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Govan High School

Brief History: 1910 - Present


Govan High School was built on Langlands Road in Govan at the end of 1909 by Govan Parish School Board and was formally opened on 26th January 1910 by Sir Donald McAlister, principal of the University of Glasgow with the school opening to pupils on the 1st Ferbruary 1910.

Govan High School c1910

The school occupied a site of 7124 square yards. On the ground floor there were eight classrooms accommodating 40 pupils each, and on the upper floor 12 classrooms, two of which accommodated 40 and ten 30 each. In the wings on the ground floor there was a physical laboratory for 48 pupils and a mechanical laboratory which was used for experimental engine work. On the upper floor a chemistry laboratory, a mathematics laboratory, and an art room were provided. Other accommodation comprised a wood-working shop, 40ft by 30ft; an iron workshop, 40ft by 30ft, fitted with a number of the most modern machine tools at the time; and two rooms for cookery teaching. The classrooms were grouped round a central hall 114ft in length by 26ft 6in wide.

Sometime between 1913 and 1930 a two wing annexe for the School was built just behind the main school, the Glasgow Herald in January 1949 reports that a fire swept through the annexe causing the power to be cut in the local area, a sign of the later fate that was to befall the school.

Aerial view of Govan High School

In June 1962 Govan High School burned down, with annexe escaping undamaged (Annexe later became St Jerome's Primary), 480 pupils could be accommodated in the annexe and the rest were distributed around other schools with most going to Bellahouston Academy in the new term. The old school merely 52 years old could not be saved and it was decided that a new school be built nearby at Ardnish Street, Drumoyne, however the Education Department were not in a great hurry to build the new school, in fact things were moving so slowly that the M.P. for Govan at the time Jon Rankin asked in the House of Commons if the Secretary of State's plans for increased expenditure in education included the building of the new Govan High School.

Eventually on Wednesday 26th March 1969 the new school at Pirie Park with entrance on Ardnish Street was formally opened by Anthony Hepper, chairman of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd. The new school provided for 1,150 pupils included an assembly hall and stage, dining rooms and kitchen, 21 classrooms, two geography rooms, six home craft rooms, nine science rooms, seven technical rooms, six art rooms, three music rooms, a laboratory, library, swimming pool and three gymnasium.

The Ardnish Street building was refurbished in 2001-02 and formally re-opened by former pupil, Sir Alex Ferguson CBE on 12th September 2002.

The school motto is that of the Old Govan Burgh, ‘Nihil sine labore’ (Nothing without work)




Click an image below to start slideshow

The Clyde at Govan
Govan High School Sketch c1910
Govan High School 1962
Govan High School Fire 1962
Govan High School c1969
Govan Health Centre
Govan High in Evening Times 1962


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