Carriden Girls’ School

A girls’ school at Carriden Estate was endowed in 1843 with £10 a year from the lands of Carriden by Admiral Sir James Hope.  In a Deed of Mortification and Acceptance by Lady Hope of Carriden in favour of the Ministers and Elders of the Parish of Carriden, a Legacy of £200 was bequeathed by Miss Margaret Hope for support of the Carriden Sewing School, dated 7th August 1843.  As well as female pupils it also took in infants of both sexes.  In 1844 a building was erected on the new turnpike road on Carriden Brae at the end of the drive to Carriden House.  This took the form of a single-storey cottage-ornée with a bay window.  It was to the west of the entrance lodge built in 1818.

On the 1854 Ordnance Survey map it is labelled as “SCHOOL (FOR GIRLS)” and the surveyors noted it was :

About 23 chains south of the parish church.  This is a private school for the education of females and infants.  It was erected by the Misses Hope of Carriden, who are the patrons.  The teacher is Miss Slesser, who has a salary of £10 from the patrons together with the usual fees, house & c.  The number of scholars varies very much, so that the attendance cannot be given.”

Illus 1: 1854/55 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

After the reconstruction of the school at Muirhouses by the Hope family the Carriden Girls’ School moved there in 1867.  The old building was converted into a comfortable dwelling house and became known as the West or Outer Lodge.

Miss Dalzell became the teacher in 1846 and married the land steward of the Carriden Estate, George Davidson.  The couple then farmed at Walton for 42 years.  George Davidson was appointed the first clerk of the Carriden School Board in 1873.  Around 1890 they returned to live in the schoolhouse at the West Lodge where they both died, Mrs Davidson in 1906.

Illus 2: The 1866 School and Schoolhouse at Muirhouses.

The new building at Muirhouses reflected the style of the 1844 building and was extended to the remainder of the village.  It overlooks the public square on the east and is L-plan in shape with a gabled timber porch at the re-entrant angle.  The schoolroom occupied the northern wing and had a gabled central bay with a moulded panel bearing the date 1866.  To the south of the porch was the two storey teacher’s house with a canted bay window on the east front corbelling out to a rectangular upper gabled storey.

The school at Muirhouses was managed by Miss Hope until her death in May 1890.  The task then fell to the minister and kirk session of Carriden who continued to look after the school in order to keep the cost off the rates.  There was nothing above Standard III in Carriden Girls’ School.  After twelve years it was felt that it was timely to close the school and for the pupils to be looked after by the Bo’ness and Carriden School Board which had been established in 1873.  A new public school had been built at the foot of Carriden Brae in 1876 with ample capacity and so this made the transfer of the thirty or so children relatively simple

Illus 3: The Muirhouses School in 1990.

The school at Muirhouses was eventually sold in 1913:

For SALE by Private Bargain, Subjects at MUIRHOUSES, belonging to Harry Lloyd Verney Esq, of Carriden, known as the “CARRIDEN SCHOOL PROPERTY” consisting of a Dwelling-House (5 apartments, scullery, washhouse, etc) and Schoolroom adjoining.  Garden Ground attached.  Immediate entry.  Assessed Rental £18.  No Feu-Duty…

(Linlithgow Gazette 2 May 1913, 1).
Year ArrivedHeadteacherYear LeftNo. Pupils
1846Miss Dalzellc1852
(1860)Miss Selsser
1901Miss Fraser190348

Sites and Monuments Record

Carriden BraeSMR 310 &
SMR 350
NT 0188 8074 &
NT 0186 8054

G.B. Bailey, 2022