School Board Meetings 1900


William grantThe monthly meeting of the Blantyre School Board took place on Tuesday 6th February 1900. Until the Cemetery Road Parish Chambers were built a couple of years later, these type of meetings were held in the Public School in High Blantyre at Hunthill Road.

During 1900, Dr Grant was the chairman of the Board and usually presided over the meetings. Also on the board were Rev James Campbell, Messrs Menzies, Walker, Kelly, Davidson and Douglas. Mr James Brown was the clerk.

The meetings addressed all the matters of both Blantyre schools, which at that time were in both High and Low Blantyre. The minutes of the aforementioned meeting give a good indication of the type of discussions taking place. Appointments of staff into key positions, janitor’s matters and complaints amongst the topics. At this meeting discussion took place of the alleged ill treatment by one of the teachers to a girl pupil and it was the conclusion of the board that the punishment (whatever it was) was not deemed to be excessive.

Attention also turned to the building of the new Auchinraith Primary School, the Boards solution to overcrowding at both High Blantyre and Low Blantyre Schools. The Building Committee had met with Mr. Cullen, the school architect and come to an arrangement on the master of works (later to be known as Project Managers). Mr. Thorburn was the appointed co-ordinator of the work and was to receive a salary of 10s per week when the imminent build was due to take place.

Next, the board turned their attention to further building work in Blantyre. This time to the building of the Cemetery Road Parish Chambers, which is 1900 was still only a proposal. Dr Grant advised all that he had met the building committee of the Parish Council and informed it was shown in the plan, the School Board were to be permitted and office and use of the Board Room attached to the offices for which a rent of £13, including cleaning and lighting was to be asked for. If the school Board desired a built in safe that would mean an additional expenditure of £60. After a general discussion, it was agreed by the School Board they would like the new office and would move their meetings at a later date from the High Blantyre school.

Next a circular (flyer) was read from the Education Dept regarding physical drill in schools to be introduced and it was left as a matter than would require further consideration. By this very suspension of their consideration, it is a good sign that physical fitness of the children was not a high priority at that time, by comparison to their noted progression of subjects deemed ‘more appropriate for succeeding in life.’

The local Amateur Dramatic Club were granted use of a class room for rehearsals in Low Blantyre school on condition of a rent being paid.

Finally, there was a difference in opinion on whether drawing grants could be earned in evening schools. Seeking out talented artists who could be given grants to specialise or seek further education. A trial was noted as likely to take place and it was noted that evening classes in the school would be far more popular if such grants were to be made available.

Pictured is Dr. William Grant, who chaired those Blantyre School Board meetings.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul D Veverka © 2016

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