Anyone for cricket? Academical College, Coleraine

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Where: Northern Ireland, Londonderry, United Kingdom

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"School building, 2 storey (3 in central wing) 3 bays deep, 11 wide, professors in foreground boys with cricket bats"

Keeping with our academic theme, the "zoomed" view of this stereo-pair (or at least one half of it) has a lot to offer. From the well-dressed professors, to bowler wearing cricket players, to the myriad chaps peering from windows, there's a lot to take in. While the catalogue listing didn't offer us a specific location or date, Dr O Mac came back in double-quick time to establish that this is Academical College in Coleraine - and a firm suggestion that the photo was likely taken within a decade of the college's opening in 1860. (So on the early side of the 1860s to 1880s range)

Proposals for a grammar school in the town were first put forward in 1846 and then shelved during the economic crisis which accompanied the Great Irish Famine. Built between 1854 and 1860 – during which time the projected cost of £2000 had exactly doubled – the new school began operation with two masters and fourteen boys. The size of the school peaked at around 1100 boys in the 1970s, and today enrolment stands at slightly below 700.


Contributors: Lawrence, John Fortune | Lawrence, William (William Mervin) 1840-1932 | Mares, Frederick Holland, fl. 1820-1880 | Simonton, James

Collection: Stereo Pairs photograph collection

Date: ca 1860-1883

NLI Ref: STP_2525

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie

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Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 19647
stereographicnegatives cricket academicrobes bowlerhat school johnfortunelawrence williamlawrence frederickhollandmares jamessimonton coleraine coleraineacademicalinstitution academicalcollege lawrencecollection williammervynlawrence nationallibraryofireland coderry colondonderry ulster northernireland cai locationidentified stereopairsphotographcollection stereopairs

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    O Mac

    • 30/Jun/2015 11:31:53

    It's the Academical College, Coleraine, Co. Derry en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coleraine_Academical_Institution www.google.ie/maps/place/Coleraine+Academical+Institution...

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    Vab2009

    • 30/Jun/2015 11:40:51

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Lol!! That is SO quick!! Well done!

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    Niall McAuley

    • 30/Jun/2015 12:32:38

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] From that wiki page, possible Headmasters at this time were: (1860 – 1870) Alex Waugh Young was CAI's founding principal and very little is known of him. (1870 – 1915) Thomas Galway Houston, OBE, MA, FRSAI Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland served the school for 45 years, enjoying a long retirement in Portstewart until his death in 1939 at the age of 96. Houston served as a member of the Senate in the Stormont Parliament for Queen's University, Belfast.

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    Carol Maddock

    • 30/Jun/2015 13:13:14

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley In a sizeable advertisement for the school, it says A.W. Young had a B.A. and was Andrews’ Scholar, University College, London. Otherwise, detail on him is proving elusive in the newspapers. (Belfast Newsletter, 6 August 1860) ETA: Found another snippet "… late Carpenter and Travers scholar, B.A. of the University of London, and Andrew scholar of University College {London has lately been appointed Principal…" (London City Press, 10 March 1860) And Mr Young was elected a Fellow of University College London in 1867. (London City Press)

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 30/Jun/2015 13:40:28

    I have just added the following photo to our 50,000+ Views album, this is the 80th entry!! https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/5517432686/in/album-72157651136879037/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/sets/72157651136879037

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    O Mac

    • 30/Jun/2015 13:46:43

    The lack of mature landscaping, the freshness of the building and the clean chimney pots (bar a couple) would suggest the photo was taken not long after the school was built in 1860. There are strange patches on the rendering which would suggest vents were added as an afterthought. Anyways...built well before this was built out the back in 1895. catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000332787

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    sharon.corbet

    • 30/Jun/2015 15:12:20

    The school has a museum (including "This section of the Museum also contains a selection of documents and photographs covering the first three decades of the school’s history from the 1870s to the 1890s.") and is working on an archive, which may have more information.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 30/Jun/2015 16:07:01

    After https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] confirmed the location (within minutes) I didn't even attempt to keep up with the rest of the conversation today. I imagine it would require input from the school museum (that https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] mentions) to confirm the identities of any of the "masters" pictured. In the meantime however, I'm inclined to agree with Dr (professor?) O Mac on the date. The landscaping in particular would suggest that the building wasn't long in existence before this photo was taken...

