St. Andrew’s Boarding School

Dunipace House was leased by Paul Calaminus from 1922 to 1931 for use as boarding school for boys from 8 years onwards and was known as St Andrew’s School.  Paul Calaminus had run the school for several years at Bridge of Allan but Dunipace with its 11 acres seemed to provide an ideal location.  The grand library at the house was restocked with books and a large room turned into a gymnasium.  In 1922 annual fees were set at £120-£135, but the date of opening had to be set back from September 1922 to January 1923 due to the necessary alterations to the building.  It had the capacity to take 50 boys and this was extended by taking in week and day pupils from the surrounding area.  With the agreement of the bus company a bus left Larbert Cross each morning at 9.25am and returned from the gates of the house at 4.50pm.  Pupils at large were recognised by their blue caps.  The school specialised in drawing and in preparing students for the civil service and university.  Most of the boarders were from British families serving the Commonwealth, especially in South Africa and South America.  There was an emphasis on sport – cricket, rugby and hockey.  Annual sports days were attended by parents, old boys and local people and were very popular.  English was well taught and the boys put on productions of Shakespeare’s plays at the school and in local halls.

Illus: Parents, pupils and old boys on the front steps of Dunipace House at the Sports Day in 1928. Paul Calaminus is to the right of the table of presentation cups (Falkirk Herald 28 September 1927).

Mrs Calaminus acted as the housekeeper and assisted her husband with the teaching.  Their son, Peter, was one of scholars and in 1923, at the age of eight years, was awarded a first-class commendation by the Royal Drawing Society for a study in water colours.  Most of the boys were members of the School Cadet Corps and became a familiar sight at church parades and summer events in their smart uniforms of khaki tunic and kilt.

St Andrew’s School for Boys was affiliated to Christ Church in Falkirk and in 1930 Calaminus qualified as an Episcopalian minister.  By then the school was struggling to attract enough boarders and in August 1931 it closed its doors.  The esteemed headmaster moved to a teaching post in London.

Sites and Monuments Record

Dunipace HouseSMR 1094NS 837 819

G.B. Bailey, 2023