School History

History of the Haddington Infant School

Haddingtonshire Courier 6th June 1879

Burgh School Board


The CHAIRMAN, in answer to a question, said it was expected that the elementary schools would be ready for use in about two months, but that the secondary schools could not be completed before November.


Haddingtonshire Courier 3rd February 1880

Burgh Primary and Infant School.- The transference of the pupils attending these schools took place on Monday. The children, numbering 319, were ranked up at the old schools, and then marched by Church Street, High Street, and Court Street to the new buildings, accompanied by the staff of teachers. Carrying a number of flags, they made a gay procession. All the members of the Burgh School Board were present at the new schools to welcome the pupils, who, on their arrival, were drawn up and inspected. They afterwards all assembled in the largest schoolroom, where the Rev. Mr Dickie engaged in prayer. The pupils were then addressed by the Rev. Mr Wannop before being shown to their respective class rooms by their teachers. The class rooms are well ventilated and lighted. The playgrounds have a fine southern exposure, and for beauty of situation will compare with any in the county.


Haddingtonshire Courier 27th April 1899

THE NEW INFANT SCHOOL – TOTAL COST £3692. – A memorandum of the position of accounts in connection with the erection of the New Infant School has been circulated among the members of the Combined School Board with a view to discussion at the meeting of the Board to-day. The original estimates submitted to and accepted by the Board at their meeting on 20th June 1898 were as follows:- Mason, £1161; joiner, £868, 17s 5d; plumber, £360; slater, £92, 7s; plasterer, £82, 9s 11d; heating apparatus, £180; total, £2744, 14s 4d. To this fell to be added the architect’s fee of 5 per cent. on above, viz., £137, 4s, making a total in all of £2881, 18s 4d. The estimate for heating did not include the mason or joiner work in connection therewith. The sums certified by the architect on Dec. 4, 1899, as due on completion of the work, were as under:- Mason, £1489, 5s 5d; joiner, £1092, 152 4d; plumber£561, 2s 10d; slater, £99, 6s 6d; plasterer, £101, 10s 8d; heating £220 (total £2881, 18s 4d); architect’s fee £178, 4s 3d; total £3692, 5s. The actual expenditure thus exceeded the estimate by £810, 6s 8d. The architect furnished detailed notes of the extras which involved this expenditure. At the meeting of the Board on Feb. 16, a memorandum giving various particulars of how the additional expenditure had been incurred, and by whom ordered, was produced by the architect’s assistant, the architect himself being ill, the main points of which were:- Amount of estimate accepted in June 1898, £2564, 14s 4d; heating, furnace chamber, &c., £585, 4s 11d; (total, £2949, 19s 3d; arranged for by Mr Burnett, £138, 8s; ordered by clerk, £52; ordered by architect, £134; suggested by Mr Burnett as necessary for the full completion and equipment of the new and old buildings, £244; total, £3514, 7s 3d. The following are the sums, as per the architect’s certificates, due to tradesmen:- Mason, £589, 5s 5d; joiner, £192, 15s 4d; plumber, £11, 2s 1d; heating (about), £40; slater, £19, 6s 6d; plasterer, £66[?], 10s 8d (total, £689); architect’s fees, £68, 4s 3d; total, £757, 4s 3d. The sum at the credit of the building account is £711, 15s 5d.


Haddingtonshire Courier 1st September 1899

Haddington New Infant Schools

On Monday, the new infant school premises erected by Combined School Board will be occupied by pupils on the termination of the summer vacation. The new building is more than a mere addition to the general school accommodation; it gives convenience and physical coherence to the school arrangements generally, a desideratum not to be enjoyed when the infant department was at an inconvenient distance from the other school premises, necessitating time and trouble on the part of the headmaster, Mr A Burnett, in visiting the different departments under his supervision. The old premises at Lodge Street have been discarded, and the new building forms a part of the Primary School, being in every way conveniently connected therewith.

