The Dundee Burgh Schools.

(From the Charters Book in the City Archives)

 

The Burgh Records for Centuries show the deep interest taken by the Magistrates and Council in the cause of Education. The several Burgh Schools were supported from the public funds, embracing the Grammer School, the English School and the Academy, and the teachers generally held their office 'ad vitam aut culpam' (for life as long as they were capable) as public officers.
Before the incorporation of these schools with the enlarged Public Seminaries in 1829, the following were the salaries paid to the several teachers from the Burgh Funds: -

From the Discharge of the Chamberlain's Intromissions,
For the year from 26th September 1828 to 24th September 1829.

II. Salaries and Payments for Education -

1 Salaries to Teachers       £ s. d.
  William Murray Rector Academy 1 Yr Martimass & Whitsunday 80 00 00
  George Gauld Teacher Academy 1 Yr Martimass & Whitsunday 50 00 00
  Jules Legendre Teacher, French Academy 1 Yr Martimass & Whitsunday 35 00 00
  D.R. Andrews Teacher, Drawing Academy 1 Yr Martimass & Whitsunday 35 00 00
  Richard Low   Grammar School 1 Yr Martimass & Whitsunday 32 15 6⅔
  John Black   Grammar School 1 Yr Martimass & Whitsunday 43 6 8
  James Gardiner   English School From 8th Sept to Whitsunday 20 00 00
  Robert Stewart   English School From 8th Sept to Whitsunday 13 6 8
          £309 8 10
               
2 Rent of Academy, paid to the Hospital Fund For 1 year at Martinmas 20 00 00
          £329 8 10
  Besides a sum of about £22 for prizes to the Schools        

 

Besides the above, there was paid from the Hospital Fund for the Grammar School £11 - 2s - 2d.

About the year 1825, and subsequent years the increasing requirements of the town necessitated increased educational arrangements and the Council appointed a Committee "to enquire into the state of the Academy and other Public Schools, and into the system and means of Education in the Town generally, and how these may be improved; and also as to providing of suitable buildings for the better accommodation of the Academy and other Schools, and to report to the Council.
The result of this enquiry was an agreement with a committee of the inhabitants who advocated increased means of Education and who had subscribed for the purpose, whereby all the Burgh Schools should be incorporated with the Dundee Public Seminaries, and based on principles agreed to by the parties.
These principles are engrossed at length in the Council Record immediately preceding their resolution of approval.

The principal of these conditions were -

"First. - The whole patronage, control, and management of the Public Seminaries shall be vested in Twenty Directors, viz., The Provost, Four Bailies, and Five other persons to be chosen by the Town Council, and Ten persons to be chosen by the Subscribers in the manner after mentioned. But in case any Director or Directors (whether ex-officio or by election) shall refuse to accept, or after acceptance, shall resign the situation, or shall die before the expiry of the year for which he or they may be appointed to Act, then it shall be in the power of the Town Council and Subscribers respectively to fill up such vacancies among their own Directors, at special meetings called for that purpose & etc.

(The mode in which the Subscribers are to vote for Directors, and various other details as to management and Election of Teachers, are set forth in the scheme.)

"Fourth - All sums of money already subscribed, or which at any future time may be subscribed, for the erection of buildings for the Seminaries, or the improvement of Education in Dundee, and all other sums applicable to the same purposes, shall be under the management and at the disposal of the Twenty Directors; and in particular, the sum of two thousand Five Hundred Pounds, directed by the recent Act renewing the Ale and Beer Duty in Dundee, to be applied towards providing and maintaining suitable houses for the Public Schools of Dundee, and otherwise improving the means of Education therein, shall be applied toward the erection of the Buildings for the Seminaries under this Constitution. It is also understood that printed statements of the receipts and expenditure of the Directors are to be published for the information of all concerned, and their accounts audited at such fixed periods as shall be afterwards determined."   

