Catholic Church Kilsyth

St. Patrick's School
Photos of the old School - First Communions - Pupils & Staff from years gone by - Pupils & Staff 1979-80 - Pupils & Staff 1950s-80s

From the very beginning of St. Patrick's Parish there has always been a school mentioned in connection with the Church in Kilsyth. At first the classes held were in the nature of catechism classes and evening classes for young adults, and were probably conducted by the priest, Father Galvin.

When Canon Murphy came to Kilsyth as parish priest, one of the big tasks he accomplished was the building of a school which he commenced in 1874 and to which he later made an addition in 1896. He appointed Mr. Stone as teacher, and this was as far as the school had progressed until the coming of Canon Macnamara. When Canon Macnamara came to the parish, his contribution to the education of the children was to extend the school accommodation by adding a second storey containing three new classrooms in 1908. By this time Mr. Stone, the first headmaster, had left for a post in Sunderland and was succeeded by Miss Gallacher as headmistress. Miss Keane was infant-mistress, and when Miss Gallacher left to be married the former became headmistress in 1910. The school by this time had a roll of some 350-400 pupils, from infants to the supplementary stage.

As a result of the passing of the 1918 Education Act, the responsibility for the provision of school building and staffing was transferred to the Education Committee, and since then the school has been controlled from Stirling, with the exception of certain aspects of the children's education which are controlled by the Church authorities.

From this time parents began to take advantage of the benefits of the Act to obtain secondary education for their children, although it meant a great sacrifice on their part at this time. Nevertheless the parish of St. Patrick's was to see and enjoy the fruits of these sacrifices in the years that lay ahead. Meantime in Kilsyth, the school was gradually becoming quite inadequate for the numbers of pupils attending, but due to the economic depression and the contraction of public spending, very little could be done to improve these conditions.


From 1929 the school began to spread from the old building, first to the old Burngreen School, now the County Library, and then in 1933 to the old Fever Hospital buildings. There the facilities were extremely primitive and with the added inconvenience that these premises were about a mile distant from the main school building.

For the purpose of improving the accommodation problem in St. Patrick's, the authorities proposed that a new school should be built to replace the higher grade part of Kilsyth Academy, which would then be used for the overflow of St. Patrick's School. This new school was begun just before the outbreak of World War IT, but soon after the beginning of hostilities work on the new building had to be stopped.

The increase in school population continued, and in January, 1940, infant classes were being accommodated in Mansefield House and in St. Patrick's Hall. But the latter was requisitioned for the use of the Army and the classes using it had to find alternative accommodation.

Towards the end of May, 1944, when St. Patrick's Hall was again available, the school occupied it again and vacated Mansefield House. The roll at this change was 497. In August, when the new session began, pupils were transferred from St. Patrick's Hall to the Territorial Hall.

So things continued in a most haphazard fashion over the years immediately after the war, and only when the H.O.R.S.A. huts, Stirling Road, were opened in January, 1949, were the pupils able to find anything like adequate accommodation
even then it was in three sections scattered over a distance of some two miles. The roll had now increased to 587.

This was the state of affairs which existed for the next thirteen years or so, but by 1960 a beginning had been made on the building of a new school in the north end of Bogside Public Park. The new school was completed in time for use in the second half of session 1964. It was officially opened by His Grace Archbishop Gray on 24th September, 1965.

Having waited such a long time for their new school buildings, the pupils have now no reason to complain of lack of accommodation or facilities. The building is of modern design and sound construction. The classrooms are well equipped with the most up-to-date amenities and the school grounds are tastefully laid out with rose-beds and shrubs. Altogether there exists a pleasant atmosphere in which the children should enjoy " the happiest days of their lives." Added to the high standard of building, there is a wealth of equipment and teaching aids without which modern education could not be imparted. Stirling Education Committee are to be congratulated in the provision of this school, and it is to be hoped that the pupils will appreciate to the full the facilities they now enjoy.

We have already mentioned Miss Keane who succeeded Miss Gallacher as headmistress. While Miss Keane was in charge the school roll had grown from 200 to one of 360. Her staff was entirely female until the arrival of Mr. Boyle and later of Mr. P. Doherty, who eventually was appointed first assistant. With the development in education, St. Patrick's was raised to the status of a junior secondary school in 1933, and although facilities were limited the older pupils were getting some of the advantages of a higher education.

