WE may think public protests by youngsters of school age only started in the past 20 years or so but that is not the case.

In March, 1960, pupils from Greenock High School demonstrated against the South African Government following the shootings of innocent people.

At the end of a school day, two groups of pupils aged 16 and upwards walked slowly along the town’s main streets to protest against the recent atrocities.

They carried placards with photographs of the shootings and slogans including ‘Stop murder in Africa’, ‘This is apartheid – boycott South Africa’ and ‘Put them out the Commonwealth’.

While calling for a boycott of South African goods, the pupils did not enter shops to press home the message.

One of the protest leaders told the Telegraph their action had nothing to do with the High School and that meetings had been held outwith study periods. Pupils taking part had been in full agreement they should show their disapproval of the action of the South African Government.

The spokesperson said various methods of protest had been discussed before an agreement street parades should be held from time to time.

The day after the pupils’ first demonstration another example of a political protest was discovered.

An individual or group of people had painted ‘End English rule’ on a retaining wall at the top of the Lyle Hill.

The 10ft high white lettering could be seen from Gourock Pierhead. Nearby residents said the slogan had not been there the previous day.


TODAY'S photo flashback shows Greenock’s Brougham Street. The postcard was sent in 1908.