As is well known, the character of the ground on which the school buildings stand, is not of the best quality as a foundation for a heavy structure. A glance at the portions of the older walls will prove this, and show what even a slight subsidence of subsoil will accomplish. In the new buildings, profiting by this object-lesson, the architect, Mr J. Farquharson, Haddington, advised the laying of concrete foundations, and, so far at any rate, the result has been all that could desired, not a particle of movement having taken place. In general features the new buildings of course accord with the older structure, the stone being Peppercraig rubble, with dressed work of Duns freestone.

A general idea of the interior may be given by supposing the visitor to enter by the entrance facing the north, by which the older girls enter. This is at the point of junction between the old and new buildings. On entering, and “harking back” a little to the left there may be noted the new private room constructed for the use of the headmaster, a convenience hitherto lacking. In the corridor here a new fixture of hand basins has been placed. In the short corridor just inside the girls’ entrance there is the usual provision for hats and cloaks, with hand basins. Passing along to the right, the main corridor, 40 feet long by 7 feet wide, is entered, and this lies along the centre of the building, with entrances there from to the various rooms. The corridors are laid with granolithic, and are pleasantly lighted with dome lights filled with coloured glass. The main corridor is closed with swinging doors at each end. To the left is the cooking class-room, an ample theatre 27 feet by 21 feet. This is fitted with washhand basins, a large sink, gas stove and range, hot water tank and connections, with ample press accommodation – the whole admirably suited for its special requirements. On the right lie two of the class rooms, other two, practically duplicates, being at the south end of the corridor. These four rooms vary slightly in size, three accommodating 60 pupils each, and one 70, in all 250 – a provision in excess of present requirements. The same general description applies to all. Each pair of rooms is divided by a sliding glass screen, which at will divides them, or, being drawing back, throws them at once into free communication. In all the class-rooms the portion upon which the children sit at their desks is galleried so that the pupils are easily observed. The desks are of oak, of the latest pattern, seating the children in couples. Ample floor space is left for class demonstration. A ladies’ staff room is on the left of the corridor.

A feature has been made of the lighting, colouring, and general “lightsomeness” of the whole erection. There is no lack of windows, the main light all falling from the pupils’ left, with supplementary but subordinate lighting from the rear. The walls are lined four feet up with white pine, oak varnished. Above this salmon distemper runs to a varnished picture moulding which leaves a frieze, with a buff cornice above. The roofs are white, the whole scheme of colour, although of the very simplest, being effective and, as we have noted, exceptionally cheerful. The doors are of yellow pine.

Heating can be accomplished, by either open fires or a hot water system running through the entire schools. Ventilating has been most careful considered, tobin tubes with regulating valves admitting air by the walls at a height above the pupils’ heads, thus helping to draw the heated atmosphere directly up to the exit ventilators in the roofs. Air is also admitted by gratings which pass the air over the hot water coil cases, which heat it pleasantly before it enters the rooms. The upper compartments of the windows are all moveable, and can be adjusted to a nicety by means of screw adjusters operated by endless cords. The flooring is of St Petersburg redwood, 3 inches broad by 1½ thick, the thickness admirably deadening noise. The drainage and general sanitary arrangements are of the latest type, and complete school buildings which may be regarded in every way as a credit to the Board and community. In passing it should be remarked that the older portion of the Primary School premises has been painted and revarnished.
The stoke-hole is located outside on the east side of the new structure, and from here the hot water heating system is supervised. Additional offices have been erected close by. As a convenience to pupils from the south of the town, a new side entrance is to be made in the boundary wall, so that the children may not have to take the old roundabout course to enter the schools. The quality of the work done in all departments is very high, there being visible nothing of the “penny-wise pound-foolish” procedure that never results in satisfaction – least of all from an economical point of view. The entire buildings will accommodate 250 pupils, giving each 10 superficial feet of space. The cost will be about £2800, against which expenditure has to be placed the value of the old property now disused.

