Ancestry UK

Loaningdale School, Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland

On 14 January 1963, the Loaningdale Approved School for Boys was certified to operate in premises at Carwood Road, Biggar, Lanarkshire. Loaningdale operated an experimental 'quick release' regime with high staff-to-inmate ratio and which focused on therapy rather than punishment. The school encouraged a free and easy relationship between the staff and had no locked gates.

On the morning of 7 August 1967, the body of a 15-year-old local girl named Linda Peacock was discovered in St Mary's churchyard, about half a mile from the school. She had been hit over the head with a heavy object and strangled from behind. She also had the marks of a deep and very distinctive bite on her right breast. The police began taking dental casts from all the men in the area, including the boys at the school. Following a detailed examination of the casts, the prime suspect quickly became one of the Loaningdale inmates, a 17-year-old named Gordon Hay. Hay was subsequently found guilty of the murder, the first person in Britain to be convicted on the basis of evidence from forensic dentistry.

Despite considerable local pressure for the school to be shut down, it continued in operation although on more traditional lines. Following Scotland's 1968 Social Work Act, the establishment was redesignated as a 'List D' School for Senior Boys. The school closed in 1980.

In more recent times, the property has been used as an outdoor education centre.


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  • None identfied at present — any information welcome.


  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Hyland,Jim Yesterday's Answers: Yesterday's Answers: Development and Decline of Schools for Young Offenders (1993, Whiting and Birch)
  • Millham, S, Bullock, R, and Cherrett, P After Grace — Teeth: a comparative study of the residential experience of boys in Approved Schools (1975, Chaucer Publishing)