Auchterhouse Community


Extracts from the Auchterhouse School Board Minutes 1873-1895

Numbers of children - 1873

There were 165 children between the ages of 5 and 13 in the parish - 90 boys and 75 girls.
141 of them attended school (79 boys, 62 girls). However, 24 were not attending (11 boys, 13 girls)

Nine children were not attending school. An officer was instructed to call and request attendance or proceedings would be taken against them.

In 1888 there were 110 pupils on the role.

In 1892 there were 99 on the school role

Auchterhouse Female Public School - 16 March 1875

"We are disappointed with the appearance made by this little school. The number of failures is very great especially in arithmetic. The general intelligence and meaning of words are only fair and the Higher Subjects are weak generally.

The school is altogether unnecessary and unsuitable. The building is inferior in every way and badly ventilated.

The situation is very unsuitable and apparently unhealthy. The offices are very inconveniently situated and there is no playground obtainable. Adequate accommodation ought to be at once provided in the principal School distant about 50 yards and all the staff properly organised with a proper division of labour set to work there.

The Board must at once bestir themselves and make sufficient provision for the education in the Parish."

Auchterhouse Public School

"This school made on the whole a very creditable appearance, considering that the staff is not sufficient for the numbers. The penmanship is worthy of mention as being very good."

The School Board immediately made plans to extend the Public School to incorporate Female School.

JAMES SPENCE late Schoolmaster here died 7 August 1813 Aged 59
His mind was active and capacious, deeply imbued with knowledge ornamental to himself, and highly useful to society. He was a pleasant companion, a warm friend, an honest man and a sincere Christian. He discharged the duties of his office with skill, temper and fidelity. He regulated the passions, expanded the intellects, and improved the hearts of those under his tuition. This monument is erected by his grateful pupils.


In 1886 a member of the School Board complained of: "the boys at Auchterhouse using abusive and foul language to visitors and others greatly to the annoyance of the people and the discredit of the district."

This was supported by Mr Valentine, Mansion House who suggested the proportion of pauper children was in excess of those in the Parish and therefore proving detrimental to the morals of the natives and the amenity of the village as a summer resort.

School Board

They were elected for 3 years. Responsibilities included: Appointment of teachers, prosecution of parents for not sending their children to school, carrying out repairs to the school, carrying out changes the School Inspectors suggested/demanded.

Who was on the School Board?

Here is a list of members of the Board in 1888.
William Cochrane tailor Kirkton of Auchterhouse
Alexander Jamieson farmer Kirkton of Auchterhouse
Alexander McKay Jun. farmer East Mains
James Playfair landed proprietor Eastfield
William Sturrock farmer Burnhead
Andrew Whitton landed proprietor Couston

School Fees

1873 School fees were as follows:
10d per month Reading
1s 2d Reading/writing
1s 6d Reading/writing/arithmetic
1s 8d Reading/writing/arithmetic grammar and geography

In 1885 school fees were reduced
8d Infants
10d Standard I
1s Standard II
1s 2d Standard III
1s 4d Standard IV - VI

Children were charged 1s each a year for coal for the classroom and 1d per month for pen and ink.

Staff Salaries

1873 Mr Robertson, Schoolmaster had a salary of £50 annually. He also received £3.3s for collecting the school rate, which was set at £120 for the parish of Auchterhouse, plus some of the school fees.
Mr Robertson's salary was raised to £65 in lieu of the reduction in school fees.

No fees were charged after October 1889. This meant a difference of £44 to Mr Robertson which was made up to him in an increase in salary. There were still fees for Standard VI pupils.

Female Teachers

In 1873 Miss Forrest received £15 annually as teacher of the Female School. When she resigned on Dec 27 1873 the following advert appeared in the Dundee Courier on Monday 29th and Friday 2nd January 1874:

"Wanted, a Certified Teacher for the Female School, Auchterhouse. Salary £15 with school fees and Government grant: also dwelling house and garden. Applications with certificates to be lodged with the Rev. Mr Lyall Chairman of the School Board on or before 17 January 1874. The Teacher will be required to enter on her duties immediately after the Government Inspection in February."
There were only two applicants. The post was advertised again at a salary of not less than £60. Miss Mills was appointed in February 1874.

Miss Mills resigned Dec 1875. The new teacher was to be under the supervision of the Teacher of the Public School. A salary of £45 was at first advertised but no one applied so it was raised to £60 with the result that there were 14 applicants from whom a Miss Hay, Aberdeen, was appointed.
The former Female schoolhouse was fitted up as a dwelling house for the female teacher.

A bad working relationship

Arrangements for putting the Female teacher under supervision of Public School teacher Mr Robertson did not work well. There were professional disagreements between them.

The School Board planned to make two separate schools within one building. Mr Robertson wrote to them offering "To waive my right as master of the whole school and allow her to conduct her department as she thinks proper, the Board alone to take cognisance of any matter arising. This I do in the interests of peace."

Despite this relations between Miss Hay and Mr Robertson remained cool and she resigned in August 1881.

There were 52 applicants for the job at £50 and Miss Scott was appointed Female teacher.
Miss Forrest 1873
Miss Mills 1873-75
Miss Hay 1875-81
Miss Scott 1881-94
Miss Mitchel 1894-99
Miss Banks 1899-1904
Miss Lowden 1904-1912
Miss Murray 1912-?

Tragic month for Mr Robertson, headmaster

On 19 November 1890, it was noted in the School log book that the school had been closed since 13 November owing to the death of the teacher's only son, John.

26 November 1890 - school closed owing to the death of Elizabeth, the master's elder daughter.

6 July 1900 - School closed owing to the death this morning, of the master's only surviving daughter, Jeanie.

Bun feast

27 January 1893 - buns and organges were distributed among the scholars on the occasion of the master's completion of twenty five years service in this school.

22 June 1897
Holiday in honour of the Queen and the completion of the sixtieth year of her reign. Medals in the form of a Maltese Cross were distributed to the scholars in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and intimation given that they would be entertained at a picnic on the hill tomorrow afternoon.

Mr and Mrs Willsher entertained the scholars to tea and lantern views (by Mr Feathers, Dundee). Mr William Walker, Avenue Cottage, was also present with his gramaphone.