Balnacraig’s history can be traced right back to 1843.
1843 Several ladies in Perth decided they wanted to do something to help the homeless girls in the city and they formed a committee to establish the a female school of industry, the first residential industrial school in Scotland. Rooms were taken in King James VI Hospital and a few girls were helped from living on the streets of Perth. The ladies of the committee were members of different churches and soon afterwards a number of the ladies started a sister school, known as the ‘Perth Ladies House of Refuge’
1863 The ‘Fechney Industrial School for Boys’ opened on three acres of land at Hillyland and remained open until 1922.
1870 A third industrial school, Wellshill, was built and opened with 54 pupils, aged between 7 and 11.
1922 The Scottish Education Department, proposed to amalgamate the Scottish Industrial Schools. It was suggested that the Wellshill, Craigie and Balgay (in Dundee) schools move into the Fechney building. Following discussions however the Fechney School was closed and all the girls from Fechney and Craigie moved to Wellshill. Shortly after this it was decided that, with the funds at their disposal, Wellshill School could not provide adequate education on the premises and some of the girls started to attend local mainstream schools.
1936 the various trusts which had been involved in the running of the three industrial schools in Perth amalgamated to form The Perth Homes Trust
1948 The trust bought Balnacraig at a cost of £5000.
1950 Wellshill School transferred to its current location on Fairmount Terrace and changed its name to Balnacraig School.
1975 Pupils moved from mainstream schools to being educated on campus
1986 Balnacraig became an Independent Residential School
1989 The Governors decided that the school should become co-educational and admitted boys for the first time.
1992 Perth Homes Trust became Balnacraig School Trust
2002 A new residential block was opened on the site where the classrooms had been; until then, pupils had lived upstairs where the school is now in the main building.
2014 Balnacraig opened a new service, Safe Base, based at Craiglunie, on the outskirts of Pitlochry.
2014 Our on site house, Am Bruach, was opened as a Close Support Unit for two pupils attending school at Balnacraig
2015 Second Safe Base opened at Eden House, Blairgowrie
We have also been taking day pupils into school for the past three years.
172 years later, Balnacraig is in a strong position to continue to provide care and education for children and young people from all over Scotland.
We regularly receive requests for information and visits from past pupils who credit the school with providing support at difficult times in their lives.