Matthew to the 9th Lord Kinnaird, 31 August 1863
(MS100/2/bundle714/3, pdf image)
Matthew explains once again why he wishes to alter the plans for the School House renovation and remove a partition wall. In contrast to his views in an earlier letter, he now seems very much in favour of the ‘new’ lecture-based system of education, so much so that with the wall retained “the school will be a mere abortion unsuited for the modern system of education”. He threatens to resign from the Committee if the wall is not removed.
Gourdiehill Aug. 31/63
It is necessary for me to apologise for my absence of mind on Saturday last at the meeting regarding the school in not observing that the old gabel was retained in the plan we agreed to. My principal object in advising an increase of the length of the school was to attain room for a rising seating in the east end for at least 2/3 of the scholars (the older portion) for black-board education &c., where the whole might be under the eye of & have the attention commanded by the teacher. Without the removal of the gabel this cannot be attained & the school will be a mere abortion unsuited for the modern system of education while its removal would give an increase of two feet to the length of the school & prove more efficient for all purposes. Should even a division be req[uire]d which I think very unlikely a drop curtain can be placed with a roller, as a division & at any part of the school. I may state that I attended the grammar school Perth, where there were 3 teachers & 3 divisions of scholars & no inconveniency was found from the noise of one interfering with the teaching of another. The Hall was indeed long similar to that proposed at Errol, & the two assisting teachers being under the eye of the superior was a considerable advantage. The assistant teacher at Errol being generally a mere boy the masters eye is the more required. Were the useless old wall removed one large fireplace on the north wall at the middle of the school would be quite sufficient & much more wholesome than stoves. I think the power of the Committee extends to the removal of the mid gable & to effect any other improvement we see necessary, always keeping within the money allotted. Should this wall not be removed I cannot remain on the committee, to carry out what I would be ashamed of. Please therefore if you concur with me, write as soon as possible desiring my first plan to be carried out. I remain
[To] The Right Hon. Lord Kinnaird
P.S. There is no fear of the contractor agreeing to what I propose. He indeed told me it would be a considerable advantage to him as it is evidently is, and from his low offer I think he would need it. P.M.
Page created: 10 February 2019
Last modified: 10 February 2019