Kelvinside Academy

Coordinates: 55°52′59″N 4°17′41″W / 55.88293°N 4.29464°W / 55.88293; -4.29464

Kelvinside Academy is a private school in the City of Glasgow, Scotland, founded in 1878. It has a capacity of 640 pupils and spans two years of Junior Start (Nursery), six years of Junior School (primary school), and seven years of Senior School (secondary school), comprising fifteen years in all. It also offers a transitionary year of Senior Preparatory, which helps bridge the gap between Primary and Secondary Education. The school was originally grant-aided, but became fully independent in 1985. The school was formerly boys-only, and became fully co-educational in 1998. The school is nominally non-denominational. School uniform is mandatory for all years and consists of shirt, blue and silver tie, black or grey trousers or a blue/white plaid skirt, black shoes and the school blazer. A blue and white striped scarf and a grey jersey are optional as are shorts for the lower school. Kelvinside Academy welcomed the first female Rector in the school's history in 2009 with the appointment of Lesley A. Douglas.

The school

Kelvinside Academy is located in the Kelvinside area of the north of Glasgow, near the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. It has a large main building, which is category A listed and was designed by James Sellars, with a number of more modern additions. The original building was opened on 02.09.1878 and cost £21,698 11s, this included the construction of both roads and sewers. The school crest shows Minerva with the motto ΑΙΕΝ ΑΡΙΣΤΕΥΕΙΝ (ever to be the best). Minerva appears prominently in carved stone above the main entrance, and in a bronze medallion set in the perimeter wall. Unlike many of the surrounding buildings, the school retains much of its original cast iron fences despite the metal shortages during the Second World War. There is a well established house system, which divides all the pupils into four different Houses, each represented by a colour; red for Stewart House, yellow for Buchanan House, green for Macgregor House and blue for Colquhoun. The school has a Combined Cadet Force, and runs a civilian rifle club, with a membership of around 40 pupils and a small number of adult FP's, held in the on-site shooting range.

Kelvinside Academy is a war-memorial school, and it is for this reason that it practices the CCF. Two walls in the original school building are dominated by bronze plaques that list pupils and academicals who gave their lives in The Great War and World War II. In the case of the 1st World War, proportionally, the school lost the highest number of Academicals - for further reading see the publication by Brodie.

Extra-Curricular activities

The school supports a wide range of sporting activities including rugby union, hockey, football, athletics, cricket, target rifle shooting, curling, ice skating, squash, aerobics, tennis, and golf. The school owns the Balgray Playing Fields, a short distance from the main site. A all weather playing facility has been created at Balgray and was formally opened on 2 September 2006 - the school's 128th Anniversary. A Pavilion and refurbished stand was completed in 2010.

The school also encourages a wide range of non-sporting activities, such as drama, music, public speaking, debating and many others. The Gilchrist Theatre, named after a former pupil, has played host to a number of school productions. These include, the musicals Grease and Guys and Dolls, Don Quixote, The Glass Menagerie, Anything Goes, Blood Brothers and many musical concerts, of both school performers and other musicians including the Glasgow Gospel Choir.

There is also a CCF contingent. The three sections Army, Navy and RAF meet on a Thursday after school in the school grounds.

Kelvinside Academicals

Upon leaving Kelvinside Academy, a pupil is automatically granted membership to the Kelvinside Academicals Club, a vibrant, world wide community which aims to help maintain a former-pupil's relationship with the school. The club has branches all over the World. An Academical's dinner is held in London every year. The Academical's also have sports clubs, playing Cricket, Angling, Rugby, Curling and Golf. One of the many highlights of the Academical club year is without a doubt the Academical's Rugby Match, whereby Former Pupils take on the current School First XV.


Two children dressed in the Academy uniform were featured in an episode of Rab C. Nesbitt which depicts an idyllic middle-class family.

The lower school classrooms were used in the early 90's for a BBC television series - the scene featured a fake body dropping from an upper classroom.

The Merrilee's building of the school is said to be 'host to a ghost'. Down the years pupils and teachers alike claim to have seen the 'ghoul'.

During the construction of the "Mall" the contractors made a slight error and pumped £3000 worth of concrete into the drainage system - a large section of the floor had to be repoured.

An Army Air Corp. helicopter once landed in the south playground on a visit to the school. A famous story within the senior school at the time was of a 6th year pupil who tried to sneak in undetected at 11:00, only to be met by the rector, dept. rector, the top flight of prefects and an Army Air Corp. helicopter.

Notable alumni
  • John Joy Bell, journalist and author
  • David Brogan, Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Edinburgh West
  • Robert Browning (Byzantinist)
  • Brigadier General John Charteris
  • Bob Forrest, Scottish Liberal Democrat
  • Sir Hugh Fraser, 2nd Baronet, of the House of Fraser department store chain
  • Richie Gray, Scottish international rugby union player currently playing for Glasgow Warriors
  • Air Vice Marshal Alexander Vallance Riddell Johnstone
  • Lord Kinclaven, judge
  • Ian Livingston CEO of BT Group
  • Sir George Donald Alastair MacDougall, economist
  • Colin MacKay, TV political commentator
  • Sir Thomas Risk, former Governor of the Bank of Scotland
  • Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and President of the Expert Witness Institute
  • Alasdair Cameron Sutherland, architect and academic
  • Craig Wright, cricketer,
  • Craig Whyte, venture capitalist and owner of Rangers (born 1971).
Related Publications
  • Kelvinside Academy, 1878–1978 by Colin Mackay
  • Kelvinside Academy, 1878–1923 by William Brodie
  • Kelvinside Academy, 1878–1928 by David Morrice Low
  • Minerva, termly newsletter

Coordinates: 55°52′58″N 4°17′44″W / 55.88280°N 4.29566°W / 55.88280; -4.29566

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated 8 media and uploaded a media file
    about 4 years ago via
  • removed a media
    about 5 years ago via