The establishment of Juniper Green Free Kirk school in 1849
by Liz Beevers

The Free Kirk founded the school which, much extended and altered, still serves as the Annexe and Infant school for Juniper Green in 2007 though sadly not for much longer.

The building was opened in 1849 with one long room (divided by a wooden partition with glass) to make a school room 27 feet by 18 feet and a classroom of 18 feet by 12 feet. A schoolmaster's house was attached. Two of the early headteachers were Mr Russell and Mr Mathew. The latter was described as "an ardent gardener and a keen teacher".

To the north of the school lay an unkempt garden where the village played quoits and another lay immediately to the front (where Woodhall Terrace would later be established).

The so-called female school at 28 Baberton Avenue

School at this time was neither free nor compulsory. It is likely that in the early days the majority of the pupils at the Free Kirk School were boys and that many of the village girls who went to school chose to stay at the "female "school at 28 Baberton avenue. When this was inspected in 1854 there were 12 boys and 48 girls there under the care of a twenty- two- year-old Agnes Adamson. She was paid £35 per annum.

The school building was used in the evening for the kirk session and prayer meetings as well as a literary society. This latter group presented the school with a handsome clock (still kept in the Annexe in the 1980s), made by Robert Watt of Juniper Green in 1856.

Ground plan of the Free Kirk's first school and school house on the school's present site on the corner of of Baberton Avenue and Woodhall Terrace 1849

Information from John Tweedie "A Water of Leith Walk", Colinton and Currie Free Kirk session minutes, CH3/951/1 School inspectors' Reports Ed 18/3186.