WANT to know which Hollywood heart-throb went to school in Glasgow? Or what teachers really thought about parents in 1872 in Baillieston?

The answers lie in a fascinating collection of school records held by Glasgow City Archives at the Mitchell Library.

Archivist Lynsey Green explains: “Education was made compulsory for children aged between five and 13 in 1872, and most of our records date from after this period. Prior to 1873 there are very few school records in our collections, with some exceptions such as the Glasgow School for the Deaf and Mossbank Industrial School.”

Industrial schools, explains Lynsey, were designed to prevent juvenile delinquency.

Glasgow Times:

“Further legislation in the 1860s permitted the sending of juvenile offenders, as well as children ‘who have no guardian or whose guardians are neglecting them’ to such institutions,” says Lynsey.

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The collection holds records for more than 300 Glasgow schools, and some for the surrounding former Strathclyde regions of Bute, Dunbartonshire, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire. It consists mainly of admission registers and log books, which make interesting reading.

“We have some famous people in there - our records include the admission registers for Whitehill Secondary, featuring Scottish comedian and actor Rikki Fulton, and for Allan Glen’s School, attended by Hollywood star Dirk Bogarde,” smiles Lynsey.

Glasgow Times:

Matinee idol Bogarde (born Derek Niven van den Bogaerde) who was famous for films such as The Blue Lamp and Doctor in the House attended Allan Glen’s in the mid 1930s.

At the time, the English-born actor was living with a well-to-do aunt and uncle in Bishopbriggs and he admits in his autobiography it was not the happiest time of his life.

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The log books – usually kept by the headteacher - provide a lovely insight into the day to day life of teachers and pupils. The teacher writing the entry in Bannerman High’s log book on January 30th 1872 was clearly at the end of his or her tether.

Glasgow Times:

“Annoyed with some parents (mothers) who seem to have much more skill about school matters than the teachers,” it reads. “Told them so, advising them to mind their own affairs…”

Admission registers, which contain information about pupils such as dates of birth, addresses and in some cases, even the results of IQ tests, are closed for 75 years, while log books are closed for 50. The archive team can organise for copies to be made once normal service resumes after lockdown.

The school records, explains Lynsey, are helpful for family tree researchers.

“The key piece of information you need to figure out which school someone went to is their address,” she adds. “Children were usually educated at the school closest to their home address and at Glasgow City Archives we have plotted the location of Glasgow schools on a map so you can see which ones were closest to your relative’s home.”

Glasgow Times:

The archives also hold records of teachers, including lists of Masters and Mistresses dating from 1874, and teachers on military service during 1917 to 1918.

While libraries remain closed, Lynsey and her colleagues, Nerys Tunnicliffe, senior archivist Irene O’Brien, Barbara Neilson and Michael Gallagher – have launched Ask the Archivist.

Glasgow Times:

It’s part of #glasgowlifegoeson which highlights the fantastic resources available online during lockdown. Ask the Archivist gives people the chance to ask questions about a range of topics based on the city collections. More details are available on the Glasgow City Archives Facebook page. Next week’s topic is World War One.