The Hall School, Hunthill, High Blantyre

1898 School Lane

1898 School Lane

The 1835 Statistical Account suggests at that date Blantyre had 4 schools. One at Blantyre Works (at the quadrangle), one at Hunthill (The Hall School, predating School Lane Parish school), one at Auchinraith and also a female school. Despite looking, I am unsure where the one at Auchinratih in 1835 was and where on earth was ‘the girls school?’

Of more certainty, is the Hall School, at Hunthill, School Lane. Not to be confused with the main Parish school in School Lane, the Hall School, was predating the later Parish school. Gordon Cook gave me some help with the following:

“A hall was built at Kirkton, by well meaning locals as a Temperance Hall in the 1850’s or earlier. Rev. Stevenson remarked in his Statistical Account of 1791 that there was no drunkenness in the town, so perhaps trouble came with the ironstone workers in Auchentibber (many lived in and around the Kirkton), court cases at this time would bear out their rowdiness. Anyway whether the temperance society worked or not I don’t know, but the Hall came into the possession of Mr Craig. Several generations may have owned it, but in 1875 it was Allan Craig), and the original Mr Craig owner gave permission for a school to be run there. Every year the Hall School would be inspected by the minister and others just like the parish run school further down the lane (School Lane). This Hall School was supported by benevolent individuals and got no grant from the parish. Also it became a great place for meetings and socials to be held. Often with functions or meetings taking place in Mr Craig’s Hall School. “

In 1855 when Barnhill schoolmistress Elizabeth Lyon died, the twenty odd scholars at Barnhill were transferred to the Kirkton Hall School, at School Lane, High Blantyre. The Headmaster of this school was Mr Hunter, a gentleman from East Kilbride. Old James Brownlie speaking in the 1930’s recalled that, at that time there were many ‘fine schools’ in Blantyre, and all of them consisted of one classroom only. James born on 22nd June 1845 ended his formal education in 1856, when, at just eleven years of age, he was sent to work for Henry Monteith & Co. in the village dye works. He was at the Hall School only for 1 year. Although Mr Brownlie could remember seeing David Livingstone on his last visit to Blantyre on Wednesday, December 31st 1856, he was still able at 92 years of age, to enjoy a “daunner” round the old Barnhill area where he grew up and played as a lad in the 1850s.

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