Kirkton: Temperance Hall School


Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 21.04.02Of the two 19th Century schools in School Lane, the one nearer the Kirkton Cross itself was called “The Temperance Hall School”. It looked out upon a field between it and the Main Street, with Croftfoot to the North. It is marked on 1859 maps. Existing since 1853 (as confirmed in Hamilton Advertiser 21st November 1863), it was run by the temperance society. Described in 1859 as, “A room on the upper Story of a house built as a Temperance Hall by the Parish, but now feued to J. Craig of Birdsfield. The school receives no support from the Parish.” The school was a detached building, 2 storeys built of stone. It had a large yard, likely used as a playground at the back, bordering on Orchardhead at Hunthill.

The school was dropped when the President of the Society was compelled to sell the hall sometime shortly before 1859. The new owner was Mr. Alan Craig (possibly leasing it from Mr. J Craig) who did not continue the premises as a school. It was said that immediately after, that the old school was sorely missed. Reports mentioned the “local institution” suggesting it was well established.

So, in 1863, some individuals, along with a Mr. Barr from East Kilbride, who proposed to be the teacher, approached Mr Craig, to see if they could lease or hire the hall, for the purpose of re-opening the school. For a modest rent, the school was officially re-opened again on Monday 4th May 1863.

On Saturday 14th November 1863, a concert was held in the hall to raise further funds for the unendowed school. Dutires for gas, rent, teachers’ wages had to be sought. It was noted what a considerable success the school had been the last 10 years. Miss Naismith, Miss McNaught and Mr Shearer gave singing solo performances. Mr Paterson of East Kilbride sang his own composition “Improvements of Blantyre”, for this was 1863, a monumental year for Blantyre. New Church, new gas lights, and the re-opening of this popular school. It was noted that Blantyre heritors would certainly have needed a rest in the following year given their huge effort on improving Blantyre, that current year. At this the audience convulsed with laughter. Finally, to end on further good humour, a young lad named Scott sang grotesque songs and told some witty anecdotes.

It is likely the group made some improvements, for in a report of a farmers ball held there in 1869, the building had a row of gas burners and it easily seated 40 people for the meal, so this sounds like being a decent schoolroom. It is unknown what was on the lower floor.

The demise of the school would appear to have happened when the nearby main Primary School opened in 1875 on Hunthill Road, nearby. The building itself after 1875, was built against by other buildings and became semi detached.It is still shown on 1938 maps, but not shown on December 1945 aerial photos, giving a window for its demolition.

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