MUNICIPAL AND CHURCH SCHOOLS IN HELENSBURGH
1. Private schools are excluded.
2. Information prior to 1956 comes principally from Helensburgh Directories.
3. Names change slightly over the years.
Baptist Church School. This school was already open by 1856 and its location was given as 46 East King Street. By 1875 it had moved to 47 East King Street. It is however important to stress that these numbers both refer to the old system of numbering the East and West streets in Helensburgh – prior to 1899 the East-West division was at Colquhoun Street, and not at Sinclair Street as now. However it was only in 1886 that the first Baptist Church in Helensburgh was erected. The school appears to have closed by 1899.
Chapelburn Church School – see Baptist Church School
Clyde Street School. 1904 saw the opening of this school, which was much bigger than any of the earlier primary schools – indeed it is no coincidence that both Grant Street School (qv) and James Street School (qv) closed in 1904 and, like both of these closed schools, Clyde Street charged very low fees. In 1977 the building ceased to be used as a school and it then became the Clyde Community Education Centre. As the years went on insufficient money was being spent on the upkeep of the old school with the result that the Clyde Community Education Centre closed its doors in 2004, and the building then became increasingly derelict. However contrary to the expectations of many people Argyll and Bute Council decided to renovate the old school as part of its offices and to add a substantial modern wing to the west of the old building. In 2015 the old school and new wing opened as the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre.
Colgrain Primary School. Located on the north side of Redgauntlet Road, and immediately to the east of the West Highland Railway embankment, this school was opened in 1973.
Established Church School. No opening date is known for this school, but it was already in operation by 1864. Its location was presumably in East Clyde Street behind (or to the east) of the church, which itself stood at the corner of Sinclair Street and East Clyde Street. Following the 1872 Education (Scotland) Act the control of schools was removed from churches, except for Catholic and Episcopalian schools and this school appears to have closed by 1882. It was also known as the Old Parish Church School. The Tower Place flats now occupy the site, but the tower of the church still exists.
Grant Street School. 1851 saw the start of this school in the Town Hall. It was also known as the Ragged School and the Industrial School; despite this name, very low fees were charged at this school. Two years later it moved to a new location at 11 Grant Street, this being on the south-west corner of Grant Street and West Princes Street. In 1876 this building was demolished and replaced by a new building, and the school closed in 1904. The site was later occupied by the gas works and is now a car park.
Helensburgh Infants School. This school appears to have opened in 1833 and was perhaps located in the Town Hall.
Helensburgh School. Although Helensburgh Heritage Trust owns the Minute Book for this school, very little is known about it. It appears to have opened in 1805 and, according to "A Nonogenarian's (sic) Reminiscences of Garelochside and Helensburgh" by Donald MacLeod 1883 (the nonagenarian being his uncle Gabriel MacLeod) it was located in "King Street to the east of the well". It may perhaps also have operated for a while in the Town Hall. According to the Minute Book in 1842 it moved to a new unknown location.
Hermitage Academy. Helensburgh's secondary school moved to a new site at Talisman Crescent, Colgrain in 1966. However even when it opened it was obvious that the new building was too small, and so an extension of nearly the same size was added in 1973. However by 2000 the Hermitage Academy was not in a good state of repair and so it was decided to move to a new and bigger building about a quarter of a mile to the east along Cardross Road, and this opened in 2008. The large site on Talisman Crescent is being developed for housing.
Hermitage Primary School. This school was opened in 1967 on the site at the corner of East Argyle Street and Grant Street where Hermitage School (qv) had stood until its demolition in 1966.
Hermitage School. Built in the Scottish baronial style in 1880 in East Argyle Street at its corner with Grant Street, this school functioned as Helensburgh's secondary school until 1966, albeit with a number of additions over the years. With the exception of the janitor's house it was then demolished, and Hermitage Primary School (qv) was built on its site; at the same time a new secondary school in the shape of Hermitage Academy (qv) was built at Colgrain.
Holy Trinity Church School – see St Michael and All Angels Church School
Industrial School – See Grant Street School
Infants School – see James Street School
James Street School. Also known as the Infants School, James Street School has had perhaps the most complicated history of all local schools. It was already open by 1875 and it charged very low fees; it appears to have had a link with Grant Street School, perhaps as a feeder. It was originally located at 63 James Street (on the west side of James Street between West King Street and West Argyle Street). In 1889 it moved round the corner to a new location at 16-18 West King Street (on the west side of James Street) and St Michael & All Angels Church School (qv) occupied the original site.
