Queries on this website from Martin in 2019, and more recently Tom, whose wife had met a former pupil, suggested there was a school on Moray Place. It was not something I was aware of, but never let that be a deterent!

First a quick search of the database confirmed the existence of Moray School. There isn’t much else to go on, but this is what I found.


Theosophy is a movement based on the teachings of Madame Blavatsky, a Russian philosopher , and the Theosophical Society was founded in 1875, with the motto “There is no religion higher than truth”. I struggle to define Theosophy, so leave it the the Theosophical Society of England to do so .

The Theosophical Society is a worldwide community whose primary Object is the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction, based on the realisation that life and all its diverse forms, human and non-human, is indivisibly One.

Founded in 1875, the Society draws together those of goodwill whatever their religious affiliation (if any), social status, gender or ethnicity. The Society promotes such understanding through the study and practical application of the Ageless Wisdom of Theosophy.

The International Mission Statement of the Society is: “To serve humanity by cultivating an ever-deepening understanding and realization of the Ageless Wisdom, spiritual Self-transformation, and the Unity of all Life.

So that’s clear then. But what about Moray Place?

Moray School

The movement grew around the turn of the century, and adopted Adyar in India as its base. New ideas in education became an important aspect of its work, and schools were founded around the world and in the UK, notably in Letchworth Garden City. In 1918 two schools opened in Scotland, The King Arthur School at Musselburgh, in the rather grand Drummore House , and Moray School, in the somewhat more mundane Moray Place in Glasgow. Oddly the early Post Office Directories say the Glasgow school was at No 33 in 1918, then No 31 in 1921, before settling on No 28 Moray Place.

Few details are available, but the Golden Book of the Theosophical Society , a history of the Society’s first 50 years published in 1925, notes

The Theosophical Educational Trust with which the names of Dr. G. S. Arumlale, Mrs. B. Ensor, Mrs. J. Hansom, Mr. H. Baillie-Weaver and others are associated, began by opening two schools, the Garden City Co-Educational School at Letchworth, (afterwards known as Arundale School) with Dr. Armstrong Smith as Principal, and Brackenhill School at Bromley, Kent, for children who were homeless, or in worst; care. Various other English schools in different places came under the control of the Trust, and in 1918 King Arthur Co-Educational Boarding School near Edinburgh, and Moray School in Glasgow, the latter a day school for young children, were started.

Similarly the 47th General report of the anniversary and convention of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, India (1922) mentioned the Scottish schools, while making an interesting comparison of Scottish and English educational standards .

Schools in Scotland .—The Scottish schools—King Arthur School, Musselburgh, and the Moray School, Glasgow—have come under the direct management of the Directors of the Theosophieal Educational Trust in the United Kingdom. Both schools continue to do very good work although there has not been as much response to our efforts in Scotland as there has been in England. Probably this is due to the fact that for centuries the Scotch have fostered education to an extent wholly unknown in England and that as a result the education provided in the Scotch State Schools has been exceedingly good. Furthermore the boarding school system is not as much in vogue there as in England.

The school did get a glowing report in the Daily Record of 1 April 1918, soon after opening, describing its use of the Montessori method of teaching .

Description of Moray School in the Daily Record, 1 Apr 1918. Source: BNA

The 1921 report recorded Mrs Munro as the principal, commenting

This School also is to be congratulated upon its good work which has been steady and persevering.

Jessie Walker

The progress may not have been so steady, as by 1925 the Valuation Roll recorded William Monteith of Prestwick as the owner, and Jessie R Monteith and Jessie R Walker as tenants, and teachers at the school. It appears Theosophy’s presence in Moray Place was quite brief, perhaps just three years. It is likely the school was moved from No 31 to No 28 at this time.

William Monteith was a Glasgow-born stockbroker & chartered accountant who lived at Glencairn Drive, Pollokshields in 1901, then c mid 1900s moved to 16 Moray Place. He married Elizabeth Robertson and their daughter Jessie Robertson Monteith was born in 1900. By 1920 they had moved to Prestwick. It appears William purchased the school for his daughter to run and teach in, and they employed Jessie R Walker to teach there also. William died in Prestwick in 1928.

Correspondent Martin Sweet has found a note by his grandmother, whose daughter (Martin’s mother) attended Moray School, then Hutcheson’s from 1922, aged 10.

By now [referring to just after the Great War] we had engaged Miss Walker M.A. as governess to our trio. She came each morning at 9 am and left after lunch. Charlie Robertson joined with our trio. We had two weeks at each house and this worked very well. Later on Miss Walker thought she would like to start a little school, so Nancy Robertson and I got busy and found a wooden hut near Shawlands Cross. She had about fifteen or twenty pupils, among them Edith Stevenson, Matthew Kirkwood and John McFarlane etc. This carried on for two years when Miss Walker came to Martin and me to say she wanted our advice about taking over Moray School in Strathbungo. We encouraged her and a great success her future was. This school was packed out. Then she took over Radleigh School in Clarkston which was also packed out. It is still carrying on with Miss Walker at the helm but she gave up the Moray school some time ago.

This timeline suggests Miss Walker had taken on the school around 1921. She was still at Moray School in 1940, but also worked at Radleigh School in Cathcart at some point. She retired from Radleigh in 1963.

William’s daughter Jessie Monteith married William Theodore Martin, a wholesale fruit merchant from Troon, in 1930. She was living at Prestwick at the time. She was however still the owner of the school in 1940.

Some bright spark though it would be good for children to donate a penny on Empire Day to buy cigarettes for the troops. This took place in the first world war, and was repeated in the second, from which this postcard to the school appears to date. It thanks the children for their gift.

Postcard thanking children, signed by a serving officer, but unit and location not specified

WW2 postcard to Moray School from a serving officer, thanking them for their Empire Day gift. The other side features a history of the Victoria Cross. Source: Greg Ward

The Consort Hotel

In the 1970s 27-32 Moray Place operated as a hotel, which is described in a separate blog post – The Consort Hotel.

Can anyone else shed any more light on this school?


New Ideals In Education | Daily Record | Monday 01 April 1918 | British Newspaper Archive [Internet]. [cited 2023 Oct 3]. Available from: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000728/19180401/041/0002
Helena Blavatsky. In: Wikipedia [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Feb 1]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Helena_Blavatsky&oldid=1003439978
Theosophical Society. General report of the anniversary and convention of the Theosophical Society 1922 [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2021 Feb 1]. Available from: http://archive.org/details/GeneralReport1922
Jinarajadasa C. The Golden Book Of The Theosophical Society (1925) [Internet]. 1925 [cited 2021 Feb 1]. Available from: http://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.237732
John Gray Centre [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jan 31]. King Arthur School, Musselburgh. Available from: http://www.johngraycentre.org/index.php?
Theosophical Society in England [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jan 31]. Theosophical Society of England. Available from: https://theosophicalsociety.org.uk/