The Madras College Archive


Memories of the Burgh School

My first teacher on arrival at the Burgh School was Mrs Catto. She was very strict and I don’t really have any fond memories of her. We were a class of approximately 30 pupils and I have enclosed a photograph of the next class we moved into. Miss McIntyre was our teacher and I have very fond memories of her. She was an excellent teacher who encouraged pupils and in fact I was given my first ever prize for progress under her tuition. She also encouraged me to enter a national hand writing competition run by the Weekly News. On the day I received my Progress prize I was called out again to receive a card with two half crown savings stamps and a commendation – my prize for writing ‘Black Bob’ .

Miss McIntyre made English lessons so interesting and I still remember the wonderment of understanding how to use a dictionary under her guidance. To this day I remember what a Mahout was after she told us to look it up in the dictionary – an Indian elephant driver. Two of the books she asked us to home read were The Thirty Nine Steps and Prester John – I didn’t enjoy the latter!

When anyone misbehaved in class - mostly boys – they were sent to stand outside Mr Chalmers, the headmaster’s door. If he opened the door and found anyone there they were taken in and given the belt on their hands. I cannot recall what I had done to deserve to be sent along with a boy to stand outside the door, but as we waited for the dreaded call, my partner in crime suggested we return to our class, wringing our hands without waiting for Mr Chalmers to call us in. We must have been good actors as we got away with it!
There was a building at the back of the school called the Myton ? hut. This was for pupils not suitable in some ways for main stream schooling and was unfortunately called the ‘Loony hut’ by some not politically correct children.

We were all dreading this exam they called the ‘Quali’ but it was the easiest test I ever sat and I got into the A stream at Madras College.

At play time we played with skipping ropes or balls and for a while there was a craze of making pom poms with coloured wool. We also made rats tails which involved a cotton reel with four nails hammered in the top. Wool was wound round and a long tail emerged through the bottom of the reel. The boys would make long slides during the icy weather and we would take turns to have a go. Fights were common and we would gather round while two boys would batter one another – my brother was often involved! I can’t remember any trips while I was at the Burgh school.

At the time we lived at Denhead and came in every day by school bus – a short journey as we were second last to be picked up. The return journey was a different story altogether as we were second last to be dropped off and the bus went all round the countryside first. I felt sick every night on that long journey home.

Other teachers I remember were Mr Auchterlonie, Miss Gray who terrified everyone, Mr Croll who taught gym, Mr Steele and the janitor was Mr Rankine.

Miss McIntyre married quite late in life and became Mrs Jean Fletcher. On my 60th birthday, 10 years ago she sent me a small gift. She died in Craigmount nursing home a few years ago.

Pat Anthony