Polmont Public School

In 1874 a furore arose over the inaction of the Polmont School Board which believed that the number of school places in the parish was equal to the number of children of school age.  This came to a head when the Board rejected the conditions that the Deacons’ Court of the Free Church was imposing in order to hand over its building at Brightons and which consequently closed that school.  Dorwood resigned his post as schoolmaster at Polmont that year on the grounds of ill-health and was given a good pension by the Board.  He had, however, to vacate the schoolhouse and another public roup of furniture and books was advertised (Falkirk Herald 18 September 1873, 4).

Illus 1: 1896/97 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

The post was reviewed and advertised with a salary of £60, with school fees excepting those to be paid to a future female teacher, and the government grant, with the occupation of the house and garden.  The Board then appointed the former school teacher from the Polmont Free Church School, Alexander Stark, as the parochial schoolmaster.  This somewhat stymied attempts to negotiate to keep the Free Church open!  To make up for the loss of school places at Brightons, plans were drawn up for an extension to Polmont Public School.  A second plan was obtained from Thomas McFadzen, architect, Edinburgh, and was adopted.  A building grant was obtained from the Education Department and the balance of the money procured from the Public Works Loan Commissioners at 3.5% repayable over 25 years.  The extension seems to have been relatively small and included a sewing room.

Illus 2: Polmont Parish Church (left) and School (right) looking north-east across the glebe.

The lack of a school bell led some of the community to sponsor the erection of a belfry at Polmont Public School in 1877 at their own expense, though the School Board ended up picking up part of the tab.

By 1889 the average daily attendance at Polmont Public School was just over 200.  There were 270 on its roll, but the accommodation was only suitable for 176.  Mr Black, Architect, Falkirk, furnished plans for a further extension to accommodate an additional 80 pupils and extra office space:

TO CONTRACTORS. ESTIMATES WANTED for the MASON, JOINER,  SLATER. PLUMBER, and PLASTER WORKS of ADDITIONS to POLMONT PUBLIC SCHOOL. Plans and Specifications be seen with, and Schedules of Quantities obtained from, the Subscribers. Sealed Offers marked “Tender for Polmont School,” to be lodged with ANDREW ALLAN, Esq, Clerk, Polmont School Board, New Market Street, Falkirk, by Wednesday, 29th inst.  A & W Black, architects, Falkirk.”

( Falkirk Herald 15 January 1890, 1).
Illus 3: Bo’ness Road looking north with the School Buildings on the right.

Most of the work undertaken on the school in the first half of the twentieth century was of a relatively minor character.  More alterations were carried out in 1905 and a small addition in 1928 was by Stirlingshire County Council.  In the early 1950s the school became known as Polmont Primary School and a branch of the public library was installed.  It was closed in the 1970s and replaced by St Margaret’s Primary School which was located nearer to the modern housing developments.  The old school and the adjoining field were used as a tree nursery by Central Regional Council.  This closed around 1985 and the building was sold and converted into a dwelling.

The extension lay on the east side of the existing school and projected northwards.  The mason work was done by Macaulay though, due to a shortage of workmen, it was September 1890 before the extension was ready for occupation.  It had cost £393 4d and a loan of £400 was received from the Public Works’ Committee.

Illus 4: The Polmont School Building in use as a Tree Nursery.
1873Alexander Stark1886
1886Donald McAinsh1913140 – 220
1913Peter M Moffat1922
1922Mr Abbot1929
1929Andrew McGregor1937
John Fleming1941
(1948)J Paterson1953
1953Alexander L Stark

Sites and Monuments Record

Kirk Entry/ Bo’ness RoadSMR 1379NS 9372 7925
G.B. Bailey, 2023