Friday, 6 May 2016

A tribute to and Random Memories of Waverley Secondary School, Glasgow.

This blog is my personal space and I use it for many different reasons. Today, I'm posting a very long article that's important to me. I do what I now do as an author after my teaching career, in part, because of my education and upbringing. This is the story of my time at Waverley Secondary School, Drumchapel, Glasgow... and a bit of what came before it. 

I'm glad to know that many other pupils have similarly fond memories of the fairly short lived Waverley Secondary School.

There's a little debate over the scarf in this photo.
I also had a long woollen one with vertical stripes in the school colours, but it's long gone from my wardrobe.
'Lare Lichts 'A'  on my well-worn blazer badge means 'Learning lights everything/ aka learning is the key to the future'.
Pupils designed the above colour scheme and badge design during my 'Prep' time. 
The following part of the post is also in memory of a very well liked and respected teacher at Waverley Secondary School - Andy Stirling - who died this week. 


#1 Dedication
I recently spent an overnight in Glasgow, Scotland. The reason for being there was fabulous—I was attending my first official Waverley Secondary School Reunion even though I left the establishment in 1970.

Boys playground at left and football field. Girls playground right and hockey pitch. Photo taken from "The Gun Site".
The official opening came long after we had been using the buildings. 

I loved being at Waverley Secondary School. I’ve plenty of memories and mementoes that I’ve kept over the decades of my time spent there between 1965 and 1970. Only as I write this very long article do I truly appreciate the privilege I had of being one of its early pupils. I was no doubt regarded as one of the geeky, studious pupils but if you read this article you’ll see there was a lot more going on in my school life that was in addition to any academic studies. This article is written purely from my personal point of view but many pupils at Waverley, during the same era as me, will have similar stories of being involved in something or other that was outside of normal timetabled classes. Those are the things that are easier for me to recall and it may be the same for other ex-pupils.

The fact that I’ve kept in touch with 7 of my old pals at Waverley is also due to the fact that they loved being at Waverley as well. Their experiences of Waverley staff members were as positive as mine and that for me says that the school did a fantastic job for us.

What made my time at Waverley so great to remember is undoubtedly the dedication of many of the staff members during my time at the school. My list would be very long if I named all of the individuals who had a positive influence on me but the most important ones for my future development would certainly be Andy Stirling who arranged many weekend trips and Leslie Brown who created the Dramatic Club.

The staff members who were involved in organising the girls’ school camps, like Miss McNab, Miss McLeod and Miss McConnell, would be next, followed by the P.E teachers like Mrs. Murphy, who arranged the hockey and netball clubs, followed by my subject teachers. I don’t actually recall disliking any teacher at Waverley because in their own way they were unique and some very distinctive.

As I write this article I’m extremely sad to have learned of the death of Andy Stirling on the 4th May 2016. He was a teacher who was admired by many of his ex-pupils for his dedication to doing the best possible job for them both in school as a guidance and technical teacher and during out of school activities like hill walking and skiing. I definitely appreciated every single weekend that I spent on hill walking or skiing trips that Andy organised. If weather conditions were too bad to take to the hills, then the trip was cancelled—it was as simple as that. If we got to the Aviemore, Braemar or the Nevis area and the weather turned nasty, some compromise was made that kept us all safe. Camping under basic 2-man bivvy (bivouac) tents, which we carted along attached to our rucksacks, was extremely rough and ready but so…character forming! Camping at the Mar Lodge Estate with permission from the head gillie, a friend of Andy, was a fine experience of a blend of the rough outdoors and the warm inside of the Public Bar at Mar Lodge. The folk singing sessions around the 'copper chimneyed' fireplace were enthusiastic and sometimes even very tuneful! This reward was, of course, only earned after a hike of miles and miles.

The photo below (with some unnamed people) was taken on a trip up Braeriach, Summer Solstice, June 1970. I think it's maybe Lochan Uaine in the background but I'm not entirely sure. We camped over the solstice near the summit where my friend, June Fulton, reminds me that the rain was so heavy it washed us out of our tents. Apparently I slept on, oblivious to the lack of shelter. I also have no idea who took the photo but have a feeling that Sandy Leiper (music department at Waverley) was on the trip (perhaps in the deerstalker?) 

From L to R:
A.G. MacMillan/a friend of Andy, Andy Stirling, Gavin McCairns, me as in Nancy Stafford, unknown, June Fulton, unknown, maybe Sandy Leiper
Andy Stirling - you were a star and my experiences on the mountains will never be forgotten!

I’m so pleased that I was able to meet up with Andy sometime around 2000. His humour, kindness and interest in his ex-pupils remained strong, even if back then he quietly commented he had some medical issues that made his mobility less than he wished for. I cherished my exchange of Christmas Cards with him during the last couple of decades: they were always very personal and unique messages. I’m glad I was able to make that contact with Andy via my friend and ex- Waverley pupil, June Fulton, who kept in touch with Andy over the decades since 1970.
Andy Stirling and me in Greenock/or Gourock about 2000

Read on later in this article to find out how Maths teacher, Leslie Brown, was also a great influence on me in an entirely different way as the organiser of the Waverley Dramatic Club, and as the dedicated Maths teacher who helped me to gain my Maths Higher in 6th year – and that was no mean feat since I was rubbish at Maths!

#2  Largest reunion in Scotland!
In later years, there was maybe not quite so much to cheer about as the Drumchapel environment descended into deprivation by the late 1980s but that bit I can’t comment on since I left Glasgow in 1974. However, when I was in Drumchapel initially it had the newness and a post war optimism that life would be better than what tenants had come from. I may be remembering it with a rosy tinted glow—there were plenty of things that were not perfect about living on a massive Glasgow housing estate—but my time at Waverley Secondary School is something I’m very proud to fondly remember.

