Sunday, 14 November 2010

The History Of Portnahaven Primary School

Portnahaven Primary School was built in 1878, making it a somewhat staggering 132 years old! It was designed by William Railton of Kilmarnock, and became a listed building (category B) in 1981 as a building of historical and architectural interest.

The front apex of the building, with the year of construction. This was originally a classroom, but now houses the toilets.
The building's layout is fairly typical for a school at that time. Externally, it looks very symmetrical, with two sets of doors on either side, one for each boys and girls. This was in accordance with the newly passed Education Act, which made elementary education compulsory. The schoolhouse stands next to it, and is adjoined by the school's boiler house. The schoolhouse is currently occupied, but the school has been left untouched since its closure in 1999.

And what a difference a decade makes. In the intervening eleven years, windows have been blown in, damp has crept through, algae has formed on the linoleum. In fact, don't take my word for it:

This is the main classroom. Note that all of the desks are still there, along with even a piano.
Boys Toilets. After it became law that indoor toilets had to be the norm, the second classroom was converted.
Kitchen. Currently not suitable for domestic goddesses.
So, as you can see, quite a bit of work to be done here. I have the layout of the building somewhere, I'll put that up too at some stage.

As another little bit of history, it turns out that Valerie Thomson, the former Home Economics teacher at my secondary school, who was tragically killed in a hit and run incident in 2009, attended this school as a child. There are not many pictures from the school when it was in use, but I have found one from Betsy West's photo gallery. She too attended this school, as documented below.
A photo of the class at Portnahaven Primary School circa 1915.
I have to give some credit here to Armin at, since otherwise I wouldn't have found this one.

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