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Schools’ pioneer honoured at top hotel that was home

A memorial to an education pioneer who founded and managed two of Scotland’s most famous independent schools has been unveiled at his former home which is now the base of Scotland’s top hotels group.

Schools' Principal David Gray (Left) with Governor Andrew Dobson (centre) and Douglas McMillanErskine Stewart’s Melville Schools in Edinburgh presented a plaque in honour of their founder, the Reverend Robert Cunningham. Principal David Gray unveiled the plaque beside the reception desk of the North West Castle Hotel in Stranraer, now the headquarters of McMillan Hotels, recently named Scotland’s Hotel Group of 2005.

Born in 1799, the Rev. Cunningham was headmaster of George Watson’s College, Edinburgh, from 1826 to 1843. From 1832-37 he was the founder-headmaster of the Edinburgh Institution for Language and Mathematics, later known as Melville College and amalgamated with Daniel Stewart’s College in 1972.

He was also Vice-principal of Lafeyette College in Pennsylvania, founder-headmaster of Blair Lodge School in Polmont, and a founder of the Free Church of Scotland.

He lived at North West Castle from 1860 until his death in 1883. After being bought by the McMillan family it opened its doors to guests as a hotel in 1962.

Mr McMillan, Director of McMillan Hotels who was presented with a history of the schools as a memento of the occasion, commented:

“We are proud to have North West Castle associated with such an important and influential figure in Scottish education.”

ENDS :: Latest News >> 2006 news