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