From the St Ninian's High School archives

Some archive material from the earlier years of St Ninian's has survived in the school. There are logbooks going back as far as 1874, as well as some attendance registers.  Luckily, the Headmaster's Logbook covering the years 1939-1945 is still in existence. It contains fascinating details of daily life in the school, covering routine administrative information about matters such as absence statistics and school visitors, interspersed with the headmaster's notes on how the progress of the Second World War was affecting the school.  The earlier years contain more detail, as the school had all sorts of new issues to cope with, from the construction of bomb shelters in the school to dealing with evacuees from the Clydebank Blitz.

I thought that some of the entries in this Logbook would be of interest to the wider community, and decided to transcribe selected entries on a monthly basis, starting with September-October 1939.

H. Martin




From the Log Book of St Ninian’s R.C. High School, covering the period January 1939-September 1945


September-October 1939


Headmaster – Dr William Barry



From the report on the school from the Scottish Education Department, session 1938-1939


Of the Infant Division: ‘…good work in all subjects is characteristic of the department. To round off a praiseworthy start in school life the children should be constantly encouraged to speak purer and more careful English.’


Of the school as a whole: ‘The admirable tone of the school reflects the kindly and discriminating supervision of the headmaster, who is supported in his efforts by a loyal and efficient staff.’


Of the school building: ‘During inclement weather, however, the open bays in the corridors cause much discomfort and during the vacation they will be glazed.’


Friday 1st September 1939

‘Owing to war having begun by Germany attacking Poland and the prospect of our country being involved, the following teachers attended at the Town Hall today to assist as required in the reception and distribution of refugees.’ [A list of 16 teachers followed, and also a list of 14 teachers who attended at St Ninian’s Hall.] ‘The pupils received were mainly from Radnor Park and Elgin St Public Schools, Clydebank.  They were conducted to their new temporary abodes by pupils from this school who acted as messengers. Several were refused and had to be sent elsewhere.’


Monday 11th September 1939

‘In the Assembly Hall, I reminded pupils of the necessity for having their gas-masks with them for all lessons, that no pupil should come to school without his/her mask and that in the event of an air-raid, pupils on their way to or from school should immediately hurry home.’


27th September 1939

‘The Janitor was absent today with my permission attending the graduation ceremony at Gilmorehill when his daughter received the degrees of MB, ChB.’


5th October 1939

‘Miss Stirling, teacher, Townhead P.S., called to inform me that the behaviour of the girls in the Croy School Bus was not satisfactory. She travels home to Condorrat by School Bus, and supervises conduct of children travelling.’

Saturday 7th October

‘Today I attended at 11am at the Town Clerk’s Office and awaited the arrival of evacuees from Clydebank. Miss Mulgrew and Miss Craig, both teachers in Our Holy Redeemer’s School, were also in attendance there. 36 children came in two buses, and were billeted in houses, mainly Catholic.’


Monday 9th October

‘Mr Maguire [Headmaster of Our Holy Redeemer’s School] Clydebank called in the afternoon and was taken round the classes to see the Clydebank evacuees in their respective classes.

Of the 36, 33 reported and were assigned to their respective classes to be taught with our pupils.

Miss Craig was given a time-table for music classes and Miss Mulgrew was attached to Primary 2b, the numbers of which had risen to 52.’


Tuesday 10th October

‘In the afternoon Mr Lynch, headmaster, St Stephen’s, Dalmuir, called to inform me that 15 of his pupils had been evacuated to this town and would attend school next day.’


20th October

‘The passage way to the east and north of the quadrangle is being built up to provide an air raid shelter for the pupils.’


24th October

‘This forenoon and afternoon I went round every class in this School, beginning with Infants IIa and instructed the children as to what they should do in the event of an air raid taking place while they were in the classroom. Had a rehearsal and instructed teachers how to act when an air raid siren was sounded. Yesterday I received word from Mr Douglas Calder, Head Warden, that the Janitor would receive intimation by phone from him when an air raid was expected. The word ‘yellow’ would indicate that the Headmaster was to be in readiness, while the sounding of the siren would be the signal for the teachers to carry out instruction re safety beneath the desks of pupils. They were also to put on their gas masks.

Washington Inn, Washington Rd, is the Air Raid Warden’s Centre for this school.’