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Tilli Coutnry Historical Notes

Druids and Romans

There is historical evidence that there was at one time a druidical circle opposite the cemetery lodge to the north of the public road in the Kirk Hill / Cunninghar Hill area. It was about 130 feet in diameter. At one time a number of old druidical stones, 5 and a half feet high stood in the circle but these were supposedly removed by a builder to build a dyke with.

At the north end of the Cunninghar Hill several urns containing human bones were dug up leading to the conclusion that the Romans had a station in this area. An old rusty sword of Roman origin was dug up a bit further east towards Harviestoun Castle giving further indication of a Roman presence in the area.

Schools in Tillicoultry

Before the Education Act of 1872 came into force there were 8 privately financed schools in Tillicoultry. John Stalker opened a school in Burnside in 1860 and moved to Ochil Street in 1870. John McTurk had a school in Upper Mill Street. Peter Dow ran a school in Union Street - once this school closed the Co-operative Society bought the site and in 1879 erected premises on it. These premises no longer exist but were at the top left hand side of Union Street. Miss Cameron and Mr Roxburgh had a school in Frederick Street. Miss Gordon ran a school in Hamilton Street taking pupils from 3 years at a fee of 6d (2.5p) per week.

Rev Archibald Browning came to Tillicoultry in 1818 and combined teaching with his pastoral duties. As numbers in his school increased and more of his time was taken up with teaching he resigned from the ministry in 1825. Rev Browning was an excellent teacher and had around 40 boarders at the school as well as day pupils who travelled from the surrounding districts to attend his classes. Rev Browning died in 1858 aged 73.

After the Education Act in 1872 came into operation The Tillicoultry School Board was established and financed by a county rate and Government grants and they had ultimate responsibility for the administration of the school. The new Tillicoultry Public School opened in 1876 with 600 pupils. The new headmaster was George Watson and the school under his leadership built up a good reputation and delivered a sound education system with some pupils even reaching university standard. In later years while John Wilson was headmaster the school concentrated on elementary education and able pupils were transferred to Dollar Institution (later Dollar Academy) in order to reach university standard.

Attendances at the school were usually good averaging over 90%. However in September and October of each year attendance figures fell dramatically due to the potato picking season when pupils were required to supplement family budgets with this seasonal work.

The Fire of 1940

On Wednesday 19th June the Primary school consisting of 11 classrooms, hall, headmaster's room, staffroom and storerooms was completely destroyed by fire. The fire was first seen around 9pm and in a very short space of time despite the efforts of the Alloa Fire Brigade and the Auxiliary Fire Service the whole building was a blazing furnace. Everything was lost - records, furniture, books, stationery and equipment. The new Junior Secondary school escaped intact. The school re-opened the following Monday with the older primary classes being accommodated in the Junior Secondary building and the younger classes moving into church halls throughout the town.

Primary Schooling from the late 1950's was in huts in the centre of the town next to the West Church. A new Secondary school was built in Fir Park which eventually was combined with Alva Secondary school to become Alva Academy. First and Second year pupils attended school in Tillicoultry and moved to Alva for years 3 - 6. Ultimately the buildings in Alva were extended and all pupils and staff were housed in the one area. This allowed the building in Tillicoultry to be converted into the Tillicoultry Primary School