Waverley Secondary School was in operation from 14th April 1958 through to c. 1992 (I have this on good authority from an article written by Robert Douglas, the Deputy Headmaster till c. 1970, in the 1970 school magazine).
1970 magazine

That’s not really all that long at c. 34 years but for me, and many other pupils, those years were so memorable that the reunion I went to on Friday 29th April 2016, has been described as the largest in Scotland. I think around 450 people bought tickets and most of those attended the 2016 event at the Good Year Social Club, near the Boulevard (Great Western Road) in Glasgow. There have been a few Waverley Secondary School reunions during the last decade or so, but this was the first I managed to get to.
My 2016 commemorative mug- front

The success of the evening showed how much being at the school meant to those who organised the event and to those who turned up to enjoy a fantastic night. The music (in both halls) was partly provided by ex-pupils and was a whole lot of fun to dance to. My 5 ex-Waverley friends and I had a ball!

Huge thanks from me go to Jason Thompson and his team who did a fantastic job to organise the reunion.

Some of those who attended the evening hopefully enjoyed their time at Waverley as much as I did. Maybe some didn’t like it all that much but the fact they turned up in large numbers to meet other ex-pupils and friends, means that something great for them was going on at Waverley Secondary School.


#3  The Waverley influence

What follows are my random memories about going to Waverley Secondary School in Drumchapel, Glasgow, what I did there and about living just up the hill from it at a time when people mostly liked living in the Drumchapel area.

These musings are not in chronological order so brace yourself for some to-ing and fro-ing on my Drumchapel  timeline… (It’s easily possible that I’m not remembering some things correctly and if so, please rap my knuckles and add to the comments section below on my blog)

‘Prep’ school time…
Nope! I can assure you there was absolutely nothing posh about it.

Broadholm Primary School, Drumchapel, Glasgow
Waverley Secondary School was the venue I attended for 6 and ½ years, the half being a 6 months ‘Prep’ time. It wasn’t that I personally needed to get more ‘ready’ for secondary education.

When I left Broadholm Primary School (Drumchapel)in early 1964, it was necessary for some of the 11 year old pupils to do a 6 month preparatory time before entering the first year of their secondary education—though this wasn’t a standard thing across the city.

P 7 Broadholm Primary School 1963 (?) Mr. MacLeod

In my case, it was organised by Glasgow Corporation for purely practical reasons. Back then Glasgow primary schools had 3 intake periods in a year and 3 school terms per year (as far as I remember). Some kids started school at age 5 in August, some in January and some after Easter when the summer term began.

Pupils like me, leaving Broadholm Primary at the Christmas holiday time ( as far as I can remember) I can only imagine freed up a primary classroom for a new January intake class of 5 year olds but there were other reasons for my prep time happening as well…

Squeeze ‘em in somewhere!
In the mid to late 1950s, in Glasgow, there was a good degree of shuffling around of pupils to fit them into the school accommodation that was available around the city—for secondary and primary kids. The post-war ‘baby boom’ had created rising school roles and pupils needed a school to go to. Generally speaking, it was the norm for many primary classes to consist of approximately 45 pupils and many secondary classes at least 30, with the exception perhaps of subjects like technical and science where the rooms and equipment were geared towards smaller numbers. Given that there was also an enormous shortage of teachers in Scotland at the time (some 3, 400 places according to pupil roles c. 1964), and many of those in post were still uncertificated teachers, I’m very glad there was somewhere for me to go for secondary education, even though it was not a daily walkable distance from my house in Drumchapel.

Shuttle buses, about 14 or 15 of them, were the order of the day during that 6 month ‘Prep’ time. They ferried me from nearby my house in Drumchapel to Waverley School in Knightswood, a distance of only a few miles but thankfully deemed too far to do a return walk every school day. The bus pick up was at 8.10 a.m. (if I remember correctly) for a 9 a.m. start to school and the buses returned me after school closing time at 4 p.m. I’d be home by about 4.45 p.m.
(There were lines of other buses picking up pupils to shuttle them to other city schools like North Kelvinside, where my older sister spent all of her secondary schooling)

Some might question why that all kafuffle of transporting kids had to happen. It’s all down to the historical development of the area around Drumchapel and here’s the jist of it…


# 4 Yay! Moving to the Countryside!

Drumchapel luxury and what came before…
Moving to the countryside was what it seemed like for many of Drumchapel’s new residents. They were out of the smoke and grime, fog and smog, of the city centre of Glasgow. The countryside was on the doorstep of Drumchapel, a mere mile or so away for many of the tenants like me. A very short walk along a field edge took me to the Roman Road in Bearsden and then out to the open country. A slightly different direction took me through what we called 'The Bluebell Woods' which also led to open countryside in the Mugdockbank/ Milngavie direction (I think). 

Drumchapel was one of the four new huge peripheral housing estates that were created in the post 2nd World War 1950s to house the tenants from Victorian built slum clearances in the city centre areas of Glasgow. Brand new blocks of tenements and some terraced housing were built in the new estates of Drumchapel, Castlemilk, Easterhouse and Pollock. Huge amounts of public spending were poured into these new housing areas to ensure that the new builds were more sanitary that what had been lived in before in city centre areas. For most tenants, this new housing was a huge improvement on what people had previously rented. To have an inside bathroom and a separate kitchen, along with 2 or 3 dedicated bedrooms and a sizeable living room area, was luxury —compared to having lived in a typical Victorian built ‘room and kitchen’ rental with no bathroom and, for many, only a shared toilet on the tenement stair landing.

