Glasgow's Winning way with names;Jotter

20th March 1998 at 00:00
Something valuable would be lost with the disappearance of Catholic secondary schools in Glasgow. We refer not to ethos or community of faith or Christian purpose. It's the names that would be no more.

Things are not quite the same in the ND sector (that's non-denominational: nothing to do with Notre Dame). King's Park's shortened form is obvious, although debate rages over whether it is of the dry roasted or ready salted variety. The less said about Victoria Drive the better.

But not much can be done with the Clevedens, Whitehills, Bannermans or Smithycrofts (although its proximity to Barlinnie ought to have inspired something imaginative by now. After all, the denominational John Paul Academy in Summerston wasn't even officially opened when it was already being referred to as "St Asda's" as a tribute to its neighbour from Mammon).

Any secondary in Glasgow is, of course, "the seccy". Thus a parent of a pupil from Sacred Heart primary who was moving to the former Sacred Heart Secondary in Bridgeton could say: "Oor Margaret's goin' from the Wee Sacy to seccy in the Big Sacy."

Mention "the Rock" in the Garngad and it will be understood right away that you are not referring to a Sean Connery movie or a trendy west end pub. You will be asked which one you mean - "the Big Rock" or "the Wee Rock", as St Roch's, seccy and primary, have been called for years.

Most schools named after a saint have the definite article replacing the holy bit, as in "the Mungo" - All the Saints, by contrast, became less definite. Usually, the name is shortened and in the vernacular - "the Lenny" (St Leonard's), "the Augy" (St Augustine's, sometimes St Disgustin's), "the Maggie May" (St Margaret Mary's).

All is not predictable, however. St Thomas Aquinas did not become "the Tam" but the more decorous "St Tam's". There is a tradition, too, of naming schools after renowned clerics - Cardinal Newman High in Bellshill and Taylor High (after a much-respected local priest) in New Stevenston, for example.

And so to the punchline. Cardinal Winning High has an appropriate ring to it. But perhaps there would be more mileage from the shortened version of T Winning High. Thus it could be rendered on the street as "St Teabags".

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