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    Carol Maddock

    • 30/Jun/2015 16:10:59

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland Absolutely! See the end of this re the landscaping. This's a bit of background on the building and its opening in an article from the Coleraine Chronicle that was reprinted in the Belfast Newsletter, 30 July 1860. There's a touch of damning with faint praise concerning the building itself. I would imagine the architect(s) was not too happy:

    On Monday last, the inaugural ceremony took place in an apartment of the Institution, which, as the day was exceedingly favourable, was crowded with visitors. The building itself is rather more useful than ornamental, though its commanding situation and graceful proportions present some features of the picturesque. At all events, the lack of external architectural beauty and finish is amply compensated for by appropriate internal accommodation. The Institution is intended to accommodate about 40 boarders, and as many as 150 day pupils; and the school-rooms are exactly suited to the purpose for which they are intended. The Principal of the Institution Alex Waugh Young has apartments in the Southern wing of the building, which also contains the kitchen, pantries, &c., required for the boarders. The middle and Northern portions are devoted to the educational uses of the Institution. This is surrounded with five acres of the best land—the gift of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers—which it is intended to lay out in ornamental patches of shrubs, &c. This, of course, has not yet been accomplished, but will add greatly to the rare beauty of the location when completed. … After the inauguration there was a dejeuner and a conversazione in the evening.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 30/Jun/2015 16:20:50

    Thanks [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] - there are more than a few back-handed compliments there that may have given the architect, Isaac Farrell, some "pause" :)

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    sharon.corbet

    • 30/Jun/2015 16:40:11

    The history of the school on their website mentions that " the new school began operation with two masters and fourteen boys." Given the number of "chaps" in the photo, it's probably not from the very beginning of the school in 1860.

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    Carol Maddock

    • 30/Jun/2015 17:16:59

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] My shrub-ageing skills are poor. I was thinking 1863-ish, unless the grounds were really put on the long finger.

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    O Mac

    • 30/Jun/2015 21:12:28

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] The long finger is right!! . The Coleraine Academical Institution’s joint founders, The Honourable The Irish Society and The Clothworkers’ Company came back 150 years later to plant the trees. www.honourableirishsociety.org.uk/news-and-events/schools... In fairness, they had a lot of Ulster to plant : )

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    sharon.corbet

    • 01/Jul/2015 04:39:11

    It's probably a bit too late for this photo, but the 1877 Street Directory mentions the following: "Coleraine Academical Institution - West side of River Bann, on elevated ground, beyond the Model School, erected, 1860 ; accommodates 50 boarders, besides day scholars. Classical master, the Principal, Thomas G. Houston, M.A.; assistant classical master, Wm. Moran, B.A., M.C.D. Sch. (Lond); Mathematics, W. Stoops, B.A., Q.U.C.; English, Gillespie and Jas. Anderson; French and drawing, Mons. Ch. F. Mastrale ; Music, J. Cooney ; Medical adviser, J. C. L. Carson, M.D. Masters Extraordinary in Chancery - Edward Hay, jun.; Thomas E. Carson." By 1880 there are a few changes (including Drill sergeant and Dancing...) Coleraine Academical Institution - West side of River Bann, on elevated ground, beyond the Model School, erected, 1860 ; accommodates 50 boarders, besides day scholars. Classical master, the Principal, Thomas G. Houston, M.A.; assistant classical master, John B. Hatton, B.A., T.C.D.; Mathematics, W. Stoops, B.A., Q.U.C.; English master, Wm. Gillespie, L.U., and Sch., M.C.D.; writing and assistant English master, W. Bland ; French and drawing, Mons. Ch. F. Mastrale ; Music, J. Cooney ; Medical adviser, J. C. L. Carson, M.D.; drill sergeant, R. Arkinson ; dancing, M. Bronnean ; Sir. H. H. Bruce, Bart., president ; Thomas Bellas, treasurer ; Drummond Grant, hon. sec. Master Extraordinary in Chancery - Edward Hay, jun.; Thomas E. Carson. The 1861 directory only mentions that "A national model school and Academical Institution have lately been erected in Killowen, adjoining the town.", but gives no further details.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Jul/2015 06:49:26

    Good idea, Sharon! There are more street directories for other dates at PRONI, I must look in them later.

