Ferryhill Primary School is situated in the Centre of Aberdeen, near to the city’s Union Street. The school is a granite building of some quite considerable size considering it is a only a primary school and has stood so proudly on Caledonian Place since 1877, in fact the school marked its 130th birthday last year with numerous celebrations. Being such an old building it must have been witness to a lot of Aberdeen’s history in those 130 years, so it was an honour and a privilege for Crann Tara to be invited into the school to give a talk and display on Scotland’s history covering various subjects from the origins of the Saltire to the Highland Clearances.
The visit began with a warm welcome from P5/6 teacher Caroline Linskaill who’s class we were at the hands of for the day. After brief introductions we had the arduous task of humphing all our equipment up the two flights of stairs to the classroom on the second floor. Lucky enough there were four of us to undertake the job, myself, Bruce, Rab and Juliette. As at this time the kids were on playtime you could see their faces light up when they saw some of the weapons etc that we were carrying.
We just had enough time to set up in the class room before the kids returned from their break, I think it is the quietest I have ever heard kids, mesmerized by our appearance and what we had taken into show them.
After a introduction to who we were we began with the origin of the Saltire, and credit to Caroline the teacher she had done a great job with the kids as they knew a majority of the questions being asked, as it turned out not just about the Saltire, but about the various other topics we covered, we were very impressed.
As the morning progressed the four of us spoke about various Scottish heroes such as Wallace, Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, The Marquis of Montrose and Charles Edward Stewart among others, as well as the local battle of Aberdeen which was in close proximity of the school. With our numerous various artefacts we had taken in ,we were able to show them original remains of a Lochaber Axe found at Sheriffmuir from the battle of 1715, musket balls found at Culloden from the battle of 1746 and a powder horn from 1720.
We were also able to show the kids a range of various replica weapons, Claymore, Musket, Dirk, Broadsword, Pistol and Targe and how they were used. Further to that they were also shown the materials used in Targe and Sporran making and various drawings of Pictish animals, which were tooled or engraved onto leather or stones.
Unfortunately time ran away from us in fact the lunch time bell had already rang. I have never known kids to stay in class after the bell, but stay they did, it gave us a few extra minutes to get a few pics and hand out a wee competition questionnaire as well as a wee Saltire each, since the visit both incorporated St Andrew, the Saltire and it was two days before St Andrews Day.
Must say the kids were great, full of enthusiasm and very well behaved, obviously down to their teacher. Before leaving we were thanked with an enormous
‘Thank You Crann Tara’ by the kids. Such was the interest that some of the kids even stayed as we cleared up to ask some questions.
On behalf of myself, Bruce, Rab and Juliette and the rest of Crann Tara we would like to thank Caroline Linskaill and the pupils of primary 5/6 for inviting us to Ferryhill School and not being too hard on us!!! As well as making our visit to the school a privilege and a pleasure.
For more on Ferryhill Primary School , Aberdeen. see their website www.ferryhill.aberdeen.sch.uk
By Jim Singer