Larkhall Academy Subscription School was founded in Union Street. This school was paid for by funds raised by public subscription.The school was managed by a Board of Trustees and its first schoolmaster was Mr Struthers.
The original Academy building now houses Glengowan Primary School.
Following the 1872 Education Act, the school was transferred to the care of an elected school board, chaired by Mr William H. McNeil-Hamilton, and became known as Larkhall Academy.
Mr James Brown was appointed the first Headteacher of Larkhall Academy. Mr Brown is recognised as having been the driving force behind the early success of the Academy.
The first entry in the School Log Book, dated 31st August 1874, recorded that there were four members of staff and 288 pupils. By the end of that first school year there were 503 pupils and staffing was increased by the appointment of 5 monitors. The school was already overcrowded. Pupils were taught reading, writing and arithmetic, with some pupils attending extra classes in book-keeping and drawing. In 1875 French, Latin and Sewing classes were introduced. The school very soon outgrew its rooms. Inspectors’ reports frequently urged that numbers needed to be kept within limits. The log reports that in April 1884 over 30 pupils were sent home to reduce the register.
Epidemics of measles, scarlet fever and typhoid fever often interrupted learning and severe weather often resulted in school closure.
The building was extended and had new buildings added as the school continued to grow. By 1894 pupils were being prepared for Higher Grade examinations.
A new building was opened.
The Academy was officially upgraded to a Higher Grade School. The school role was 1034.
The building in Academy Street was opened. This new building was opened by J C Burns Chairman of the School Board. The school split into elementary and Higher Grade. Senior pupils occupied the new building and an elementary school, named Larkhall Academy Union Street School remained in the original building, with Infant and Junior classes. The Scottish Office recognised the separation of the schools into Primary and Secondary sectors in a letter dated 12th September 1905. Students are recorded as passing the ‘qualifying examination for the Academy’ from 1905.
On 11th September 1939 it was noted that 140 evacuees from Pollockshields Secondary School Glasgow were absorbed into the school with Glasgow teachers. Air raid practice became a routine in the school throughout World War 2. The secondary school continued in the same buildings, with various additions and extensions.
The school was moved to its premises in Cherryhill.
New building on Broomhill Road was opened.
Some interesting events from the early school logs:
1889 300 pupils absent because of measles.
1904 Headteacher Mr James Brown died
1906 Funds were being raised for a school library
1912 Pupils watched the eclipse of the sun from the playground
1918 School log reports that since the beginning of World War 1 the school had sent to the Front 5846 pairs of socks, 334 scarves, 330 pairs of cuffs, 74 helmets, 61 pairs mittens, 38 bodybelts.
1918 school closed for 4 weeks because of influenza
1918 Armistice church thanksgiving service and holiday
1921 First school meal served. It consisted of soup and bread.
1923 First annual sports held in Raploch Park
Some Past Headteachers of the school:
Mr Ernest Hope
Mr E H Lamb
Mr A Haddow rector
Mr J.M. Cameron
Mr Andrew Lochhead
Mr T S Dingwall
From its earliest days, Larkhall Academy has involved its pupils in Social and Community events.
On June 24th 1875, all school pupils took part in the local Fair excursions and in the Sabbath school ‘walk’.
The school was closed in May each year for the local merchants holiday and Victoria Day.
On last day of the session, in the early days, public examinations were attended by large numbers of parents and friends. This event continued for many years, and evolved into a demonstration of pupil skills in singing, marching and recitation.
On the 14th October 1911 a party of nearly 200 pupils spent a day at the Scottish National Exhibition, Glasgow.
16th January 1914 was declared a Skating Half holiday.
In 1923 a concert was held in aid of library funds. This custom of school concerts established in the 1920s continues today.
1948 9 bus loads to places of interests in Edinburgh
1950 school party trip to Switzerland
1951 school trip to Rothesay
1952 school trip to Switzerland
1953 Film of coronation shown in Regal cinema
29th June 1953 Pupils saw Queen on visit to Hamilton