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Feedback and Requests

If you have any suggestions or comments on our school website, then you can post them here by e-mailing feedback@kilmarnockacademy.co.uk .

You can also view feedback on our website on the Former Pupils' Notice Board

Sat, 13th Dec 2008                            "Remembrance "                                            from Tom Brunton

To the principal,staff and students of Kilmarnock Academy:

What a delight it was cruising across the internet to come across the website of the Kilmarnock Academy's proud legacy of former students - servicemen and women of WW1 and WW2. It is beautifully done , and most impressive to me. I am originally from Hilton of Cadboll and had four family members lost in the 2 World Wars , 3 MacAngus men and one Tarrel , my mom's cousin , her brother , and the brothers of both my grandmother and grandfather. My grandmothers other brother was a Black  Watch Lt. wounded in action who recovered and became a headmaster at schools in Tarland, Aberdeenshire, and Portmahomack, Fearn, Ross-shire. (To read more, click here)

Wed, 30th April 2008                            "Maggie King.....1869 "                                            from Julia


A friend gave me a book called:

'Cyclopedia of Female Biography' Edited by H. G. Adams Glasgow Robert Forrester, Stock[page damaged] 1866

What may interest you about it is that it was given to a Kilmarnock Academy 'first class' student, Maggie King, in June 1869, for winning 1st place in an arithmetic competition. There is an award form adhered to the inside cover with this information filled in and then signed by "Thomas Lee F.H[or]K. A.S., Master" of the Commercial and Mathematics Department.

Someone loving carried the book with them across the ocean to the United States, perhaps Ms King herself.

The book is now in a fragile state so I plan to donate it to the New England Historical Genealogical Society in Boston, Massachusetts, for safe-keeping. However, I have scanned the inside cover for your benefit. The scan is attached as is a transcription of the award. If you desire a higher resolution scan, please let me know within the next week.

I hope the Academy appreciates this small piece of history and what it must have gone through.

Sincerely, Julia

(Click here to see a photo of the book)

Wed, 23rd April 2008                      "Former Pupils' War Memorial "        from Catherine Templeton

I am researching my family Tree, and was directed to your website. After reading through the wonderful tributes to the former pupils who fell in war, I felt that the essence of these brave young men is, in some senses, kept alive by the astonishingly vivid memories you have recounted.   I can envisage these young men of cheerful demeanour  striding the corridors ;  some of them amazingly academically gifted and some not.  Quite a feat ! The devastating loss of so many eager young lives is not dwelt upon in the memorial, but strikes the reader all the same.

Congratulations! Catherine Templeton

Tues, 28th August 2007                            "Bernard Isaacs "                                from Michael Isaacs


We recently received the following e-mail from Michael Isaacs:


My father, Bernard Isaacs, attended Kilmarnock academy during the war. He won the DUX medal (which meant he was top of the school in his final year) perhaps in 1943. My father went on to become a Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Birmingham University and was awarded a Knight of the British Empire (KBE). He passed away some 11 years ago.

I believe that at least one of my father's brothers, and perhaps both, David and Alick, attended the school. Alick Isaacs went on to discover interferon - a breakthrough discovery in cancer research that may have won him a Nobel prize had he not died at a young age.

I also know that my father was invited back to Kilmarnock Academy to a prize giving ceremony, although I don't know in which year. I wonder if you have contact information for anyone who was in the school at the same time - the early 1940's, and perhaps remembers my father as a child.

With thanks, Michael Isaacs

If you can remember any of the Isaacs brothers from the late 1930's or early 1940's, then e-mail K.A. Web.

Sun, 5th August 2007                               "Mathematics Prize "                         from Alastair Douglas


On Sunday 5th August we received the following e-mail:

Here is a copy of a school prize won by my great grandfather, Bryce Douglas when he was 11. Dr Dickson might find it of interest.

I suppose he predates any photos of pupils there as he must have left school in the late 1860s although photos existed then.

Alastair Douglas, Glasgow.

Thanks, Alistair, for sending us a copy of your great grandfather's certificate. Once the new term has started, Dr Dickson will check to see if we have any information or pictures from that period.

Sat, 21st July 2007                                "Memories of K.A."                         from David Boyd


On 21st July 2007, we received the following e-mail from David Boyd, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, The University of Adelaide:

Dear Rector,
I was interested to discover the Kilmarnock Academy web page and thought that the web-page editor might be interested in some notes my father, Dr. William Boyd, wrote about the Academy when he was a student between 1886 and 1891.

I too have many pleasant memories of the Academy which I attended between 1941 and 1943. Some day I should get round to writing about them but not yet.

Yours sincerely, David Boyd.

We would like thank David Boyd for providing us with the following account of life at K.A. in the late 19th century.


By William Boyd

I have spoken before of my going to the Grammar School as an entry into a new life. The transfer to the Academy at 12 meant another new life, different and over all better. At this time the number of teachers in a school like the Academy was limited to three or four, not as now a horde of people. That meant that when the small number of teachers was good, their influence was correspondingly greater. And by my good chance, the four men who were to teach me in the following five years were all men of outstanding personality and character. I suppose there are still such men in the schools, men who count as they did in the community at large and are widely esteemed. But probably with fewer openings for scholarly men in these times, the standard may have been higher. I don't know. Hugh Dickie I have told about already and how my recent studies have given me a greater appreciation of him. At the time he was rather remote - he never smiled or showed any special interest in the individual pupils, though, as I had cause to know later from my experience, the interest was there. That he was basically kindly is evident from the fact that there was no corporal punishment in the secondary classes (12 and upwards), a very rare thing then or now in Scotland. Curiously enough, my first expectation was rather that he was a hard man. I remember that a month or two before I became a pupil, there was a letter in the Kilmarnock Standard, objecting to the Rector calling the son of one of the ministers in the town Ďa big Hibernian gorilla'. That, as it turned out, was only a single flash of anger, nothing more. (to read more click here.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dear David

Thanks for the vivid and fascinating account of life at K.A. in the late 19th century. I have uploaded it to the K.A. website. Apologies for the delay in answering your e-mail but the school has been on holiday for the summer. All mail for the site comes to me as I am the site creator and administrator. I have passed your e-mail on to the Head Teacher, Carole Ford.

Yours Sincerely, Neil McIlvanney

Friday 17th August 2007

Dear Neil,    

I am glad you ejoyed the little bit of history. Is there still a Boyd Cup? It was donated by my uncle John Boyd and my father. You will find William Boyd on the Honours Board in the hall of the old academy building for 1889 and 1890 or 1890 and 1891.    

I spent only two years at Kilmarnock Academy, 1941 - 1943 having come from Clydebank in 1941. and would be interested to hear about any of my classmates. In particular Ian Duncan who was dux in 1944 and went to Toronto after completing his medical degree. I will be giving a paper at a conference in September and would like to see him again.    

I will visit my brother in Glasgow in September and will try to get down to Kilmarnock in September.

With regards,    David.

Tues, 29th May 2007                                    "KA Web Navigation "                         from Steven Fergus

Hi there,

I just thought I should let you know, that the navigation for the website doesn't load at all in Mozilla Firefox; I am currently using version

I thought I should let you know, because without the navigation, the visitors are stuck on the main page.

Also, something else, very minor though: The table borders in Firefox are their default colour, not the colour that they are in Firefox.



Thanks for making me aware of the navigation problem, Steven. I am looking into it although I won't get a chance to sort it out until the summer holidays.

Neil McIlvanney

Sun, 27th May 2007                                    "The Gold Berry "                                 from Barry McCubbin


My name is Barry McCubbin and I live in Brisbane,Queensland,Australia.I have come into some magazines from my uncles estate which I thought you may be interested in.They are a magazine called The Gold Berry,the magazine of the Kilmarnock Axademy of which I have five.The dates on these magazines are,December 1932,June 1934,December1934,June 1936 and December 1937.

All except one are in excellent condition and the other just has the pages coming loose but otherwise in good condition.If you have all of these in your Archives they may not mean much to you but I thought I would just let you know that they are out there just in case they are of interest.I must confess I am enjoying reading the articles as it gives a fascinating insite into days gone by.

