Airth United Presbyterian Church School

Illus: 1859 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland). The United Presbyterian School is next to the United Presbyterian Church.

This school occupied a small building on the north side of the Main Street behind which the church was located.  It was presumably commenced in the early-mid nineteenth century.  The church had been erected in 1809 as an Erskine Associate Congregation and in 1847 became the United Presbyterian. It was described in 1859 as:

A small private school.   The branches taught are merely elementary.   Average attendance of boys and girls, thirty six.  The master has no government allowance of endowment, only the school fees which amount to £21 a year.   It is the property of Wm Graham Esq, Airth Castle, Airth.” 

Illus: The old Airth United Presbyterian School in the 1950s shortly before demolition.

As with many private schools it was sometimes called an Adventure School and may have been one of the two endowed schools mentioned in the New Statistical Account of the 1840s.

After 1873 the U.P. school came under the control of the Airth Parish School Board, but it was not until 1883 that it was fully incorporated into the public system.  Meantime its religious element was diluted and it appears to have only taken in the younger age group.  The owners of the building, the Grahams of Airth Castle, became more involved in its running and for several years from 1877 until 1883 it was known as “Mrs Graham’s School.”  In 1883 it is referred to as “Airth Female School” and in 1884 as “Airth Sewing School.”

In 1883 the school was suppressed and amalgamated with the Public School.  Miss Keith, the popular teacher at the school, was transferred, along with her young flock, to the Public School.

In the last year of its existence the school was supported by a number of prominent citizens:

“The managers of Mrs Graham’s School in the parish of Airth beg to acknowledge the receipt of the following subscriptions towards the funds required for the support of the school:

  • The Right Hon, Lady W G Osborne Elphinstone of Tullyallan – £5
  • Mrs Wm Graham of Airth – £8
  • Mrs Thos Dawson Brodie of Gairdoch – £4
  • Miss Dawson of Powfoulis – £4
  • A Wauchope Esq of Airth Castle – £5
  • R B Maconchie Esq WS of Edinburgh – £3.3s
  • Rev Wm Park DD of Airth Manse – £8
  • P Gardner Esq of Dunmore Pottery – £2
  • A Nimmo Esq of Westbank – £1”                  
(Falkirk Herald 3 March 1883, 3).
Year ArrivedHeadteacherYear LeftNo. Pupils
1860sRobert Fish40
Miss Sinclair188080
Miss Keith188340

Sites and Monuments Record

Main StreetSMR 2010NS 8996 8747

G.B. Bailey, 2023