Welcome to the History of Education Centre Website

In the schoolroom Corona Virus Closure

The History of Education Centre is temporarily closed as a precautionary measure due to the corona virus. We're sorry for any disappointment this may cause but we believe it's the responsible thing to do for both our visitors and our volunteers. Please check back here for any updates.

In the meantime, as the government tries to work out how to re-open schools, here's an option from history they might learn from.

Did you know that there used to exist a "half-timers' school" in Paisley? The Coats family, the thread makers, based in Paisley, created a stunning purpose-built school for their mill workers, opened in 1887, so that they could work and get an education. Those were the days when most children went out to work at a young age; after all, they could leave school at 13.

The school could accommodate 400 young girls, all employed by the company. They would work and go to the school on alternate days, hence the "half-timers".

Unfortunately despite the magnificence of the beautiful building, where the girls also received nourishing meals, it changed hands several times after 1904, before being allowed to fall into such disrepair that the government gave permission for it to be pulled down and the land used for flats. So while we ponder what is going to happen to education in the future, perhaps we can learn from the past and find a way to social-distance our current pupils while still providing them with "a good education".


Here's a project you can do at home!

Would you like a project for five to ten-year-olds to keep them busy for a little while? Why not combine that with a chat with grandparents? Check out our home project here.


What do you remember about your schooldays? Were they happy ones, or are you old enough to remember getting the belt? Youngsters today seem to have a much more relaxed attitude to school and cannot imagine the strictness and discipline that used to prevail.

We at the History of Education Centre are happy to instruct them! A visit to the schoolroom is a rare opportunity for visitors to experience what school was like over one hundred and twenty years ago: with our regimented rows of wooden desks, the blackboard and the abacus, the tawse and the finger stocks, the slate pencils and the split nib pens, visitors can get a real feel for education as it was during the Victorian era. The classroom is a time-warp stocked with genuine school items that have served generations of children and lessons are provided by a regiment of strict, stern-faced, role-play teachers.

Similarly, our museum room is laid out with displays of household items, many of which visitors can handle or use. What happened before electricity, televisions or computers, washing machines, fridges or power showers? What did children do at home? Sit round our original old kitchen range, which originated in a domestic science classroom of a local school, and listen to our volunteers describe what families ate all those years ago. Do you know what to do with cold porridge, or how to make sheep's heid broth, or why the baking tray is half-empty?

We welcome visits from schools, clubs and other groups to the History of Education Centre. We can also lend selected items from our Collection, and are engaged in a number of other Projects, such as Doors Open Day.

Explore our website to find out more and contact us at histedcentre@gmail.com if you'd like to delve into the history of education.