Glasgow school experience - 1873-1918

Garnetbank Public School, 1916, classroom scene.

If you grew up in Glasgow, the odds are good that you received some of your education in a school board building. A new temporary exhibition at Glasgow City Archives draws on archival and museum collections to tell to story of the school boards, the teachers and the children who benefitted.

150 years ago, in 1873, school boards were set up in every parish in Scotland. Their job was to make sure that every child aged between 5 and 13 received a basic, compulsory education. The Glasgow area had some of the largest and most ambitious school boards in the country, and they faced the biggest challenges.

In Glasgow parish alone it was believed that 2 out of 5 children were not attending school, and that only half of the existing schools were adequate. Across the city, the school boards began to build schools, hire and train teachers and enroll children – willing or not!


Slate board
Leaving certificate
Rosevale Public School register

Everyday items such as jotters, a slate and a teacher’s belt are on display, alongside original documents such as school logbooks. Life-size copies of two Charles Rennie Mackintosh architectural drawings for Martyr’s School and Scotland Street School are also exhibited.


See this display now at The Mitchell Library from now until mid September 2024.

Scotland Street School Main elevation, Charles Rennie Mackintosh