PART II: 1900 - 1950

scholars, who had the daily distinction of missing the first period on the timetable because of their late arrival at the old Caledonian Station, lucky lnnerleithen and Walkerburn pupils, envied no doubt by their contemporaries, were allowed to leave school at 3 p.m. to catch the train which took them home by 4 p.m.

Despite these disparate hours of attendance, academic attainments were of a high order and quite a number passed the Senior Leaving Certificate exam (inaugurated in 1888). But it was not all work and no play: rugby and association football, hockey, hares-and-hounds, cricket and athletics were indulged in, although not yet as part of the school timetable! It is interesting to note at the turn of the century that the School Rugby Club was 'affiliated with' the Peebles Rugby Club (whose pitch was a field near Haystoun) and that the school cap-badge was scarlet and white - the Peebles colours.

It was possible, for some years after 1900, for pupils to spend their entire school life at Peebles High School because a Preparatory Department had been started before the end of the nineteenth century to which Miss Russel Green had been appointed 'Governess' in 1897 and continued to hold sway over her young charges until 1935 when she was transferred to Halyrude, only to resign in 1936 and spend the rest of her long life in well-earned retirement - except that she still gave piano lessons to yet another generation of young hopefuls. It was also possible for students to continue their education at evening classes either at the High School or at Kingsland where Pitman's shorthand, woodwork and drawing were only a few of the subjects on offer. For many years the headmaster of the Evening Continuation School was Thomas Heddle - one of a small staff of characters associated with the old Bonnington Park Academy or Peebles Burgh and County High School as the pundits would have it be known officially by the beginning of the century.

Even before Mr Heddle arrived in 1905 to put his stamp on the English Department (which included history and geography in those days), a Mr Mackay had been appointed in 1902 to teach woodwork and art, Mr Mowbray Ritchie in 1903 to establish science as a key subject in the curriculum and, in 1904, Mr Duncan Mackay came from Campbeltown to make his mark in mathematics and occasionally on a hapless pupil. A little later that lad o' pairts, Mr W. G. Russell, started his thirty-eight-year stint as English-cum-­geography teacher, a career covering both world wars and welcoming after the first of these a new colleague in the person of that redoubtable

104

 

Contents