Stonefield Parish Infant School
‘Stonefield Parish Infant School’ being a bit of mouthful, the toddlers school in Low Blantyre was nicknamed by locals as “The Wee School.” It is incorrectly written in publications by others that the infant school was immediately behind Stonefield Parish School, but this wasn’t the case. The former infant school was actually situated more to the west, behind Nimmo’s Buildings and Bloomfield Cottage. It was located just off Victoria Street not far from the Stonefield Parish School, on central ground.
The infant School was to have a different look and feel about it by comparison to the adjacent School for primary age pupils due to the use of a different Architect to set different style. Built of stone blocks with slated roof, it was designed to provide a remedy to an overcrowding infant department in the Stonefield Parish School, the idea was approved by the local Parochial Board on 12th October 1891.
The building was in the style of Scottish Renaissance, designed by Architect Alex Cullen of Motherwell, who would later design Auchinraith School. Stonemasons James Aitkenhead & Son were the builders, (whose father had previously built Stonefield Parish School adjacent some 16 years earlier). This was a busy time for Aitkenhead Builders who were also building High Blantyre Church Halls.
The school had two large classrooms, heated by coal fires to accommodate 200 infants plus provisional space for 100 more if needed. A vacant site on spare ground was chosen and a budget of £1,800 assigned to the important project.
The official opening of the infant school took place at 2pm on 10th April 1893. The main building had a small annex adjacent to it, which was used as a dining room. The annex had a white roof and was later used by Calder Street Secondary School as a technical drawing and metalwork classroom.
From as early as 1960, the whole of the infant school was used as an Annex for Calder Street Secondary School, then later Blantyre High for Metalwork, woodwork and technical drawing classes. It still served that function in May 1977, but at that time the county council had acquired the building and land in advance of demolition to make way for the Asda shopping centre. The fate of the school sealed, it was demolished in late 1977 as part of the extensive Glasgow Road area redevelopment. This prompted the building of a new block at Blantyre High in 1978 for the aforementioned technical classes.
From the book, “Blantyre Glasgow Road South – The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said,:
Sheena Thomson Went to the wee school in the mid fifties