View Full Version : Archived: Keil School - Helenslee House - Dumbarton - Aug 09

11-08-2009, 05:47 PM
Visited here and almost didnt return - the flooring is pretty dodgy at parts!!

The building Helenslee House was planned in 1852 and constructed 1855-56 and was designed by JT Rocheard. The main building was enlarged 1866-67 by Dr Peter Denny who employed the Architect John Honeyman (later to form Honeyman Keppie Mackintosh). It was built for Peter Denny, the son of the shipbuilder William Denny. Denny shipbuilders were worldwide renown for their ship model testing tank which now forms part of the Scottish Maritime Museum This was the first commercial ship model testing tank built in the world and it retains many original features today: a water tank as long as a football pitch, clay moulding beds for casting wax model ship hulls and the original Victorian machinery used for shaping models.

Keil School took a lease on Helenslee House in 1925, and went on to purchase it - Keil School, opened on 29 November 1915 as Kintyre Technical College, Keil House, Southend, near Campbelltown in Argyll. After a fire destroyed the original building in Southend it was re-located and opened here in Helenslee House.

In 1941, due to the school's high vulnerability during the Clydeside Blitz, including the destruction of nearby industrial centres such as Clydebank (only 16 buildings were left undamaged) and conflagrations at the Bowling Oil Refinery and the Tate & Lyle Sugar Refinery at Greenock, the school had to be evacuated and relocated in the safer surroundings of Balinakill House, Kintyre for the duration of the war. At this time it was deemed safe to house Polish refugees at the house whom many of stayed on and lived in the local town after the war.

Keil School was an independent secondary school with boarding and day pupils for around 200 pupils. It was an all-boys school up until 1978, when it became co-educational with the initial introduction of girls – in 1978 there was one girl – the headmasters daughter.

In 1980 Helenslee House was listed as a Category B building.

Keil School closed in July 2000. At its closure, when it had 54 boarders and 120 day pupils.

Main building with its grand pillared entrance – there used to be a hall on the right but it has been demo’d


Through the main pillared doors the reception hall was at one time quite breath taking with its arches


and mosaic floors


the main hall used to be lined with pictures of the school rugby teams throughout the years and large wooden ornate plaques that had the individual names of the headmasters and the head boys


to the right of the main hall a large staircase circled up to the first floor, painted green in the school colour. To the left of this pic was the long walk down to the headmasters office

and next to the stairs were some ornate windows adding to the grandeur of the main hall and staircase



a lot of the old fireplaces have been removed but quite a few remain



In the teachers ( masters ) common room

this was once a beautiful ornate ceiling in the school library

this was the stairwell up to the tower rooms which sadly have been destroyed by fire

This used to be the shower room for the day pupils when they came inform rugby practice – judging by the colour of the curtains I would hazard a guess in the latter days these were used for the female contingent

main power breakers


some surviving books

old magazines never to be read again

this isn’t chav graff this is old pupils “was here” signatures – I was pleased to find the old coat cupboard that had a tradition of signatures was still intact with loads of old names



ta for looking:thumb

12-08-2009, 09:33 PM
Some nice shots there, good to see new locations. The floors don't look that bad ;)

well the square tower bit has no roof and the 2nd and 3rd floors are now on the first - its dodgy up there with the odd hole here and there in the floor - not as bad as Ruchill though.