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

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Education in Harris in 1881

By the time of this next Census the 1872 Education Act (Scotland) had been in operation for nearly 9 years and we can see a snapshop of what it meant for Harris in our next list:

Donald Bethune, 44, Schoolmaster, East Tarbert 21, b. Glasgow

Mary Campbell, 21, School Mistress, Kyles Scalpay 48, b. Ardchattan, Argyllshire

John Abercrombie, 62, Teacher (English), School House, North Harris ED1, b. Polmont, Stirling

Malcolm Morrison, 17, Substitute Teacher, Ladies School, North Harris ED10, b. Lochs

BAYS (1)
Agness Ashley, 24, Teacher Certificated (English), Drinishader, b. Edinburgh

Elizabeth G McKintosh, 23, Schoolmistress, Scaristavore, b. Kirkmichael, Banffshire

Thomas M Brunton, 37, Teacher 'Elementary School' MA, School House, South Harris ED4, b. Glasgow (Wife Jessie, 32, was the Sewing Mistress at 'Elm School')

Kenneth J Mackenzie, 27, Teacher, Strond, b. Ullapool

Roderick Matheson, 44, Teacher Pub. School, South Harris ED3, b. Lochalsh

John Gillanders, 74, School Master, Crofter's Dwelling House, South Harris ED4, b. Kishorn, Ross-shire

Angus Morrison, 18, Teacher (Nonconformist), South Harris ED7, b. Harris

John Mann, 31, Teacher, Island of Scalpay, b. Aberdeen

(Donald Macleod, 21, Schoolmaster, Visitor, Carragray 56, b. Back, Ross-shire)

The first thing that strikes me is not the increase in the number of teachers but where they have come from. The 1872 Act imposed teaching in English rather than in Gaelic and we can see that this was achieved by importing teachers born, raised and trained on the mainland. The Churches teachers, whether Free of Established, have almost ceased to appear apart from in the form of the Noncomformist Angus Morrison living somewhere in Enumeration District 7 of South Harris.

The Census records over 1000 'Scholars' at this time so, unless the dozen teachers listed faced huge numbers of children each day, I suspect that something altogether more complicated than the picture presented here was actually taking place. We know, for example that the school at Kyles Scalpay, designed by Alexander Ross, was built in 1875 yet where were its teachers?

Oh, and the 'Substitute Teacher' Malcolm Morrison was living at the 'Ladies School' in North Harris with an older 'General Servant' and entertaining a young lady Visitor so precisely what and where in ED10 this establishment was is yet another mystery to be explored...

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