School Memories

Any school will hold a myriad of memories happy and sad for both former and existing pupils.
My own memories of Rothesay Academy relate to the times of most significant change for the "Thomson Institute". My dad moved to Rothesay in 1944 to take up a teaching post which saw him assume responsibility for teaching english, history and geography and to remain with the Academy until his retiral from the post of Deputy Rector in 1974.

I entered the old 1st infants in the Academy Primary which occupied the 1930's building at the top of the hill. It was a fee paying Primary at the sum of 1 per quarter. Teacher for the first two years was Miss Funnel, then Mrs Weir followed by Miss Anderson followed by Miss Drummond and finally Miss Duff.

However 1954 saw the Secondary destroyed by fire and the remains of the old Gothic building, which always reminded me of Glasgow Uni on Hunterhill, were carried away to allow construction of the 1960's edifice which sits atop the Tarry Brae nowadays.

This did not take place overnight and the Primary pupils were dispersed throughout Rothesay to Church Halls, youth centres and the Public School in High Street where they remained for the next six years. This was all done very quickly and quietly and we children were well looked after by the young ladies of 3rd and 4th year. The overriding requirement was to allow as little disruption as possible to the 5th and 6th years who were taking their Highers at the time. The "Ides of March" indeed as they decamped to the Primary on top of the hill and it is to their credit and to that of their teachers that the subsequent results obtained were no worse than in preceding easier years.

The 1950's also saw the return of the last evacuee children to urban Scotland and in 1958 the departure of HMS Adamant and her flotillas of submarines for Faslane. The consequent haemorrhage of children from Bute led to the closure of the Primary and its amalgamation with the Public School to form Rothesay Primary which then moved to a new building at Meadowcap where it remains to this day.

My own departure from the new Academy was in 1961.... so long ago but my daughter went right through five years at the top of the Tarry Brae and I hope that my two grandchildren will follow suit.

Memories so many memories. With my dad being a teacher it was a much more personal relationship with the school than it might otherwise have been. I have travelled the world since 1961 but always returned to Rothesay and this is no small way due to the "Academy".

Mike Blair
My family has been associated with the island for 57 years. My wife is of McKirdy farming stock, and there are four generations of Blairs on the island at present.

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