Linlithgow Academy

A large state-funded six-year co-educational non-denominational comprehensive school in Linlithgow (West Lothian), Linlithgow Academy is the only mainstream secondary school in the town. It occupies a 4-ha (10-acre) site at Braehead, a half-mile (1 km) southwest of the town centre. The school has 88 teachers and 1205 pupils (2015), divided between three houses; Bell, Kelvin and Watt, named for the noted inventor, scientist and engineer. The present building was opened in 1968 by pioneering lawyer and former pupil, Margaret Kidd (1900-89), and has been extended several times since. The original building cost £551,000 and was the work of Glasgow-based architects David Harvey Alex Scott & Associates. It now includes a 350-seat theatre which is available for community events. New sports facilities were added in 2008, at a cost of £3.5 million. These comprise a sports hall, with four badminton courts, together with a fitness suite, dance area, an outdoor tennis court and all-weather multi-sport pitch.

Linlithgow Academy was founded in 1894, although it represents the successor to a line of schools which date back to the 12th C. The first was known as the Sang Schule and trained choristers for St. Michael's Parish Church. By the 17th C. this became known as Linlithgow Grammar School and the school-house was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell's army in 1650. A new school called the Kirkgate School was built in the 1670s, which itself was replaced in 1816, but still comprising just a single school-room and two teachers. Linlithgow Town Council had set up a school for girls in 1783. The Education Act of 1872 also brought the Grammar School under the control of the Council and another new building was occupied four years later. However pupil numbers rose quickly, reaching 443 in 1880, and this new school was soon overcrowded, with an inspector complaining of bad hygiene and teaching difficulties amongst the seven staff. This may or may not have given rise to the foundation of the Academy on 8th January 1894, but the problem was solved when the Grammar School was destroyed by fire in 1902 and the two schools effectively merged. The Academy first occupied Longcroft Hall in the West Port, but had also grown rapidly and, by the time of the fire, a new building was well underway at Low Port, which duly opened on 12th May 1902.

Former pupils of the Academy include nationalist politicians Alex Salmond (b.1954) and Kenny MacAskill (b. 1958).

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