Dundee Training College was opened on October 7 1921 by the Duchess of Atholl, who would become Scotland’s first female MP.
In 1905 provincial committees were established in connection with the four Scottish universities of St Andrews, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
They would be responsible for the training of teachers in four ‘provinces’ into which Scotland had been divided for this purpose.
For the St Andrews area it was decided to establish Dundee Training College, which would be closely linked with University College, Dundee, which was then a part of the University of St Andrews.
The College opened in what was then the Technical Institute in Smalls Wynd, behind the main University College buildings.
James Malloch was appointed as its director of studies.
It included both university students, who attended university classes, and non-university students who followed academic courses provided by the college.
Although both groups could complete their training in two years, university students could obtain a degree through another year’s study.
Consequently, there was a close overlap in students between the Training College and University College.
The Technical Institute moved to Bell Street in 1909, and the Training College became the principal tenants of its former premises in Smalls Wynd.
However, plans were afoot for a purpose-built building for the training of teachers.
Dr Kenneth Baxter from the University of Dundee Archive Services said the site chosen was in Park Place which was close to University College.
He said: “Five villas to the north of Harris Academy were to be demolished to make way for it, including the Caird Home for Nurses and the Dundee Industrial Schools Society’s Boys Home.
“The frontage was to be 123 yards long and a ‘practising School’ – which would soon become known as the Demonstration School – was to be connected to the college by a connecting covered bridge.
“It was designed by T M Cappon, a noted Dundee architect, and it was estimated that it would cost £60,000 to build.
“Work began on the project later that year and the foundation stone was laid in September 1912 by the Earl of Camperdown.
“Unfortunately, work on the building was disrupted by the Great War and even at the time of the opening, work was still be done to complete the building.”
The wreaths on the front being were added after the Great War.
The building was finally completed in 1920 and was officially opened by the Duchess of Atholl the following year.
Dr Baxter said: “The striking building suffers somewhat from its position in Park Place which meant that it is difficult to appreciate its frontage.
“The Courier even noted when it opened that the ‘handsome structure in red stone’ had ‘been born to blush almost unseen in Park Place’, adding that Dundee was guilty of positioning prominent buildings in side streets.
“However it conceded that its closeness to University College was most advantageous.”
The stained glass windows in its library showed the different subjects that were taught at the college.
In the early part of the Second World War the top floor of the college and its hall and workshops was taken over by the Air Ministry Research Station.
They stayed for a relatively brief period, but their heavy switches and wiring remained and were said to have disfigured the building for many years.
The building was also reinforced and marked as an information centre during the war and it was planned that the Harbour Trust would occupy the building if their premises were damaged as a result of the conflict.
The University of Dundee took over the building in the 1970s after the Training College (by then Dundee College of Education) was moved to Gardyne Road.
In 1978 it became home to the Law Faculty who vacated the former Dundee School of Economics building (Bonar House) in Bell Street.
The new name chosen for the old Training College building by the university was the Scrymgeour Building in honour of the 16th century Dundee-born lawyer and academic Henry Scrymgeour.
An official opening ceremony was performed by the Earl of Dundee, head of the Scrymgeour family, the following year.
The old Demonstration School, which had by now been superseded by a new school (Park Place) to the north, became home to the university’s Computing Centre.
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