Lurgan Coat of Arms The Armagh Guardian

3 March, 1863  


Lurgan Model School

Yesterday, a new and beautiful Model School was opened in Lurgan, the site of which is situated within a few perches from the railway station. There was a good attendance of the nobility and gentry of the place, amongst whom were.

the present Lady Lurgan, Mr. and Mrs. Crossley,
the Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Knox, Mr. Wallace,
the Vicar-General of Down and Connor, Mr. G. Mayne,
Rev. H. and Mrs. Murphy, Mr. E. Douglas,
Rev L. E. and Mrs. Berkeley, Miss Harper,
Mr. J. G. and Mrs. Clarke, Mr. and Mrs. Pelan,
the Misses Watson, Mr. and Mrs. Hutchinson,
Mr. Hancock, J.P., and family; Mrs. Patterson,
Dr. Thomas Shaw, Mr. and Miss Miller,
Miss Bell, Mrs. Girdwood,
Mr. and Mrs. Glass, Mrs. Hazelton,
Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm, Mrs. Watson,
Miss Malcolm and Mr. S. Malcolm, Dr. Patton, Head Inspector;
Mr. and Mrs. Carrick, Mr. Molloy, District Inspector;
Mr. George Riddel, Mr. A. Osborne, District Inspector of Newtownards;
Miss Johnston, Mr. W. Gray, from the office of the Board of Public Works.

This school was erected from a design furnished by Mr. Owen, architect of the Board of Public Works, and reflects the highest credit on his taste. Although the erection of the building has cost the large sum of 6,000, there is no extravagance of ornament expended on it. The work is plain and simple. The building was commenced in the Summer of July, '61, and brought to completion in the latter part of 1862. It is very commodious. The arrangements are excellent, and the building is replete with all the necessary requisites and appliances. The various departments of science are illustrated by diagrams and models, and thus the facts are impressed on the minds of the pupils with greater ease. The building is a beautiful specimen of architecture. The exterior of the building is as pleasing as the interior, which is well arranged and very neat. The boys' school, which is 50 feet by 30 feet, is intended to accommodate 108 pupils. The girls' school is 40 feet by 30 feet, and will, it is calculated, accommodate 65 pupils. The department for the infants is thirty feet by twenty-five feet, and is intended to accommodate forty infants. The ceilings of each of the departments are lofty. To the boys' and girls' schools are attached separate play-grounds, with airing shades, which are each ninety yards by forty. In the erection of the building everything has been done which could conduce to the comfort and health of the pupils, and it must be a great boon to the poorer classes in Lurgan to have such an opportunity of giving their children such a superior education at a merely nominal price. The contractor who executed the works is a Mr. Kerr, of Dublin.

After the children had been examined, Dr. Patton said that, owing to the absence of Lord Lurgan, the Bishop, and Dr. Henry, President of the Queen's College, and Commissioner of National Education, he did not think it necessary to have any formality attending the opening of the Model School. In the other Model Schools it was thought necessary that the Head-Inspector should read an address, but it was considered unnecessary for him (Dr. Patton) to do so on the present occasion, as the system of National Education was so well understood, and was now beginning to be fairly appreciated. He might mention that that school would be conducted on the same principle as the Belfast District Model School, and the Newtownards, Carrickfergus, Ballymena, and Monaghan Model Schools. Like the four latter, this school was a minor Model School. If the children increased in numbers sufficiently, it would be very easily converted into a District Model School. An efficient staff of teachers and assistants, he might observe, had been already appointed, and pupil teachers and monitor would be appointed as the number of scholars increased. He might mention the names of the teachers and assistants for -

The Boys' School - Mr. Greer, E.C., late head-master in the Omagh Model School, had been appointed head-master of the Lurgan Model School; first assistant, Mr. Lenaghan, R.C., of Belfast; second assistant, Mr. Porter, Pres. late of Belfast Model School.

The Girls' School - Mrs. Campbell, R.C., late head-mistress of Ballymena Model School, had been appointed head-mistress; first assistant, Miss Small, Pres., late assistant in Newtownards Model School; second assistant, Miss Coyle, E.C., late of Belfast Model School.

The Infants' Department - Miss Kennedy, Pres., late assistant in Belfast Model School, had been appointed head-mistress; Miss Rogan, R.C., of Belfast, first assistant; and Miss Brown, E.C., late of the Dublin Normal School, second assistant.

The number of pupils on the roll amounted to ninety-one; and, considering the existence of so many good schools in the town of Lurgan, it was certainly more than he (Dr. Patton) expected; and he had no doubt that, before one year had elapsed, the rooms would be well filled.

In the Boys' School there were - Of the Established Church, 27; of Roman Catholics, 6; of Presbyterians, 6; and of Wesleyans, 6.

In the Girls' School there were - Of the Established Church, 12; of Roman Catholics, 4; and of Presbyterians, 9.

In the Infants' School there were - Of the Established Church, 12;of Presbyterians, 8; and of Wesleyans, 1.

We might mention that one-half of the children would be admitted at a penny a week, and the other half would be admitted at between two shillings and sixpence and five shillings a quarter, according to the circumstances of the parents. With respect to the religious instruction, it had been arranged by the clergymen of the different denominations, whom he was happy to see around him, that on Fridays religious instruction would commence at ten and terminate at eleven in the morning, and on the other days of the week religious instruction would commence at the same hour, and terminate at half -past ten. On Fridays the clergymen would attend, and on the other days religious instruction would be given by the teachers of the different denominations to which they belonged. Dr. Patton then read the following letter, which he had received from the Lord Bishop of Down and Connor :-

"Palace, Holywood, Feb. 27.
MY DEAR SIR,I am very sorry I shall not be able to be present at the opening of the Lurgan Model School, as I am obliged to go to Edinburgh on account of the illness of a member of my family.I inspected the building last week, and it has every appearance calculated to make it a first-rate educational establishment, and I have no doubt it will be fully appreciated by the intelligent inhabitants of Lurgan, on whom it will confer a great benefit. I have little doubt that, when in active operation, it will be instrumental in correcting many of the misrepresentations and removing some of the prejudices against the National System of Education, which I am happy to say is yearly gaining in the estimation of the public, and securing the adhesion of the intelligence of the country.
I am yours very truly,

Dr. Patton then expressed his regret that Lord Lurgan was unable to attend owing to indisposition, but her ladyship's presence would make up for it. (Great applause.) He had received an apology from Dr. Henry, the President of the Queen's College, and one of the Commissioners of National Education, expressing much regret that University business prevented him from being present, and stating that he (Dr. Henry) would take the earliest opportunity of paying a visit to the school as soon as it was set in working order. As they were only commencing, he could not expect any gentleman to say anything as to the working of the school; but if anyone had anything to say as to their prospects - he hoped they had no fears - he should be happy to hear him. (Applause.)

The visitors were then entertained with the music of the harmonium, after which they proceeded to inspect the various rooms, manifesting great interest in all they saw.

Read more about the Lurgan Model School HERE


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