"Fifth.—The Magistrates and Town Council shall become bound, for themselves and their successors, that so long as they continue to have the right of levying the duties on Ale and Beer contained in the Act 14th June, 1827, or by any future renewal of the said Act, they shall continue to pay annually to the Directors, for the support of the Public Seminaries, the Sum of Three Hundred and Thirty-eight Pounds Seventeen Shillings and Tenpence Sterling, being equal to the yearly amount of the Salaries of the Teachers of the Academy and other Schools now paid out of the funds of the Burgh (not in­cluding the salary or allowance of any retired Teacher). And the Town Council shall also continue to pay annually to the Directors for the support of the Seminaries the sum of Eleven Pounds Two Shillings and Twopence Sterling out of the Funds of the Hospital, hitherto paid from these funds to the Schools. If the Act imposing a duty on Ale and Beer should be renewed, but the rate of duty altered, the annual sum to be paid by the Town Council to the Public Seminaries will be diminished or increased in proportion. If the duty be with­drawn altogether, the above specified obligation on the part of the Council will cease, and they will only then have to consider the interest of the Seminaries comparatively and consistently with the public wants in other respects: But the Directors shall be Ix.und to respect the vested rights of the present Teachers appointed under the Town Council, and fulfil all the obligations which the Town Council are under towards these Teachers respectively.''

"Thirteenth.—If the Directors shall decide that it would be advisable and practicable to obtain a Crown Charter in conformity to the Stipulations herein detailed, they will take the necessary steps for carrying this into effect"

"Fourteenth.—The ground to be acquired as a Site for the New Buildings, with the Buildings themselves, and all other property, shall be vested not in the Magistrates and Town Council, but in the Directors, or in Trustees to be fixed under the Crown Charter, in case there is such,—in trust for being used for the purposes of the Seminaries under this Constitution; and provision shall be made in the titles, that if by any act, direct or indirect, of the Town Council, or any other body whatsoever, the Patronage or Government of the Seminaries shall become vested in any public body or individuals, contrary to this Constitution, the Buildings and whole other property shall be at the disposal of certain public Trustees, to be named in the titles—(these Trustees to be fixed by the Subscribers at a General Meeting called for that purpose)—in order to be by these Trustees, or under their direction, either used for public Seminaries altogether apart from and independent of the body or individuals through whose act this Constitution has been overthrown, or to be sold, and the price applied by these Trustees, or under their direction, for pro­moting Education in Dundee."

Resolution of Town Council agreeing to the Incorporation of the Burgh Schools with the Public Seminaries, May 1829.

At a Meeting of the Town Council on 20th May, 1829, the following resolutions regarding the Schools were passed :—

The Council, considering the great importance of providing for the proper education of youth in this populous and rising community, the great extension of Dundee beyond the ancient bounds of the Burgh, the necessity of providing suitable building for the Public Schools, the advantages which would arise from extending the course of instruction, and otherwise improving the means of education, and the impossibility of obtaining these ends by the ordinary revenues of the Burgh except by unduly restricting the expenditure in other departments, which it is necessary should be fully maintained; and the Council also considering the great increase in the population of the Suburbs of the Burgh, and in the surrounding district of country from which young persons would resort for education if the school of Dundee were suitable to the enlarged wants of the times; and likewise considering that the Inhabitants of the Burgh and Suburbs, and many of those in the surrounding district, would contribute money as voluntary gifts for the establishment and support of Seminaries sufficient not only for the Burgh itself, but also for the Suburbs and surrounding country, if such arrangements were made as would insure cordial and united support and management by the Council and the contributors for the general advantage of all classes; and the Council being satisfied that no means promise to promote public education in the Burgh so effectually as incorporating one great establishment sufficient for the Suburbs and surrounding Country as well as for the Burgh itself; and the Council having carefully considered the pro­posals detailed in the before-recited joint-minute or report and rela­tive writing, entitled " Principles on which it is proposed that the Magistrates and Town Council and all classes of the community shall unite in joint efforts for enlarging and improving the means of educa­tion in Dundee, and obtaining suitable buildings and other accommo­dation for the public schools," the Council have declared, and hereby declare their full approbation of the said proposals.

