Centenary of The Opening of Eastern Primary School

Laurie Bidwell

31 August 2013

Eastern Primary School has been in the news recently. 



On
Monday 19 August 2013, the Council's City Development Committee approved the sale of the Whinny Brae school buildings and site to a developer (identity not yet disclosed) for conversion into housing. 

In August 2011 it moved from its original building on Whinny Brae to its new location at the refurbished former Grove Academy buildings on Camperdown Street
. The formal opening of the 'new' building took place in March 2012

But a hundred years ago, on
Saturday 29 August 1913, Broughty Ferry School Board, arranged the 'Formal Opening of Eastern School' by George Andrew, Esq, from her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools.

According to the programme, the opening ceremony included, speeches, musical recitals of works by Chopin and Elgar and an elaborate vote of thanks by five separate individuals, led by Provost Lindsay from the Broughty Ferry Burgh Council.

I notice that the School opened to pupils on Monday 1st September immediately after the opening on the Saturday.

According to the first entry in School's log book, 'Work was started with an enrolment of 834 children and a staff of Robert Cameron, Headmaster' and twenty other teachers and instructors who were all listed by name.

Excluding the Headmaster and three specialist teachers, some of the infant classes must have been huge by today's standards with as many as 50 pupils.

Perhaps the anticipated end of the Broughty Ferry Burgh Council in November 1913 may have encouraged the School Board to bring forward their opening ceremony, rather than wait a few months until the school was in session and comfortably settled in. 

On Monday 8 September, a week after the opening day for pupils, the Headmaster wrote in the logbook, 'The organisation is gradually coming into shape.'  

His next entry on 15 September records that, 'Mrs Kidd (the Domestic Science Teacher) is absent to-day with a sore foot.'

On 7 October , the Headmaster records, 'The Autumn Holiday was observed yesterday'.

We may infer from these log book entries that in 1913 the Autumn term started in early September and the Autumn holiday was a single day rather than a fortnight.

While the pattern of holidays, the pupil-teacher ratio and the body responsible for organising schooling has changed over the last hundred years, interestingly one constant is the office of Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools still has a vital role in the external quality assurance of schools.



To find out more about life at
Eastern Primary School in 2013, visit their website:
Eastern Primary School