Rotten Row Day Industrial School, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
The Rotten Row Day Industrial School, established under the provisions of the Glasgow Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Repression Act of 1878, was the second Day Industrial School to be opened in Scotland, and the second of eight that were eventually set up in Glasgow. Its Rotten Row premises had previously been occupied by the Glasgow Girls' Industrial School, which had moved out to Mary Hill. The new establishment was formally certified for operation on 15 August 1882, with accommodation for up to 250 children aged from 5 to 14 years. The boys and girls were taught separately and had separate playgrounds.
An inspection in 1883 expressed disappointment with the teaching and performance of the children in the classroom. For their industrial training, the boys were engaged in brush-making and wood-splitting, and the girls in sewing, knitting and laundry work. They also helped to keep the house clean. The staff comprised the superintendent Miss Agnes F. Campbell; teachers, Miss Borland, Miss MacFarlane, and Miss Brown; janitor, cook, and brush-maker.
On three days a week, the children were given physical drill in a large drill-room where a piano provided musical accompaniment. The boys' playground was fitted with a stride and the girls' with a swing. There were five weeks holiday in the summer, matching that taken by the Board Schools. During the holidays, the children only attended until dinner time.
By 1896, Miss Jessie Brown had become superintendent, a post she was still holding in 1920. The other staff in 1911 included: teachers, Mrs. M.N. Andrew, Miss C. MacNair, Miss E. Macpherson, Miss J. A. Duncan, Miss J. Brown, Miss M. May; singing master, Mr. W. Moodie; manual instructor, brush-making instructor, janitor, cookery and laundry instructress, drill instructor, cook, and visiting swimming instructor. Classroom subjects included singing, composition, recitation, mental arithmetic, geography, history and object lessons. The boys learned technical drawing and received 'manual instruction' (woodwork). In the brush-making shop, the boys were given conversational lessons in addition to the practical work. As well as needlework and dressmaking, the girls were taught cookery and laundry work by visiting teachers. The girls now assisted in carrying out the schools' weekly wash. The older boys and girls received physical training from a visiting instructor, while the younger ones were taken by their class teachers. Several entertainments and outings were organised each year, and most of the children enjoyed a stay at the seaside under the annual Fresh Air Fortnight scheme.
In 1925, control of the School was passed to the Glasgow City Education Authority.
On 31 March 1930, it was announced that the School had resigned its certificate of operation. The premises were subsequently used as an ordinary day school.
The School buildings no longer exist and the site is now covered by the University of Strathclyde Students' Union.
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)
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