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10 cool facts you might not know about Harris Academy

Harris Academy is a secondary school here in Dundee - and it's been round for a pretty long time. Dundee Culture looks at ten cool facts that you might not know about Harris Academy!

It is the oldest public school in Dundee

Harris Academy is the oldest public school in Dundee, having opened on 31 August 1885. The original building was located at Park Place at the site of the Bonar Hall.

It is also the largest too...

Harris Academy's school population sits at 1,360, which is the largest amount of any school in Dundee. It is so huge, an extension to the new school, which was built to accommodate a larger number of pupils, had to be constructed back in 2023.

It was named after William Harris

Harris Academy was named after William Harris who had donated money for the school to be built. He was a corn merchant and mill owner. He died in 1883, two years before the school opened. His portrait used to hang in the open hall way in the old Perth Road building, but was removed although a bust of his head can be seen at the new entrance.

The old facade sits atop of the new reception

Harris Academy's facade from the 1930s building was not demolished. Instead, it sits atop of the reception indoors at the new school. The facade was placed into storage during the reconstruction at the Perth Road site and now can be seen by all visitors who walk through the doors.

It is the only school in Dundee to be housed in four different locations

Harris Academy is unique in Dundee for having been housed in four different locations due to its significant population over time. Originally located at Park Place until 1931, the school then moved to Perth Road. In the 1970s, increased enrollment led to the use of the Logie Secondary School annex until 1998.

From 2013 to 2016, Harris Academy relocated to Lawton Road at the old Rockwell High School site while a new campus was constructed on Perth Road.

Bonus fact!

Only the Harris Academy classes of 2017 and 2018 studied at the old Perth Road campus, Rockwell campus and the new Perth Road campus. (me included!)

Morgan Academy helped Harris ease its pupil intake

Due to the pressures of Harris Academy's population in its early years, Morgan Academy was opened as a result four years after Harris initially opened which helped ease pressures of Harris' overpopulation.

The 1930s Perth Road building was close to being saved

Harris Academy's 1931 campus was close to being saved. Another plan that was put on the table instead of demolition was proposed five years prior to the school's demolition where renovation was an option. Plans in 2008 revealed that that an entire renovation of the building were considered. But due to costs, demolishing the campus was a more effective option.

The new clock tower has a few nods to the school's past

Harris Academy's clock tower, which was built as part of the 1930s building has a few easter eggs which pays homage to the school's past. The plinth which the clock stands on is made up of the old 1960s extension which was demolished with the 1930s building, and also the old Games Hall which was built at the rear of the school.

The 'Harris globe' has cool secret features

On top of the clock itself, you might notice a globe that sits atop. It is made of metal and actually has text written on it which says "Harris Academy" along with a line of text marking the new school's opening in 2016. The one on top of the clock now is the second one, the first one was made out of wood, and was taken down and scrapped during the reconstruction of the school.

Menzieshill High School is referenced in the new school

When Harris moved back its home on Perth Road in 2016, it brought along with it an amalgamation between Harris and the nearby Menzieshill High School. The latter of which closed and demolished in 2016 due to a dwindling school population. Menzieshill pupils brought their school pride with them to Harris. As a result, a plaque at the reception of the new Harris Academy pays homage to Menzieshill High School featuring the old school badge. Cementing the message that "Meenie High will never die".


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