I was one of the fortunate ones in that my original Maryhill tenement flat did have an inside flushing toilet, with one of those huge high noisy cisterns and a thick chain with a china ‘fist pull’ at the end. Nevertheless, to move into a house in Drumchapel with a bathroom which included a bath, toilet and a vanity/washbasin was a huge improvement on the zinc bath at the fireside in Maryhill. Hot running water in the kitchen in Drumchapel was a convenience many had not had before, my mother being one of those since she had had to heat all her hot water in large pots on the coal fired range in the Maryhill kitchen. The electric immersion heater on the big water tank in our Drumchapel house was expensive but it was much less hassle. 

When my family moved to Drumchapel in 1959, we thought our new 2 bedroom flat was amazing. We had the luxury of a tiny balcony to sit out in if there was any sunshine to be had and a small garden to tend where my dad grew flowers, potatoes and vegetables! The newness of my area was exciting; the neighbours were helpful and friendly; most people being in the same boat where money was tight and people lived in a week to week existence eagerly waiting for the next Friday pay packet. Most of the families in Drumchapel had a working father at that time. In some families the mother worked part-time, or full-time, but many were like my mother who was at home all day.

A tarnished idyll?
The focus of Glasgow Corporation around 1953 was to build the houses and the main and access roads first in Drumchapel. But that’s pretty well all they built right away! During the initial building phases people occupied the houses as soon as an area was ready but had to bus back to the city to go to work, do their shopping, pay rent etc.

Unfortunately, that was one of the earliest grouses of living those approx. 6 miles outside of the city centre of Glasgow. Most men were employed somewhere that was further than a walking distance of their house and had to pay bus or train fares to reach their work. The buses were only every half hour or so: maybe a little more frequent during peak hours. Drumchapel Train Station, in Old Drumchapel, was a short walk away from my house (about 20 mins walk) but the destinations the line reached were limited and only suited a small portion of the working population.

My dad was a glazier: his pay at the lower end of a skilled worker rate. It was just as well that he loved cycling because he cycled to his work at St. George’s Cross (G & J Rae glass and Glazing, I think?)  In reality, he couldn’t afford the bus every day and had to cycle. He kept his Raleigh bicycle in tip top condition because he really needed it. I called it ‘the green tank’ because it was so heavy and solid. Only in the worst of weather did he head off for a bus. A car on my local Drumchapel streets, in 1959, was a rarity.

People walked a LOT. In one respect that made for a fitter, healthier population (if you exclude the legacy of cigarette smoking) but it also made people resentful that things they needed to access snatched a big chunk of daily time.

Lack of this and all of that…
In the earliest days and shortly after the first housing was built in Drumchapel, there were no public facilities like a library, doctor surgeries or pubs: just more houses and more roads.

Eventually some primary schools were built to avoid bussing young children to their previous primaries in the city centre. Churches gradually appeared and a few rows of shops, perhaps 5 shops in the row, were progressively dotted around to serve the communities but the stock carried was minimal. All of these lacks became problems over time but when a new facility was opened it was celebrated because residents had long waited for it.

In my area of Jedworth Avenue, a row of shops at Rozelle Ave (?) was built some time after we moved in. I remember the Co-op, a newsagent, a Post Office, a butcher, a hairdresser (?) and a knitting wool/ drapers shop (?). There may have been others, or the mentioned ones weren’t the initial ones – perhaps some reader can help with this? The prices charged by those shopkeepers may have been a tad high for some canny mothers but they saved on bus fares. The Co-op had the ‘Divvy’ system. If you remembered to quote your ‘registration Dividend’ number when buying something then the reward ‘Dividend’ was exchanged for goods every now and again. Much as I try, I can’t recall my mum’s number ( I think it ended in a …246) but I know that back then I had to remember to use it if I was sent to the Co-op shop for something or other. Many people of my age can still quote their co-op number! Can you?

Only well after the initial house building phases were the secondary schools, the Public Library, the Health Centre, the Community Centre, Drumchapel Shopping Centre and other minimal amenities like the Bowling Green built in a rolling programme depending on the area of Drumchapel. Drumchapel, or ‘The Drum’ as it was nicknamed, was a ‘dry’ area for a long time and it was the early 1970s before a pub was opened at my end of Drumchapel - the Linkwood, on Lincoln Avenue which was adjacent to my primary school, Broadholm.


#5 Food for thought…

Lifesaving lunches.
I was fortunate that by the time I moved to Drumchapel at 7 years of age in 1959, the primary school I was allocated to had been operating for a few years—Broadholm Primary location being in an earlier phase of Drumchapel building than my new house was. I think it was a walk of around 1 and ½ miles to school each day and the same to return home to Jedworth Avenue. I stayed at school during lunchtime since it was too far away to go home at ‘school dinner time’. My mum paid 4/4d (4 shillings and 4 pence) for my weekly ticket since I was the 2nd child of the family. She had to pay 4/9d for my older sister as the first child. In families with 3 or more kids the price was 3/11d for all after the second born. The cardboard ticket was hole-punched every day by a teacher or dinner lady and woe betide if that bit of light brown card was lost! That same payment for school meals across Glasgow lasted for years and years.

I loved my school dinners in Drumchapel. In Broadholm and later at Waverley in Drumchapel they were cooked on the premises and were fantastic life savers. Quite frankly, my daily 1/3 pint of milk issued at morning break-time and my 2 course school lunch kept me well fed. I loved everything except the kidney in the steak and kidney pudding. I loved the thick gravy slathered over lots of the meat dishes. I completely devoured all of the puddings including the sago and prunes that most kids rejected as frogspawn. I relished the days when it was on the menu because there was always extras for me of sago, or semolina which wasn’t as popular as the custard. The soup was a bit thin, and not as good as my mother’s soups, but it was a good day when soup was on the menu because I think that was also when they had ice-cream as a pudding option. (? Can someone keep me right about this?)

