Banknock School

In June 1901 R.M. Latta’s proposal for a school to replace Hollandbush School was chosen by the Kilsyth Landward School Board from competitive plans provided – it being the cheapest.  Latta was based at the estate office of Blairquhosh near Blanefield.  The estimated cost of the building to accommodate 200 scholars was £1,600.  A major delay arose when it was found that the feu selected for the building, and for which a feu charter had been issued in its name, was subject to third party interests.  Eventually a half acre site was acquired from John Street at the west end of the village on the south side of the main road and Latta supervised the construction work with the help of John Sim, Cambuslang, who acted as inspector of works. 

The front walls of the school were built of white freestone, and the others of roughcast-brick, with separate entrances for boys and girls.  In the centre of the building was a hall measuring 15ft x 24ft, from which access was obtained to three classrooms, two of which measured 23ft x 26ft 9ins, divided by a sliding glass partition, providing accommodation for 200 scholars.  There were also two cloakrooms and two teachers’ rooms.  It was heated by Parker’s patent fireplaces and fitted with Mackay’s patent ventilators.  The contractors for the building were: mason and brick work – Duncan Stewart, Bonnybridge; joiner work – Joseph Stark, Kilsyth; slater work – James Millar, Grahamston; plumber work – James Cunningham, Kirkintilloch; plaster and granolithic work – J & A Williamson, Kirkintilloch; painter work – John Morton, Kilsyth.

Illus 2: 1913/18 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

The playground lay in front of the school and was divided by an iron fence down the centre, one half being for the boys and the other for the girls, for both of whom play-sheds and suitable lavatory accommodation were provided.  The ground was enclosed on three sides with a brick wall with cement cope, and on the front with an iron-railed stone parapet wall with the entrance gate.  Some difficulty was experienced with the water supply, but on sinking a well in the playground an excellent temporary supply was obtained and it was hoped that the Local Authority would shortly introduce a piped water supply.  John D Hutton was assigned as the first head teacher.

The school thrived and more accommodation was required.  In 1914 a corrugated iron building was added to it.  This relieved the pressure on the school for a few years but in 1920 it was agreed to pay for public transport to St Patrick’s School in Kilsyth for the 35 Roman Catholic pupils that had attended Banknock School in order to reduce demand there.  The Dumbartonshire Authority was also contacted with regard to children from its area attending the school.

It was the Stirlingshire Education Authority that finally bit the bullet and added an additional room to the north of the existing infant room at a cost of £431 in 1925/6.  The contractors were: builder —Duncan Stewart & Co, Bonnybridge; joiner—James Bauld, Kilsyth: plumber Joseph Graham, Denny; slater and plasterer – William Forrester, Kilsyth.

It was at this time that several of the coal mines in the area closed down and many of the colliers’ houses were condemned as unfit for human habitation.  As a result, the population fell.  In 1931 it was reported that there were 108 pupils attending Banknock School, which had accommodation for 200.  Clearly the accommodation at Banknock School was now sufficient to include the Roman Catholic pupils and consequently they stopped making the trek to Kilsyth.

The location of Banknock School at the very eastern edge of the Kilsyth School Management Committee’s area had always been incongruous and in 1941 it was transferred to that of the Denny Committee.  In any case, the housing built to replace the old stock was located nearer to Longcroft School and so the children attended it.  It was decided to build a more up to date school on the site of Bankier House to reflect new standards and the lower school roll.  In June 1964 Banknock School was closed and for a year its former pupils attended at Longcroft.  After that year Bankier Primary School opened and they were transferred to it.  The old Banknock School buildings were leased in October 1965 to a firm manufacturing washing machines.

1903John D Hutton1932149
1932Alexander G Beveridge1935
1935John MacFarlane White1938
1938John Smith McGregor1944
1944James N K Henderson1949
1949Peter L Richardson1956
1956John Marshall Prentice1962
1962James Morrison1964

Sites and Monuments Record

Kilsyth Road, BanknockSMR 2257NS 7787 7916

G.B. Bailey, 2023