The work has been designed and supervised by Mr J. Farquharson, architect, and the various contractors are as under:-

Masonwork Mr W. Grant, Haddington; joinerwork, Messrs J. & W. Orr, do.; plumber and ventilating, Mr T.M. Ross, do.; slaterwork, Mr H. Whitehead, do.; plasterwork, Mr G. Watt do.; painting, Messrs J. & W. Main, do.; and heating system, Messrs Miekle & Philip, Edinburgh. The seating, furniture, &c., is being supplied by “The Bennett Furnishing Coy.,” Glasgow.


Haddingtonshire Courier 15th December 1899


A meeting of this Board was held on Friday in the Council Chambers, Haddington. In the absence of Mr Ferme, Mr Brook was called to the chair, and the sederunt otherwise comprised:- Rev. W. Proudfoot, Bailie Young, and Messrs Briggs, Haddington; J. Kerr, Barneymains; Steven, Begbie; and T. Elder, Stevenson Mains. Mr Proudfoot formally introduced Mr Steven to the Board and Mr Steven briefly thanked the members for his election.


The CLERK reported that the work on the Infant School had now been completed, and the expense had been as follows:-

Original Estimate           Actual Cost

Mason                                      £1161  0          0          £1439  5          3

Joiner and furnishing                      928  17        5            1092  15        1

Plumber                                        360  0          0              564  2          1

Plasterer                                         82  9          11            101  10        8

Slater                                             92  7          0                99  6          6

Heating                              180 0          0              220  0          0

£2855  14        4          £3514  0          0

The sum due to Mr Farquharson as architect was £178, 4s 2d, being 5 per cent on the cost. The Board had applied for a loan from the Loan Commissioners of £2500, and that with the sum received for the former infant school would meet the cost of the new buildings.

In reply to a query, the CLERK read the following statement from Mr Farquharson relative to the “extras”:-

Mason Work.- The item of £1220, 16s 2d includes large new 3 light window in gable of north-west classroom in old school, alteration and enlargement of cookery room, increased depth of cutting (some places 6 feet), building, and concrete in foundation, owing to soft and defective soil, involving an unforeseen outlay of fully £80.

Joiner Work.- The item of £894, 4s 4d includes large new 3 light window in gable of north-west classroom in old school, alteration and enlargement of cookery room, large roof light in sewing roof, glass screen in south lavatory, large press in staff room, picture mouldings and work in all rooms of old school,, and completion of interior painting.

Plumber Work.- The item of £454, 1s 2d includes large roof light in sewing room, additional platform on roof where new roof joins old, increased number of wash-hand basins, new range of wash-hand basins, pipes, &c., in girls’ lavatory of old school, repairing burst pipes and fittings in old boys’ offices.

Plaster Work.- The item of £97, 19s 8d includes large new 3 light window in gable of north-west classroom in old school, alteration and enlargement of cookery room, large roof light in sewing room, and repairs to old plaster.

Slater Work.- The item o f99, 6s 6d includes large roof light in sewing room, alterations of roof where new roof joins old, also repairs to old slating.

Remarks.- The workmanship and materials are all good, and generally reflect credit on the various contractors.

Mr T. ELDER said the extras were absurd. They understood the whole work in connection with the new buildings was included in the original estimates, and now they found that the extras amounted to nearly one fourth of the whole outlay. That was a state of affairs that could not be passed over.

Mr PROUDFOOT said he understood a lot of work had been done in connection with the old school and he supposed this was included in the accounts.

The CLERK – It is not there.

Mr ELDER move that the Board get a detailed account of the sum expended on the old school.

The CLERK – It was merely the painting and heating. What had caused a considerable part of the extras was an omission to make provision for the lighting of one of the rooms, owing to a change in the plans, providing a room for the headmaster.

Mr BRIGGS said he was not satisfied with the explanation they had got. It was one of the most disgraceful things ever brought before the Board. Money had been pitched away without any sanction from the Board. It was a downright shame. If Mr Farquharson found he had made a blunder he should have come to the Board and explained matters.

