ON FRIDAY, October 8, 1875, the foundation stone of the new Alloa Burgh School was laid – and it was a grand affair.

On that pleasant, sunny day members of Alloa's St John's Lodge took the lead in the ceremony.

Leaving from the Masonic Lodge in Glebe Street behind the Tillicoultry Sax Tuba Instrumental Band, they made their way to the site of the old assembly room.

A large group of well-dressed school children from all the burgh schools waited to receive them.

There was also a large crowd of parents and other onlookers.

Just before the ceremony began, the Rev Alexander Bryson, who was also the chaplain of the Alloa Lodge, said a short prayer.

The Depute Grand Master, Walter Erskine, Earl of Mar and Kellie, then called on Mr PW Hill, the Grand Jeweller, to hand the trowel and mallet to the architect who designed it, John Melvin.

As chairman of the school board, Erskine was then presented with the trowel and the mallet from Melvin.

The trowel was inscribed 'Presented to The Right Hon the Earl of Mar and Kellie, Deputy Grand Master for Scotland by John Melvin & Son, Architects, Alloa, On the occasion of his Laying, with Masonic Honours, the Foundation Stone of the Alloa Burgh School 8th October 1875'.

On the reverse side of the trowel was an engraving of the new school. It had been made by local jeweller and watchmaker Robert Strang & Son.

Erskine acknowledged the gift and said he would take great care of it and that it would be handed down the generations of his family as a memento.

The Grand Treasurer Mr Pauling and the secretary and clerk John Johnston placed a bottle in the cavity of the hollowed out stone.

This bottle contained Lothian's Register for Clackmannanshire 1875, local newspapers, details of the architect and the design, some coins and a document which commemorated the opening ceremony, a list of members of the school board, the name of the architects, and a list of the contractors.

As the stone was lowered into position, the band played.

The Earl of Mar then tapped the stone three times with the trowel. After saying a few words, there was a huge cheer from the crowd then the band played Rule Britannia.

It was then that vases of wine and oil were thrown over the stone.by the Grand Master.

Three cheers were given for Erskine, and Queen Victoria, then the ceremony ended. A dinner was held afterwards.