An exceptional education
There was great excitement in Crieff in 1859 when the work began on the Scottish baronial style building with its crow stepped gables. The local paper said, “Its healthful locality and commanding view of extensive and beautifully romantic scenery cannot be surpassed, if at all equalled, by any such public building in Scotland”.
The Academy that opened on 1 October 1860 owed its foundation to Thomas Morison or Morrison (it is recorded that both spellings of his surname were used). Thomas was born in Muthill in 1761, his mother belonged to Crieff.
Thomas trained as a stonemason and, following some years spent working in Auchterarder, he moved to Edinburgh, set up his own business and made his fortune as the builder of a substantial part of the city’s beautiful Georgian New Town.
In the words of his will, he instructed his trustees to:
“erect and endow an institution or institutions as to them shall appear best calculated to promote the interests of mankind, having a particular regard to the Education of youth and the diffusion of knowledge”
Thomas died in 1829 and after a number of years of searching for a suitable location his trustees decided on Crieff, the part of the country where Morrison was born, rather than Edinburgh which already had several schools.
It took forty years to find the right location, during this time the legacy had grown to £20,000 which today would be in the region of £1.2 million. They purchased the old market site in Crieff where the cattle tryst used to be held before it moved south to Falkirk.
“The site, a beautiful one on the estates of Drummond Castle…was about ten acres, sheltered by the Knock and commanding a panoramic view of a large part of Strathearn.”
In 1859, building started and Reverend Ogilvie, our school’s first Rector, was appointed. In 1860, our Old School Building was opened and the first Morrisonians (all boys) arrived. They were joined the following year in 1861 by our first girls.
A Philanthropic Spirit
Our school was founded on a proud tradition of philanthropy. Thomas Morrison was our most important benefactor and philanthropist, however we are very grateful to others that have followed in his footsteps.
Mr James Gardiner MP met the cost of reconstruction of Memorial Hall in panelling of fine oak and dedicated it to the memory of Morrisonians who had died during the Great War.
In 1937 John Smith gifted the school £70,000 to build the John Smith building.Today that would be nearly £3.5 million. To celebrate this donation, the school held the first John Smith Holiday on 1st February 1937 and as a school community, we still celebrate this holiday each year.
Thomas Dunsire was the epitome of a Morissonian, a great all-rounder as a pupil and throughout his life was highly committed to supporting his old school. He continued our proud tradition of philanthropy and his continued generosity in death by leaving a substantial legacy, the Dunsire Fund, that was gifted to the school in 2015. This has helped us to modernise our campus in the past few years and will continue to do so for many years to come.
We are proud of our heritage, our philanthropic spirit and the beautiful historic buildings which we continue to update to modern learning requirements.