High Blantyre “Annexe” is opened

highblantyreprimary1975In 1975 schools in High Blantyre were in crisis. The new Primary School had been opened in Broompark Road, but was not large enough for the number of children that lived within the capture area. This may have been due to new housing estates constructed around the same time of the Primary School. The old High Blantyre Primary school was 100 years old.

Directors of Education thought the answer was simple. The High Blantyre Primary School laying in ruins in Hunthill Road had been closed 2 years previously and was rapidly becoming an eyesore. Boarded up windows, hid vandalism throughout the empty derelict building. The plan was to renovate, modernize and open the school, which was over 100 years old and generally thought of within the town as being past it’s sell by date.

Backlash and opposition to the plan was spearheaded by parents with some very strong, public protests. Councillor Malcolm Waugh in July 1975 asked Strathclyde Regional Educational Committee not to re-open the school, but instead to provide huts in the playground of the new Primary School. This proposal was similar to one used successfully at Blantyre High. Malcolm argued that the school was ancient, on a busy road with toilets grossly inadequate and had no provision for modern TV room, a library or proper recreation.

His views were rejected and the School Committee pressed on with the renovation at a cost of £24,000 knowing fine well only 150 pupils could be accommodated there. It was decided the older Primary pupils would be mature enough to make the transition. A case was made that it would have cost £60,000 to put permanent huts in the New Primary school, take away important recreation space never mind the maintenance costs. Councillor William Harley suggested that although not ideal, opening the old primary school was the best option and additional road patrols would be put on to ensure the safety of pupils crossing the busy road. The Committee voted by 29 votes to 8 to re-open the school which took place on time in August 1975. From that year Primary 5 pupils would leave the new school and spend a year or even two at the old “Annexe” as it was quickly named.

However, it was Councillor Waugh who proved himself right, when the school was forced to close in the very early 80s. High Maintenance costs, heating, plumbing and electrical breakdowns resulted in pupils often being sent home in Winter. The annexe closed for good, lay for some time before being demolished entirely. It is now the site of a Nursing Home. What are your memories of the Annexe?

Source: Glasgow Herald Archives 25 June 1975

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