Dating the opening of the Drygate Infant school

The determination of the date of the institution of the Glasgow Infant School Society and of the opening of the first school in the Drygate has occasioned unexpected difficulty. Stow’s statements are unreliable; various dates are given by him for the same event, and assertions incompatible with each other are offered by him in the same paragraph; his facts are not always corroborated by contemporary records, and others equally favourably placed have made declarations inconsistent with this.

Thus Stow himself has given 1826, 1826-7, and 1827, as the date of founding the Society and opening the first Infant School in Glasgow;

The Fifth Report of the Glasgow Society’s Normal Seminary, 1839, states: “Mr Stow, who having superintended the System and Institution from its commencement in 1826″;

The Preface to ‘Granny and Leezy’, (1860) refers to “the establishment of a Model School in Glasgow in 1826”.

In Moral Training, 2nd edit. (1834); he writes: “Infant Schools, upon Bible principles, were thought of and, in 1826-27, subscriptions were sought far, and obtained, after much exertion, from persons of all Christian professions, sufficient to fit up, but not to build, a school. A suitable person acquainted with the system of Infant training, was brought to town, and a school was opened as a model.”

In National Education (1847) he adds: “Repeated experiments founded upon the imperfect views I then possessed resulted in 1826-7 in the establishment of a model school.”

Granny and Leezy, qualifying the 1826 statement, avers: “This school was established in 1826-7”; and on the very next page we read: “Two years before this, viz., 1827, no fee was charged during the first few weeks after the school was opened.”

In the Third Report of the Glasgow Educational Society’ s Normal Seminary, 1836, it is stated: “The agitation was still kept up till 1826, and believing that the exhibition of the system in actual operation would alone produce conviction, a Model School was determined on, and, after many meetings, and much discussion, in which Dr Welsh, then minister of St David’s, now Professor of Church History in Edinburgh University, took a deep interest and an active part: a committee was formed”; the only comment necessary here is that Dr Welsh was not transferred to Glasgow till early in October, 1827.

In the Preface to Granny and Leezy Stow mentions Mr Caughie, the first teacher of the school, who has laboured in it “since 1826”.

Mr Caughie on the occasion of his jubilee as a teacher referred more particularly to “my labours in connection with the Educational Society founded in 1827, under designation of the Glasgow Infant School Society, when in the spring of 1828, they established their Model Infant School in the Drygate, and appointed me as teacher of it.”

From all of the above we may conclude that since the accounts show that Mr Caughie was paid from April 1828  – that this was the official opening of the Drygate School.