The CHAIRMAN said a good deal of work had been done which was not contemplated in the original estimates. The extras were not on the original work intended but other work. The school would have been imperfect without this extra outlay. He quite admitted the cost was startling.

Mr BRIGGS- When Mr Farquharson saw he was in a hole he should have come here.

Mr ELDER moved the adjournment of the debate in order that the matter might be dealt with by a full Board, and that Mr Farquharson be asked to attend.

The motion was agreed to and the Clerk meanwhile was authorised to complete the loan of £2500.


Mr T. ELDER gave notice that at next meeting he would move that the headmaster’s salary be increased to £300.

The Board then adjourned.


Haddingtonshire Courier 21st December 1900



The Board proceeded to deal with the principal business of the evening, viz., to hear what Mr Burnett, headmaster of the Primary and Infant Schools, had to say with regard to the charges made by Mr Goodfellow, at last meeting relative to alleged overstaffing of the Primary School, as distinguished from the Infant School; also as to what he had to say to Mr Goodfellow’s calculation to the effect that the average cost of teaching in the Primary School was £2, 11s 3d per pupil, and 162 8d in the Infant Department; further, what Mr Burnett had to say on the question of keeping children in an extra hour on wet days.

The discussion which followed was of great length, and may be very mildly described as of extraordinary confusion almost throughout its entire length. Mr Burnett rose to deal with the points as set before him by the Chairman, but he had only got through a few sentences when Mr Goodfellow and Mr Stevenson were interjecting questions which Mr Burnett endeavoured to answer, reverting again to his main statement only to be again and again interrupted. Matters speedily got to a deadlock, as it was evident questions, replies, and fragments of main statement were, so far as the bulk of the members was concerned, getting mixed in the most inextricable confusion. The gist of the whole proceedings may, however, be put into comparatively small compass. Mr BURNETT started away by showing that one pupil-teacher was required for every 25 scholars, 50 pupils being allocated to the head-master. Formerly the Department had set 70 pupils against each certificated teacher, but now the number was reduced to 60. This, be it remembered was the very minimum allowed – bare starvation allowance. If not complied with the Board would be fined by deduction from the grant. Mr Burnett then proceeded to deal with figures of attendance, with the purpose of discussing Mr Goodfellow’s figures, but had not proceeded far before it was discovered that Mr Goodfellow, on his basis of calculation, had counted the 61 pupils of Standard I. Twice over, he doing this under a misapprehension of the statement of school statistics upon which he founded his views. This, however, was in favour to Mr Goodfellow’s position, as the fewer the pupils the higher the average cost would run. The incident, however, occasioned a vast deal of stir and amusement, in the course of which, once more, Mr Burnett’s main statement was lost sight of. Mr GOODFELLOW warmly held the statement of school statistics to be so drawn as to “give a false idea” of the figures, and Mr STVENSON as warmly held it to be “distinctly misleading.” Mr BURNETT said he had assumed that the members of the School Board would be aware of such facts as that Standard I. was included in the Infant Department. Mr STEVENSON hotly resented this remark, and said he was not going to sit there and “be lectured” as to what he should know. Mr BURNETT once more got under weigh with his statement, and once more Mr STEVENSON and Mr GOODFELLOW began to fire off remarks. The position became impossible, and matters were brought to a head by Mr YOUNG rising to order and demanding that “interruptions” should cease, and that Mr Burnett should be heard so that a clear statement might be before the members. This was supported by quite a little storm of approval; the CHAIRMAN lent his authority to back up the protest, with the result that Mr STEVENSON and Mr GOODFELLOW disclaimed “any intention of interrupting,” and for the time being subsided.


