- Published: Wednesday, 03 April 2013 13:28
The farm lands of Craigton were extensive, measuring 90 acres, and lay between Bucklerburn and Culter House. The north boundary being Culter House Woods -and the south the railway line. The farm was there 300 years ago or longer, and today every corner of it is filled with houses. We now have the developments of Craigton, Hillview, Hillside, Dalmaik, Lochnagar, Crown Terrace, Pace and Crescent, Towerview and parts of Coronation Road and St Ronan's.
In education, the name Craigton goes back to the 18th century when the Kirk was responsible for schools and schooling. Much information about education was taken from the old Minute Books of Peterculter Parish Church by the late Dr Alexander Allan Cormack.
The earliest, 17th century school in Culter probably stood somewhere between the Church and Kennerty (Bridgend). The present day Deeside Walk runs along the line of the old railway, which in its turn followed the line of the old North Deeside Road. The first mention of this school in the Church records is dated 28th October 1694.
"Given out of the penalties to John Donald 14/- for 2 windows, the one being to the School and the other to the School-chamber."
The cost of providing a school was detailed in 1700:
- For building the Schoolhouse,ten pounds nineteen shilling.
- For thatching it, two pounds.
- For Wright work about the school and Kirk 2 lib. 10/4.
- For Smith work about the same, 1 lib. 2/-.
The upkeep of this school building was always coming to the attention of the Kirk Session.
July 30th, 1758- The Minister informed them that the school needed to be enlarged- they agreed that someone should be appointed to calculate how much "Fail and Divot" would be needed.5th, 1753 - The Kirk Session paid out 6 shillings to Al Mar in Pittengullies for thatching the school.
A new Craigton School was built around 1780. The walls were of stone and clay and the roof thatched. This school was extended in the 1840's with the addition of a Schoolmaster's house and a more substantial granite exterior. The schools at West Lodge at the foot of Bucklerburn, and Dove Cottage near Culter Station were to be closed. The three remaining schools in the Culter area- Craigton, Eddieston and Counteswells came under the jurisdiction of the "Peterculter School Board". Education was now compulsory for all up to the age of 13 and, due to the 1872 Education Act (Scotland) , the Kirk no longer had control. The Census showed that there would be at least 292 children of school age, including 79 not attending school. Alterations to Craigton cost £708.13/- which made 160 places available. Work on the Craigton extensions began in 1874 and progress was slow. In the last weeks of the year the new building consisting of three rooms was occupied. The walls were damp, the lighting poor, as was the water supply, and there was concern about the dry lavatories being a health hazard.
By 1890 there were 186 0n the roll, taught by the Schoolmaster, a female assistant, and 3 Pupil teachers whose annual salaries were £165, £50 and £8 respectively. The subjects taught were English, Geography, History, Maths, Arithmetic, Latin, Greek, French, Sewing and Singing. Later Physical Instruction, Musical Drill, Agricultural Science and Book-keeping were added to the timetable.
From 1884, soup was provided by Mr and Mrs Lumsden of Camphill to scholars living a distance from the school at 1/2d per bowl. By 1895, 60 pupils were receiving these "school dinners".
From 1891 there had been adverse reports on Craigton School which was overcrowded with pupils and suffering from building defects. A move was made to build a new school and so a new Craigton Public School was opened on 1st September 1896. "New Craigton Public School was opened today. 172 pupils were in attendance. Visit from members of School Board in afternoon. Registers signed. Exhibition of Drill given. All staff present."
Culter was growing rapidly and by 1906 with a roll of 372 it was decided to add an upper floor in 1907 - a Higher Grade Department was created and the school became Craigton Higher Grade Public School. The name Craigton was retained until 22 June 1926 when the school was renamed Culter Higher Grade Public School.
The building remained unchanged for 40 years, until 1947 when a dining hall was provided for pupils outwith the immediate vicinity. Lunch cost 5d. In 1956 a Gymnasium, Science Room, Art Room, Geography room, a general classroom and cloakroom was added. With a need to provide Secondary Education in the Culter and Cults area, Cults Academy was built and opened on 31st October 1966. 248 Secondary pupils and 25 members of staff were transferred from Culter School, which now became Culter Primary School.