Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Scotland Street School. Glasgow. C.R Mackintosh.

Just for a change I decided a couple of weeks ago to pay a visit to the Scotland Street School Museum. It's free of charge to get in yet it's one of the most interesting museums anywhere and full of nostalgic exhibits for anyone old enough to remember.
First day at school and not happy! Always makes me laugh seeing this. At our school, kids on their first few weeks usually got their head rammed down the toilet and flushed. That certainly washed behind the ears so maybe he had good reason to escape. Never happened to me due to being tall so I have no idea what it feels like.

The front of the school. Built by Charles Rennie Mackintosh between 1903 and 1906 it served Tradeston and the inner city wards for 100 years until falling populations in the surrounding tenements forced its closure as citizen's were decanted from the slums to new houses on the outskirts.
Mackintosh was reputedly inspired by two older Scottish buildings. Rowallan Castle near Kilmarnock and Falkland Palace, both strongly connected to Scottish royalty.You can see the resemblance in all three buildings as circular towers are a major feature although obviously an architect of Macintosh's pedigree put his own unique stamp on the design. Although a school it's
basically a modern castle and was far more ambitious and over budget than the city fathers had envisaged.
Two vital components of the old school system. The Jannie and the School Nurse. Discipline was strict in the old days and if you gave any cheek back to these two you either got a broom handle over the head or something very unpleasant to swallow in the nurses office from a large dark brown bottle.  The contents of these bottles seemed to be used as both a cure and a punishment as making it taste nice never occurred to the manufacturers back then.
Counting at a junior level was helped by the aid of these coloured blocks. I seem to remember the small white cubes were the lowest ranked number.
Old classroom with inkwells.
A design feature to the back of the building.
Old mangle and drying horse. Very useful in Scotland with its ever present damp climate.
A window looking down from the top floor of the tower.
 The view from Tradeston across to the city centre.
A modern building next door. Although it's just a multi level car park it certainly makes a statement of its own.
Old classroom. Note the wartime list for children fleeing the city.
Another back elevation feature. This is my favourite Mackintosh building as I'm not really a fan of his domestic properties in white concrete like Hill House in Helensburgh. I do like his use of glass and huge floating windows in his commercial properties though. Glasgow School of Art has similar windows to let acres of light flood into the interior of the building. Prolific American Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was also influenced by Japanese art and ideas although his own output far exceeded the Scottish CV of Macintosh as the Scot often struggled for commissions in  the UK during a more austere business climate.

Byres Road Subway Station. The hill walker bears some resemblance to Cameron McNeish. Or is that just my notion?
A rattle under the city by Glasgow's 'Clockwork Orange' subway trains. Forgot how narrow the platforms down here were, built in the days before health and safety. With trains approaching fast on either side with gathering roars, sometimes a scream of metal, and a busy packed platform of waiting passengers, only eight foot wide with open access down to the exposed live rails on both sides it feels surprisingly claustrophobic and that's something I never normally feel as I used to crawl under floorboards at work for a living. Maybe Byres Road has an unusual design as you stand on a middle platform right between the train lines.
Five minutes away on the other side of the river you pop back up into the daylight again. Shields Road subway is only a stones throw away from the school which is visible as soon as you leave this station.
Highly recommended and a fun way to pass a few hours. Don't be surprised if you meet Cilla Black in the school. That's not a joke. She's here every day. A young version.

Pinched this video from Alistair who showed it to me ages ago. So good it still makes me laugh every time. A few swear words but a very funny sketch by Eddie Izzard.
Lego Star Wars Canteen on the Death Star. Enter Darth Vader....


Sue Hayton said...

Have you seen Martyrs Street School, also free, but mainly used by Educations Dept. Well worth a look!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Sue,
Nope, not been there yet but I'll check it out. I must have walked past it a few times over the years and not been aware of it as I used to drive all over Townhead District.

auntiegwen said...

Ooh I love the Scotland St school, I was there earlier this year, just great. You always take lovely photies :)

Carol said...

I remember those desks with inkwells - we used to write with those dip-in pens and ink and, if we made any blots, we got caned!

The Glebe Blog said...

I must get a few visits to the city before I get too old. Very, very interesting. I'm intrigued by you crawling under floorboards Bob.
Eddie Izzard is always funny.
Happy Birthday to that Dundee lass who's 60 today and still at school.
Many happy returns Minnie the Minx.

blueskyscotland said...

Thank you auntie G,
You'll know all about Cilla then. That was certainly a 'surprise, surprise' seeing her there.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
We used to use slate pads and chalk in primary school but only after someone had been sick in class after coming in drunk( not kidding, it happened 4 times)and we were all transferred into the ancient school room at the end of the corridor with emergency supplies from the store.
And they say todays kids are badly behaved.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Jim,
Yes our city does all right for tourist attractions and we have the Grand Old Opry as well for an evenings entertainment where you can draw against a local gunslinger. Same thing happens in other parts of our fine city mind you without the house rules applying.
Noticed there was a new Broons annual out this year.I bet in several of the stories there's a power cut where all the ipods and computers stop working and they have to go back to coal fire and candles. The modern world does not sit easy in the pages of the Broons or Oor Willie alas, as it's always better when its 40 years behind the current trends.
Even folk who have never dooked for apples just like the thought of dooking for apples as its a link to a much simpler past.
Service pipes, electric cables and wires live under floors and so did I for many years keeping women happy in their homes :)