On a sidenote I also have a magazine called "Dear Auld Reekie" which was published around 1925 by the Homeland Association of Scotland. Apparently it was a book of photographs of places of interest in Edinburgh and was put out to promote tourism. As it says inside the cover"Camera Pictures of Edinburgh" by Francis Caird Inglis, I was just wondering if you had any information about this particular magazine.

yours, Barry McCubbin

Thanks for your very kind offer, Barry. I have forwarded your e-mail to our Head Teacher, Mrs Ford.

Neil McIlvanney

Tues, 31st October 2006       "Former masters at Kilmarnock Academy "       from Catharine Wood

I see from your fabulous website that there is a section that has been compiled by Dr Neil Dickson on former students and staff. I wonder whether my query could be passed on to him as my great-grandfather was John Guthrie Kerr and was the maths master at the Academy in 1876/77. I would particularly like to know whether the school has any images of him I could see, or any further data on him that would help my research into his life and work. I would appreciate any assistance you could give me.

Many thanks, Catharine Wood (nee Kerr).

Thanks for your e-mail, Catharine. I have passed the matter on to Dr Dickson and our Librarian, Dr Neilson. If they find any information, they will e-mail it to you and I'll post it on this page.

Neil McIlvanney

Sun, 23rd April 2006                "Former masters at Kilmarnock Academy "                from Will Stone


I am trying to find out a little about my great-grandfather. I believe he was a Science Master at Kilmarnock Academy until 1899 when he moved to Perth. He was presented with a bureau by the Senior Pupils so I imagine he was well liked. His name was William Mitchell. Any background information you might have on him would be very useful.

For your information his daughter, born in 1917 and still alive was a primary school teacher as is his grandaughter.


Will Stone

Thanks for your e-mail, Will. Our librarian, Dr June Neilson, has started sifting through our archives in search of information about your great-grandfather. If she finds any, she will e-mail it to you and I'll post it on this page.

Neil McIlvanney

Fri, 31st March 2006                              "Help with family history"                                from Mae Miller

Dear Sir,

I have for the last few years been tracing my Family History, and included is my uncle James Hamilton, born in 1899 he was the youngest son of Robert Hamilton a farmer in Strathaven. I recently was given four dux medals issued to him from Kilmarnock Academy in 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914.

As there are a few years in my history of him which I would like to fill in, I wondered if there were any records of his time there, did he continue at Kilmarnock Academy until he attended Glasgow University in 1919?

James went on to become Surgeon Rear - Admiral in the Royal Navy and died in 1964.

Hope you can help with my request.

Thank you Mae Miller

Thanks for your e-mail, Mae. Our librarian, Dr June Neilson, is working on your request. If she finds any information, she will e-mail it to you and I'll post it on this page.

Neil McIlvanney

Sun, 12 Feb 2006                                    "More old photographs? "                 from Martin Yuille

Sunday 12th February 2006

Dear KA:

I came across your website this morning while I was browsing an old book I have here at home.

The book - a classical dictionary - was a KA prize for the 1899-1900 session for "excelling in Mathematics, Geometry & Mechanics" given to my grandfather Tulloch Yuille by Robt. Young MA on behalf of H. Dickie BA LLd Rector.

Thank you so much for launching your website and allowing me to see for the first time the school where my grandfather studied all those years ago. It's not only current and former pupils and staff who will enjoy your lively website!

He must have been a lucky boy - although he wouldn't have known it - because he was contemporaneous with KA's Nobel prizewinners Alexander Fleming and John Boyd Orr.

Perhaps when you have time, you can upload school photos from the archives so that people can see their KA ancestors as school students.

Good luck!

Martin Yuille (Manchester)

Thanks for your e-mail, Martin, and for the information about your grandfather. I'm glad you found our website useful and interesting.

As for your suggestion about displaying old photographs, I am happy to tell you that I have been working on this for some time and have scanned in a fair number of pictures from the school archive. Most of these need to be processed to achieve the clarity and quality of the old photos already on display on our site but I will start uploading some of them soon.

Neil McIlvanney