28 Moray Place – Moray School

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

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 Theospohical 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 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.

The 1925 Valuation Roll records William Monteith as the owner, and Jessie R Walker or Jessie R Monteith as the tenant.

The school lasted over 20 years, being listed in the Glasgow PO Directories at least up to 1941.

The Consort Hotel

In the 1970s 27-32 Moray Place operated as the Consort Hotel.

Can anyone else shed any more light on this school?

References

1.
Helena Blavatsky. In: Wikipedia [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2021 Feb 1]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Helena_Blavatsky&oldid=1003439978
1.
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
1.
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
1.
King Arthur School, Musselburgh [Internet]. John Gray Centre. [cited 2021 Jan 31]. Available from: http://www.johngraycentre.org/index.php?
1.
Theosophical Society of England [Internet]. Theosophical Society in England. [cited 2021 Jan 31]. Available from: https://theosophicalsociety.org.uk/

3 Comments

  1. Some of the residents of Strathbungo in the first half of the last century strike me as being positively exotic. I feel dull by comparison.
    Thanks again Andrew, i do enjoy reading about the history of this fascinating area of Glasgow

  2. This is wonderful, thank you so much Andrew. Excellent research. My mother attended Moray School until 1922 when she went to Hutcheson’s aged 10. So I guess she was at Moray from about when it opened in 1918.

    My grandparents never struck me as following (or setting) a trend and were staunch Presbyterians. Interesting.

    Many thanks for this
    Martin

  3. It’s an endlessly fascinating little corner of Glasgow. Well found Andrew, I was on the NLS website for hours yesterday scouring maps for clues and found absolutely nothing so chapeau sir!

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