ALEXANDER'S PUBLIC SCHOOL
WHERE IS IT? On Duke Street in the East End, just before the Tennents Brewery, five minutes walk south of Cathedral Precinct
The former Alexander's Public School building has stood the test of time for over 150 years, and the two-storey building was converted into a business centre at the turn of the millennium.
The building was designed by Scottish architect John Burnet (senior), who may not be as famous as Charles Rennie Mackintosh or Alexander 'Greek' Thomson, but without whom Glasgow would look very different.
Burnet worked as an architect for over 50 years and designed many of Glasgow’s churches, banks, and hospitals, including the Western Infirmary. In fact, he worked with Alexander Thomson as senior partner on the Great Western Terrace. He also competed with Mackintosh in the competition to design the new Glasgow School of Art in 1896. This was his last ever design before his death five years later.
Burnet built this school in 1858 for James Alexander, who owned a neighbouring cotton mill. Originally known as Alexander’s Endowed School, it was built in an inspiring Italianate style. On the front façade above the arched windows are a series of sculptures, the heads of eternal writers and artists such as Shakespeare, Homer, Milton, Aristotle and Michelangelo.
Thirteen years after it opened, the Education Act of 1871 was passed in Scotland, and thus the school’s name changed to Ladywell School. It remained a school for almost a century, before being enveloped into buildings used by St. Mungo’s Academy. During this time it was granted Category B listed status, shortly before it changed hands again, becoming a special needs school. In 1996 it was taken over by the East End Partnership with an aim to renovating and restoring it, a job well done, as it was upgraded to category A listed status two years later.
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