Mary Murrays Hospital
- Ref No: EL120
- Repository: East Lothian Archive Service
- Date: c.1880s
- Description: Typescript draft of the administration of an endowment left by Miss Mary Murray. Some later pencil notes have been added in the margin and there is a looseleaf A5 sheet with some rough notes which may relate to the grant.
- AdminHistory: Mary Murray Mary Murray died at the age of 86 at her High Street home in Dysart, Fife on 26 November 1861. She is said to have been born in Edinburgh the daughter of wine merchant William Murray and his wife Margaret. Neither Mary or her parents have any traceable connection with Prestonpans. Her Will made provision for the founding of "an hospital for the training of female children of poor but respectable parents as domestic servants". On her death, the Estate was worth some 20 000 but she expressed a primary condition that the sum should be allowed to accumulate for twenty one years under the care of named Trustees - John Dundas, William Wilson, Samuel Davidson and Alexander Montgomery Bell. By 1882, her legacy had increased to 36 000. By then the original trustees had passed away but alternative trustees - the Keeper of the Signet and his Deputy together with their Commissioners - had assumed administration of the Trust and they took a twenty five years lease of the old and empty Schaw's Hospital building to implement the directions of Miss Murray in setting up her proposed school for girls. . The Murray Institute for Girls Children were to be accepted between the ages of six and eight and remain there until age fourteen, at which time they were to be found a place in domestic service. To equip them for such employment the girls were to be instructed in reading, writing, arithmetic, sewing, spinning, knitting, 'and such other plain, useful acquirements as my said Trustees shall think best calculated for them'. Tthe most important requirement was that all the pupils were to be taught the principles of religion, honesty and truth. Reading of the Scriptures together with prayers were to be a morning and evening necessity. No male teacher or chaplain was ever to be admitted or employed in the school, the whole establishment to be controlled by a 'proper mistress' or matron appointed at the discretion of the trustees. Miss Isabella Meikle, previously of Donaldson's School in Edinburgh, was appointed Matron and apparently remained in that position throughout her working life as indeed did many of the later teachers. The Trust was run by eight directors, all of whom were appointed from the Office of the Signet. The Mary Murray Institute opened in 1882 with an initial intake of twenty six students including two from Dysart in Fife, where the Magistrates and Town Council had been invited annually to nominate two girls for admission to the institution. During 1901, the yearly roll of students had increased to sixty eight and Miss Meikle was still in charge. Another teacher, Miss Thomson, had already recorded sixteen years service giving an indication of stability within the teaching and administrative staff. Miss Murray's concern for the pupils obviously extended beyond the years of their formal education. If a student had remained with her first employer until the age of twenty then "provided she had at all times conducted herself with decorum(she) would receive a present not exceeding 10 from Miss Murray's Trust either on the occasion of her marriage or attaining the age of forty". In practice because of the excellent management of funds by the Trustees every girl who successfully concluded her formal education was given a present of 10 on leaving the Institute. It was further provided that any former pupil attaining the age of sixty, and having no home of her own, could return to live in the Institute where she would be given work in accordance with her age and strength, subject to the woman having throughout her life, conducted herself with "proper propriety". Extensive changes in the provision of formal education during the first half of the 20th century saw the gradual demise of the Murray Institute. The old Schaw School building survived for many years as a venue for other purposes.
- PreviousNumbers: EL260
- Extent: 0.007
- Level: Item
- Related People:
- Access Status: Open
- Associated Period:
- For more information contact: East Lothian Archive Service
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