Fanny Elizabeth Hislop

Miss Fanny Elizabeth Hislop was born in June 1858. Her mother was a member of the Tweedie family, long established in this district. Miss Hislop had one sister Sara Jane who was younger than she. Their home was on the corner of Celina and Athol streets where the Loblaw Supermarket now stands[1]. The old house was in a dilapidated condition when it was demolished to make way for that store, but in its heyday it was a well-kept residence. Their father died when Fanny was ten years old.

Fanny and her sister attended Public and High school in Oshawa. Both were excellent scholars as the old school reports showed. Fanny was the only one who passed the Intermediate exams in Oshawa in 1876. This meant the successful completion of grade VII, VIII, IX and X. Mr. W. Tamblyn was head master of the Union School on Centre Street at that time, and he recommended to the school trustees that she should be given a prize. She was awarded ten dollars worth of books, which were described as having been “handsome volumes of the standard poets.”

Miss Hislop passed the second-class teacher’s examination in the summer of 1877 and attended Normal school in the following year 1877 to June 1878. It was reported in the “Vindicator” that “Miss Fanny Hislop, a brilliant Oshawa student was appointed Grade One teacher in Albert Street School in September 1878.” James McBrien, inspector of public schools at the time singled her out as being one of the best teachers for junior pupils that he had in his inspectorate.

Her sister Miss Sara Jane also taught in Albert Street School and was principal for a few years 1890-96. Fanny was appointed principal in 1911, a post she held for thirteen years. She taught Grade Three at that time and her salary was $550.

She was very strict and some of the people living in Oshawa today can remember the shakings-up she gave them. It was said that when the children were on the playground, she was there with her black sateen apron on and armed with a horsewhip. She was going to have order or else. Some years later a visitor came to Albert Street School and as he was walking along the hall, he noticed that the whip was not hanging in its usual place. He asked where it was and mentioned that it had hung there for a long while. It was a formidable looking weapon to many, no doubt.

A little girl, who probably regarded Miss Hislop with some apprehension said, “The teacher always wore the strap on her belt.” “The Teacher,” no doubt, kept it there to be handy in case of need. She often used to say, “You know I am as strong as a horse.” One little boy said to her, “Could you pull a load of hay, Miss Hislop?”

The day came, however, in 1924 when she had to retire. Albert Street was the only school in which she ever taught. Many people look back on their school days now and say she was one of their best teachers.

She died July 27th, 1935 and is buried in the Union Cemetery; Provision was made in her will for the establishment of the Grade VIII scholarship out of her own funds. There were only eight public schools in Oshawa at the time of her death and Miss Hislop could not have foreseen the tremendous expansion that was to take place in the next thirty years. It is not the intrinsic value of the prize, it is the honour of winning it and students will work hard during the year to earn it. There is also a small Hislop Scholarship in the High school.

Fanny’s sister Sara Jane, who later married Mr. William McAddie also left a scholarship in the High School.

[1] The property was subsequently used for two night clubs, Ellusions and The Purple Onion. Today the Durham Decorating Centre is located there.



Filed under Teachers and Administrators

2 responses to “Fanny Elizabeth Hislop

  1. debbie

    I won the Fannie Hislop Award in Grade 8 for top honours of my class in 1969 in Oshawa Ontario at South Simcoe Public School.

  2. Pingback: The Forgotten Life of Fanny Hislop | What's On Oshawa

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