The earliest record of a school in the parish dates to around the beginning of the eighteenth century, From the parochial records we note that on May 13th 1701 a Mr Richard Steil (Steel) was recommended by the presbytery of Hamilton to take the post of school master in Stonehouse.
There being no objections from the church, he took the post. On November 3rd 1702 the church session met to discuss; “That there should be three schools in the parish, one in Kittiemuir, the teacher of which is to have forty merks of the sellary allowed him; another at Tweedyside, the teacher of which is to have twenty merks of the sellary; and the principal school to continue in the town of Stonehouse, as before”. Richard Steil is said to have “quit” the school at this meeting to make way for William Walker of Stonehouse as schoolmaster. Where this school stood is uncertain but the earliest clue to its siting is again from the parochial records which in May 1708 state; “The school was being held in the kirk till a fit place could be had. The committee appear to have latterly got a schoolhouse from Thomas Cure”. In 1716 the schoolhouse is said to have been in a state of “ill condition” and needed to be thatched. William Walker resigned as schoolmaster in this year to be replaced by Walter Weir.
In 1780 there existed a school very near to where the present Townhead Street School is situated. From Statistical Accounts we are told that the school masters’ house was at 44 King Street with the school a little further up the street. The school and school masters’ house are said to have cost £40 to build, paid by the parish. The school house is said to have been low roofed, ill ventilated, and earth paved but reasonably well attended. The working conditions, however, did nothing to improve the health of the children. This may have been the first school built in the village, as it appears prior to this educational establishments were merely rented. Records further state, besides the parochial school, there were others at the head and sometimes the foot of the parish. These were probably temporary dwellings rented due to a lack of permanent premises.
In 1790 the parochial school master was paid the sum of 3 pence per quarter by 47 contributors, though this money apparently was often difficult to collect. According to the minister at the time children often left school at the age of nine or ten to start work. The fact that schools were run predominantly by the churches for their congregations, may in part be responsible for the large attendances and influence the church had within the community. However the Education Act of 1861 greatly reduced their power. This Act established an Inspectorate, where schools were visited by inspectors who encouraged improvements in teaching, school management and record keeping. In 1876 William Borland was Chairman of the Local School Board.
In 1803 an Education Act was established to improve the quality of education by enlisting the services of more qualified teachers and offering better conditions of service. The Act stated that each school master should be provided with a house and garden. This may account for the next parish school in Stonehouse to be built in Boghall Street, about 1808, with a room and kitchen house above for the school master. Originally a single storey building, Camnethan Street School had a second storey added in 1898. One of the first headmasters to teach there was ‘Dominie’ Robert S. Wotherspoon (also session clerk) who died in 1891. Some may still remember Mr Alexander Anderson who succeeded Mr Wotherspoon and retired in 1924.
In 1836 there were five schools in the parish attended by some 300 scholars. Two of these schools were subscription schools. A new parish school was erected a short distance from the original school in Townhead Street in the year 1853, later enlarged in 1870, 1881 and 1912. A house was also built for the teacher near the Free Manse called Sauchrie Cottage.
An annual general meeting notice posted in a local newspaper in 1868 informs us that the subscription school was founded in 1808. Not a lot of information is held on the school however the group has a copy of the subscription society minutes from 1860 which provide an insight into the running of the society and the costs for the school. These can be viewed in the members area of the website.
Greenside Infant School
The school board of Stonehouse acquired Greenside School formerly a subscription school, built in 1853, and then converted it into an infant school. In 1895 children who were five year old, were taught at Greenside School which consisted of two rooms. Both teachers were women, and thus, it became known as the ‘lady school’. The children were taught reading, writing and arithmetic until they reached the age of transferring to either Camnethan Street or Townhead Street where they were taught other subjects such as geography and history. Greenside later became a school for woodwork and domestic sciences.
Free Church School
The Free church School in Hill Road was opened in the year 1851 and was run by the congregation until 1880, when it was disposed of under the Free Church of Scotland School Properties Act, 1878, and became private property. The school board rented Hill Road School from the proprietor for one year intending to build a new school but their lease expired and they rented the E.U. Church until the new school was erected at Townhead Street in 1881. Unfortunately Hill Road School was destroyed by fire in November 1936.
Cam’neathan Street School
Camnethan Street School, more affectionately known as the ‘Dominie’ (Scots for school master) was closed in 1947 with the children being transferred to Townhead School. It was briefly opened on occasion while renovations took place to Townhead School in 1950/51 and as a dinner hall and overflow of classes from Townhead. In 1956 the school was sold to the Congregational Church and demolished to make way for a housing development in March 1995.
Townhead Public School (Now known as Stonehouse Primary).
Whilst Stonehouse Primary School currently occupies the footprint of the old Townhead Public school, a school has been located on or near the exisitng footprint since the late 1700’s. According to Robert Naismith’s book on Stonehouse the first purpose built school in Stonehouse opened in 1781 in King Street. This was followed by a new parish school, built in 1853, which was located ‘a short distance from old one’, (in Townhead Street?).
It was enlarged in 1870 and ‘enclosed with a neat wall’. A new house for the headmaster was also built near the Free Manse (in Hill Road?) called Sauchrie Cottage. (Naismith (1895) pp82-85).
The Free Church School in Hill Road (1851 – 1881) was leased to the Stonehouse School Board for one year in 1881, under the name of Hill Academy, while Townhead Street School was under construction.
On 9th January 1882 Townhead Public School was opened by the School Board.
