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Sir J N Cuthbertson School

Glasgow City Archives, Department of Education

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Sir J N Cuthbertson School

A classroom in Sir J N Cuthbertson School in Govanhill in 1916. The teacher is standing behind his lectern on the left. Behind the boys, who are writing in their exercise books, is a map of the British Empire.

Until 1890, most classrooms were furnished with what were known as "Glasgow" type desks. These were sloping desks for up to eight children sitting side by side. Behind the desks were benches of the same length without backrests, to allow children to climb out from their seats without the whole row having to move to let them pass. This desk design became discredited as children had to sit all day without any support for their backs.

The headmaster of Washington Street School invented the alternative desk seen in this photograph, each of which seated only two pupils. A hinged seat was attached to the front of each desk so that the child at the desk in front was provided with a backrest. The system had the added advantage that it wasted no space between the rows of desk, an important consideration in the days when class sizes were large by modern standards, and space was often at a premium.

Reference: D-ED 5/15/7

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

British Empire, children, classrooms, Cuthbertson Primary Scool, education, maps, primary schools, pupils, school desks, Sir J N Cuthbertson Public School, Sir J N Cuthertson School, teachers

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