Notes on Prestwick Public, Glenburn, St Ninians and Kingcase Schools
Both my brother and I attended Prestwick High as it was originally known.
It was not the first 'modern day' school, the Public School in Caerlaverock Road, now the Community Center, was built in 1882 to accommodate 350 pupils. As the population of the town was growing rapidly, and the fact that the school leaving age was about to be raised from 13 to 14, it was necessary to look at building a new school. As an interim, the Freemans Hall was rent, it had previously been used as a school to hold two senior classes.
A site in Newdykes Road was obtained from the Oswald Family of Auchincruive (they owned a considerable amount of land around that area). The school was opened on 5th August 1902 and contained 5 class rooms and a drill hall. The School cost £5000 to build.
The school was expanded in 1910 when rooms for cookery and woodwork were added and in 1913 a further extension was made providing more classrooms, an art room and a science laboratory.
I must admit I was not aware of the these extensions to the building, although the woodwork room and art room as I knew the school in the '50s looked as if they had been added to the original sandstone building. My first memories of the school are in 1953 the school circled by a red sandstone wall. The toilet block as at the rear of the playground, separate from the main building. I have no idea where the main door to the school originally was, I was anticipated that it was one of the 2 west facing doors, but in light of discovering about the extensions, I know believe it must have been the door on the east side which gives the name of the school and the year it opened.
The first headmaster of the High School was one James Marshall. I have no idea what happened in the intervening years but on my appearance in the primary one class of High, the headmaster was a Mr Scott and he was eventually superceded by Mr Murdoch if I remember correctly.
Primary one teacher was Miss Wallace, other teachers being Mrs Alexander, Miss Douglas, Miss Greenshields, Miss McKenzie (Art) - the rest of the primary teachers slip my memory at the moment. The school 'houses' were St Cuthberts, St Ninians and St Nicholas. Are they still the same today?
Thanks to Laura Brown for the following update on the school houses - Cumbrae (Red), Bute (Blue) and Arran (Yellow). Today the school has around 1500 students. Laura now informs me that Kintyre House has now vanished, leaving just three houses.
There may have been other expansion to the school over the years - my first recollection was 2 banks of prefab classrooms built to the east the main building. They housed a metal work room, a geography room and two other subjects.
In the late 50's or early 60's a complete new building was added to the existing complex. It comprised of a new science block in a two story building, a new art room, an assembly hall, which doubled as the lunch hall and gymnasium, a whole wing of classrooms, not visible in the picture, and kitchens for preparing lunches. In those days the High School only handled pupils up to the Third Year at which point the 'A' and 'B' stream pupils were allocated places in three local Academies - Ayr Academy, Maybole Academy and Irvine Academy. Well they said they were local but.... - they were the nearest in those days. We were still in the good old days when the open air swimming pool was open and in the summer months we had the opportunity to have P.T. classes down there. The senior school in those days had teachers such as Sammy Baird (Mathematics), Mr Ramage (French), Mr Pollock (English), Mr Morisson (Science) Mr Kennedy (Mathematics), Mr McLauchlan (Geography), Barry McBeth (Music), Bill Baillie and Miss Knox (both Physical Torture), Mr Penman (French), Mr Giles (Science) and Mr Barclay (woodwork) to mention but a few. And of course we had morning assembly with the late Rev. Donald Caskie in attendance on occasions. Donald Caskie was the Minister at the old Prestwick St Cuthberts Church.
My days were numbered at the High - we were the first year to 'suffer' the 'O' grades and then it was on to one of the Academies - I was sent Irvine Royal Academy, along with a crowd of others - had to catch the bus at 8.15 every morning at Prestwick Cross. Mr Murdoch was still 'rector' has he had been re-titled by that time.
The modern history of the school is a bit vague to myself - I know that there was a book written by pupils/staff on the history of the school - if someone would care to lend me a copy to have a read at to enable me to expand this page I would be very grateful - if there are still copies available I would even buy a copy.
In the late 60s I left the area - and I cannot remember when the next expansion took place, other than it used up the area which was designated Prestwick Public Park which was just to the west of the original school - the park gates are still there in Newdykes Road. A massive two story extension was built, a new assembly hall and a games complex which doubled as a community centre with a cafe etc. This was in the days of Strathclyde Region and the Community Centre was fully utilized by night classes, youth clubs etc. The new block housed language and domestic sciences labs, the assembly hall had am equipped stage allowing small stage shows to be made, and there was also a computer lab adjacent to the new boiler house.
Sports wise there was provision made for crickets, football and running in the remaining part of the 'Public Park' which had now been re-allocated at the Oval.
It looks as if all of this is about to change as the old building are progressively demolished to make way for a brand new building. The plan is to erect temporary accomodation on the blazed area seen in the picture above as the work is carried out. This is currently going through the planning stages, but I believe they hope to start this in the summer of 2006.
Prestwick Public School was opened in 1882 to accommodate 350 pupils. It rapidly ran out of space and as an interim cure, the school board rented rooms in the Freemans Hall at the Cross. In 1905 two extra class room were added to the school in Caerlaverock Road. The first headmaster of the School was a Walter Beaton, who retired in 1906 and was succeeded by James Howat who was previously head teacher at Monkton School. He retired in 1920. The Public School fed it's pupils to Prestwick High for the first three years of their secondary education. The last head teacher on the Public that I can recollect was Miss Logie who took over when Mr Jack Harrison retired.
The school was eventually closed in 1973 on the opening of a new Primary School at Kingcase at the south end of the town - this area is where the majority of new housing is being built. I believe that the Public and Kingcase schools operation did overlap for at least a year. The Public School building is now utilised as a Community Centre run by the local Community Council.
Glenburn School was opened on 25th October 1915 with an initial roll of 171 pupils. The Head Teacher was Jack Steele and on his death in 1918 Mathew Foulds was appointed Head teacher. He was a pupil of the Public School finishing his education in 1901 at the Freemans Hall because of the space problem at the Public. Mathew was contracted to be a pupil-teacher and attended classes in Ayr In 1915 he was appointed Head teacher at Monkton. Mathew had another role to play in Prestwick - in 1909 he was persuaded by some of his young pupils to form a Scout Troop - it is still going to this day - the 14th Ayrshire.
St Ninians School was built in Adamton Road to satisfy the requirements for a primary School for Roman Catholic children.
Kingcase School was built at the south end of Prestwick to meet the requirements for the every increasing number of children in the area. It replaced the Prestwick Public School which was closed, if I recollect, on the opening of Kingcase. The first Head Teacher of Kingcase was Mr Simpson.
Any further information on these schools will be most welcome - as and when I collect data I will add it to the pages.
Ayrshire Towns & Villages (Frames Version)
Ayrshire Towns & Villages (Non - Frames Version)