Mr. Allen McCann, M.A., B.Sc., principal teacher of mathematics at St. Modan's High School, Stirling, succeeded Miss Keane on 7th January, 1940. During his period as headmaster, Mr. McCann did all in his power to raise the standards of the facilities available, but it was unfortunate that his aims to improve the school accommodation were frustrated by the exigencies of the war years and those years immediately following. His good work was nevertheless recognised when he was appointed Rector of St. Modan's High School in 1953, and he left St. Patrick's a much improved and better organised school.

Mr. Hugh Dobie, M.A., who had been in charge of Sacred Heart School, Grangemouth, came to St. Patrick's as headmaster in August, 1953, and is at present filling that post. To him fell the responsibility of carrying on the fight for improved conditions, but he has now the benefit of working in a school where conditions are as near ideal as can be—at least as far as accommodation is concerned. No doubt, like many other headmasters these days, Mr. Dobie doesn't have his troubles to seek, especially in the matter of shortage of staff. This is the problem that is causing most concern in the field of education to-day, and it is hoped that a satisfactory solution will be found soon, otherwise educational progress will be retarded in spite of all the splendid new schools and equipment that are being provided.

At this stage we should remember with gratitude the dedicated work done by former members of the school staff who have now gone to their eternal reward, especially Mrs. Mclnally, Miss Holland, Miss Callaghan and Miss McCart.

Others to whom a tribute should be paid are Mrs. Lavin, Miss Kelly and Miss Mulligan, who we hope will be long spared to enjoy their well-earned retirement.

We would wish the present staff all success in the work they are undertaking for the future members of our community, and we hope that St. Patrick's School will continue to send out into the world good citizens and staunch Catholics worthy of the parish to which they belong.

A tribute to the crucial role played by the School in the life of the parish was the visit of, the then, Archbishop O'Brien with Fr. Mullen to meet staff and pupils at Saint Patrick's Primary. Date unknown. The headteacher, Mrs Anna Devine from Bishopbriggs is in the front row, in the back row, on the right is Mrs Madge McGheean from Kirkintilloch - the Infant School Mistress, 2nd from the right is Mrs Helen Smith. Mrs Anna Devine was the head teacher of St Patrick’s Primary in the combined secondary/primary school. When the Junior Secondary school split off at a later date and amalgamated with St Maurice’s High School in Westfield Cumbernauld Mrs Devine became the first Head Teacher of St Patrick’s Primary School.
Can anyone help to bring this history up to date?

O Causa Nostrae Laetitiae - The Holiday Hymn

Mother of all that is pure and glad
All that is bright and blessed
As we have taken our toil to thee
So we shall take our rest.
Take thou and bless our Holiday
O Causa Nostrae Laetitiae

Airs that are soft and a cloudless sky
We would owe all to thee
Speak to thy Son as Thou dids’t of old
That feast day in Galilee
Tell Him our needs in Thine own sweet way
O Causa Nostrae Laetitiae

Be with us Mother from morn till eve
Thou and Thy Blessed Son
Keep us from All that is grief to you
Till the weeks and months are run
Thine be we still, when grave or gay
O Causa Nostrae Laetitiae

Smile upon all that is dear to us
Smile on our school and home
Smile on the days that are passing now
Smile on the years to come
Brighten our work and gladden our play
O Causa Nostrae Laetitiae

Keep us in all that is blest of God
Give us the joys that endure
Lips that have smiles and words for all
Hearts that are kind and pure
So wilt thou be by night and day
O Causa Nostrae Laetitiae

Come when earths tears and smiles are o’er
Mother of peace and love
Show us to him who is joy to earth
And joy to the hosts above
So Shall we laugh in the latter day
O Causa Nostrae Laetitiae

The Legislative History of Catholic Schools in Scotland

Cardinal O'Brien' address at the opening of the new school

Visit by Cardinal Gray to St Patrick's School in the 1960s

Photos of the old School
- First Communions - Pupils & Staff from years gone by - Pupils & Staff 1979-80 - Pupils & Staff 1950s-80s

God BlessYou!