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Adjacent to the site of “Springpark Pub” on the southern side of Auchentibber Road. First mentioned in Blantyre’s history, proposed in February 1879. Built in 1880 after intervention by Father Peter Donnelly of St Josephs RC Church. This was to be a small school to assist the families that lived in the mining and farming communities near Auchentibber. Initially, only 42 pupils enrolled and had increased to a register of 108 pupils by the late 1890’s. Built of stone with a slated roof, the building was heated by coal fires and had a small shed at the back of the building. In the 1895 valuation roll, it is noted as being owned by the Roman Catholic Congregation, indicating that between 1880 and then it was likely for Roman Catholic pupils only, something that may not have been sustaintable. At the turn of the year 1900, Auchentibber was going through some change, with the demise of some nearby stone quarries. With opportunity opening up down the hill in Blantyre’s colleries, the population of Auchentibber took a tumble very suddenly, causing the school to close in April 1902.
The Blantyre School Board, required to address the problem for the remaining pupils who were inconvenienced by having to travel to High Blantyre, then purchased the building and it was agreed that the Blantyre Educational Board would administer the school. Extensions were constructed and the new school was reopened on 2nd April 1903, although the formal ceremony was delayed until the 4th April. The school aimed to enroll pupils not just from Auchentibber, but also from the Udston area of Hamilton both Catholic and Protestant. A change in authority occurred again in 1910, when the Blantyre Parish School Board took over the school.
Between 1916 and 1959, a total of 456 pupils are known to have been educated there. Some of the pupils in wartime years in the 1940’s were evacuees who were living at nearby farms. Pupils generally attended the school until around 10 years of age, after which, they went on to secondary schools.
The last teacher in 1959 was Miss Ferrier, whose brother was the headmaster at High Blantyre Primary School. The last pupil John Fleming, was admitted to the school on 25th August 1952 and left in 1959. The school helper/caretaker was Mrs. Wallace of Springpark who lived in the houses immediately to the left of the school. Even after the last pupil left, (known to be Stewart Chapman of Newhouse), the school remained in the official ownership of the county council until it was officially closed on 31st December 1962.
Pictured are 2 photos of Auchentibber School, now converted to a home at the turn of the Millennium. Mr George Welsh now lives there.
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The Blantyre Project A friend recently told me that a “Leggat” is one of the tools for straightening up the edges of thatched houses. I’d say this may be a good link to how the name came to be..i.e Leggats were likely the workers involved in thatching homes, giving their name to their equipment.