What I got at home in the evening was generally a small 1 course meal which topped up my hunger pangs. I was a skinny little thing but I was always ravenous. In my defence, I expended a lot of energy, walking a lot during my primary years and during my secondary career doing energetic sports. I needed the stodgy school dinner calorie intake. The 4/4d my mother sent me to school with to buy my dinner ticket was money well spent.

I know that by secondary school many pupils were pocketing the dinner money given to them by their parents and were buying sweets and fags (aka cigarettes) from the local shops instead, but not me. I needed that food every day! 

Appreciate! Appreciate! (…and I’m not talking about Billy Connoly’s music teacher in a different part of ‘The Drum’.)
My first primary school in Maryhill, Napiershall Primary, was literally at the end of my street so I went home for my dinner. I probably only had soup and bread but it was better than the meals provided at the Napiershall Dinner school which was in a little building annexe near the school premises. Food was carted in to Napiershall in big huge metal trays and wasn’t cooked on site. That was a fairly common practice at many Glasgow schools and was what happened during my 6 months ‘Prep’ time at Waverley in Knightswood, as well. I’ve blocked out memories of the poorer quality food I ate at Knightswood since COLD and congealed fat come to mind.

That short period of poorer school dinners made me really appreciate what I got at the new Waverley premises in Drumchapel.


#6  Is it nearly ready yet?

You win some, you lose some…
On the other hand, when I got to the end of my primary education in late Dec 1963/Jan 1964 there was no brand new purpose built comprehensive secondary school (the new in-thing) ready for me to move into in at my end of Drumchapel. A new secondary was under construction in my catchment area but it would be another 6 months till it was ready for occupation. So, for those first 6 months—that ‘Prep’ time— I had to travel by bus to Waverley School in Knightswood where I spent the day in an almost decrepit Victorian building.

Junior School >Senior School
In April 1958, Waverley started off as a Junior school in  Knightswood, near Knightswood Cross, meaning pupils left at approx. 15 years of age to enter the work force. In Glasgow in 1959, pupils were ‘streamed’ via a qualifying exam at the end of their primary education. Those pupils likely in the future to sit formal examinations (by then O Grades or Higher level certificates) would have gone to a Senior school and those who were deemed not clever enough to sit those exams went to a Junior school. (I won’t go into the injustice that sometimes occurred during those exams at age 11/12 because that’s a complete blog post in its own right)

However, by the time I did my 6 month ‘prep’ time in 1964, Waverley was in a transition phase to become a Senior school. This meant that some pupils (like me) who had been ‘streamed’ at age 11, with the intention of them sitting O Grades in their 4th year, would be taught in the same building as those in what were termed the Junior level non-academic classes. Changing Waverley to this Senior school status meant that a whole new school curriculum had to be devised to accommodate the new Senior level course work. (I imagine some new teachers were acquired as well but I can’t find clear evidence of this, as yet) It was during this change to a Senior school that Waverley ‘started to become’ a Fully Comprehensive Secondary School, though it wasn’t till the session of 1967/1968 for Waverley to have the reached the status of offering a ‘six year’ fully comprehensive school curriculum.

During my ‘Prep’ time at the Knightswood location, I had the opportunity to have classes that were normally only available to non-academic pupils like the commercial subjects of Typewriting, Bookkeeping, and home economic subjects like Cooking. I’m sad to say I don’t remember the other non- academic subjects during that time but our day was very full of different ‘periods’. Unfortunately, I remember that whoever the typewriting teacher was, a sadistic male teacher, walked up and down the rows of desks upon which sat the ancient and clunky Olivetti typewriters. "Eyes Forward' was the command. If you looked down at the keys, the whack on the knuckles with the board pointer made the pupil know he meant business. I had more than a few very bruised knuckles to rub on the bus home!

I won't go into the girls toilets at the Knightswood school in too much detail but just enough to say that they were in an outside block. They smelled rank and made pupils only go when really desperate.

We were sure the classrooms were inhabited by thousands of scratchy little mice overnight.


#6 It’s ready, it’s ready!

The move to the brand new building
Photo taken 1967 school v pupils hockey match. The houses at the top of the hill were in Jedworth Avenue, those opposite my close. Though not easy to see in this photo, there was a good sized flat expanse at the brow of the hill. Behind the goal posts at the bottom of the hill was the main arterial road, Kinfauns Drive, the main bus route. 
Living in Jedworth Avenue meant I was at the top of the hill that was locally named as ‘The Gun Site’. This was because during World War 2 there had been a gun emplacement there to monitor any German plane activity near Clydebank and the Clyde in general, Clydebank only being a few miles away. Even after my family moved to Drumchapel in 1959, people were still finding WW2 ammunition on the flat top of the hill near our block of tenements. Bullet casings, and I even remember an unexploded shell/grenade, were found. I don’t recall any huge drama about that: the area was cordoned off and the artefact dealt with. A kid playing near WW2 debris wasn’t an unusual thing.

