Redding School

Building operations began at the new school at Redding in February 1902 and it opened on 11 May 1903.  Mr Louden, the headmaster of the old village school, his staff and his pupils transferred over.  It was situated to the south-east of Redding village, opposite to Blair’s Cottages, with the Edinburgh Railway line bounding the north side.  The building was designed by Alexander Gauld, architect in Falkirk, to accommodate 400 scholars, and the total cost was between £4,000 and £5,000.  It was one storey high, built of freestone.  The front elevation facing the road consisted of three well-proportioned gables, each containing large three-light mullion windows, with two entrance porches.  As the building was set on a sloping site it possessed an “under-building” or podium, which was built with a batter and finished with rock-faced work.  The slate roof had heavily projecting eaves with ornamental barge boards to all gables.  Internally the main feature was a large central hall measuring 57ft 6in by 28ft, from which the various classrooms were entered.  The hall was for mustering the classes and for physical drill.  At each end of it were two large apartments, one a cleaners’ kitchen and the other a store to accommodate the gymnasium apparatus.  The classrooms, situated round this hall, numbered eight in all, consisting of single classrooms and large rooms subdivided with sliding partitions.  There were also rooms provided for the male and female staff, and a headmaster’s room, each with separate lavatory accommodation. Ample cloakroom and lavatory accommodation was also provided for the scholars.  The playground was enclosed with parapet walls topped with ornamental railings and gates.  A strip of land at the front was given off to the County Council to widen the road and make it safer for the children.

Illus 2: 1944/47 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

Although officially called Redding Public School, for some time it continued to be known as Redding Village School.  In 1907 Mr Coats of Paisley gifted books to Redding School.  The headmaster, John Louden, also had £11 from the proceeds of a concert to spend on books and so the school library contained some 700 books and was one of the largest school libraries in the area.  A catalogue of the available books was printed.  The following year it also had the largest number of pupil garden plots in the Grangemouth School Board area – 22 in number.  These had been laid out for the purpose of “enhancing the interest of the pupils and increasing their powers of observation.”  Despite its good results and innovative ways the school was not always popular with parents, especially those living some distance away at places such as Shieldhill.  In 1909 some 56 pupils were transferred from Wallacestone to Redding which relieved the overcrowding at the former but dumped it on the latter.  Consequently, in 1909, a plan was obtained for a proposed extension at Wallacestone School, and a rough plan was requested for an extension at Redding School in order to compare costs.  At the same time, consideration was also given to providing supplementary classes at Shieldhill.  No extension occurred at Redding School.  Instead it was turned into an intermediate school in 1923 to become known as Redding Junior Secondary School.

In 1932 Redding School was reduced from a three-year advanced division school to a two-year one.  The Third Year now had to go to school at Laurieston.  The school was then run by the County Council which was also responsible for libraries in the landward area and so, unsurprisingly, Redding School served as a branch or “county rural” library.  The proposal to raise the school leaving age in 1936 once again produced proposals to extend Redding School.  Any such considerations were put on hold when the Second World War broke out.  The only new structures were a brick air raid shelter placed along the boundary wall, and a corrugated iron bicycle shelter – the disruption of the bus services had resulted in more children cycling to school.

After the war, in September 1946, the advanced division of the Blackbraes School was transferred to Redding School.  The following year a bus was laid on to ferry such older pupils from Shieldhill and Reddingmuirhead to Redding School.  At the beginning of the 1947-48 session the primary pupils were transferred to other nearby schools such as that newly erected at Westquarter and it became Redding Secondary School.  At the same time a dining room and kitchen was installed at Redding and “temporary” classrooms were erected in the playground.

Illus 3: A Free Colliers’ March passing Redding School. Note the temporary classroom on the left.
Illus 4: Redding School looking south from the Granary (courtesy of Charlie Craw).

By 1960 the buildings at Redding were deemed to be inappropriate and out-dated.  In June 1964 Redding Secondary School was closed and the pupils were transferred to Woodlands High School or to Graeme High School.

Illus 5: Redding School Building in 1977 looking east (courtesy of Falkirk Planning Dept.)
1903John Louden1925204
1925James G Lockhart1930
1930John R Jamieson1934380
1934John Ballantine1946
1946James Johnston

Sites and Monuments Record

Redding RoadSMR 1920NS 9170 7835
G.B. Bailey, 2023