Teaching at Craigmount School
After graduating, I joined the staff of Craigmount School in 1933. I assisted extensively, Miss Gillespie with Geography, Miss Watson with English, Miss Beattie with Maths, Miss Mudie with Latin and Miss Soper with Games and Swimming. This last was my joy, particularly when I managed to coax a non- swimmer to cross unaided the surface of the small private pool, which was boarded over in the winter to make a chilly classroom. For what I was able to help with I was awarded annually bed and frugal board for three terms of ten weeks each and an annual salary of 66 pounds paid in June and December.
Muriel Barnett – Newsletter No 54 – Summer 1993
(see The donkey field on Dick Place on page 18) (see Craigmount School in 1913 on page 17) Craigmount School Song
Through all the years Craigmount has stood With honour and with fame
Each girl has done the best she could
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To glorify its name.
I strike I defend
May this be our song
Our theme to the end
Right against wrong
First God then King
Then home and school
Feris Lego is our motto
Hip Hip Hurrah
When winter comes with frost and ice
Our flashing skates we wear
And swiftly o’er the ice we go
Prepared to do and dare.
When summer comes and winter’s past
At tennis nets all day
And stool ball posts are up at last
And every girl must play.
Though oceans deep may roll between
We’ll ne’er forget our school
Nor all the pleasures we have seen
Neath Miss MacDonald’s rule.
From the Usher Scrapbook 1911-1914 Relating to Nan Aitken & the Aitchisons (via Derek Lyddon)
(see Teaching at Craigmount School on the page before) (see Craigmount School in 1913 on the facing page) (see The donkey field on Dick Place on page 18)
Seen from the lawns to the south of the school building. Cour- tesy of the Usher family.
Figure 2.1: Craigmount School in 1913
18 CHAPTER2. SCHOOLS
View from where Craigmount stood, and Wyvern Park now stands, onto Dick Place, before redevelopment.
Figure 2.2: The donkey field on Dick Place
The 1930s at Craigmount and George Watsons
I first came to live in the Grange district to 111 St Alban’s Road, in 1927, aged 4. My father having died, my mother and sisters, aged 7 and 5, set up house with my grandparents, when it was quite common for three generations to live together. There were many private schools, boarding and day, of which only St Margaret’s has survived. My sister began at St Andrews Cottage School in Lauder Road – the sign is still above the door. The Grange Home School was a preparatory school for boys in the building in Grange Loan, now converted into flats. I attended Craigmount School from age 8 to 12, in Dick Place. The building is now demolished and replaced by Wyvern Park. I have vivid memories of Geography lessons in the drawing room following a radio series on South America, an innovation in those days. The same inspiring teacher taught nature study and I owe my life-long interest in gardening to her as we went to Roslin Dell, collected wild flowers and put them in the correct botanical plot in the garden. A number of these were put (duly labelled) in vases in the corridor and at the end of each month a selection chosen and the house which scored the highest points for correct identification won a prize, which consisted of a visit to such places as Duncan’s chocolate factory or the Observatory.
Esdaile, or the Ministers’ Daughters’ College, in Kilgraston Road was almost next door. Crocodiles of girls were marched down the road, lacrosse sticks over their shoulders, accompanied by their teacher to whom they had to make polite conversation. After the war, when the school had been evacuated, the building was sold and used as a training School for the Royal Bank before being converted into the present flats.
I also attended George Watson’s Ladies’ College in George Square, to which I walked daily through the Meadows. The dancing class was ruled by the indomitable Miss Graham (who had taught my aunt many years previously). White gloves were compulsory and woe betide any pupil who could not produce the correct steps in the eightsome reel. The annual concert prize-giving every July was a very important occasion which demanded hours of rehearsal to produce the precision required as rows of girls, duly arrayed in white dresses and black woollen stockings filed in from opposite sides of the organ gallery to the strains of the school march. Uniform had to be strictly observed at all times; St Trinian-type gym tunic, white blouse, school tie and velour hat in summer, panama in summer, were obligatory in the streets.
Discipline within school was severe; because the junior and senior schools moved classes at different times, to minimise noise no talking was allowed in the corridors and a prefect was placed at strategic points in the stairs to issue an order mark against your house if you were rash enough to disobey a rule. The ultimate sanction for a grave misdemeanour was to be sent to the tiled hall where you sat in disgrace in full view awaiting a summons to C.C. (the headmistress) for a solemn interview.
One of the pleasantest duties at the end of the session was to collect flowers from fellow-members of the class and arrange them in a beautiful bouquet of sweet peas and roses to be presented to our teacher as an affectionate tribute – a charming tradition.
In retrospect I had a very good broad education and emerged with a standard of values which has remained with me ever since.
Maud Harrison – July 2003