Margaret McCallum (1875-1905)

The school at Blists Hill was moved brick-by-brick to its present site from its original location in Stirchley, where it had been built in 1881. One of its many headteachers over the years was Margaret McCallum.

The teachers and pupils at Stirchley Board School, 1902. Unfortunately, we do not know which of the teachers was Margaret McCallum. [1992.771]

Margaret was born in Coleraine in Northern Ireland in 1875. Her father was a shopkeeper who earned enough money to allow her to continue her education past the age of ten which, during the 1880s, was the minimum school leaving age. Margaret became a pupil-teacher, a form of teacher-apprentice, at her local elementary school and trained there throughout her early teen years. She passed her Scholarship Examinations and went on to attend the Marlborough Street College in Dublin for further training, where she passed her exams with “special distinction”. In the 1890s Margaret moved to England and taught in a school in Bedfordshire before moving to Stirchley in February 1900. When Margaret started at Stirchley she had 93 pupils between the ages of three and 13, with only the help of two pupil-teachers, whom she also had to train. By all accounts Margaret was a well-liked and respected teacher, however, her time at Stirchley was sadly cut short when she died of meningitis at the age of 30.