Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Harris Schoolteachers

Another delve into 19thC occupations on Harris. I have left the transcribed spellings as found!

This time, I have examined teachers living on Harris & Scholars in the whole Parish:

1841 Female 0 Male 1 Total 1

1851 2 Female 4 Male Total 6
Tarbert, Leeclea, Rhenigingdale, Bernara (3!)
276 scholars

1861 1 Female 1 Male Total 2
433 scholars
Tarbert, Direcleit

1871 2 Female 3 Male Total 5
108 scholars in the whole Parish.

Geocrab, Kyles Scalpay

1881 1 Female 6 Male Total 7
142 scholars in the whole Parish.

North Harris, Drinishader, South Harris, Strond, Scalpay

1891 4 Female 14 Male Total 18
1193 scholars in the Parish
Where the teachers lived: Ardsleigh, Borve, Carrigrich, Drinishader, E Tarbert, Finsbay, Geocrab, Grosebay Kyles Scalpay, Luachies, Manish, Meavig, Rushgary, Scalpay, Scaristavore, N Harris, S Harris

1901 10 Female 15 Male total 25
1160 scholars
Where the teachers lived: Big Borve, Drinishader, Finsbay, Geocrab, Kyles Scalpay, Manish, North Bayhead, Obbe, Scalpay, Stockinish, N Harris, S Harris

The 1841 Census reveals itself as little more than a head-count, useful in other ways but not in the context of occupations other than those of the Head of each household.

Nonetheless, the 1851 & 1861 figures indicate an increase in schooling on Harris (the teacher numbers are obviously inaccurate) and we can see the effect of the1872 Education Act (Scotland) which made schooling compulsory in the explosion of provision and uptake.

As number of scholars had not increased by 1901, what is interesting is the rise in the number of teachers from 18 to 25. Whether this was due to curriculum changes or an increase in the number of schools is something to be investigated further.

It is also worth noting that virtually the whole of this change is accounted for by female teachers and I presume we are seeing here the process towards teaching becoming a predominantly female profession, particularly at Primary level?

Update: My research rarely progresses in a linear fashion and an example is that I have just realised that the single teacher of 1841, and one of the 4 male teachers of 1851, was the father of the wife of my cousin Angus Kerr whose career at Rodel is a the subject of several entries. Donald Morrison had been born in Harris circa 1796 and married Christina McKinnon who had died prior to her daughter Lexy's marriage in 1870. The Morrison's lived in Tarbert and then Kyles Scalpay in 1841 & 1851 and Donald had retired to East Tarbert by 1861. His final appearance, in the census of 1871, places him in West Tarbert with his older, unmarried daughter, Bella. I think he possibly taught English.

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