Campbeltown Grammar School History

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Campbeltown Grammar School History

Postby jaamccallum » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:46 am

I was wondering if anyone knew of a book or article on the History of Campbeltown Grammar School? I assume that the story of a school founded in the mid 17th Century must have attracted some historian to write about it but my searches have proved negative. Ideas welcomed. I am particularly interested in the period 1850 - 1950 :?:
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Re: Campbeltown Grammar School History

Postby gizmo » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:24 pm

Sent you a PM
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Re: Campbeltown Grammar School History

Postby kathy9 » Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:43 pm

Gizmo I wd be interested in this too. :D
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Re: Campbeltown Grammar School History

Postby jaamccallum » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:59 pm

Kathy,
I have found nothing so far. quite unusual, really, that a school as old as CGS does not have a published history. i live too far away to tackle it myself, i'm sure it would be an interesting exercise. John :(
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Re: Campbeltown Grammar School History

Postby WC1 » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:27 pm

The problem with writing any history is finding reliable sources. For most schools, there are very few such sources extant, and that's partly because schools in Scotland didn't come under the management of the 'state' until late in the 19th century, 1872 to be precise. Before then, they were managed by the church, which is why the churches still have the right to be represented on council education committees. In terms of sources, this means that any references to schools will be found principally in parish records. In the case of Campbeltown Grammar School, the situation is slightly different in that it was jointly managed - after 1700 at least - by the church and the town council, so there may be council records available too, but such records as do exist and are accessible have already been mined for anything of historical interest - the impact of schisms in the church and the infamous Hastie case for example.

After 1872, schools had to keep a log book recording significant events. The older log books for CGS were transferred to the care of the Argyll and Bute Council archivist between ten and fifteen years ago. Keeping a school log book ceased to be required by law even before I became Rector of CGS in 1992, though I did keep one going for a while. Another source is the admissions records, but some of these contain personal information about individuals who are still alive and are therefore subject to an obvious duty of confidentiality. Nowadays, of course, everything is electronic, and I doubt very much if any of that information is being archived, or even if it can be archived in any way that would be accessible to future historians.

Even the log books are 'thin' when it comes to any information that might be of value to posterity. The problem is that so much of what happens in schools is of a purely routine nature. The appointment or departure of a particular teacher might or might not be recorded, for example. My own appointment as Rector is only in there because I put it in myself, not that it was of any historical significance of course. Times when pupil absence rates were higher than normal might be recorded - measles outbreaks etc feature a lot - but these may not be of importance in the history of the school per se even if they might mean something in terms of wider social history. And historians will look in vain for mention of important 'old boys', since they weren't important when they were wee boys, of course.

Have a look at my chapter in 'The Campbeltown Book' (Three Hundred Years of Education in Campbeltown). It was put together from such sources as I could trace, including some not publicly available. You may find it of interest. But as for the history specifically of Campbeltown Grammar School, I doubt there is much out there to be discovered.
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Re: Campbeltown Grammar School History

Postby jaamccallum » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:22 am

Many thanks, WC1, for this, I will look at the article you mention. I understand what you are saying about school records and, of course, your comment that 'much of what goes on in a school is routine' is very true. However, I am sure you would be disappointed if you looked back at your life in Campbeltown Grammar School and didn't think you had made an impression, at least in some small way, somewhere along the line (I say this not knowing you or your 'record' at all, it may well be that you had a huge influence on the direction the school took in your spell as Rector, and I am sure you had a big influence on some pupils). Historians will be looking at a much broader picture and there will be some individuals who will have had a major impact on the school and are worthy of recording and discussing, in addition to the long list of 'old boys and girls' of whom the school is rightly proud who made their mark in the wider world. All of this, of course, within the wider context of regional and notional education policy. Some people do make a big difference, these people should get recognised.
Yes, I guess the task of finding the appropriate records might be the major stumbling block, some will be lost, other records will give little help to a historian, and the keeping of records has not always been a priority but it always amazes me what can be unearthed by the fastidious researcher. I agree with your point that future researchers might find the change from paper to digital record keeping somewhat confusing, I only hope that in 2100 one will be able to read (eg) email correspondence from 2014 as clearly as I can today read a letter written by my great grandfather in 1882. Somehow I don't have faith.
Anyway, it wont be me.
I will look for your article with interest, thanks again.
J
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