By 1964 the top of that hill was a great place to be because it overlooked the school building process.

with courtesy from the Waverley School Magazine 1967
Down at the bottom of the steep slope was the main arterial road called Kinfauns Drive that snaked through Drumchapel. When I moved in, on the far side of Kinfauns Drive was a large vacant site that was essentially a bog. House building had never taken place on it but low rise terraced housing, for ‘older folks’ skirted the western edge of it leading into the Summerhill Drive area. (? I’m not entirely sure of the geographical positioning) Wrapping around the site from the other direction were typical four high tenement blocks fairly similar to the ones I stayed in. I can vaguely remember during at least one winter going down to ‘skate’ and make huge long slides on the thick ice that covered the bog.

I was too young to remember if any of my neighbours thought twice about it when that bog was announced as the site for the secondary school but when the building started for Waverley Secondary, it was NOISY. Huge pile drivers appeared to dig really deep to provide the drainage that the site needed. That preparation stage of daily thumping seemed to take forever and for months on end, the noise of the pile driver shattered the area from an early start every day working day.
Photo taken (1967 magazine) from the Boys/football pitch side of the school. The houses at the top of the hill were those round the corner from Jedworth Avenue. The unofficial path down the hill is visible, the official tarmac path with a central metal bar barrier slopes down towards the right of photo. It zigzagged to the bottom. Possibly Alan Smith at left front, and David Johnstone at right front. 

It was something remarkable to view the actual school walls of the original L shaped building begin to take form. When the gleaming expanses of windows were in situ, the excitement still had to be contained because the building wasn’t yet ready for occupation - the interiors took a while longer to be installed.


#7 Into the building at last!

A ‘real’ class… (instead of being a ‘Preppy’)
It was with great delight and anticipation that I went to the brand new Waverley School building in Drumchapel to begin my First Year in August 1964 for the session 1964-1965.

(I was also utterly delighted that I didn’t need to catch a bus and that I could sleep in till much later in the morning. Leaving home at 8.55 a.m. still allowed me to careen down the hill and into my line before the 9 o’clock bell.)

There were, mostly, single sex classes all the way through to 3rd year. There was still streaming at Waverley Secondary back then and our single sex registration classes were denoted with a year number and a letter designation.

All of my register classes had a year number followed by F and then the class number- e.g. mine were 1F2, 2F2, 3F2 because girls were F2 and F4 classes.  I was also in 4F, 5F and 6F (years 4-6 only had enough pupils to form one register class of each sex, I think?). The boys classes would have been 1F1, 1F3 etc.

The ‘F’ meant my class was one of the main academic ones. My 1st and 2nd year courses included English, Maths, Arithmetic, French, German (not possible to do both after 3rd year), History and Geography (again only both available in 1st and 2nd year) and Science (electives available in Physics, Chemistry and Biology from 3rd year) Music, Art, P.E. and R.E. (Religious Education) were also on the 1st and 2nd year curriculum. There may have been other subject classes but I can’t recall them.

By 3rd year my subjects were English and Arithmetic (compulsory as were P.E. and R.E). My elective subjects were Maths, Physics, Chemistry, History and French. Waverley school bent over backwards to accommodate pupil choice (though aptitude played a part in being allocated a class) but it was impossible for all to have their chosen combination if they wanted to do something like Music and the sciences. This was more of a timetabling problem than a direct refusal of pupils having a cross over between what was considered non-academic and academic subjects. 

Some other pupils were in the non-academic subject classes which were labelled T ‘Technical’ and C ‘Commercial’ classes. Those pupils, in general, left school at the age of 15, where most went into a job pretty well immediately. Many of those pupils went on to have an excellent job. Many have great entrepreneurial skills and now have a very comfortable retirement! 

#8 Great expectations and great inspirations…

I loved being at Waverley Secondary. My teachers were inspiring, and to a huge degree were the reason I went into a career as a primary teacher—they set an amazingly fine example of how education can be productive and enjoyable. (Of course maybe some of them actually hated being our teachers but in the case of many I’m thinking of, I doubt that)
1966 or 67. Teachers v pupils hockey match summer term. Bottome left Miss Macleod, Mrs. Fulton, Miss McNab, Mrs, Murphy. Miss McIver ( the really tall teacher)  is centre of back row with stick in the air. 
The teachers, in general, were a hugely dedicated bunch and provided a good education during the school day and also during extra curricular classes that they undertook. For some of the extra-curricular options, I’ve heard, the teachers may have been given additional payment in those early days if they were undertaking extra revision classes. (I haven’t found proof of this rumour, yet)

The other activities like sports clubs etc were because the teachers chose to give their own time.  

Join this…try that…
Waverley was one of the new Glasgow Corporation schools of the 1960s but it wasn’t only the fabric of the new building that I benefited from. Money was poured in to the schools in the big 4 housing areas for many other reasons but mostly to make the Waverley version of comprehensive education (a new initiative) work well and provide a wide range of opportunities that would give the students a more rounded education. Extra-curricular school activities were highly subsidised to allow the poorer pupils (like I was in terms of disposable family income) to participate and not lose out on the chance of trying something new.

My best school friends and I jumped in to all and every possible thing that we could enter into. I went to many after school activities and lunch clubs. Being a Library assistant for Mrs. McKillop (English) during lunch time in 3rd year in the brand new library meant I didn’t have to hang around outside in the playground during wet and disgusting days. There were no inside ‘playtimes’ in those days and pupils went out to the playground in all weathers. Becoming a Prefect, then House Captain and later the Girls’ Vice Captain also meant less time spent outside in inclement weather! (Though the duties came with responsibilities) At the time I believed that The House System at Waverley worked well but I was biased. (I was also called a fascist numpty, but we’ll ignore that one!) My house was Montrose (turquoise blue): the others were Argyll (dark blue), Gordon (red) and Atholl (yellow). Colours may be remembered wrongly though I hope not.

