Home About Susan Susan's Blog Gavin Alston, mural painter, 1926-1963, Teacher of Art at Kingsridge Secondary School, Glasgow.

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Saturday, 7 March 2015

Gavin Alston, mural painter, 1926-1963, Teacher of Art at Kingsridge Secondary School, Glasgow.

Gavin taught at the secondary school at the beginning of the 1960s.

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I was delighted when a pupil of Gavin Alston contacted me recently. Jim Belkevitz was a pupil at Kingsridge Secondary school in Glasgow when my uncle taught there.

He has kindly allowed me to quote him in this blog.

 

 “I was a pupil at Kingsridge Secondary and I was in your uncle's registration class. I don't remember him teaching but I do remember seeing him working on his own projects. He would have large sheets of paper on the floor as he used black ink to draw crucifixion imagery. He stood on stools to look at the work. I have great memories of him. A number of years later (28) I went to Glasgow School of Art. I became an art teacher for 30 years. I will never forget my old teacher. ‘

 

I asked Jim if he could remember any other anecdotes about Gavin.

 

 “Gavin once asked me what class I hated the most. I told him it was maths. Whenever he needed someone to go for a message he would come to my maths class and ask for me. He would usually ask me to go to the shops for a can of soup. He often had lunch in his room with another teacher. I think his name was Mcarthur, an English teacher. They were the only two teachers I remember who didn't give the "belt", at least I never got from them (just every other teacher).

Although I never saw him belting anyone we always thought he was going to do something to you but the furthest he would go was to send you to go and borrow a belt from another teacher. When you came back with it he would tell you to take it back. Huge relief.

I seem to remember he did a late class. It may have been an evening class. Mostly people would copy from a painting by a well-known artist. He was more relaxed then and was a really nice man. He often sat and drew pupils in his room. I wish I'd had one of these drawings.

He could just create something without any reference. I remember a boy asked him if he could paint an eagle (for his scout troop I think) I watched him and was amazed at his ability to pull this out of his head and create this wonderful piece of work, at least to me it was as a 13 or 14 year old.

Teachers were asked to come up with ideas for fund raising. Gavin created a casino in his room at lunch times. A lot of kids gambled anyway. He even had a roulette wheel. I don't think the headmaster was too pleased but it was a huge success and made more money than anything else.

I believe he even played in goal for the teachers’ team against the pupils.’

 

 “I found it really sad to discover the murals had gone when the school was demolished. I realised later that he was someone who should have been given far more recognition and should be celebrated. A great artist.”

 

To Jim - Thank you very much for getting in touch and sharing these memories of Gavin.

 
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