51543: Memoirs of Rev Col AJ Mackenzie IV: the School at Kinresort

An extract from the memoirs of AJ Mackenzie, born Kinlochresort in 1887.

The responsibility of providing for the education of the young at Kinlochresort was undertaken by the Free Church of Scotland or at least by their Ladies Highland Committee under the direction of Miss Rainy, a sister of the famous principal. They supplied the books and the material and a constant succession of divinity students to act as teachers.

What they did not and probably could not supply was school accommodation. The teachers consequently were put up by our parents and the teaching was done in our house. This obviously, was an unsatisfactory state of affairs, and my father determined to remedy it. He was a man of quite marked genius. Already he had built boats and made a threshing machine which was a constant source of wonder to the rest of the community who had never seen or heard of threshing done by any other means than the frail.

These were days when men did not wait for, or even expect government or county council grants towards public amenities. If they felt that certain things were necessary for their social and spiritual welfare, they did the best they could for themselves with the means at their immediate disposal. Under my father’s direction the good folk at Kinlochresort planned to build a schoolroom with suitable accommodation for the teacher attached.

The first task was to collect stones and clay. Everyone gave freely of his time and labour: it was a labour of love. In a remarkably short time the walls of the clay biggin were up to necessary height and ready for the hand of the carpenter who is this case was my father himself. Every bit of wood used in the building was collected on the shores of loch Resort and the Ardmore and sawn in a saw pit beside the new school. Benches, forms, doors, windows and furniture were all made by my father who all through had been the driving force and ruling spirit of the whole enterprise. Now the little community had a centre where both young an old could receive the blessing and benefits of religion and education.

The old school still stands there a monument to my father’s enterprise and to the public spirit of his neighbours. But alas no longer are the young taught there. The last children that sat there are now long past their sixtieth year. The generation has come to an end: there are no more children. Before many years pass silence will have descended on that little hamlet that once rang with the voices of happy children

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