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Project Title: Glasgow West War Story

Exhibition: School Evacuation: Laurel Bank

On the morning of September 1st, 1939 the pupils of Laurel Bank School were evacuated to Auchterarder House and Strathallan Castle. The senior girls at Laurel Bank were taken to Auchterarder House, a large country house on the outskirts of Auchterarder, owned by James Reid. The junior girls were taken to Strathallan Castle, the home of Sir James and Lady Roberts and family. On the morning of the evacuation, a bus took the pupils from Laurel Bank to the station to board a train to Gleneagles where there were coaches waiting to take them to Auchterarder House and Strathallan Castle. The girls wore identity labels with their name and address around their necks. They carried gas masks and a small suitcase. The station was full of children from other schools also waiting to be taken out of Glasgow. In this exhibition three former Laurel Bank pupils share their memories of being evacuated.

Assets in this exhibition:

Auchterarder House

Auchterarder House was very large and was set in country grounds. The bedrooms at the house were turned into dorms with around six pupils sleeping in each dorm. Education for the girls followed the usual school hours. Classes began at 9am and there were timetables for lessons which included French, algebra, geometry, and music. Homework took place in the billiard room. As well as the normal school lessons the girls also had additional chores such as grass cutting and gardening, and knitting socks, balaclavas and mittens for the Red Cross to send to the forces. Some of the girls also worked on local farms in the summer and autumn picking berries and potatoes.

Although the girls were away from their families in the city, many enjoyed the experience of being in the countryside. Some of the girls had bicycles, and were allowed to cycle over to Strathallan Castle on a Saturday where some had younger sisters. They also formed hockey teams and played against the teams from local schools.

Many of the girls had good memories about living in Auchterarder and learned a lot about independence. Others were very homesick and missed their families. Others remember the beautiful house and all the expensive paintings on the walls. They remember being taken to the library on the 3rd September to listen to Neville Chamberlain declaring war on Germany, on the wireless; some of the girls were frightened and didn’t really know what war was. They also remember the kindness of their teachers, who had become their families whilst they lived away from home. They were their teachers but also took care of them were they were sick or upset; they supervised the girls mealtime, bath time and patrolled the corridor after ‘lights out’.


Auchterarder House

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Description

Auchterarder House

Source

Location: Auchterarder
Original Source: Dr J. Deans private collection


Girls outside Auchterarder House

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Description

Girls outside Auchterarder House

Source

Location: Auchterarder
Original Source: Dr J. Deans private collection


Auchterarder 1st XI

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Description

Auchterarder 1st XI

Transcript

Back row (from left): E. Clark; I. Davies; M. Alexander; B. Nisbet (Capt); M. Robertson; M. Richard; C. Walton

Front row (from left): H. Wilson; C. Edmund; J. Metcalfe; M. Sardgrass

Source

Date: 1939/1940


Auchterarder 1st XI v Lilybank 1st XI

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Description

Auchterarder 1st XI v Lilybank 1st XI hockey match, at Auchterarder 1941 .

Source

Date: 1941
Location: Auchterarder
Original Source: Dr J.Deans private collection


Tennis team

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Description

Auchterarder girls tennis team.


Auchterarder girls GTC

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Description

The Girls' Training Corp (GTC) was organised nationally during the War for young girls as an equivalent to the various Cadet Corps, which had been set up for the boys.

It was formed in 1942 to provide girls between the ages of 14 and 20 with 'the spiritual, mental, and physical training necessary for a full and useful life'. The object of it was to train girls in various skills which might prove useful, if they had to join any of the Women's Services. It would also equip them with some knowledge to help the Civil Defence Department in the event of invasion or further attacks on our country.

Source

Date: 1943
Location: Auchterarder
Original Source: Dr J. Deans private collection


Strathallan Castle

Strathallan Castle was a large pink sandstone castle, surrounded by trees and country grounds. Some of the girls evacuated there were as young as 4 or 5 years old. Like in the case of Auchterarder House, many of the rooms at Strathallan Castle were used for teaching the girls. There were classes in the library, drawing room and dining room, and the bedrooms were also turned into dorms where the girls slept on camp beds. The girls here to had to get used to rations of jam and butter and a popular evening meal was rabbit stew and mashed potatoes. The younger girls also had extra duties to do, including bringing up logs for the fire from the log room in the basement. For entertainment, plays were put on and country dancing took place in the drawing room.

Some of the girls who were first evacuated to Strathallan Castle went on to Auchterarder House when they were older, but it must have been frightening for these young girls to be away from the families at such a young age.


Strathallan Castle

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Description

Strathallan Castle.

Source

Location: Strathallan Castle
Original Source: Dr J. Deams private collection


Photographs of Strathallan Castle

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Description

Pupils after a game of hockey at Strathallan Caslte.

Source

Date: 1939
Location: Strathallan Castle
Original Source: Dr J. Deans private collection


Pupils at Strathallan Castle

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Description

Pupils at Strathallan Castle

Source

Location: Strathallan Castle
Original Source: Dr J. Deans private collection


Junior school at Strathallan Castle

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Description

Junior school in the surroundings of Strathallan Castle.

Source

Location: Strathallan Castle
Original Source: Dr J. Deans private collection


Strathallan Castle prize giving

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Description

Lurel Bank junior school prize giving at Strathallan Castle, June 1940.

