Glasgow Industrial School for Girls, Maryhill, Lanarkshire, Scotland
The Glasgow Industrial School for Girls moved to Lochburn, Maryhill, in the summer of 1881 after its previous premises at Rottenrow, Glasgow had become increasingly unsatisfactory. The Maryhill site, which extended to nine acres,had previously been occupied by the House of Refuge Reformatory for Girls. To accommodate its new tenants, the existing large building was supplemented by the construction of a cluster of four cottage homes. Due to various problems, the new site was not formally certified for operation until 23 February 1882. On its completion, accommodation was provided for a total of 200 girls aged 9 to 14 years at their date of admission. The School's staff initially comprised: superintendent, Miss Jessie Wallace; assistant superintendent, Miss Greenhill; storekeeper, 4 cottage home mothers; school teachers, Miss Brown, Miss Kerr and Miss Gardner; three sewing mistresses, two laundresses, one dairy maid, gardener, cook, van man and medical attendant.
The School site is shown on the 1910 map below.
Miss Wallace, previously matron at the Rottenrow premises, transferred to Maryhill to continue her superintendence of the girls. In October 1881, a complaint was made against Miss Wallace after she had flogged a girl named Mary Jane Park, who had absconded from the School. This was despite assurances having previously been given by the assistant matron to friends of the girl that she would not be punished on returning to the School. A committee appointed to investigate the matter concluded that the breaking of this promise, which Miss Wallace had been aware of, and the severity of the chastisement she had administered, gave them no choice but to dismiss Miss Wallace from her post. It transpired that Miss Wallace had, in fact, already tendered her resignation which was accepted forthwith. The case received considerable attention from the press and resulted in much bad publicity for the School.
An inspection of the School in June 1882 noted that the cottages were too cold in winter due to an over-abundance of ventilation. The facilities for supervision by the superintendent were small and defective, and a better playground and playshed were required for the elder girls. A very foul burn at the foot of the hill on which the School stood needed to be covered in. Industrial training included classes for sewing and knitting, with machine work also being taught to the older girls. The girls also assisted in the kitchen, laundry and housework. In continuation of the practice at Rottenrow, the girls made clothing for the Boys' Industrial School at Mossbank and did much of its washing. The younger girls lived in the in the cottage homes, twenty in each, and assisted their house mother in the cleaning and cooking. They went to the main building each day for classroom and needlework instruction. The superintendent was now Mrs Cameron.
In 1896, the inspector was generally complimentary about the School's accommodation. As well as a schoolroom and dining room, the main building included a useful assembly room. New baths had recently been added. Each cottage had a dayroom as well as a room for meals. The main area needing improvement was in the size of the outdoor covered playroom. Part of the School's grounds were laid out as a kitchen garden, while the bulk of the remainder was used as pasture for eight cows. In the classroom, the subjects taught included singing, grammar, recitation, mental arithmetic, geography and object lessons. As was the usual case, the industrial training was mainly for domestic service, although a few girls occasionally took to dressmaking. In the previous few years, an average of twelve girls had been emigrated to Canada annually. The older girls progressed through a regular course of domestic economy, 3 months in laundry, 3 months at housemaid's work, and 3 months in the kitchen. The girls in Standard V received special cookery lessons from an outside teacher. Plain knitting and sewing were taught and all the girls' clothing and outfits were made in the School. Time and labour in regards to scrubbing were economised by having stained floors in the dormitories. Physical drill was given twice a week and the three playgrounds were fitted with swings. In the assembly room, lectures and entertainments were given from time to time. Occasionally, girls with decent homes were permitted to go to them for a visit. The girls were allowed out freely on messages, and from time to time went in small groups, unaccompanied by an officer, to meetings or concerts in the neighbourhood or for a walk. The whole school went out for a walk once a week in summer, and in the winter as weather permitted. There was a small library, and the girls were allowed to sit for a time round the fire in the dormitories and read. A seaside cottage home at Millport, accommodating 6 or 8, was rented for 3 months in the summer for delicate girls to have a change of air. The girls' conduct generally gave little trouble. Corporal punishment was very seldom resorted to, and then only by the superintendent after repeated warnings. During the previous year, the two punishment cells had only been used for storing jam pots. A mark system was in use with good conduct being rewarded by prizes of books, the various classes of recipient being distinguished by the wearing of different coloured hair ribbons. The staff at this date comprised: superintendent, Mrs Cameron; teachers (non-resident), Miss Neilson, Miss Muir, Miss Guthrie; assistant matron, Miss Gibb; in charge of clothing, Miss Richardson; in charge of house cleaning and mending, Miss Cormick and Miss McAra,; kitchen matron, Miss Noble; nurse, Miss L Hammill; laundress, Miss H Hammill; in charge of cows and grounds, Mrs Morton and son; drill instructor (twice a week), Sergeant Mathers; singing teacher (twice a week), Mr Wood; washerwoman non-resident).
In 1903, a new drill hall and recreation room was added to the building, and a new classroom was also provided. Drill in three sections was taken by a visiting teacher and included exercises with clubs and wands. Swedish drill was added the following year.
On 1 May 1907, Mrs Cameron's daughter, Miss Jessie Cameron, was appointed joint superintendent alongside her mother who died early in 1908 after having managed the School for more than 25 years. Due to ill health, Miss Cameron retired from her post in August 1909 and died a few months later. She was succeeded as superintendent on 18th November by Miss Catherine S Dow.
An Auxiliary Home was opened in 1910 at 63 Rottenrow, Glasgow. The premises had previously been used for the same purpose by the Boys' Industrial School at Mossbank. The establishment was formally certified for use on 10 April and could accommodate thirty girls. It was placed under the charge of Mr and Mrs McKendrick.
In around 1933, the girls' establishment became one of the new Approved Schools introduced by the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act to replace the existing Reformatory and Industrial Schools. In its new role, the Gilshochill School as it was now called, housed up to 150 girls under the age of 13 at their date of admission.
In 1943, it was noted that the practical instruction provided by the school included laundry-work, cookery, dressmaking and housewifery. Miss J. McGilp was now headmistress.
On 21 October 1951, the School closed after its managers resigned its certificate of operation. From 1947 until the 1970s, the premises were occupied by the Glasgow School for the Deaf.
The buildings no longer survive.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Glasgow City Archives, The Mitchell Library, 210 North Street, Glasgow G3 7DN, Scotland.
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- None identified at present.
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.