The Toonheid’ as this school was generally known in early days was built in 1881 at a cost, including site, of upwards of £2,000. Its location was where the present school is, at the corner of Townhead Street and Sidehead Road. The first Headmaster, Mr Alexander McIntosh had been teaching in Stonehouse for nine years before the school was built. He came to the village in 1872 as teacher in the Subscription School and two years later he was appointed to the Free Church School in Hill Road where he remained until, under the School Board of Stonehouse, he then moved to the Parish School in Townhead Street now as Townhead Public School.
The group have a number of documents that relate to the school in relation to
- The Education Department
- Teacher References
- Pupil Exemption Certificates
- Index of pupils who achieved Standard Grade VI including their autograph
- Headmasters diary / log 1881-1950
- Hamilton Advertiser Articles by Jean Leishman
- School Admissions Records (1880-1891, 1891-1906,1906-1920,1920-1926)
- Borland medal
- Autographs of Scholars who achieved Standard grade VI
These documents are all in process of being scanned and categorised into the above headings and will be added to the members section of the website as time and funding permits.
A series of articles written by the late Jean Leishman who was a former pupil and teacher at Townhead Primary were published in the Hamilton Advertiser and the following is a partial extract from the Hamilton Advertiser which provides details of the school opening.
“It was on 9th January, 1882 that the ‘commodious, neat and comfortable’ new Townhead Public School was opened by the School Board. General Lockhart and his Lady, accompanied by Miss Dunn (sister of the parish minister) drove up to the gate, receiving a hearty cheer from the scholars, then came the gentlemen of the school board and waiting to meet them were Messrs. Smith (Architect), T & J Hamilton (joiners), Park (builder), Brown (painter), and Riddle (plumber). There were 186 scholars present and all were seated in the largest room. A hymn was sung.
Rev. Mr. Dunn opened the proceedings with a prayer and read a chapter from the Book of Proverbs. General Lockhart addressed the assembly and declared the school open. The Revs. Messrs Dunn and Paterson followed with brief addresses chiefly as exhortations to the scholars. The General announced a holiday for the remainder of the day and all dispersed. The scholars were very tidy and neat, and behaved ‘remarkably well’. The staff consisted of three teachers working with the headmaster and in addition to the three “R’s”, Latin, French, Needlework, Singing, Geography and History were taught with pupils’ ages ranging from 4 to 14 years”.
Another article tells us that an interesting visit was paid to the school in October 1883 when a former P.T. (pupil teacher) having graduated at Glasgow University accompanied by a friend from Palestine – ‘Sheik Selim Hishmek, guide of Stanley first discoverer of Livingstone’ –heard the pupils sing three songs in their honour.
The Borland Medal/Dux.
On the 6th June, 1924 the Headmaster of Townhead Primary School, Mr. A. McIntosh, wrote in his diary “I have received word from the Authority that a Gold Medal (from money left by the late Dr. Borland, Yarrow) is to be awarded to the Dux Scholar” i.e. the best scholar in the Senior year. The first medal was awarded to Robert Mitchell in 1924. This practice continued each year until 1936 when the rising price of gold made this practice difficult to continue so a watch or other prize was awarded instead until 1939 when a gold medal was again awarded during the war years until 1944. In 1946 it again became difficult to obtain a gold medal so War Savings Certificates were awarded in 1945/6. A prize was awarded each year until 1950 after which the practice ceased (or at least went unrecorded). It was revived in 1960, until 1967 then again discontinued between 1968 and 1980. The Borland Medal prize was revived again in 1981, until 1984 then again no record between 1985 and 1992. The practice was revived again by Mrs. McKenzie, the Head teacher, in 1993 as the Borland Prize for Endeavour. This continued until 1996 and then nothing further is known.
The following is a list of medal winners kindly supplied by John Young.
SCHOOL REFURBISHMENT 2011-2012
The school was upgraded in 2011-2012 when South Lanarkshire council as part of their schools replacement plans awarded a contract to Lend lease. The old school was demolished with a new school building being retained on the exisitng site. The following document provides the specification and drawings of the new school.
During the refurbishment the old well was also uncovered and capped. The main entrance to the old school was retained and is incorporated into the new build.
The current school has a website whose web address is http://www.stonehouse-pri.s-lanark.sch.uk/wordpress/
The following gallery give an indication of the refurbishment work carried out in 2011-2012
Is situated on the west side of the village of Stonehouse.
The school was opened in 1979. It was a single-storey, semi-open plan building, which has 10 primary classes and a nursery.
Its aim is to provide a stimulating educational environment which provides a broad, balanced curriculum to encourage the children to attain their full potential in a happy, caring atmosphere. At present they have a roll of approximately 300 plus pupils which includes 40 nursery children.
The school was refurbished during 2010-2011 in a South Lanarkshire Council schools upgrade programme.
Lend Lease successfully completed Newfield Primary School in Stonehouse. The new School was handed over defect free to South Lanarkshire Council on programme on 29th July 2011, allowing the school staff and pupils to return from their summer break and move in to their new school.
The project comprised the tandem build construction of a new single-storey 8 classroom primary school which is in line with other primary schools recently built or in construction within the framework In addition to the classrooms, the building comprises a main stream nursery, a gym hall, general purpose room, staff room library, IT Suite. The new building is located adjacent to the existing school campus, sited on the location of the existing school playing field. The works were carried out in one phase to allow the existing school to operate whilst the new building is under construction.
The construction of the primary school is a steel frame structure with holorib decking topped with a concrete floor slab on pads/strip foundations. The building will have predominantly a facing brick outer leaf with areas of metal cladding and curtain walling on the elevations. The roof will be an aluminium standing seam roof