Sometimes we are struck by the strange coincidences here in archives. Just last week we came across a digital image of King Arthur School , Musselburgh in our collections. Never having heard of it we immediately started to look for information and found it was an independent boarding school for girls and boys. This week we’ve been handed a donation of material for King Arthur School!
The institution was housed at Drummore House, a beautiful Adam mansion. It’s actually closer to Prestonpans than Musselburgh but I suspect Musselburgh sounded better for the type of pupils they aimed to attract. Here’s an advert from the Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory from 1922-23
The prospectus for the school states:
“ The aim of the school is to lose nothing of the real strength of the time honoured school training, and to add thereto a greater stimulus to originality of thought and feeling, with a wider interest in nature and humanity”
High ideals indeed!
From the prospectus we can see that heath and exercise were highly important. The whole school undertook 20 minutes of Swedish gymnastics mid morning, were outside from 12-1 and the pupils were encouraged to be outside as much as possible.
There has been some debate recently about school hours and King Arthur’s certainly felt that standard school hours were too much, stating:
“The actual time during which the young mind can profitably apply itself keenly to serious effort, is not great: and in small classes the standard of work can be maintained at a high level, so that the extent of class hours may become injurious, and in no good case does it produce permanent advance”
The material contains quite a few images of the school interior and exterior. There are also a number photos of the pupils performing plays so theatre was obviously a popular part of the curriculum.
A list for what type of uniform should be purchased was also included among the material. No nipping to Asda or Marks & Spencer to buy a uniform! Some of the items had to be purchased from Sloane St in London and we have a receipt showing the purchase of some of the items from Sheba there.
Drummore House was purchased in 1927 by Loretto and it became an all girls school. It was unsuccessful though and closed a year later.
There, a wee snippet of East Lothian history we knew nothing about until last week and now have an collection for!