Armadale’s first schools

Map of 1856 - Site of Armadale's first school (circled), and second school (titled on North St)

Map of 1856 – Site of Armadale’s first school (circled), and second school (titled on North St)

William Cameron, Schoolmaster and Songwriter

William Cameron, Schoolmaster and Songwriter

In 1819 the want of a School became so much felt that a committee was formed to have such an institution established. It was at once arranged to rent, for that purpose, the straw-thatched house (the site of which now accommodates Coia’s Fish and chip shop), West Main Street, about a hundred yards west from the Cross, behind which stood Thomas Rankin’s blacksmith shop.

 

 

 

The first schoolmaster was an 18yr old William Cameron who taught there successfully for 13 years.

William Wilson, from Whitburn, was Cameron’s successor and, under his leadership, the school roll grew so much that it was decided to build a new school. Mr. Dennistoun, a local laird, gave a site for it as well as the stone and timber.

In 1839 the new school opened in North Street near the Cross. During the next 30 years, children were either taught at the Armadale Subscription School or at one of many Works Schools , which were created by local mining companies for their employees’ children.

Subscription School on South Street and, later the Town Hall

Subscription School on South Street and, later the Town Hall

In 1857 the school roll had increased so much that an even larger school was required. The third subscription school was built in 1859 in South Street. In 1874, because of the amount of schools in Armadale run by the mining companies, and especially the nearby school in Mount Pleasant, only a handful of pupils attended the Subscription school. In 1896 it became the Town Hall.

In 1878, a new school (with a  School Board) was built on Academy Street – the building is still used today as Armadale Primary School.

 

Read more on armadale.org.uk here 

Read more in Armadale Past and Present here