Me in 6th year. The round badge at left was
the turquoise blue of Montrose House. 
Actually when I read those historical names, as a wannabe historian now, I cringe at the connotations of them. But we’ll not think too much of what they represented in terms of the Jacobite era.

I joined loads of clubs, some for a short term but I was in most of them for years.

Non Sporty

The Chess Club (I was rubbish at that and lasted about 1 session) and the Debating Club (again rubbish at this) were very temporary. I took guitar lessons and was a member of the Folk Club for a couple of years. I was in the School Choir during my whole school career, and took part in the annual School Concerts. I probably joined other things but can’t now remember them…

Leslie Brown
My huge thanks go to Maths teacher, Leslie Brown who formed the Waverley Dramatic Society. He was instrumental in many public performances being put on every year, mostly One-Act Plays though occasionally a short sketch for the school concert was also produced. Other teachers helped Leslie Brown to produce the many plays and my thanks also go to them for giving their time and dedication to the 3 or 4 (?) productions put on each session.

Some of the Drama club rehearsals were held immediately after school though others were in the evening (7- 9 p.m. I think) This meant that teachers like Leslie Brown (Maths) who was the main Dramatic Club stage director stayed around school for a very long day. I was also involved in the Waverley former Pupils’ Drama Club and somewhere in the clutter of my house are copies of the programmes for some of these plays that I took part in. The ones I remember most were 'The House with the Twisty Windows', and a play by James Scotland called- Halloween. My last play in 6th year was called 'The Happiest Days of Your Life' and was particularly appropriate.
"The Happiest Days of Your Life" Me at right, Irene Watson middle and Arlene Wilkes left.
The guys? Sorry, I don't remember who you are.
Courtesy of the Waverley School Magazine 1970


On the more active front I played Netball for a few years (1st to 4th year) though I wasn’t particularly good at this. I lasted much longer with Hockey and played hockey from 1st year right up to college level.
1967.  Me (Nancy Stafford) 3rd left. 

Netball tournaments were organised against other schools. Weekly training and matches mainly took place after the school day and this meant P.E. teachers staying around till about 5.30 p.m. to umpire. Hockey involved the P.E teachers giving even more time since matches against other schools were generally on Saturday mornings across the city of Glasgow. (I was lucky to get a Saturday job working for Birrells the sweetie shop chain because I worked from 1 p.m to 8 p.m. on Saturday which meant I had time to play hockey in the morning before 7 hours of work!)

A bit of both…
In March to June 1968, during my 4th year, I also had a go at completing the bronze level of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, initiated via Waverley Secondary School, but sadly it can be considered one of my failures. I had immense conflict of scheduling all of my extra-curricular activities and something had to go! The D of E award was abandoned since the times scheduled for activities clashed with my 'heavy duty' Girl Guide activities.
What I’ve evidence of completing for the bronze level are:
Design for living: “Poise and Grooming”. This was a hoot, taught by a beautician, and what my friends and I called ‘poisoned grooming’. It seems I also achieved the “Good Manners” status!
Pursuits and Interests: Drama – signed by Leslie Brown. I bet I was hugely relieved that the overlap of my activities counted!
Adventure: Expedition from Callander to Lendrick Youth Hostel on foot (hiking) I have no recall of this particular hike but it has been signed by teacher, Emily McNab who led the Girls’ School Camps.

I may not have achieved the Duke of Edinburgh Award but many of my fellow pupils did. This initiative in Waverley Secondary took dedication and organisation from many different teachers who gave up their time for this. 

(By then the public ‘Community Centre’ on Drumchapel Road (towards Old Drumchapel) had been opened. At the Glasgow Corporation funded Community Centre I was able to indulge in jumping on a large trampoline for the first time. I played badminton; table tennis; and volleyball there. I can’t remember any others but no doubt if it was on offer - I tried it. These sessions also caused a clash of scheduling with my D of E Award activities and my Girl Guide progress.

By the time I was 15 I was also doing my Queen’s Guide Badge (which I achieved). This took a very large commitment in terms of energy and time and it’s not surprising that I had a huge problem with fitting everything in)  


# 9 Trip de trip…
The other activities I benefited from at Waverley Secondary were the trips on offer for extremely low prices like the School Camp for 2 weeks during the summer holidays, at Dornoch or Golspie, which I’m sure I went to 5 years running. (cost about £5 for 2 weeks)
Dornoch 1966  Girls and teachers

I also went on the hugely subsidised 2 week Dunera Cruise (this overlapped the end of school term and summer holidays) which took me to Vigo (Spain), Lisbon, Gibraltar, and Bruges. (cost about £37) Other pupils went on other cruise ships like the Nevasa which was a longer trip (3 weeks?) and went all the way into the Mediterranean Sea.
Some of these photos are Dunera Cruise 1967 -others are hockey matches 1966/1967

I went to Inverclyde National Recreation Centre (now Sport Scotland/Largs) for 11 days during term time/February 1967. All equipment for games and sports was supplied and we were even issued with the use of hiking boots and a waterproof anorak on arrival.
Inverclyde 1967

The activities were amazing and gave me a first ever taste of: pony trekking; shinty; archery. In the huge Sports Hall we played many indoor sports, some of these new to me. We took a ferry across to Millport, visited the Marine Biological Station and that was the first time I ever rode a bike around the island. The intention of the stay at Inverclyde was that it should be predominantly an outside activity course and as such we had field study activities for flora and fauna. We climbed the local hills, did orienteering and map reading. The evenings were packed with ‘social’ events which included writing a diary which I still have. The subsidised cost to my parents for the 11 days was 21/6d. This was because the trip qualified for the current Scheme of Residential Education.  

