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Civic Reception to mark School's 900th Anniversary

Civic Reception to mark School's 900th Anniversary

On Thursday 18th April, around 200 current and former pupils and parents, staff and friends of the School gathered at the City Chambers to attend a civic reception hosted by the Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren and Glasgow City Council to celebrate the School’s 900th anniversary.

Founded around 1124, the High School is Scotland’s oldest school, starting out as a ‘Sang School’ or choir school for boys at Glasgow Cathedral. Civic receptions are held by Glasgow City Council for a number of reasons, including marking city-wide organisations of either 50 years or centenaries thereafter of their founding.

Guests heard from the Lord Provost who congratulated the School on its momentous anniversary. In his reply, John O’Neill, Rector of the School, reflected on the School’s long history and its place within the City of Glasgow. John also made mention of two individuals: Norrie Thomson and Lord Macfarlane, who were key in sustaining and building the modern, co-educational school the High School is today. And with members of Lord Macfarlane’s family present, it was a fitting moment to remember the significant role he played within the story of Glasgow, with the City of Glasgow making him a Freeman of the City in 2007 in the very same room the civic reception was held.

Music was woven throughout the evening, with guests treated to hauntingly beautiful music by Maya M (S4) on the clarsach, a Celtic harp, as they ascended the ornate marble staircase of the City Chambers. Just a few weeks earlier, at the end of the Spring Term, Maya was crowned the School’s Young Instrumentalist of the Year.

Bringing to life the School’s choir school roots, the Chamber Choir performed: ‘Praise the Lord, Oh My Soul’ by Ken Burton; ‘Love Divine’ by Amy Summers, ‘Step We Gaily, On We Go’ arranged by Owain Park, ‘Praise His Holy Name’ by Keith Hampton, finishing with the ‘Selkirk Grace’ by Ronald Dellow. They were expertly led by Mr Frikki Walker, conductor of the Chamber Choir, who is due to retire at the end of the session.

John O’Neill, Rector of the School, said:

On behalf of The High School of Glasgow and all who are connected to the School, I wish to extend a sincere and grateful thanks to the Lord Provost and all at the City Chambers and the City Council for the honour and generosity of hosting a Civic Reception on behalf of the School, in recognition of our 900th anniversary.”


To mark its significant anniversary, the School is running a year-long programme of events which began in January with a dinner at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum attended by 450 guests.

Other plans this year include planting 900 trees at Cathkin Braes (which pupils far surpassed, instead planting 3,600 trees), a Gala Musical Concert at the Royal Concert Hall in June and a 900km sponsored cycle across the UK in September. There will also be a special 900 Commemorative and Thanksgiving Service in September at Glasgow Cathedral.

In recognition of its significant anniversary, the School has launched a fundraising appeal, the 900 Campaign, to increase its Bursary Fund, to ensure its campuses are environmentally friendly places of learning and to further develop START, a design thinking and entrepreneurship programme, in partnership with pupils across Scotland.

900 Civic Reception