Green Street Day Industrial School, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
The Green Street Day Industrial School, established under the provisions of the Glasgow Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Repression Act of 1878, was the first Day Industrial School to be opened in Scotland, and the first of eight that were eventually set up in Glasgow. Its premises, at Green Street, Calton, were old buildings, originally a church and manse of the Covenanters, and afterwards a Free Church Mission House. The School was formally certified for operation on 1 October 1879, with accommodation for up to 150 children, aged from 5 to 14 years. The boys and girls were taught separately and had separate playgrounds.
An inspection of the School in 1880 noted that 'There had been a good. deal of trouble and disorder to contend with at the first. Much disorder, continued truancy; unnatural rudeness to the teachers, and great disobedience. Gradually better order was established, respect asserted its supremacy; kindness and firmness gained the day.' Many of the children were very young. Industrial training for the older boys was provided in a rope manufactory in a rope walk attached to the yard. The older girls helped in the kitchen in cooking and in the household work. Plain needlework was also being attempted. The superintendent was Mrs Cameron, with three assistant teachers (Miss Duncan, Miss Kerr and Miss McLachlan), a janitor, and a rope-spinner.
In 1882, a free fund was established to provide the poorest of the children with clothing. The operation of the rope walk was handed over to a local tradesmen who made use of the boys' labour. Some wood-chopping was also carried out. The superintendent was now Miss Campbell, succeeded the following year by Miss Mary Duncan.
In 1887, the rope-making had been given up as it proved uneconomic. All the girls learned to knit and sew and some knitting machines had been acquired. Musical drill was introduced in 1888. The children were said to sing well.
In 1892, a new workshop was constructed with a play-shed below. An inspection in 1894 noted that the class-rooms and workrooms were commodious, airy, and lofty. There was a good assembly room for music and lectures, and good separate play-rooms for boys and girls.
In 1896, twenty of the boys were receiving training in joinery and made and repaired school furniture, cupboards for their own and other schools. The boys also made mattresses. Some of the girls received lessons in dressmaking and some made paper flowers. A quantity of socks, scarves etc. was produced for sale. Musical drill with dumb and bar bells was carried on regularly for both boys and girls. The boys played football and cricket on Glasgow Green and attended public swimming baths in the summer. Small picnics were provided for the girls on Saturday afternoons, and the whole school had a day's outing to the coast. Half-holidays were granted throughout July but the school was open on New Year's Day and other bank holidays. A treat and entertainment were arranged at Christmas time.
In 1898, a play-shed was converted into a new laundry and a class of older girls were given laundry lessons for two hours on Saturday mornings.
In June, 1903, the official capacity of the School was increased to 250 places. A new play-shed was erected in the boys' yard. In 1905 a former coal cellar was converted for use a a bathroom. Three incandescent gas lamps were installed in the playgrounds. A new gymnastics instructor was appointed to teach both the boys and girls. About 160 of the children went out into the countryside under the Fresh Air Fortnight Fund. The annual excursion took place on June 15th to Carrick Castle. Most of the children visited the East End exhibition in November, admitted free. A mark system was in operation, giving monetary and other rewards for both school-room and industrial work. The School's certificate of operation was renewed on on 27 August 1906, again specifying its capacity as 250 places.
In 1909-10, the School buildings were entirely remodelled. Six new basins had been added to the girls' lavatory and six bath sprays to the bathroom. The cooking arrangements had also been modernized. The interior of the building had been painted and papered ; the exterior woodwork had been painted. A piano and three cupboards had been added to the school furniture. The staff now comprised: superintendent, Miss M.M. Duncan; teachers, Miss J. Miller, Miss M.K. Deans, Miss M. Clark, Miss I. McLaren, Miss E. Kitson, Miss S. MacLennan; cooking instructress, dressmaking instructress, manual instructor, janitor, cook, general assistant, drill instructor, and medical attendant, Dr. R.W. Bruce. Classroom subjects for the older children now included citizenship, taught to both boys and girls, and domestic economy, taught to the girls. The senior boys and girls were taken in marching and free gymnastics by a visiting instructor; the juniors, by the class teachers. Swimming was taken at Greenhead Baths and a number of the senior boys had obtained certificates from the Royal Life-Saving Society. The annual excursion to Ronken Glen, the usual Christmas entertainment and the Fresh Air Fortnight activities had been much enjoyed.
On 7 February 1913, the official capacity of the School was increased to 300 places.
Miss Duncan was still in post in 1920. In 1925, control of the School was passed to the Glasgow City Education Authority.
On 30 August 1929, it was announced that the School had resigned its certificate of operation. The premises were subsequently used as an ordinary day school.
The School buildings no longer exist and modern housing covers the site.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Glasgow City Archives, The Mitchell Library, 210 North Street, Glasgow G3 7DN, Scotland.
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
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