I loved the food at Inverclyde as well. Plentiful and nourishing.

(I’m skipping to the future for a bit just to add that around 1999 I was teaching a Primary 7 class at Kintore Primary School in Aberdeenshire. My head teacher came to me to say that she was thinking of changing the venue of the school activity week from near the Lecht to something down in Largs. When she mentioned Inverclyde Centre, by then called Sport Scotland Largs, I was utterly delighted to be returning! I took my Primary 7 classes to Inverclyde every year until 2008 when I stopped full time teaching. As an accompanying teacher I didn’t have to join in with the activites…but you can bet your boots that I did! I loved every moment.)

I went to Glenmore Lodge (Sport Scotland/ Aviemore) for the winter sports outdoor course- I think this also lasted for 2 weeks but I’ve lost the evidence. There we did canoeing, sailing, hill walking, orienteering, rock climbing and abseiling. We would have ski-ed if there had been enough snow. I don’t think that happened but my friends can probably remind me and of any other sporting activities we indulged in. The hugely subsidised cost was probably much the same as for Inverclyde!

I joined the Skiing Club run by Andy Stirling, the Technical and Guidance teacher, who also took groups hill walking, mainly to the Cairngorms and Fort William areas. At first the club had old and well used second hand skis and boots. The boots were leather and got seriously wet in Scottish skiing weather which invariably was wet and windy, slushy and bleak. The skis had the old kind of clip on bindings where the boot front went into a ‘basket’ front binding and the back of the boot was sort of miraculously meant to tie down. I think the bindings we lashed around the foot were to ensure no escaping of the ski if I fell- which I did a lot at first.

Braeriach trip- with school Landrover.

When money became available the school got lovely new boots and brand new skis of a newer type. Heaven! A skiing weekend using the brand new school skis, tents and riding in the spanking new long-wheelbased school Landrover cost me something like 5/- . Again the subsidised money for that wonderful equipment came from budgets designed to give more Glasgow schoolchildren experiences they would otherwise be unable to afford.

Day Trips. There were many other places to visit on day trips and I took advantage of as many as possible. Again these were highly subsidised and the school kitchen  provided nourishing packed lunches since we weren’t attending school dinners.

I was difficult for my parents to fork out the 5/- here and the £5 there but they went without something to let me go on experiences I would never forget. 

All of the activities above made my years at Waverley Secondary School extremely worthwhile and memorable.

I’ve neglected to mention, so far, that I obviously studied enough to get a few Highers and O grades. When I read my above punishing schedules I wonder how on earth I did any studying at all.

I also read fiction at every available opportunity because I was a fiction junkie and knitted Aran jumpers whilst watching Coronation Street and reading a book for relaxation!

I didn't excel at academic achievement but I gained enough Highers to get me on my way. 

Legacies and catch-ups…
One of the best things from my years at Waverley Secondary, and Broadholm Primary, are those fond memories above but more importantly I made many great friends that I’ve kept in touch with over the decades. We were a group of six who did various activities together but the permutations of girls depended on the activity.

I mainly went skiing and hill walking with my best friend June Fulton. I played senior hockey with friends Irene Watson and Marlene Dalziel. I went to Girl Guide activities with twins Linda and Arlene Wilkes (and June Lockhart who was a couple of years older than the rest of us.) All of us were in the School Choir and most of us were in the Drama Club. I love meeting up with all of them.

It’s always as though no years have passed during the interim and that’s why six of us going to the Waverley School Reunion last week was such a big deal on my social calendar. Most of us stayed over Friday night at Irene’s and we right good old natter!

Here we are at the Waverley School Reunion 2016.

June Fulton, Linda Wilkes, Nancy Stafford (me), Arlene Wilkes, Marlene Dalziel, Irene Watson. 

Here’s to many more reunions.  

Do you have any memories of Waverley Secondary School to add to mine? Please - don't be afraid to use the comments box.

Again, my thanks to my friends and to my teachers.  
(When i get a minute I'll be posting a lot of Waverley photos on a Pinterest board that I've simply named Waverley Secondary School)



  1. Loved reading your post Nancy, you have some memory! many thanks for the mention

    1. You're welcome and I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jason. You did a brilliant job.

  2. Thought I'd posted....hey Nancy a wonderful piece of nostalgia. I'm so glad all you ladies have done so well. I remember you all as my sister Ann's friends. Hopefully you'll have a full memoir soon. I'll definitely buy. Wish I'd said hello at the reunion.
    Ian Wallace

    1. Hi Ian. If you were at the reunion I'm sorry we didn't talk. The 6 of us were too busy having fun dancing! I certainly remember Ann and where you stayed close to Broadholm School. I can see myself sliding along some awesome ice slides along your street during the winter because it was very level. I also was jealous of Ann not having to walk so far to get to school but, of course, the tables turned when Waverley was just a 'slide' away for me. I also remember Roy MacGregor lived near you. One of two closes towards the shops at Kinclaven?

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  4. Number close to Roy.I think you knew my late wife Susan Kerr Gordon Kerr's sister. If you are ever in Ayr drop into and say hello. My record shop is Big Sparra Vinyl.I wish you well keep up the writing it's very entertaining.

    1. Hi Ian, sorry if you get two replies here. This is my second attempt, but that's terrible Talk Talk broadband for you. Anyhoo I follow your shop on fb. I think you may have come to my attention through Girobabies. I never knew you were a Drum chapel lad. Nice to see you on here. Personally Im in Govan and I don't have a record shop. Best wishes, Davy

  5. Wow, Nancy, what a memory you have ! I so appreciate your memories and research. Many thanks. See you on Friday. xx

  6. Hi Nancy, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your memories of Waverley and the Drum. I too attended both Broadholm and Waverley. I was a decade or so after your time and I often think of my time there. I wish I had gone to the reunion, but I had some other commitments to attend to. Here's to you Nancy.