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    Carol Maddock

    • 01/Jul/2015 07:18:03

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] I found job advertisements for teachers in the 1870s, Sharon. The salary was around £80. For live-in teachers, it was £105, but you had to give £25 to the Principal for your board, so still £80. They advertised a few times over a couple of years for a Classics Master, so either turned out to be unsatisfactory, or didn't stay long. I have visions of Billy Bunter, and Mr Quelch trying to teach Latin to the Lower Fourth! There seems to have been some sort of financial bonus available too via the Intermediate Education Act (can't remember exact name) based on the boys' results. Certainly, Coleraine Academical boys turn up again and again in the newspapers having been awarded prizes in various subjects.

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    Carol Maddock

    • 01/Jul/2015 07:31:14

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] I had never heard of the Irish Society before this, had you? Set up by James I? They spent £5,000 erecting the Institution. “More than one hundred primary schools and benevolent institutions of every religious denomination, and of every variety—Catholic alone excepted—share the Society’s bounty…" (and the italics are the Freeman's Journal, 20 January 1871)

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    O Mac

    • 01/Jul/2015 08:31:08

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] Had heard of the Honerable Irish Society but not The Clothworkers’ Company. Interesting stuff........ "The Irish Society was first created by Royal Charter in 1613 to undertake the Plantation in the North West of Ulster. It was originally a sub-committee of the City of London Corporation, which had been identified by King James I as the most suitable organisation to pay for, build and run the most substantial element of the Plantation, rebuilding the City of Derry (renamed Londonderry), Coleraine, and further development throughout County Londonderry." The Clothworkers’ Company was one of twelve Livery Companies that formed part of the City Of London Corporation. Both the Society and the Clothworkers are still on the go and do good. The Society have a very interesting if slightly partisan history of the plantation of Ulster HERE.

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    Carol Maddock

    • 01/Jul/2015 08:37:20

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] I think I saw mention of a Clothworkers' Scholarship at Coleraine Academical. Will dig it out...

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    O Mac

    • 01/Jul/2015 08:41:07

    The young fern fonts in the foreground would suggest the month of May

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Jul/2015 08:53:31

    From proni.gov.uk, more street directories: 1863: Principal, Alexander Waugh Young B.A. ; Assistant Classical Master, James Shaw ; Resident English Master, Henry Taylor ; French and German teacher, Mons. G.V. Rylaki ; Music Teacher, J.J. O'Shanessy

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Jul/2015 08:56:07

    1865: No French and German teacher, no music teacher, but Writing Master, James Neill has joined the crew.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Jul/2015 08:59:45

    In 1870 we have Young, Shaw, Taylor, Assistant English and writing teacher Robert Donaldson, French and drawing, J.F Mastrall, and matron (oooh!) Miss Wilson.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Jul/2015 09:09:44

    How many teachers do we see? There are the obvious 3 in gowns and mortar boards, and maybe a man in a topper to the right of the door?

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    Niall McAuley

    • 01/Jul/2015 09:10:14

    Young, Shaw and Taylor seem to have been the longest serving in this period.

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    Carol Maddock

    • 01/Jul/2015 14:40:50

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley A Rev. John Beattie, B.A., T.C.D., formerly of the Omagh Academy, was appointed as Classics Master circa November 1860. (Belfast Morning News, 12 November 1860) I'm wondering if he was gone by 1863, since he's not mentioned in the directory, though Mr Shaw is still only Assistant Classical Master. They were advertising for a Drawing Master in December 1860. (Saunders’s News-Letter, 26 December 1860)

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    sharon.corbet

    • 02/Jul/2015 03:54:01

    [https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] Young may have been acting as Classics Master himself. (Assuming that he's this Alexander Waugh Young. He may also have become headmaster of Tettenhall College after leaving Coleraine Academical Institution in 1870.)