The Architecture and Impact of the School Boards in Glasgow

The rapid programme of school building undertaken across Glasgow by the School Boards (1873–1919) left the city with a rich legacy of architecture designed by the top architects of the day. This was in contrast to most other UK cities whose Board schools were designed by a single, directly employed architect. Most analysis of the Glasgow Boards’ output has tended to focus on individual schools in isolation, primarily (and with good reason) Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Martyrs’ and Scotland Street Schools. However, this approach overlooks the context within which the Board Schools were designed, built and operated.

In the November 2011 Architectural Heritage  journal, Sarah L. Hamilton’s paper aims to redress the balance and providing an overview of the creation of the School Boards, the commissioning of architects, development of school design and the educational and social impact of the Boards, with a view to highlighting the importance of what remains of Glasgow’s often neglected School Board heritage today.

To celebrate the article, and the rich history the School boards represent, below are a number of stills from prominent School Board buildings in Glasgow.


Rockvilla Public School, viewed from Dawson Road,1970s. (Glasgow City Archives and Special Collections,D.ED.5/29/7/137)


Pupils performing drill in the central hall of Gairbraid Public School, c.1916. (Glasgow City Archives and Special Collections, D. ED.5/19/4)

GovahillGovanhill Public School, H. & D. Barclay, 1885. (Author)

To read the entire article and find out more about Architectural Heritage visit our website.

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