    1. Hello David. I'm glad to hear from you and it's good to know you enjoyed my ramblings. Waverley was a great influence on many of us. Here's to more reunions or meet-ups with old friends.

  7. Raymond Lowe told me about your blog. So I have downloaded 18 pages to let Ian Strain (my husband) read when he comes home. What a fabulous memory you have & how wonderful of you to share it with everyone. Janet Bradford.

    1. Hi Janet. That's quite a print out. I remember Raymond Lowe and maybe the name Ian Strain? Possibly a little younger than me? I've a feeling you may also have been in one of the hockey teams?

  8. Well done Nancy. Amazing memory and detail and a real trip down Drum lanes. Many of the names familiar and certainly the teachers. Hope you are well and would love to attend any other reunions. Best wishes Robin Mcculloch - broadholm and Waverley one year or half year after you (i think).

    1. Thanks, Robin. It's good to hear from you. The reunion was great to attend and so well organised.

  9. Hi Nancy - I was at Waverley Secondary when it was in Knightswood after attending Temple School in Anniesland. I lived in Invercanny Drive in Drumchapel and only last week while on a golfing trip to Portugal I met 3 brothers who lived in Netherton Road who also went to the Knightswood Waverley. I left after 3rd year in 1960 having been in 1F4, 2F1 and 3F1. At age 70 I'm still doing evening classes for French. I also went to Golspie for summer camp and 10 years ago met a former pupil who now owns a hotel Golspie. I now live 17 miles from London and don't get back to Glasgow very much but still have fond memories of Waverley School Knightswood and Drumchapel, the Bluebell Woods and would love to attend a reunion if the Knightswood mob were included with the newbies from Drumchapel. Pam Holloway, nee Jamieson

  10. Hi Nancy - I was at Waverley Secondary when it was in Knightswood after attending Temple School in Anniesland. I lived in Invercanny Drive in Drumchapel and only last week while on a golfing trip to Portugal I met 3 brothers who lived in Netherton Road who also went to the Knightswood Waverley. I left after 3rd year in 1960 having been in 1F4, 2F1 and 3F1. At age 70 I'm still doing evening classes for French. I also went to Golspie for summer camp and 10 years ago met a former pupil who now owns a hotel Golspie. I now live 17 miles from London and don't get back to Glasgow very much but still have fond memories of Waverley School Knightswood and Drumchapel, the Bluebell Woods and would love to attend a reunion if the Knightswood mob were included with the newbies from Drumchapel. Pam Holloway, nee Jamieson

  11. Hi Nancy

    Sorry to hear that Andy Stirling has died. He and Leslie Brown were probably one of the biggest influences on my future development. Now retired and still spending all my spare time on the hills a legacy from all the weekends spent with Andy and Andy Ospery from 4th to 6th year.
    Hope life has been good to you.

    David Young

    1. Hello David. I remember your name very well, albeit you were about a year older than me, I think? I also remember the Ospreys as well! I'm pretty sure Andy Osprey was in my year and his brother Ricky was the year above us.

  12. Hi Nancy what an absolute delight reading ur piece on Waverley..I too attended Waverley in Drumchapel but from 1978-1984..I was in Gordon house as was my 3 brothers and sister..sad to think that the school isnt there anymore but have good memories and my wee granny lived across the road from the main school gates..Northmuir Rd.very fond memories indeed...keep up with ur writing xx

  13. Hi Nancy Nice reading your articles. I was at the old waverley and the new school but only for one or two seasons. Personally I hated it, bullying was quite prevalent and even one guy in my class went on to be convicted of murder. No disrespect to people who live in the drum but I'm glad I got away from there, went to Dunbar East Lothian. I went back a good few years later 1995 to have a look around and Waverley was torched shell with bulldozers clearing the place. Looking on street map the drum has changed so much with lots of new houses, much more civilised for sure.

    Keep up the good work.

  14. Hi Nancy,

    I recently stumbled onto your blog of life in Drumchapel and your account of your days at Waverley,thoroughly enjoyed reading it from start to also brought back many fond memories of my youth in the Drum and times I had forgotten. I was greatly surprised to see my lighthouse drawing, that I sketched for the annual magazine back then......totally forgot about that.

    Great Stuff
    David Findleton

    1. That's good to know, David. I'm not sure there are all that many copies of the school magazine kicking about now to showcase your artistry!

  15. I went to wav.from 58/61now 72,would love to hear from anyone of that era . Sorry to hear about mr, Sterling, he was my woodwork teacher,Also mr Knox,missmcnab,maths,misThompson,English,mr Inglis,mr,pole,mr Grant mr Blair both p.t.teachers,mr Mason art,WeeJoe Cascorrini woodwork,wee joe died a couple of years ago it was in the paper about his charity work.I met mr Knox in the big rangers club back in the 70,s and called him sir, old habits die slow. I,ll put my school photo on when I get the grandkids to show me. All the best to everyone jim smith

    1. Hello Jim. You mention some teachers who were my teachers, as well. I can't say I know anyone of your years at Waverley but the Drumchapel Facebook Page might be a way to contact people.

  16. nancy what was the official date that waverley closed and yes its billy's brother who is married to ur sister margaret

  17. can anyone help me trace folk who attended Waverley when it was on Gt Western Road Pupils circa 1965/66 My friendScott Lamont and I would like to catch up with anyone who knew us


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