21790: Lochcroistean School

Lochcroistean School opened in 1879 (replacing an earlier Gaelic school nearby) in response the Education Act of 1872 which determined that all children were entitled to an education. The school was built to accommodate 65 children; in 1892 there were 51 of school age in the district.

The first Headmaster was John Smith of Valtos (who had previously taught at Strathcanaird) and he wrote in the first school logbook:

Thursday 5th June 1879

School was opened by the Rev John Campbell F. Ch. Minister with prayer. Present Mr Mackay, Chairman and Mr Kenneth Macleod, member, of the School Board. A great number of the Parents were present, and addressed by Rev Mr Campbell and the Chairman, and their duties with regard to their children enforced. Also Mr John Smith, Certificated Fourth Class, from Strathcanaird School, Loch Broom, was introduced as Head Teacher to the School. The duties of the School to commence on Monday the 9th.

At the end of the first week, on Friday 13th June, Mr Smith wrote:

Commenced on Monday morning the duties of this new School. Understanding the arrangement of classes has occupied nearly the whole of the three days on which we had school this week. This being a communion season there has been no school on Thursday or Friday. Attendance fair.

A week later:

Attendance a shade better this week. Six new scholars (three boys and three girls) came this week to school. Other three (two boys and one girl) were absent during the entire week. We are yet labouring under a great disadvantage – want of books. On Friday forenoon had a visit from the Rev Mr Campbell, School Board member.

Indifferent attendance, largely caused by illness, continued to bother the teacher in spite of the efforts of the compulsory officer but the books had begun to arrive by the end of July. There were no summer holidays but the whole month of October was a harvest holiday.

The teachers at Loch Croistean schools were:

John Smith, born Uig c1828 (1879- August 1890); Mrs Smith was sewing mistress.

Maggie Black, born Shotts, Lanarkshire (October 1890 – May 1892)

Matthew McEwan (May 1892 – 1894), assisted by Mary R Clark and Annie Macdonald

Joseph L O’Hara (10 January 1894 – November 1899)

D. Angus, Kirtomy (October 1899 – February 1903)

Norman Macleod (February 1903 – August 1923)

Donald Macarthur (August 1923 – June 1933) from Carloway (Domhnall Soup)

Kenneth Smith MA (August 1933 – January 1936), a grandson of John Smith above

Norman Macleod MA (January 1936 – November 1943), Am Bard Bochd

Norman Maciver (January 1944 – December 1953)

Annabella (Babag) Matheson (teacher from 1937, head from 1954)

Loch Croistean also supported a side school at Morsgail when numbers merited. Side School teachers:

Katie Ann Macphail (Carloway)

Catherine Macinnes (1928-1933)

Kirsty Mackay (21 Valtos)

Dolina Macinnes (Marvig)


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