Dunblane is a small cathedral town and former burgh north of Stirling in the Stirling council area of Scotland. The town is situated off the A9 road which has been bypassed since 1991, on the way north to Perth. Its main landmark is Dunblane Cathedral and theAllan Water runs through the town centre, with the Cathedral and the High Street on the east side. Dunblane had a population of 7,911 at the 2001 census, although this was estimated to have grown to 8,840 by 2006. The civil parish of Dunblane and Lecropt had a population of 8,863 in 2001.
The name Dunblane is sometimes said to mean "fort of Blane", commemorating an early saint (Old Irish Bláán) who flourished probably in the late 6th century. His main seat was originally Kingarth on the Isle of Bute. He or his followers may have founded a church at Dunblane - it is likely that the cult of Bláán came there with settlers from what is now Argyll in later centuries. The earliest spellings of the name Dunblane are of the form Dul Blaan, the first element being a Pictish word for 'water meadow, haugh' which was borrowed into Gaelic. This is more likely a name than 'fort of Blane', given that saints do not usually have forts, while we have parallels to Dul Blaan in such Scottish place-names such as Dalserf, Dalmarnock and Dalpatrick, all of which commemorate saints.
Dunblane is split into two Church of Scotland parishes: the Cathedral and St Blane's Church. Dunblane Cathedral is remarkable in having retained more of its late-medieval choir stalls than any other Scottish church building (except King's College Chapel, Aberdeen), and also is noted for its organ. Further fragments of medieval woodwork from the Cathedral are displayed in the town's museum, formerly the Cathedral Museum, situated nearby. Though still used as a parish church, the building is in the care of Historic Scotland. To the south of the cathedral are some stone vaults of medieval origin, which are the only remaining fragment of the bishop's palace. Adjacent to the Cathedral, Scottish Churches House was (from the 1960s until its closure in 2011) a centre for ecumenical study and the former headquarters for Action of Churches Together in Scotland.
The town was a royal burgh and part of Perthshire until the 1975 abolition of Scottish counties. Dunblane refers to itself as a city, due to the presence of Dunblane Cathedral. However this status was never officially recognised.
Dunblane has three primary schools, one 5 - 18 school and one secondary school. Four of these are public. The remaining, Queen Victoria School, is a military boarding school. There are currently around two thousand pupils in schools in Dunblane.
Located on Doune Road, this two-storey building is situated in the heart of the residential area. The school has a public playing field (which is regularly used for extra-curricular activities and local clubs) and a public nursery attached. In 1996, the school was the scene of the Dunblane massacre, in which 16 people were killed by Thomas Hamilton before he committed suicide. It remains the deadliest massacre of children ever in the United Kingdom.
On its current site, in Smithy Loan, since 1850, St Mary's was established as a church school for poor children under the incumbency of the first rector of Saint Mary's Episcopal Church, Canon Henry Malcolm. Saint Mary's was a two teacher school until the 1970s. It was renovated and extended in 1997.
Built in 1996, the name of the school comes from Newton Farm, which goes back as far as the Charter of 1655 when Oliver Cromwell confirmed James Pearson of Kippenross as the owner. The streets that encircle the school, Newton Crescent and Ochiltree, named after the Bishop of Dunblane between 1429 and 1447, reflect the rich history in which the school is embedded.
Queen Victoria School is a co-educational boarding school for children of those in the British Armed Forces. It is situated roughly one mile north of the town centre, in a secluded area overlooking the A9.
Queen Victoria School can trace its history back to around the start of the 20th century when the idea was first mooted of a school to commemorate those Scottish soldiers and sailors who fell in South Africa during the Boer Wars. The proposal was warmly received by Queen Victoria herself, and upon her death the following year, it was resolved that the School should serve the dual purpose of commemorating the dead servicemen as well as being a living memorial to the late Empress. To this end money was raised in a national effort which captivated the imagination of the Scottish public. For example, every Serviceman donated a day's pay, and an appeal for contributions from the Scottish workforce received a generous response. Work began in earnest, and Queen Victoria School was officially opened on 28 September 1908 by His Majesty King Edward VII.
Fed by pupils from the three public primary schools in Dunblane, as well as some of those from Bridge of Allan, Doune, Stirling, and the surrounding areas, this school has a roster of roughly 750 pupils and sixty teachers. The present building is located at the top of Old Doune Road and was completed in November 2007. It spans three storeys and includes some features such as an art rooftop, theatre, fitness suite, dance studio and student lounges. The school also has an all-weather pitch and large playing field. However, the school is notable for its lack of a centralised lending library, which was abolished after the retirement of the school librarian and the room converted as an S6 study area and computer room.
The 2007 building was built on the old school's playing fields, and the previous campus being sold for public development. The building was one of the first Public-Private Partnership projects in the Stirling Council area, and so effectively a prototype, meaning it was built with such drawbacks as inadequate catering facilities, and was the only Stirling school built without a swimming pool.
In 2013 the school was listed in the top ten performing schools of Scotland relating to academic achievement, with well over three quarters of its roll progressing to higher education. It has a large extra-curricular base, including the Make A Difference Group (MAD), a highly effective charity committee. The school has also hosted a number of international sports people, including ex-Scotland footballer Callum Davidson and, in tennis, the Murray brothers, Andy and Jamie. It was also the school of 2009's winner of the Miss Scotland crown, Katharine Brown.