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Mary MacKirdy, was the niece of Mrs Margaret Black, founder of the West End School of Cookery. She was born on the 11th May 1874 and achieved her diploma from the West End School in September 1894, with both the Scotch Education Department and the Glasgow School Board granting assessments for her training. She taught cookery at the West End School of Cookery from 1895, becoming its Principal on Margaret Black’s death in 1903.
When the West End School of Cookery amalgamated with the Glasgow School of Cookery in 1908, to form The Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science, the Miss Ella Glaister became Principal, however Mary MacKirdy remained as part of the teaching staff. She was a head teacher in cookery, specialising in the Article 55 students, the Provincial Committee students who were supplementing their elementary teaching qualificatio. She kept abreast of the growing subject of Domestic Science, on the whole, and gave well attended public lectures, worked with Ministry of Labour classes, and produced publications. In 1935 she was made a Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland.
Her younger sister Miss Janet MacKirdy was also on the teaching staff and they both shared a house, first at 191 Renfrew Street, then latterly at 9 Park Quadrant. In June and July of 1926 she was granted two months leave of absence to visit the United States and Canada, with a view to furthering her knowledge by visiting schools and colleges in these countries. Janet was also granted one months’ leave, June, to travel with her sister and her remit was labour saving and modern household devices.
Mary MacKirdy gave the College her resignation on the 9th of September 1937, after 42 years of service. On leaving the College she was its longest serving member of staff. She went on to become a Nutrition Supervisor for the Community Service in Scotland at the age of 63 years. A College prize, in appreciation of her work and service was given in her name for Article 55 students. This was presented by Mrs Black, of Kirkcaldy, who had previously given the Mrs Margaret Black Memorial Prize in 1925. The prize was first presented in 1938.
Mary MacKirdy died in 1957.
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