Poll School

Mr. John Campbell was Landlord of St. Catherines Hotel and also Coachdriver from Lochgoilhead to St. Catherines. While he was living in St. Catherine’s there was no proper school, educating children was difficult so Mr. Campbell decided to do something about that. He kept his passengers amused with tales and at the end of the journey he would ask for a donation to contribute to the fund he was raising for a new school at St. Catherines. He donated generously himself as did neighbouring gentry. The foundation stone was laid in 1857 with Masonic honours

According to Eoin McArthur in his book, Return to Loch Fyne, the previous Poll School was described as “…..small and inconvenient. It was a low building with two windows and a floor of bare earth.” In addition to asking passengers to contribute, John Campbell enlisted the interest of the Duke of Argyll and as a result a grant of £600 was received from the Board of Education. The new school opened on May 6th 1857, retaining the name Poll School – it is thought that Poll is derived from the Gaelic for pool and may refer to the great depth of water in the middle of the loch opposite Poll Bay.

In March 1905 the teacher at Poll School resigned, requiring her job to be advertised in the Glasgow Herald with a salary of £60 per year plus a free house and garden. In April 1905 Miss Mary Allan was appointed although two members of the Board dissented on the grounds that a male teacher would be preferable.

On March 11th 1911 it was noted that there was no shelter in the playground and no cupboard space.

By 1912 there seemed to be 67 pupils on the Roll and in September of that year, the building was being entirely renovated and an addition made to it. Pupils were moved to Stroncrevich Hall (High Hall) and it was noted that there were not enough desks for the pupils and no inkwells.

Poll School was redecorated in 1956/57 but had only 4 pupils. The school closed on 30th June 1960 – Mary Campbell Weir being the last HT. Pupils and teacher transferred to Strachur School.

Sources:-

Return to Loch Fyne by Eoin McArthur. Poll School Records and Log Books from Argyll and Bute Archives. SDLHS research

Poll School Staff
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Photo of Poll School Children 1880
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Poll School ca 1880
Photo of Poll School Children 1880
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Poll school ca 1880
Photo of Poll School Children 1940
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Poll School playground ca 1940

BACK RIGHT
Paddy McHugh, Donald McNab.

FRONT CENTRE
M McHugh, Myra McNab, Milda Campbell.
Photo of Myra and John McNab at Poll School 1940
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Poll School Playground ca1940

Myra and John McNab
Photo of Poll School Children 1948
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Poll School ca 1948

BACK ROW
Miss Flora McIntyre (Teacher), Ian Whitton, Archie Mackie, John Fleming, Neil Weir, Allan Munro.

FRONT ROW
Alastair Shaw, Peggy Darroch, Sheena Darroch, Margaret Fleming, Jim Weir.

2 replies on “Poll School”

I attended Poll school 1953 to 1956 we had moved from Kilmalcom to Tigh Na Darroch at Poll Bay St Catherine’s
When I went to Poll school to the best of my memory recall these were the pupils
Grace Mackie, Hazel MacPherson, Michael MacPherson Duncan McGladdery, Kenneth Weir, (Glen Munro myself), Robert Lindsay, William Mathers.
The head mistress was Mrs Weir
We all got our dinners at the school, they were delivered each day from Strachur primary.
Mrs Weir taught everything including Scottish country dancing. One year Mrs Weir got us to enter the Oban games painting competition for children Michael MacPherson won third place and I won second place.
Myself, along with Hazel and Michael MacPherson left the Poll school and went to Dunoon Grammar School in 1956. Grace Mackie had left to go to Dunoon Grammar school in 1955.Glen
We were picked up by car from Strachur for Dunoon at 7 o’clock in the morning and got home from school at 5.15 at night, but we loved it
Hope these facts help

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