Miller Street building

Opened in 1911, the Miller Street building was the fourth building to house “Clydebank School”. In fact, it was this building that allowed the separation of Primary and Secondary schooling in the town, and so “Clydebank High School” was born.

By 1906, the School roll had risen to 1,600 which was 100 over the design capacity of the Kilbowie Road building opened in 1888. As such, it was agreed that a new school could be built to supplement this capacity with enough room for a further 350 pupils.

The Miller Street building was predominantly used to house the “Higher Grade” pupils whilst the Kilbowie Road building continued with “Primary” and “Supplementary” pupils.

The Miller Street building was severely damaged during the Clydebank Blitz in May 1941, but it survived and was replaced by the Shelley Drive building which opened in 1947.

The first purpose-built school: Kilbowie Road (1)

The “bothy school” in the shipyard had become unfit for purpose as a school for the rapidly-expanding town. As such, a new school was required and the second building of CHS was constructed at the bottom of Kilbowie Road in 1876.

However this building quickly became overcrowded and was demolished only ten years after it opened and replaced by the third CHS building with over three times the capacity. This requirement for such a large increase in capacity in such a short time is a great indicator of the growth of Clydebank.

The third school building: Kilbowie Road (2)

The third building to house our school was opened in 1888 on Kilbowie Road, only fifteen years after the original Bothy School had opened. The second building had become overcrowded very quickly, necessitating the new school. The new design capacity was for 1,500 pupils, compared to the 446 of the old school.

Built on the site of the original Kilbowie Road School, it caused public outcry at the cost of construction which was £20,000 (approximately £2.5million in 2018 terms). This was an overspend of £7,000 (£893,000 in 2018) compared to the original budget of £13,000 (£1.65million on 2018).

The Rev John Stark who was a member of the school board and supporter of building the new school was so unpopular for the massive overspend that effigies of him were burned on the streets of the town!

This building was destroyed during the Clydebank Blitz of 13th & 14th March 1941.

The photo above is from the West Dunbartonshire Council Archive and a “then and now” photo is available on their website here.

Shelley Drive building – R Jennings collection 05

A view of the corridor running from Modern Studies to the English Department. For those who attended CHS a few years ago, the departments may have changed location. To orient you, the assembly hall is currently out of the windows on the left of the photo and this corridor is the wing closest to the playing fields. The corridor looks very empty without the displays on the walls, however, this was taken as the school was being emptied for the move to the new Janetta Street building.

Shelley Drive building – Post-Blitz

This photo was discovered by Sam Gibson during a blitz exhibition in Clydebank Library. Sam then forwarded it to OldCHS. It shows the building (which at that time had not yet been opened as a school) surrounded by the devastation caused during the Clydebank Blitz of 13th/14th March 1941. In the background is the “Holy City” destroyed by the bombing. The famous Singer clock also appears on the right of the photo. Photo credit: West Dunbartonshire Council, Clydebank Library.

Bothy School (1873-1876)

The “Bothy School”, the first home of CHS, opened 11th August 1873

When the Old Kilpatrick School Board was set up in 1873, the only school in the area now known as Clydebank was Mrs Pitblago’s “adventure school” (ie; a school set up as a private venture, for profit) in a room-and-kitchen in Clydebank Terrace. When Mrs Pitblado declined to come under the jurisdiction of the Board, it was forced to lease a bothy at the Clydebank Shipyard and set up a temporary school there.

The bothy was quickly fitted out as a classroom, and bricks were prised from the walls to create windows in the building. The school opened on 11 August 1873 with John Fulton appointed as the teacher. It closed in 1876 when it was replaced by a new purpose-built school on Kilbowie Road.

Text and photograph: West Dunbartonshire Council (