of the school was given “Chaumer Maill and Collis” and a small salary. c.1630-1651 The school was at Speygate/South Street corner. It was one storey, facing north and entered from South Street and Schoolhouse Vennel. The floor was bare till 1638 when plats were laid to keep the children safe from “venomous bestis”. It was most likely this schoolhouse that Cromwell demolished in 1651 when requiring stone for his Citadel. When a new schoolhouse was built c.1656 it was situated at south-west corner of St. Ann’s Lane. The Sang School had also been in St. Ann’s Lane on east. The Lane was at times called the School Vennel. The Master of the new school had a salary of £250; also he received“Chaumer Maill” and a “chalder of coals”. It was customary for Session and Council to “induct” the new Master by taking him to the school and delivering to him “ane gramer and a pair of taws and the keys” (of school door). At this time there was a writing school -* often taking pupils from the Grammar School and was forbidden by Council to teach pupils.
The “Weemen’s” schools were allowed to teach boys to the age of 7 to read but not to write. Girls attended too.
In 1709/10 Lord George Murray was receiving his education at Perth Grammar School. He lodged in Gowrie House in term time. He was, of course, a commander of the Jacobite troops in the ’45 Rising.
By mid 18th century the Grammar School of Perth had a Master and three doctors (assistants). The Council gave £11 to each doctor yearly and the Hospital also contributed to salaries. Grammar School widened its curriculum to include French, Latin, and Greek, book-keeping, arithmetic, geography, geometry and knowledge of celestial and terrestrial globes.
1760 – Perth Academy founded. It offered Literature and Science. Classes met in the two storeys above the Corn Market. Mr Mair had classes in Maths, Arithmetic, Book-keeping and Natural Philosophy. Dr Tait had classes in Natural History, History, Poetry, Rhetoric, Logic and Moral Philosophy. Later there were classes in Art and French. More room was required.
1807 – The Seminaries, Rose Terrace. The Grammar School and the Academy remained separate each having its own Master.
1809 – Mr Adam Anderson appointed Rector of Perth Academy. Later the schools (departments) of the Academy were: Grammar, Academy of English Literature and Science, French, Drawing and Writing School. The Masters had to pay for the advertisements from 1811 and for the prizes from 1855. Gradually in the 19th Century the Council stopped paying salaries to teachers but gave them fees.
1873 – The Schools were known as Perth Academy.
In 1831 girls had been allowed to attend the English School.
1875 – Lower School and Higher School. Girls and boys were kept separate in the Higher School. 1881 Lady Superintendent appointed.
1885 – The clock and Britannia erected.
1894 – Teacher of Music appointed.
1899 – Dux medals instituted.
1908 – The Corner House was bought and the Lower Department transferred there.
1910 – First School Secretary appointed.
1915 – Sharps Institution amalgamated with Perth Academy under Rector Mr Smart (Smart Tower) who retired in 1925.
1931 – New Perth Academy at Viewlands.