William Smith, Headmaster


Mr William Smith was a headmaster of Blantyre Public School on Glasgow Road right up until his death on Sunday 28th August 1921.

He had taken over from Mr Ness in 1908 and Mr James M Aitchison succeeded him in 1921. Following his death, Rev Alexander Andrew said at the time, “He was a man who held the respect and love of all who knew him. He rendered excellent service in whatever work he put his hand to. Nobody ever passed away leaving a deeper feeling of respect and regret than did Mr Smith.” At the Parish Council meeting at the time, on the motion of Mr Andrew, seconded by Mr McAnulty, a letter was sent expressing sympathy with Mr Smith’s family, and the Authority’s appreciation of the work he did in the interests of education.

This talented, clever man whoever, met with an unfortunate end. His story is a tragic one. He had been visiting friends in Glasgow on the Saturday evening, and on arriving at Blantyre Station on the 10.15p.m. train, he slipped and fell between the platform and the carriage. Not the first person to do so!

He was so badly wedged in that the footboard had to be cut away before he could be extricated. With the assistance of a friend, Mr Smith managed to walk home, and medical aid was at once summoned. However, it was found that had been badly injured internally. Shock intervened and his internal injuries got worse. He died at five o’clock on the Sunday night. William Smith had been a headmaster for thirteen years and had been under the Blantyre School Board as a teacher for thirty-two years. In his earlier days he had played for the Old Cambuslang Football Club.

Pictured in a family photograph from 1911 is Headmaster William Smith on the upper right with another teacher and a class of (unhappy looking), young pupils. On the exact centre of the front row is my grandfather, little John Duncan, age 5.

With thanks to Alex Rochead for the documentation.

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