History of the school
In 1832, the Earl of Kintore built the first school on the present site, which was at the time just a clearing in the woods. It had one room and above the door hung a large bell which was rung by pulling on a rope. It was burnt to the ground in 1870 and all records were lost. It was rebuilt and re-occupied in six months. There were then two rooms, the present Room 3 and part of Room 2 – one large room and one very small room. One hundred pupils were crowded into this and to force the school board to extend the building, the government grant was cut. In 1896 the present Room 4 was added and the small room was extended to form our Room 2.
In 1950 the school was wired for electricity but there was still no central heating – in winter the temperatures rarely rose above 45 F! Toilets were outside and often froze. The girls’ playground was separated from the boys’ by a 10-12 foot fence! Since electric bells were now used, I donated the old bell to an Aberdeen church.
In 1954 central heating was installed. In 1956, Room 5 was added, the toilets brought inside and the field behind the schoolhouse was purchased and converted into a sports field. School meals were started.
1968 saw the next extension when the present G.P room was added. It was then a five teacher school with an additional five visiting teachers, a part-time secretary and over 150 pupils. After school activities included soccer, netball, table tennis, snooker and billiards, and with a moveable partition between rooms, we for years supplied Inverurie with its best badminton players.
For such a small school Port Elphinstone has a remarkable record. Among its distinguished scholars were Dr Pittendreigh MacGillivray – Kings sculptor and poet, Principal R.S. Gait of Glasgow University, Prof J. Ritchie of Aberdeen and Edinburgh Universities, Prof Alex Gordon of St Andrews University, Anthony Mitchell, Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, Sir James Taggart, Lord Provost of Aberdeen and more recently Penelope Dransart who gained a Dphil at Oxford University where she is a curator of the world famous Pitt Rivers Museum.
Now some interesting excerpts from the log books:
Large menagerie passed through today. The 11 o’clock interval was
extended to allow the children to see it.
Samuel Mutch contracted Diptheria from clothes sent from a distance. They belonged to an uncle who had died from the disease.
Aeroplane visited today. Children allowed out to see it.
Lack of boots given as reason for many absences.
In conclusion I should like to say that on my recent visit to the school, I was delighted to find the pupils neat and tidy, smiling and polite – just as “Port” pupils always have been.
Peter Nicol MA – Headmaster 1950 to 1975