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

Friday, 19 November 2010

Kyles Scalpay (Caolas Scalpaigh) School

For my second foray into identifying the teachers in individual Harris schools I have selected to look at this school which was situated in Steinish adjacent to Kyles Scalpay at Grid Reference NG205982*

(Donald Morrison, 42, Teacher, Tarbert, b. Inverness )
(Together with his Wife and 8 children)

Donald Morrison, 60, Schoolmaster, Kyles Scalpay, Father, b. Harris)
(Neil Morrison, 15, Scholar, Head, b. Harris)
(Jessie Morrison, 17, Scholar, Daughter, b. Harris)

(Christina Morrison, 60, Schoolmaster's Wife, Tarbert, b. Harris)
(Together with Daughter, Granddaughter and Servant)

(Donald Morrison, 70, Retired Schoolmaster, East Tarbert, b. Harris)
(Wife, Daughter and 4 Grandchildren)

Susan Mcleod, 37, Teacher, Wife, House at Kyles Scalpay, b. Harris
(Alexander Macleod, 40, Head, Crofter, b. Harris)
(6 children ages 1 to 16 all born in Harris)

1872 Education Act

1875 – Public School Building takes place but Kyles Scalpay not identified as one of these.

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

Jessie C McLaren, 23, Teacher of Elementary School, School house, Kyles Scalpay, b. Dull, Perth
(Annie Keir, 10, Scholar, Cousin, b. Dunfermline, Fife Shire)

John Macleod, 35, Teacher (English), Kyles Scalpay School, b. Barvas, Ross-shire
(Ann Macleod, 29, General Servant (Domestic), Sister, b. Barvas, Ross-shire)

Pupil Numbers
1919 68
1929 49
1938 43
1950 22
1958 06

The first teacher that we have clearly living and working in Kyles Scalpay was Donald Morrison. He and his wife, Christina Mackinnon are known to me because their youngest daughter, Lexy Morrison (1835-1921) married my '1st Cousin 4 times removed' Angus Kerr (1826-1910) both of whom were employed by the Factor John Robson Macdonald at Rodel.

Donald was in Kyles in 1851 but I cannot say who, if anyone, was teaching there in 1841 and 1861.

However, in 1871 Crofter's wife and mother of 6, Susan McLeod ,was teaching in Kyles to be followed in 1881 by Mary Campbell, in 1891 by Jessie C McLaren and in 1901 John Macleod.

We can see that, despite the healthy school roll of 1919, numbers fell into decline and the school finally closed in 1960 ending at least 110 years of educational provision in Kyles Scalpay.

Note: *Many thanks to ADB44 for identifying the site of the school.


  1. You're welcome. I just cannot get over the numbers on the schoolroll in 1919 for what is nowadays barely a one-horse town... And that goes for many of the schools that have been closed over the past decades.

  2. From http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/factfile/population/westernisles.asp that shows the population of the Outer Hebrides during the 20thC one can perhaps see why:

    1901 46,172
    1911 46,732
    1921 44,177
    1931 38,986
    1939 38,529
    1951 35,591
    1961 32,609
    1971 29,891
    1981 31,884
    1991 29,370

  3. Regarding the schoolteachers, Susan McLeod is from my family line. Susan Catherine McLeod's parents where John 'Ban' McLeod and Janet. Susan married Alexander Macleod sometime in the 1850s.

    Anthony Macleod Hyde