Source

Date: 1940
Location: Strathallan Castle
Original Source: Dr J. Deans private collection


Laurel Bank School morning timetable

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Description

Laurel Bank School morning timetable

Source

Contributor: Laurel Bank School


Laurel Bank School afternoon timetable

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Description

Laurel Bank School afternoon timetable

Source

Contributor: Laurel Bank School


Letter home written by Sara Cockburn

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Description

At the outbreak of the war Sara Cockburn was evacuated to Lochmaben in Dumfrieshire with as teacher to a group of school children in her care. Sara frequently wrote letters to her parents back home in Glasgow. This is an extract from one of her letters, written on the 1st November 1939. In the letter Sara is reassuring her parents that she is alright and not to worry.

Note: Norman Baillie-Stewart was an Englishman who made radio broadcasts for the Germans during World War Two.

Transcript

... losing him to the Front. Down here, it is hard to remember that there is a war on. The school children all have to carry their masks to school, but I never bother, and don't intend to until Fraser pulls me up.

I hate to think of you three up in Glasgow, imagining vain things. The blackout must get Iain maddening night after night. Please try not to get too worried. I hate to think of you getting worried about air raids, and parachute descents. If you are listening-in to Norman Baillie Stewart from Hamburg, for any favour don't pay any attention to what he says. It is a lot of hooey, and we ought to thank him for providing a little innocent entertainment for the black-out. The Edinburgh people must be getting some scares, but our crowd seem to be coping with the raiders pretty well. Of course, what I fear, is that we are being gulled, just as the Germans are being gulled. It is very difficult to believe that the Germans always lose their planes, and the bombs never hit the British ships. Most peculiar! But Hitler cannot be a very happy man just now. He has lost Turkey, and Russia and Italy are not over-zealous allies, and there is sedition everywhere in Germany. I apologise for being so obvious, but there is comfort in stating the obvious. I know Hitler can do a lot of damage before he finally fails, but I have very little doubt that he will finally fail - but of course, it is terrible to think of the...

Source

Date: 1939
Contributor: Sara Cockburn


Minute of Meeting of the Directors of Laurel Bank school

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Description

Page 1 of the minute of the meeting of Directors held on the 24th March 1939 details the arrangements for the evacuation of Laurel Bank school to Auchterarder House.

Transcript

Report on Evacuation Arrangements

Miss Chambers reported on the steps which had been taken regarding evacuation arrangements. Four Meetings of parents had been held at which about 150 parents were present. This was considered to be a good response and the parents had expressed their appreciation of the proposed arrangements to be made to evacuate their children. Miss Chambers stated that she had been requested by the Department of Health tto indicate the number of children from the school who would take part in the Government scheme and the number who would take part in the Laurel Bank School scheme for evacuation. The number of children taking part in the Laurel Bank School scheme is approximately:

Within the Glasgow area, 128
Outside the Glasgow area, 41

a total of 169. A letter was read from the Department of Health for Scotland in acknowledgement of a letter from the Secretary intimating the proposed arrangements to be made to evacuate to Auchterarder House. The Department of Health stated that they saw no objection to the proposals provided that the accommodation was occupied to capacity. They also requested information as to the numbers.

The Meeting /

Source

Date: 1939
Contributor: Laurel Bank School


Minute of Meeting of the Directors of Laurel Bank school

Exhibition Image One

Description

Page 2 of the minute of the meeting of Directors held on the 24th March 1939 details the arrangements for the evacuation of Laurel Bank school to Auchterarder House.

Transcript

The Meeting authorised that the particulars they required should be forwarded to them. Miss Chambers intimated that, following this Meeting, she was leaving for Auchterarder to see Mr. Reid and Mr. Young and the Meeting authorised her to make the various domestic arrangements which she outlined as to sleeping arrangements, sorting of beds, dealing with local trades people etc. With regard to the general arrangements in connection with the evacuation scheme, the Meeting generally approved that all arrangements should be made on the following lines.

Staff. The Headmistress would have complete control of the school and staff. The staff will be selected by the Headmistress from the present staff and salaries will be continued at the present rates as far as possible. With regard to the salaries, Miss Chambers stated that in order to obviate hardship to some members of the staff who might otherwise be dispensed with, members of the staff had voluntarily offered to accept a cut in salaries if it should be found impossible to maintain the salaries at the existing levels.

Fees. Miss Lindsay would continue to act as burser and school fees would be levied in exactly the same manner as before.

Board. With regard to board, it was proposed that this should be paid monthly or quarterly in advance and that the charge should be £2 per week to include all board, stationery, books etc. Miss Lindsay would send to the Secretary each month a statement showing the number of pupils and the amounts due. It was further proposed that all fees (board etc) should be made payable to the Company's bankers or to the Secretary. Miss Lindsay would continue her petty cash disbursements and would receive remittances from time to time for this purpose.

Household Arrangements. Miss Jones, the House Mistress, would be responsible for all /

Source

Date: 1939
Contributor: Laurel Bank School


Minute of Meeting of the Directors of Laurel Bank school

Exhibition Image One

Description

Page 3 of the minute of the meeting of Directors held on the 24th March 1939 details the arrangements for the evacuation of Laurel Bank school to Auchterarder House.

Transcript

... all the household arrangements. Any special articles or clothing supplied to pupils will be charged to them. Miss Jones would be responsible for all household accounts and would send these duly checked to the Secretary every month for payment.

Banking Arrangements. Miss Chambers was authorised to suggest to Mr. Young that if necessary a bank account would be opened with his bank for the convenience of the burser in the event of the school being evacuated to Auchterarder. On the suggestion of the Chairman the advisability of requiring parents to sign an Obligation on behalf of their children in the event of their taking part in the school's evacuation scheme was discussed. The Secretary was instructed to draw up a suitable Form of Obligation for the consideration of the board.

This being all the business, the Meeting terminated.

Source

Date: 1939
Contributor: Laurel Bank School