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Pirniehall School – Guest Article

There where four of us set out to find Pirniehall School that day Myself, my partner Alan and a couple of photography buddy’s Norm and Nils, after a few wrong turns and getting a little bit agitated, we set off across the fields… over a fence through mud up to our knees almost and over another fence.

Being careful not to be spotted from the house at the front we decided to do a little recce round the buildings first.
We had been there about half an hour when a car drew up and a lady got out asking us what we were about. We explained that we went round a lot of old schools and hospitals and we tried to capture some of the stories and histories in images.

What a fantastic lady she was ( Pauline) although I certainly wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her.
Her father worked in the school and she was brought up there although not a pupil, but it meant she would give us so much history of it. After going round it she then asked if we had been inside. which of course we hadn’t had a chance to . so off she marched with us in tow a bit like the pied piper, we couldn’t believe the luck, not only being able to get into it. but being fed the history of it all as well. almost more than we could have hoped for……….

after spending a terrific day with Pauline, we took our leave, although she did say that next time come round the front and knock on her door, so it made the muddy jeans and boots a little worse for the getting!


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13 Responses

  1. I remember the place when it was the residence of the dance & music school of Scotland. I can not believe that the place has been left to rot. What a waste! My ex wife worked at the place for a few years before they recited to bearsden. I take it that it has been vandalised to have let the elements in with such devastation. A shame really.

  2. I’ve just returned from Croftamie today 1 Sept 2012 where I was trying to trace memories of my childhood. I remember going to Pirniehall for 2 weeks with my primary school, Hartfield, in Dumbarton. We were there with a group from a school in Bearsden around 1961/2. In those days it was the equivalent of going on school camp or a Field trip, organised through Dunbarton County Education Dept. I absolutely loved the experience and it was my first time away from home. Although I drove through Croftamie and found the village shop we were allowed to go to, I couldn’t see where the entrance to Pirniehall was. It was disappointing to see these pictures this evening when I googled Pirniehall. It was a beautiful building and I had such fond memories. Maybe someone will restore it one day. Val Ferguson OBE (ms Smith)

  3. I remember staying at Pirniehall for 3 weeks in November 1963, when I was 9 years old and a pupil at Dalreoch primary School in Dumbarton. It was a school field trip when we joined about four of five other West Dunbartonshire schools and we had a great time. Two things I remember from the trip are: it snowed and we had to walk to church through the snow in our sunday best and wellies, and the other is that the day we arrived back home was the day John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas…22nd November 1963.

    • Hi Monica i was there at Pirniehall same time as you also a pupil of Dalreaoch Primary School…I loved it there and stayed 2 weeks,I have fond memories of the tuck shop and the girls from Milngavie school who shared our dormitory,,My 1 st time away from home,I got homesick and decided 2 weeks was enough,Was gutted to see it’s state on google images

    • I was at Pirniehall in 1957, when I was leaving Hartfield School and just before starting senior education at Dumbarton Academy. I remember the tuck shop and the Sunday walks to church in Croftamie. We had a massive storm in the first week we were there and a huge fir tree got blown over and crashed through the window of our dormitory. That was a night, that was. I still love cocoa, which I had for the first time there, and every time I have the drink I am reminded of the big lounge room where we all sat around and had some.

  4. You guys should go look around East Fortune Hospital. It was a WW1 Navy base, then a T.B. hospital then was a WW2 RAF OTU base. Lots of trainee pilots died ther but it still has a pleasant feel. It was a hospital till it was abandoned in 1997. I work at the museum there, National Museum of Flight, pop in & ask to speak to Kevin & I’ll give you some of the history. Cheers.

  5. I went looking for Pirniehall recently with my brother as I mentioned to him I couldn’t find it. We found what was probably a gatehouse and I’m glad now we didn’t see any more. What a terrible shame the building is so derelict. I had wonderful memories of being there around 1965/66 when I went with Kilbowie Primary School in Clydebank. I also think of it fondly when drinking hot chocolate. I loved the nature rambles and hearing the crows nesting all around. I have always thought I was there for a month, with a visit from the family halfway through, but my brother says that was too long. We learned a song called Red Yo yo ( with a wee yellow string ) that was my party piece for a long time afterwards. Happy days. I hope something can be done to restore Pirniehall as I’m sure there are thousands of us who dream of going back some day .

  6. I live in California now having moved from Stirlingshire in 2002. I was watching the tv just now and saw an image of a hand painted silk screen and immediately remembered Pirniehall. I think of it often and was there for two weeks around 1974 with a few others from Bearsden Academy on an Art course. It was the most memorable experience for me and I relive it through familiar songs and art skills. I looked it up on the internet just now and am so sad and horrified at it’s dilapidated, derelict state. I can’t believe no-one has taken the opportunity to own and love this architecturally beautiful property. I wish I was able to return and restore it. It remains strong in my heart.

  7. Spent 2 weeks here in Primary School. Later, in the early 1960s John Currie founded the Dunbartonshire County Youth Orchestra drawn from all schools and we had summer music camps.
    Matron Ogilvie, hot chocolate, ganghuts inside big rhododendron bushes, walks through the ‘horsey field’ to Drymen, iced drinks in The Winnock, climbing the Dumpling for the best view of Loch Lomond bar none, midnight feasts and tip-toeing down the fire escape for mischief 😉

  8. used to live there whilst at the Dance School, what an amazing place it was such fun in the bushes lol. sneaking in the girls quarters late at night.
    Shame such amazing grounds and impressive building.

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