Although a lull ensued, and Mr Burnett got forward a little with his statement, it is not to be supposed matters were from this point quiet. Liveliness ran right through the proceedings. To understand the situation as it was at this stage developing it has to be remembered what Mr Goodfellow’s position at the last meeting was. He took the Primary and Infant departments separately, and dividing the salaries in each by the average attendance, he arrived at an average cost per pupil in the upper department of £2, 11s 2d, and in the lower 16s 8d. Mr BURNETT now proceeded to hold that this was obviously a most primitive mode of calculation, as no account was taken of grants earned or anything else except the average attendance and the salaries. If they wished to see how matters really stood they must strike some sort of balance-sheet. To proceed as Mr Goodfellow had done was fallacious – the result proved nothing beyond that so much salary stood against each pupil. (Laughter and applause). While admitting it did not entirely cover everything, he suggested the following was a fairer way of considering the position. The salaries of the teachers in the Infant department amounted to £225. Add to this one-third of his salary as head-master, £100, and the amount would be £325 of salaries. Dividing this by the average attendance of 189 they got a cost per head of £1, 14s. Following a similar plan in the upper school, and including the remaining £200 of his salary, they got a total of £640 of salaries, which, divided by 291 of average attendance, gave a cost per head of £2, 4s. Then there was the other side of the balance-sheet. The Infant department earned £180, 7s 6d of grant with £113, 8s of fee grant; total £293, 15s 6d. Subtracting this from the £325 of salaries, they had a balance of £31, 4s 6d, which, divided by the average attendance, left a cost per pupil of 3s 4d. (Laughter and applause.) In the upper department the figures were:- Grant £403, 18s 9d, fee grant £174, 2s – total , £578, 0s 8d; salaries £640; balance, £61, 19s 4d; average attendance, 281; average cost per pupil, 4s 4d. He admitted this left many things out of account, but he thought it would commend itself as a fairer way of  looking at things than merely dividing the amount of salaries by average attendance. (Laughter and applause.) In reply to questions, Mr Burnett gave some comparison of affairs in the school now with what prevailed when he entered on duty in 1890. The school then was staffed for 705 pupils, and it was now staffed for 620. The average attendance then was 490 with 580 on the roll. There were now 595 on the roll, and the average attendance for the last three months had been 506.

A lively run of questioning ensued, but Mr Goodfellow’s calculations were by this time evidently regarded as non est from any serious point of view. Mr Good fellow appeared to be just a little put out over the result of the debate, and proceeded to put various queries, which finally elicited from Mr T. ELDER a request for a statement of “the grant earned in the school ten years ago, when Mr Burnett came.” Previous to this, it may be recollected Mr Goodfellow was headmaster of the Primary school. Immediately on Mr Elder putting his question, Mr Goodfellow started to his feet in protest, and a very lively position developed. The CHAIRMAN tried to restore order, and finally Mr GOODFELLOW gave way, stating, however, that if such questions were to be asked and answered he would reserve to himself the right to make “a strong explanation afterwards.” In anything he had said he had never sought to disparage anybody or introduce anything personal. (Interruptions and laughter.) Mr BURNETT – I cannot give the grant of the year I came, but I can give the grant of the year before I did come. (Interruption.) The CHAIRMAN (hastily) – I don’t think that is in order. (More interruption.) Mr T. ELDER – Mr Chairman, is my question refused? The CHAIRMAN – If you wish to put the question, you should give notice for next meeting. A protracted wrangle now ensued, all traces of order having long since gone by the board. The Chairman’s efforts to secure order were practically, if not invariably, disregarded, and altogether the discussion was in a condition not to be described or summarised by ordinary methods.


At last, apparently more from fatigue than anything else, there was a slackening of the rush of talk, and the CHAIRMAN managed to make himself heard. He considered Mr Burnett had shown that a fully qualified assistant was needed for the school, and he would ask if Mr Burnett thought such could be secured at £90 as had been advertised. Mr BURNETT said his opinion was that unless the Board gave £100 they would not get a suitable man. This led to a wrangle over the advisability of introducing a sliding scale system of paying teachers, a plan advocated by Mr MURRAY. Mr T. ELDER and Mr RATTRAY were dead against any such scheme. The discussion gradually became a mixed conversation as to whether the advertisement which had been made, as a result of last meeting, for a teacher at a salary of £90 should not be replaced by an offer of a salary of £100. The CLERK said no applications had been received in answer to the advertisement. (Laughter.) Baille FALCONER moved that the Board at once advertise for a teacher at a salary of £100, and Mr TWEEDIE seconded. Mr BRIGGS demanded notice of motion, and great liveliness ensued. Mr MURRAY tried to remonstrate with the Board, asking the members generally “what teachers would think of them” advertising changes of offer in this way. This appeal was couched in a somewhat plaintive tone, and  was met with general laughter.