James Street School closed in 1904, but until 1913 St Michael & All Angels Church School once again took over its buildings, by now in West King Street. James Street School then reopened in 1915; then from 1935 to 1977 St Joseph's School (qv) occupied the buildings. Today the original site in James Street is used by housing and the later site in West King Street bears the Waverley Court sheltered housing.
John Logie Baird Primary School. The Churchill estate was built by the Royal Navy to house the families of its lower ranks, and this school was opened for the children there in 1967-68. It is located in Winston Road at the corner with the footpath section of the Old Luss Road.
Old Parish Church School – see Established Church School
Parklands School. Parklands opened in 1993, a purpose-built school for pupils with complex special educational needs. Since then the range of provision has been extended and the school now also meets the needs of pupils with a range of learning difficulties, autistic spectrum disorders and other disabilities, as well as behavioural difficulties. It is located at 27 Charlotte Street, at the corner with East Montrose Street.
Ragged School – see Grant Street School
St Joseph's School. In 1880 a Roman Catholic chapel and school were built at 44 or 48 Grant Street, on the east side between East Argyle Street and East King Street where the halls for St Joseph's Church now stand. In 1935 the school moved to the site at 16-18 West King Street which had previously been occupied by the James Street School (qv) at two different times. St Joseph's School stayed there until 1977 when it moved to a new location in Old Luss Road, opposite its junction with Ben Bouie Drive. Waverley Court sheltered housing now occupies the site in West King Street.
St Michael and All Angels Church School. In 1842 the town's only Episcopal church was erected at the corner of William Street and West Princes Street, and it bore the name of Holy Trinity Chapel; in 1851 a school was added to the chapel. As the congregation grew, so too did the need for a new church, and this was opened on the same site in 1868, being dedicated to St Michael and All Angels. Being an Episcopalian church, it did not lose control of its school under the 1872 Education (Scotland) Act and by 1899 it had moved to the site at 63 James Street previously occupied by the James Street School (qv). By 1905 it had moved to 16-18 West King Street, another previous site of James Street School. In 1913 it closed as a church school and the site reverted to the local authority.
West Free Church School. Already open by 1853, this school stood immediately to the north of what is now Helensburgh Parish Church, between Colquhoun Square and West Princes Street. Following the 1872 Education (Scotland) Act the control of schools was removed from churches, except for Catholic and Episcopalian schools, and the West Free Church School appears to have closed by 1880. Today the site is part of the Parish Church halls.
1805 – Helensburgh School opens.
1833 – Helensburgh Infants School opens.
1842 – Helensburgh School moves to a new unknown location.
1843 – Disruption of the Church of Scotland, after which the new Free Churches set up their own schools.
1851 – Grant Street School (also known as the Ragged School or the Industrial School) opens in the Town Hall; Holy Trinity Church School (Episcopalian) opens.
1853 – Grant Street School moves to a new location at 11 Grant Street; West Free church school already open by this date.
1856 – Baptist (or Chapelburn) Church School already open by this date.
1864 – Established Church School (later known as the Old Parish Church School) already open by this date.
1868 – Holy Trinity Church School becomes St Michael and All Angels Church School.
1872 – Education (Scotland) Act – control of schools removed from churches, except for Catholic and Episcopalian.
1875 – James Street School already open by this date.
1880 – West Free Church School closed by this date? Hermitage School (secondary) opens on East Argyle Street.
1882 – Established Church School closed by this date? St Joseph's Church School (Roman Catholic) opens in Grant Street.
1889 – James Street School moves to new location in West King Street.
1899 – Baptist Church School closed by this date? St Michael and All Angels church school has moved to the James Street location of James Street School by this date.
1904 – Clyde Street School opens; Grant Street School and James Street School both close.
1905 – by this date St Michael and All Angels Church School has moved to the West King Street location of James Street School.
1913 – St Michael and All Angels Church School closed and site reverted to local authority.
1915 – James Street School reopens at West King Street site.
1935 – James Street school closes for the last time.
1966 – Hermitage School (secondary) closes and is demolished; it is replaced by Hermitage Academy at Talisman Crescent, Colgrain.
1967 – Hermitage Primary School opens on the site of the Hermitage School (secondary). John Logie Baird Primary School opens.
1973 – Colgrain Primary School opens.
1977 – Clyde Street School closes and becomes Clyde Community Education Centre. St Joseph's School moves to new site at Old Luss Road.
1993 – Parklands School (special needs) opens.
2004 – Clyde Community Education Centre closes and becomes derelict.
2008 – Hermitage Academy moves to a new location at Cardross Road, Colgrain.
2015 – Clyde Street School with the addition of a major new wing reopens as the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre.