Mr Railston’s Boarding School, London, 1819-1820

Our next feature for the Year of Young People 2018 focuses on a concerned grandfather sending his grandson to boarding school.

Included within the McGregor of McGregor collection (PD60) are series of letters from John M. Murray to Mr Railston in London.

Mr Railston ran Eagle House boarding school in London. It was stated the school ‘boards and instructs a limited number of gentlemen for university, army, navy, and the higher spheres of life’.

In 1819, John M. Murray was making arrangements to send his grandson, John Atholl Bannatyne MacGregor Murray, to this school.

The grandfather’s letters highlight a concern for the safety and hospitality of his grandson. He writes that John Atholl Bannatyne McGregor is my ‘only grandson of my only child’.

One of the interesting documents in this collection is the set of terms concerning his grandson’s admission to Mr Railston’s boarding school.

On the front of the page, it is printed that each pupils must bring a silver spoon and half a dozen towels.

On the opposite side there is a handwritten list of required items that must be provided by the family. They are:

  • 8 days shirts
  • 3 night shirts
  • 3 night caps
  • 8 pocket handkerchiefs
  • 8 pairs of stockings
  • 3 pairs of shoes
  • 2 flats
  • 2 suits of clothes
  • 1 flannel dressing gown

After agreeing to the terms, John Atholl Bannatyne MacGregor Murray arrived at the boarding school in 1820.

Correspondence between John M. Murray and Mr Railston continued until 30 Dec 1820 with reports of good character by Mr Railston at the school. A Gaelic teacher was also brought in to the school to help John Atholl Bannatyne MacGregor Murray continue to learn the language.

The final letter from Mr Railston to John M. Murray states that his grandson has been in good health over the past year. He had only been affected by one or two slight colds.