JOYCE Fraser will never forget the day she spent at the 1938 Empire Exhibition in Bellahouston Park.

“The scenery, the buildings, the chance to meet people from other Commonwealth countries and to taste all different kinds of food – it was an opportunity of a lifetime,” recalls the 90-year-old from Johnstone. “My class and I spent the entire day there, and it was an awesome experience. It was so special.”

Joyce was a pupil at Hills Trust School in Govan, an iconic 19th century building currently being renovated by Elderpark Housing Association for its new office.

To celebrate, housing association bosses held a ‘Big School Dinner’ reunion for former pupils, complete with mince, potatoes and doughballs, with caramel shortcake and custard, for lunch.

More than 40 people turned up to share memories, both happy and sad, of their schooldays.

Joyce, who was a pupil at Hill’s Trust for four years in the 1930s, recalls writing on a slate, drawing with thick, greasy crayons in books of dark grey paper and lining up in the playground when the janitor sounded his handbell.

“One day I was very slow in making my way to the line, and I had to stand aside with the other latecomers, and our knuckles were tapped with a wooden pointer,” she says. “My knuckles were stinging! This was the first and only time I received punishment for assembling late at Hills Trust School.”

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Joyce, who came along with her cousin Margaret, 82, remembers Miss Tate, the headteacher, who “had a stern appearance but she had lots of patience”; and class teacher Miss McIndoe, a “gifted storyteller”.

“Following the Coronation of King George VI in 1937, each child received a lovely blue and gold box of sweets,” recalls Joyce. “When I was seven, I talked my dad into allowing me to use money from my Post Office Account to buy an old Barlock typewriter from a friend. It was two pounds ten shillings and I was delighted with my new possession.”

Joyce left Hills Trust when her family moved to Anniesland. “On my second day at my new school war was declared,” she says.

Anne Smith, now 90, joined Hills Trust aged five in 1933.

“I first learned to print with chalk and slate then we moved on to a HB pencil,” recalls Anne, who lives in Cranhill. “ I remember we had a party for King George V and Queen Mary’s jubilee celebration - the school was decorated with red, white and blue flags and streamers.”

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The Golspie Street school, a distinctive B-listed building with a bell tower, was built on land bequeathed to the Govan community by 18th century philanthropist Abraham Hill.

After its closure in 1974 pupils were transferred to a new building on nearby Nethan Street.

The conservation repair of the building is being part-funded by Govan Cross Townscape Heritage Initiative, supported by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Glasgow City Council.

Gary Dalziel, Chief Executive of Elderpark Housing, said the Big School Dinner had been a fantastic event.

Gary said: “The memories came flooding back for many of our former pupils, as they talked with great fondness about their time at Hills Trust School. It was a lovely afternoon, and exactly what we hoped to achieve as we celebrate bringing back to life an iconic Govan landmark which educated tens of thousands of pupils. We are very grateful to Govan Cross Townscape Heritage Initiative for helping to fund the event.”

Send your schoolday memories to or write to Ann Fotheringham, Features, Evening Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB.