ABBOTSFORD PLACE SCHOOL
WHERE? On Pollokshaws Rd, on the cusp of the Gorbals district in the city’s Southside, a short walk from the Citizens Theatre
Abbotsford Place School was built in 1878, designed by brothers Hugh and David Barclay, the former named after his father, sculptor Hugh Barclay.
Abbotsford Place School was one of several Germain-Italianate designed schools that Hugh and David Barclay were credited for in the Greater Glasgow region, including the privately funded Glasgow Academy near Kelvinbridge. The Barclay brothers were well known within the city and became part of Alexander Thomson’s social circle. David Barclay even wrote a memoir of the famous architect in 1904. His influence can be seen in the brother’s motifs, such as the Ionic columns and herms.
Perhaps as a result of Thomson’s death in 1875, the brothers began to change their style, using Renaissance style facades rather than Greek. Their reputation won them a contract from Charles Barry, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, to design a new Municipal Building in nearby Greenock. It was this project that led to more Municipal work in other areas, which came at a fortunate time, with many other firms struggling to stay afloat.
Around about the same time, David, the younger of the two Barclay brothers, faced a trial of culpable homicide when a play shed collapsed in nearby Pollokshields, but he was later acquitted. At the end of his career, it is believed David had designed and built over 40 schools in Scotland.
The B-listed Abbotsford School lay derelict for some time, having been converted to offices in 2005 but without attracting many clients. In 2013, it was announced that the Glasgow Community Education Association had bought the school for £400,000 in order to transform it into an Islamic-only school. Such plans of segregation were met with opposition, but in 2014 the independent Al Khalil College was opened in the old school building.
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