And accordingly the Council have appointed, and hereby appoint that the several Public Schools of this Burgh shall form or be incorporated in and with the Public Seminaries, to be established, governed, and main­tained as proposed in the before-mentioned writing: And the Council have consented, and hereby consent that the whole patronage, control, and management of the Public Seminaries so to be constituted, shall be vested in Directors to be chosen in manner set forth in the said writing; and also that the Directors shall have full power to fix and purchase the site, and determine the plan, dimension, and specification of the buildings to be erected, and make the necessary contracts, and give the necessary orders for the erection thereof. And generally, the Council have consented, and hereby consent to all that is pro­posed in the before-mentioned writings, in the whole heads, articles, and clauses thereof; and moreover, the Council, acting for the com­munity of Dundee as Trustees of the duty on Ale and Beer after-mentioned, specially engage and become bound, for themselves and their successors, that so long as they continue to have the right of levying the duty on Ale and Beer continued to them by the Act passed in the seventh and eighth years of the Reign of his present Majesty, entituled

"An Act for enlarging the term and powers granted by several Acts for levying a duty of two pennies Scots upon every pint of Ale and Beer brewed or vended within the Town of Dundee, and the liberties and suburbs thereof, and for amending the said Acts," by the said Act, or any other Act containing the said duty, the Council shall continue to pay annually to the Directors of the said Seminaries, for the support thereof, a sum amounting to Three hundred and thirty-eight pounds sixteen shillings and tenpence Sterling annually, being the amount at present paid by the Council from the Burgh revenues for the Salaries of Public Teachers ; and the Council also specially engage and become bound, for themselves and their successors, as patrons of the Hospital, that they will hereafter in all time coming continue to pay from the fund of the Hospital to the said Directors, for the purpose aforesaid, the sum of Eleven pounds two shillings and twopence annually, being the sum hitherto paid from the said funds towards the support of the public school. And accordingly the Council, as Trustees for the said Ale and Peer duty, directed, and hereby direct their Collector of that duty in their name, to pay as foresaid out of the first of the proceeds thereof annually the sum of Three hundred and thirty-eight pounds seventeen shillings and tenpence, and take credit for the same in his account.

And the Council, as Patrons of the Hospital, in like manner direct that the Factor for the Hospital shall pay, as fore-said, the before-mentioned sum of Eleven pounds two shillings and twopence annually from the Hospital funds, and take credit for the same in his accounts. But it is specially provided, in terms of the fifth article of the said proposals, that the grant and obligation above written are made on the express condition that the Directors of the Seminaries to be chosen under the proposed constitution shall be bound to respect the vested rights of the present Teachers ap­pointed under the Town Council, and fulfil all the other obligations which the Council are under towards these Teachers respectively. And it is also specially provided, that in case of the renewal by any future Act of the duty on Ale and Beer aforesaid, the rate of duty shall be altered, the annual payment of Three hundred and thirty-eight pounds seventeen shillings and tenpence above mentioned will be diminished or increased in amount in the proportion which the new rate bears to the rate now current. And in case the duty be altogether withdrawn, the obligation now come under by the Council shall cease and determine, and the Council will have to consider the interest of the Seminaries only comparatively and consistently with the public wants in other respects. And, moreover, it is specially provided that all the Acts above written have proceeded, and do now proceed, on the understanding that the proposals above mentioned have been or will be acceded to by the Commissioners under the Ale and Beer duty Act above mentioned, and that the Commissioners have passed, or will pass an Act in reference to the sum of Two thousand five hundred pounds, for which they are Trustees, in the terms and to the effect proposed in the joint-minute before recited. And likewise, on the understanding that subscribers to the amount: least of Two thousand five hundred pounds will also declare their assent, and engage to pay their respective- subscriptions to such person as shall be appointed by the Directors, as set forth in the said joint-minute before recited. And it has been and is a special condition of the said Acts above written, that if the proposals before recited be acceded to, as aforesaid, by the said Commissioners and subscribers, the Acts of the Council above written shall be good and sufficient; but otherwise, they shall be void and of non-effect.

