Grangemouth Subscription School

The Schoolhouse and Public Hall known as the Grangemouth Subscription School and the New Hall were erected on the south side of Grange Street by public subscription in 1852 and opened in April 1853 with a grand concert.  The three storey building occupied a prominent location near the centre of this main street.  The hall was the idea of a number of local businessmen who owned the property and its management was vested in Trustees from amongst them.  The hall could accommodate 700-800 people and was rented by various organisations being used for concerts, dances, lectures, political rallies and church services.  The interior of the hall measured 80ft by 30ft with a ceiling 20ft high and could be divided by folding doors 12ft high – the east compartment being intended for the female school-room.  It was for this reason that the plural “schools” was used in the title.  

Illus 1: 1859/62 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

In 1859 the Ordnance Surveyors wrote:

NEW HALL – This building is occasionally occupied as an Assembly Room, but it is chiefly occupied as a school room.  Statement of the teacher’s salary is as follows:

Receives annually from the government      £18.0.0

Annual amount of fees (on an average)        65.0.0

Total                                                        83.0.0

The usual branches of education are taught together with Navigation, French, Latin, Greek, German & drawing.  The number of male attendants is 100, female 60, making a total of 160 scholars.  The building is 3 stories in height, with back premises attached which are one storey, all slated and in a very good condition.  It was built by subscription for a town hall, and is the property of various persons.”

The name of the school was misleading because although some money had been raised by public subscription the building was privately owned.  This meant that it should not have been in receipt of government grants.  It also received £100 from the Ferguson Bequest.

Illus 2: Grange Street looking north-east with the three-storey hall on the right.

At the passing of the Education Act of 1872 it was noted that the school had 163 male pupils and 113 female with three teachers and three pupil teacher/monitors.  The Grangemouth School Board was established over the summer of the following year but delayed consideration of providing school accommodation until they had seen the managers of the New Hall.  Those mangers intimated that they intended to close the school as it did not conform to government standards – not only did the building front directly onto the busy road but it had no playgrounds.  The hall was sold on 10 April 1874 to the Town Commissioners for use as a Town Hall.  At the time the remaining trustees of the school and hall were Alexander Thomson, merchant and shipowner, Grangemouth; Peter Hastie, tailor and clothier there; Robert Forsyth, sometime ship agent, Grangemouth, then residing in Glasgow; and Thomas Morrison, sometime tracker, Grangemouth.  One of the teachers, Mathieson, became the headmaster of Zetland School.

It was at this time that the Ferguson Bequest realised that the schools were proprietary and took action to recover the £100 contributed on false pretences.  A motion by one of the local councillors to claim back the money given by the general public was not followed up.

In 1876 a new school was set up in the New Hall under Michael Gavin as headmaster.  Teachers and pupils moved to Dundas School upon its completion.

(1859)Mr Clarke & Miss Marshall (retired 1859)
c 1860James Black Cameron1872176
1876Michael Gavin
Dundas Temporary School

National Grid Reference

Grange StreetNS 9229 8234

G.B. Bailey, 2023