Bolton | Education

The primary school at Bolton, which had opened in 1913, was closed in 1967. One room was used for teaching, and was separated from the dining room by a wooden partition. Marks on the floor show where the fireplaces were; the cloakroom and teacher’s toilet were behind the main rooms, and the children’s toilets were, as was usual then, across the playground. Electric light was installed in 1951. School dinners were provided, but a copy of the Log Book noted that in 1953 when they increased in price from 7d to 9d, ‘…nine children have stopped taking them and go home or to friends for dinner.’

The children were taken to places of interest, such as the Highland Agricultural Show, 24 June 1955; Edinburgh Castle, the zoo, the Scotsman offices and the museum, 25 May 1956; the Haddington wool mills, 19 April 1957; and to Dunfermline, the abbey, Carnegie’s birth place, Pittencrieff glen, Rosyth dockyard – ‘Ark Royal etc’ on 17 May 1957. They also went to the celebrations at Lennoxlove – fireworks and a bonfire – when the Marquis of Douglas and Clydesdale came of age.

Over the years there were a number of teachers. Mrs MacIntosh left on 24 December 1946; Mrs Turnbull followed her, until 29 June 1951; then came Mrs Fraser who left on 27 September 1957, and was replaced by the last teacher, Miss Taylor, on 10 January 1958. At times more than one teacher was employed, for example a Miss Robb was assistant teacher in 1955, and pupil numbers varied. In 1957, there were 31; 19 in 1960; there were just eight in 1966, and only five for the last term in summer 1967. From then on, Bolton children went to school elsewhere.

The school’s closure had been approved back in 1962 (NAS ED 48/1650) along with that of Morham, Garvald and Gifford; a new school was to be built at Gifford (called Yester). In 1962, Bolton was a one-teacher school, catering for 20 pupils from the ‘agricultural community’; the school building was deemed inadequate and below modern standards. Bolton itself was viewed as ‘no real village… although …there are a few houses within sight of the school.’ (NAS ED 48/1650 p3).

After closure, the pupils were sent to Yester or Haddington. Bolton remained in the catchment area of the Knox Academy for secondary education.

The primary school building was reopened as a village hall, having been sold to the Community Association for £1. A new access road was built to the rear of the Orlits, and the old school field at the back swapped for a piece of land to the west of the hall; this straightened the field boundary to the north, making life easier for the farmer.