Revealing history of Kingsmuir School

Eric Guthrie with his mother's book prize and certificate.
Eric Guthrie with his mother's book prize and certificate.

Our appeal for information about Kingsmuir Primary School has resulted in a great response from Forfar man Eric Guthrie.

Mr Guthrie contacted us with a selection of photographs which he has unearthed which belonged to his mother. They include group photographs taken at the primary school which, as we revealed, is to be turned in to a museum.

Readers may recall last month’s article which stated plans are being made to turn part of the former primary school into a museum dedicated to its most famous son, A.S. Neill.

A.S. Neill is a well-known educator and author and it is hoped the museum will help to boost his legacy in his home village. Shinichiro Hori, a Japanese educator, has purchased the school building and, as a lifelong advocate of Neill’s work, intends to make his former school a museum dedicated to his life’s work.

Andrew Pyle, head-teacher of Kilquhanity Children’s Village in Dumfriesshire, is assisting Mr Hori in his work and he appealed for exhibits - and this is where Mr Guthrie stepped in,.

A keen researcher of his family history, Mr Guthrie knew exactly where to find photographs, a certificate and school prize belonging to his mother - Betsy Shepherd Fraser. They initially belonged to his grand-mother - Betsy Fraser - who lived at the end of The Row in Kingsmuir.

His mother’s certificate of merit was awarded when she was 13 years old. Signed by George Neill, it recognised Betsy’s accomplishments in English, Arithmetic, Nature Study and Household Management and was dated 1904. Mr Guthrie also has the book presented to his mother that year - ‘The Miller’s Daughter’ by Anne Beale. He is willing to donate copies of the photographs to the museum which will ensure his mother and grandmother play a part in bringing the village’s past to life.