It’s curtains for CGS as demolition day approaches

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Words and pictures by Hannah O’Hanlon

Imagine how many times the stage curtains opened and closed on Campbeltown Grammar School productions.

Last week visitors had a unique chance to purchase a piece of that history, at £5 per square, when sections of the hall’s iconic material were for sale.

On Wednesday afternoon the school’s assembly hall became memory lane when memorabilia from throughout the building’s history, sorted into each decade, was displayed.

Former and current pupils, parents and staff members were invited to the event to reminisce about their time at the school as the countdown begins until it is demolished as the new building nears completion.

Pupils and teachers are expected to make the move into the new state-of-the-art school after the February break, during which everything will be moved from the old to the new.

The current building will be demolished to make way for a new 3G sports pitch and car park.

As well as sections of the curtains, which remained the same throughout the years, there were photos, yearbooks, Courier clippings, record of work books, registers of admission and PE kit books, and even a tawse, commonly known as the belt, which was tested by a couple of intrepid visitors.

Former head teacher, William Crossan, who was rector from April 1992 until August 2012, said: ‘It’s very strange to come back, seeing pictures of things I’d forgotten about like some of the schools shows.

‘I have lots of good memories, sad ones too. There are photos of some people who are no longer with us. It’s nice to see reminders of some of the spirit the school has shown throughout the years.’

Once classes ceased for the day, senior pupils led tours round the building, into the gym halls, classrooms and science labs, bringing memories flooding back, with debates between those of different generations as to which classrooms belonged to which teachers.

South Kintyre councillor John Armour, who took one of the tours, said: ‘It was great to have a look round the school for one last time.

‘It was hard to believe how much some of the classrooms looked the same as they did when I left nearly 41 years ago.

‘As I passed through the classrooms I could still remember very clearly the teachers, classmates and many memories from more than 40 years ago.

‘I was most impressed by the pupils who showed us round and it was very interesting to hear what goes on now and relate to them some of the stories from my school days.

‘When I went to the Grammar in 1973 it had only been opened for four years and was at the time a very modern building but unlike 19th and early 20th century school buildings which are still going strong, this one has not even lasted 50 years.

‘I am sure all staff and pupils will be looking forward to moving ‘next door’ to their fantastic new school in the next few weeks.

‘It is to their credit that they have worked so well together to keep the school operating so well despite the building work going on around them.’

William Crossan was rector at CGS for 20 years. 50_c04oldgrammar05

The famous curtains provided a backdrop for the event. 50_c04oldgrammar06

Current acting depute head teacher Elaine McGeachy, centre, caught up with former teachers, Jack Milligan, history, left, and Ronald Togneri, art, right. 50_c04oldgrammar07

6th year students Eilidh Johnstone and Christina McFadyen led one of the tours round the school. 50_c04oldgrammar15

Councillor John Armour points out one of his old classrooms on a tour of the school. 50_c04oldgrammar20