Queen's Park Secondary in Glasgow is to close, writes Dick Louden. The

school has an honourable 121-year history -- and some notable former


THIS summer Queen's Park Secondary on the South Side of Glasgow will

close. Three of its associated primaries -- Cuthbertson, Victoria, and

Annette Street -- are being re-zoned to Shawlands Academy, the fourth --

Toryglen Primary -- to Stonelaw High in Rutherglen. Indeed, the first

step was taken last August, when the new first-year intake was diverted

to Shawlands and Stonelaw.

The acting head teacher, Mr James Curdie, has been at Queen's Park

since 1973 and has been in charge for the past three years. ''It is very

sad,'' he admits. ''Most teachers accept the need for rationalisation

but it really hurts when it's your own school.''

Nearly all the teachers have been provisionally matched into vacancies

in other Glasgow schools. ''They have kept up their motivation in a very

professional manner,'' says Mr Curdie.

The pupils have likewise maintained their commitment. In the past few

years they have donated more than #10,000 to charity, much of it going

towards cancer research, since two popular teachers in the school died

of the disease. The present red and black uniform, designed by the

pupils in 1990, was widely adopted but, when the decision to close the

school was taken last summer, pullovers and other items valued at #1200

were left unsold and have been given to Oxfam.

Queen's Park opened in 1873 as an all-through school taking pupils

from five years upwards. Remarkably its first headmaster, Leander Fyfe,

held the post for 46 years. In 1920 it was designated a high school,

with a roll which at times rose as high as 1350. In 1967 it vacated its

venerable buildings in Grange Road and became a comprehensive in its new

premises in Toryglen, taking in the pupils of the former Calder Street


When Mr Curdie arrived, Queen's Park's roll was about 1100 but he

readily identifies the reasons why it has dropped since. ''The

demolition of old tenement properties in Govanhill cost us 300 pupils.

Then there was the falling birthrate and after that the Parents'

Charter. We are located on the periphery of our own catchment area and

many parents found it more convenient to send their children elsewhere.

For instance, our intake from Cuthbertson fell from 70 to single

figures. Then the Government's new transport legislation meant that

three double-deckers, which were contracted to pick up our pupils from

Govanhill, stopped operating. I've seen our youngsters having to wait

ages for public service buses.''

By last year the roll had fallen to 420. Now it stands at 240 because

of the lack of a first-year intake and the decision of some parents to

remove their children in advance of the closure. Apart from Shawlands

and Stonelaw, they have gone to other popular schools such as Holyrood

and King's Park.

Throughout Queen's Park's honourable history of 121 years logbooks

have been faithfully compiled which offer a rich picture of the life of

the school. These few extracts offer a mix of the comic and the sombre:

May 21, 1900: School got a holiday today to celebrate the relief of


December 18, 1908: Arthur Bowes was summoned to appear before the

sheriff on account of irregular attendance and truancy. He was sent to

the training ship Empress.

November 3, 1910: Mr Beattie, dairyman, was warned against allowing

John Mathers to go with one of his milk carts during school hours.

March 17, 1941: Miss Sarah McColl . . . sent home as her house,

damaged on Friday morning by land mines, was destroyed by another on


May 26, 1941: Miss Sarah McColl absent -- mother died.

June 16, 1941: Miss S. McColl absent today -- nervous debility.

December 5, 1941: Miss Sarah McColl resigned today on getting married.

There are many illustrious former pupils of Queen's Park, including

Stan Laurel, Winnie Ewing MEP, Sir Monty Finnieston, Dame Anna Neagle,

Manny Shinwell, Ian McCaskill, and two sports personalities in Ally

McLeod and John Anderson, former coach of Liz McColgan and now a

contributor to TV's Gladiators.

The school is organising on Friday, June 10 at the City Halls,

Candleriggs, a reunion for former pupils and staff which will include a

buffet and a display of memorabilia. A souvenir book written by the

school board chairperson, Mrs Beatrice Donnelly, will be issued free to

those attending.

Already 420 tickets, costing #12.50 each, have been sold, with

interest from as far afield as Australia, Germany, and Canada. A few

tickets remain and any former pupils or staff wishing to attend should

contact the organising secretary, Elaine Colley, on 041-647 2235 not

later than May 20.