Woodvale Private School

Miss Foster’s School

In 1880 Miss Jenny Foster, who had taught art at Stonmore College in Watford, Hertfordshire, moved to Falkirk.  The following year she rented a room in Dundas School from the Grangemouth School Board to hold evening classes for advanced drawing and water-colour painting.  The classes were from 6pm to 7pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and she followed these by teaching German from 7pm until 8pm.  The classes were a success and the following year she applied to the School Board to continue them.  This time she was refused permission because she was charging for the sessions.

Miss Foster knew that there was a demand for her services in the town and rented Woodvale, a small two-storey semi-detached house on the north side of Bo’ness Road.  One room was used as a classroom and over the summer of 1883 she ran summer classes:

WOODVALE – HOLIDAY CLASSES. – Miss FOSTER will Open the following Classes for July:

  1. A SELECT MORNING CLASS for Children above four.  No Tasks. Oral Lessons, Pictures, Poetry. Singing, Drawing. Drilling, and Stories.  Hours. 10 to 12 Terms, 3s for one month.
  2. An AFTERNOON PAINTING CLASS for Young Ladies, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 2 to 3.  Flowers and Fruits from Nature, Illuminating in Gold and Colours, Landscapes, etc.  Terms, 5s 6d for July.  Names received on Saturday June 30.
  3. The usual EVENING CLASSES will be continued, the light being now good.  Painting and Drawing from 6 to 7; German, 7 to 8; a French Class on Tuesday and Thursday Evenings, 6 to 7. Terms for the Month – painting, etc 3s; languages, 2s6d.  Paper, pencils, etc, provided.
(Falkirk Herald 9 June 1883, 1).

From then on she held annual exhibitions at her home of the works of her pupils and these served to advertise the school.  Reports of the displays show that her pupils included children from the owners of businesses in the town.  She also undertook private tuition.

“MISS FOSTER desires to intimate that she proposes Commencing, in September, a SELECT MORNING SCHOOL. The usual subjects of Education, with French, Singing, and Drawing.  Terms, to include these, One Guinea per Quarter.  Music, German, and Latin, as extras, if desired.  Home Lessons carefully selected and explained.  School Hours, from 9.30 till 1 o’clock.  Afternoons free.  The usual HOLIDAY CLASSES in July.  Woodvale, Bo’ness Road, Grangemouth.”  .

(Falkirk Herald 28 May 1887, 1)
Illus: Jenny Foster and her pupils.

By 1889 the school had grown to the point where Miss Foster was able to pay a Junior Governess with a salary in 1897 of £10.

“WOODVALE PRIVATE SCHOOL, GRANGEMOUTH, Conducted by Miss FOSTER. For children from Five to Ten Years of Age. Comfortable schoolroom. Careful Instruction in READNG. SPELLING, WRITING. ARITHMETIC, SINGING, DRAWING, and NEEDLEWORK. Pupils from Eight to Ten grounded in HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, and GRAMMAR…

75 Bo’ness Road, Grangemouth. 

(Falkirk Herald 28 August 1907, 1).

After 22 years the school closed around 1910 and Miss Foster appears to have enjoyed a long retirement.  She was well known as an essayist and performed public readings of her works throughout the area.

National Grid Reference

75 Bo’ness RoadNS 9315 8194

G.B. Bailey, 2023