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Dundee secondary school records ‘lost’

The Lawside enior Prizewinners in 1970. Elisabeth is in the front row, seventh from the right.
The Lawside enior Prizewinners in 1970. Elisabeth is in the front row, seventh from the right.

School records of unique historical interest have been lost.

Elisabeth Kerr has been working to organise a school reunion for people who were at one of the two Lawside Academy campuses between 1961 and 1965 – the year they were all moved to one building.

Elisabeth, who left Dundee in 1976 and is now living in Bristol, has primarily been using social media to organise the event, which is scheduled to take place in September next year.

However, her attempts to trace other ex-pupils through school records has failed as the council has lost them.

In an email exchange, the authority’s children and families services told Elisabeth there is “no information held by the archivist” on the school.

In the exchange, it is claimed “several boxes that formed much of the history of the school” were packed up to be sent to the city archivist when the school closed in 2008 but did not make it to their destination.

One of the emails sent to Elisabeth read: “I am of the view that the materials were potentially disposed of by mistake. I have no way of verifying whether they reached Tayside House or the Archivist’s office, but I am clear that they are certainly not there now.”

Elisabeth said: “It is extremely sad that there are no records relating to what was an incredibly important educational establishment within Dundee – the only Catholic academy school which drew in pupils from Perth, Blairgowrie, Arbroath and all places in between.

“It is absolutely incredible that this has been allowed to transpire. I feel this is a huge black hole and that there are serious questions that need to be answered.”

Elisabeth is contact with about 130 people interested in the reunion so far, but she is trying to track down “more than 300”  names she has already managed to unearth. She estimates that more than 1,000 pupils and staff were involved in the merger.

People living from as far afield as Australia, America, Cyprus and France have already pledged to travel for the event, which is set for the weekend of September 13-15 next year.

A Dundee City Council spokeswoman said: “We have historic records from a number of Dundee schools in our archives, but this is not exhaustive. Other than a few items, records from this school are not part of this archive.”

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