And the Council declared, and hereby declare that in passing the Acts above written they have proceeded on the belief that they possess legal powers to warrant all that they have done. But, in case it shall hereafter be found that they have not such powers, and that it is competent to the successors of the present Council to set aside or render of non-effect the Acts this day passed, then, and in order to provide for such a case, the. Council have solemnly declared, and hereby solemnly declare that they have acted, and do now act, in the full conviction that the measure proposed is for the public advantage, and they have accepted, and are to accept of the voluntary aid of their fellow-citizens and others in the full knowledge that all those persons are relying on the legal sufficiency of the Acts above written, and also relying on the honour of the Council, and their successors, that they will give full effect to what is now intended without avail­ing themselves of defects in legal form. And the Council have ex­pressed, and do now record their earnest recommendation and request that no succeeding Council will by any Act, direct or indirect, revoke, or in any respect infringe upon or lessen the effect of the Acts this day passed, although it shall be found contrary to the present belief that future Councils are not legally bound.

Afterwards the newly-appointed Directors resolved to acquire the ground in the Meadows on which the Seminaries were subsequently built. The price was fixed at £1,500 by the Town Council, and the ground was purchased at this sum at public sale, and the erection of the Schools commenced. The following are some of the Conditions of the Title granted by the Town to the Directors :—

Excerpt from Charter by the Magistrates and Town Council in favour of
the Directors of the Public Seminaries, 1832.

The Charter of the ground is granted to the parties, "But always in trust for being used for the Public Seminaries of Dundee under the said Act of the said Magistrates and Council, and under the declara­tions hereinafter specified."

" And it is also, at the request of our said disponees, specially provided and declared, arid it shall be inserted in the instru­ment of sasine to follow hereon, and in all the future investitures of the said subjects, until the said subjects are permanently incorporated and vested in Trustees, that the said subjects are conveyed to our said disponees, and to be accepted of by them only under the condi­tion that they shall be bound, at any time when required by a quorum of the Directors of the Public Seminaries of Dundee for the time being under the said Act of the Magistrates and Council, dated the twentieth day of May, in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine, to denude of the said subjects and the buildings to be erected thereon, and, at the expense of the said Directors, to convey the same to and in favour of the said Directors, or to and in favour of any Trustees to be fixed under any Crown Charter which may be obtained in terms of the thirteenth and fourteenth articles of the said Act of the Magistrates and Council, but that only in trust for the purpose of the said Seminaries; and it is also, at the request of our said disponees, provided and declared, and provision to the like effect shall be inserted in the infeftment to follow hereon, and in all the future investitures, whether in favour of the Directors or other Trus­tees or incorporation, that if by any Act, direct or indirect, of the Town Council, or any other body whatsoever, the patronage or government of the Public Seminaries of Dundee shall be vested in any public body or individuals, contrary to the constitution set forthin the said Act of the said Magistrates and Council, dated the twentieth day of May, in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine, the said ground hereby conveyed, and the build­ings thereon, and whole other property acquired, or which may be acquired by the Directors, shall be at the disposal of certain public Trustees to be fixed by the subscribers to the Seminaries at a general meeting to be called for the purpose, in terms of the four­teenth article of the said constitution, in order that the said ground, buildings, and other property, shall be by these Trustees, or under their direction, either used for public Seminaries altogether apart from and independent of the body or individuals through whom the said constitution has been overthrown, or sold, and the price applied by these Trustees, or under their direction, for promoting education in Dundee."

The Town Council subscribed £500 from the common good towards the Buildings, and paid £2,500 stipulated from the proceeds of the Ale and Beer Duty; and in the progress of the building the Directors were unable to pay the Contractors the stipulated price for the Erections. The Contractors raised legal proceedings for adjudging the property in payment of the balance due them of £1,811, and procured a Decree of Adjudication in their favour of the whole subjects. The Town Council was then applied to to relieve the buildings, and agreed to pay the Contractors the balance of their claim, on condition that the corner portions of the ground facing Euclid Crescent be given off, so as to round the Street, and to depart from some of the stipulations as to surrounding buildings. This was done in 1837.

The stipulated payment to the Directors in respect of the Ale and Beer Duties was made until the Act expired in 1848. The £11 payable from the Hospital Fund to the Grammar School Teacher is still paid to the High School Directors.

Transcribed by Iain D. McIntosh
Friends of Dundee City Archives2012