A medley of discussion succeeded which, though certainly lively enough, was of no public interest. Mr STEVENSON made a statement admitting that Mr Burnett’s explanation had disabused his mind of the idea that they could safely reduce the staff of the school. (Laughter and applause.) They must have another certificated assistant teacher. After much discussion and many suggestions, it was finally agreed that the Board should wait till the date mentioned in the advertisement already made (24th inst.) had expired. If no applications are then forthcoming, or if the applications made be thought unsuitable by the Chairman, Clerk and Mr Burnett, then the Clerk will at once advertise for a teacher at a salary of £100.


It seemed as if the worst of the wrangling was past, and a glance was being given to the other business, when Mr GOODFELLOW rose asking to be allowed to speak to show that he had not been in any way moved by personal feeling in drawing attention to the schools as he had done. He considered some of the questions asked had been aimed at him personally. This led to a storm of interruption, the members being evidently tired out with the apparently interminable talking which had prevailed. The CHAIRMAN tried to pour oil on the troubled waters, with the result that matters got worse. Mr ELDER asked what Mr Goodfellow thought had been personally aimed at him? Mr TWEEDIE and Mr ELDER both declared they had in no sense desired to say anything of a personal cast regarding Mr Goodfellow. The matter was closed by the Chairman rising and simply closuring the discussion.


In reply to the Chairman, Mr Burnett explained that on wet days he kept the country children in with a view to letting them away sooner, and also with a view to maintaining their attendance. He was acting, as he thought, in the best interests of the public and the children themselves.


Mr MACHRAY gave notice of motion to the effect that Miss Nelson, teacher, get an increase of £5 in salary.

Mr TWEEDIE gave notice of motion to the effect that no complaint as to the amount of lessons given to pupils to learn at night, or any other complaint a parent may have against a teacher, be entertained unless it be made through the Clerk of the Board.

Mr STEVENSON gave notice that at next meeting he would call attention to the amount of home lessons given at the Knox Institute

Mr TWEEDIE – Then I think the teacher should be here when that comes up.


Fourth Statistical Account of East Lothian, Volume 2 (2004) p 61

“At the beginning of the period [1945-2000] the Haddington Primary School was accommodated in the old school building and in part of the former Knox Institute, but by the late 1950s new classrooms were needed, and the annexe was built in the 1960s for the younger children. Because of the poor structural state of the 19th century buildings, a new school was built on site at Brewery Park, and opened in 1970 as King’s Meadow School. The Primary 4 to 7 classes were at King’s Meadow, while Primary 1 to 3 remained in the old building and annexe under the name of Haddington Infant School, which had its own head teacher. Upgrading to the infant school was necessary in 1978 to replace the old and inadequate heating system, and the outside prefabricated toilets.

The first election for school councils took place in 1980, and a newsletter for parents was introduced the following year. The Parent / Teacher Association was officially started in 1989, followed by the election of the School Board. After petitions from parents, playground supervisors were employed at the infant school in 1990, and a nursery class opened in the annexe. 1993 brought a new logo for the school badge, designed by one of the children. In 1997 reconstruction of the annexe gave more space to the existing nursery class, and an area for a Special Needs Nursery Base for East Lothian. After reconstruction in the old building in 1998 the Sunshine Room was opened for P1 children with special learning needs. 1999 saw the first links with the Recife school in Brazil, which is being built with the help of Haddington Infant School’s many fund-raising events to help the street children of Brazil.”