Description of Historic Place
The Fanning School is a large, two-storey wood frame vernacular structure located in the pastoral setting of Cabot Park in Malpeque.
Fanning School is valued for its age, as an example of a two-storey rural grammar school house, its association with the history of education on Prince Edward Island, its contribution to the community of Malpeque, and for its association with persons of national historic significance.
It is believed that Governor Edmund Fanning (1737-1818) established a school in Malpeque, where he was a summer resident for many years, possibly as early as 1794. Several school buildings served over the years. This Fanning School, a grammar school for the county, dates from 1847, with 1876 modifications including the addition of the second storey. Fanning School was named for Lieutenant Governor Edmund Fanning, who wished to see the advancement of the education of local children. The Fanning family continued the legacy of improving the education of children through donations from Fanning's daughters, Lady Louisa Wood and Lady Margaret Cumberland. It is Lady Cumberland who set up a trust that provided special scholarships and prizes to selected students.
Fanning school underwent modifications in 1876 that included the addition of a second story.
Sir Andrew Macphail (1864-1938) fondly writes of his time as a principal and teacher at Fanning School from 1882-1885 in his letters to his friend Tom MacNutt. He wrote to Mr. MacNutt that "no place I have since achieved has given me more pride".
It is believed that Island author Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) attended school here in 1888 when she stayed nearby with her aunt, Emily (Macneil) Montgomery at the Montgomery House in Fox Point. The Fanning school house she attended was also later used in the 1998 filming of the television series "Emily of New Moon" based on Montgomery's novels.
Fanning School closed in 1969 with school consolidation and was purchased in 1970 by the Malpeque Women's Institute. Subsequently, the building was privately owned and then eventually turned over to the people of Malpeque. The school was moved from its original location at the corner of King Street and Princetown Road in Malpeque to its current location in Cabot Park 1993 and is operated as a museum during the summer months.
Fanning School continues to be an important landmark in its community and a reminder of the province's educational history.
Source: Heritage Division, Department of Tourism & Culture, Charlottetown, PE
File #: 4310-20/F3
The heritage value of the school is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the two-storey massing of the structure
- the wood frame construction
- the gable roof with brick chimney
- the wood shingle cladding
- the transom window over the entrance door
- the wide eaves
- the size and placement of windows
- the 6 over 6 windows
- the 9 over 6 window, with the upper 3 window panes being a fixed sash
- the signage stating name "Fanning School Malpeque No. 118"
Other character-defining elements include:
- the interior features which have been restored including the floors, paneling and ceilings