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Bringing two centuries of Central Primary School, Inverness' history to life for school pupils at the Highland Archive Centre

By Louise Glen

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Pupils from Central Primary School outside the Highland Archive Centre.
Pupils from Central Primary School outside the Highland Archive Centre.

Pupils from Central School have been celebrating its 200-year history with a visit to the Highland Archive Centre.

It comes as part of a year-long celebration for the Inverness primary school which opened on August 13, 1821.

Children from P7 visited the archive centre alongside teacher Stuart Monteith and were given a behind the scenes tour by community engagement officer Lorna Steele-McGinn and conservator Richard Aitken.

Mr Monteith said: “It was fascinating to see behind the scenes at the archive centre and the documents and pictures we were able to look at really brought the history of our school to life for the children.

Pupils from Central Primary School with a High Life Highland archivist.
Pupils from Central Primary School with a High Life Highland archivist.

“It was great to hear the class discussing what goes on - we may have some archivists in the making.”

The Kenneth Street school’s year-long project is a collaboration between Highland Council, the Highland Archive Service and Eden Court Theatre - with theatre engagement team Jonathan Davies and David Martin also joining the tour on Tuesday (September 21).

Archive centre community engagement officer Lorna Steele-McGinn said: “We were able to show the children original documents relating to Central from the last two centuries and images showing Inverness across the centuries from our Ambaile website.

Old Inverness.
Old Inverness.

“We also held a quiz with questions about archives – the collections and the skills needed in the job – and document analysis sheets where they tried to gather as much information as they could about the documents by analysing them themselves

“In the afternoon I was joined by former Central pupil and now our archive assistant Graeme MacLeod to be interviewed about the archive service and memories of Central.”

Central pupils are assembling oral histories and documents over the next 12 months which will be stored with the Highland Archive Service at the end of the project.

Headteacher Ailsa Fraser said: “We are thoroughly enjoying working with the archive centre and their contribution to bringing history to life for our children and community is essential. The children are loving finding out about the past.”

Speaking on behalf of the Inverness West Ward, Cllr Alex Graham said: “It is marvellous to see this Inverness institution commemorate its 200th anniversary.

Pupils learning about the past.
Pupils learning about the past.

“The extensive programme of activities to mark the occasion will provide a valuable and accessible record of its many achievement.

“As a local councillor and parent of three children who attended Central Primary School, I can vouch for the quality of education it has provided. I wish it every success for the next 200 years.”

This year marks the 45th anniversary of Eden Court, opening in April 1976.

Theatre Arts Practitioner Jon Davies said: “It's been an absolute pleasure working in partnership with Central School and the Archive Centre on the Central Two Centuries project.

“It's been eye-opening visiting and working with Lorna and the Archive Centre, there is so much to learn about Central and the Highlands rich history. To be able to add to the Archive through the work we're doing with the school and pupils is a real privilege and a pleasure.”

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