County Trades School

Even before the Second World War there was a shortage of housing in the Falkirk area and it was evident that when the war ended there would be a huge demand leading to a boom in building.  Consequently, early in 1944 the Stirlingshire Education Authority purchased Woodside House for £5,000 for use as the County Trades School.  This had been built in 1850 as the Poor House and stood next to Comely Park School.  A similar sum of money was spent on fitting it out and it opened its doors on 8 September 1944 with 69 full-time students undertaking courses in bricklaying, painting, plumbing, joinery and plastering.  These filled the gap between leaving school at 14 years of age and the minimum age of 15 for an apprentice – the employers usually reducing the period of their apprenticeship by six months for those who had successfully completed the courses.  Given the nature of the courses it is not surprising to hear that the boys helped to convert the large three storey building for use as a school.

In 1947 the school faced a major problem when the school leaving age was raised to 15.  Closure was mooted, but the Education Authority persevered and persuaded businesses to send their employees to the school as part of their apprenticeship.  It took several years before the day release apprentices took up the slack.  These came from a wide area and in 1950 some were entered for the examinations of the City and Guilds of London Institute.  The range of courses was extended and included wood machining, motor vehicle mechanics and welding.  Evening courses were also run – bakery being quite popular.

With the opening of Falkirk College in January 1963 the staff and facilities were moved there and the County Trades School closed.

1944Alexander Dixon1950200
1950Andrew B Robertson1975400

Sites and Monuments Record

High Station RoadSMR 1889NS8872 7947

G.B. Bailey, 2023