Ros Davies' Co. Down, Northern Ireland Family History Research Site
© Rosalind Davies 2001
Permission granted to reprint research for non-profit use only

School Photos of Co. Down

Annsborough School Ardmillan School Ballyculter Old School Ballydorn School Ballyhalbert School Ballykinler School Ballyknock School
Bann School, Lawrencetown Ballyvester School Bann School, Lawrencetown   Bann School, Lawrencetown Clandeboye National School  
Clonduff Presbyterian School Donaghmore Glebe National School Drumballyroney School Dunbar School, Banbridge Guiness National School Holywood National School 2nd Killyleagh Presbyterian School
Kilmood old schoolhouse Legananny School Lurganville National School Moneyreagh National School Raffrey National School Shanrod School St. James, Kilwarlin

Annsborough School

Annsborough School
near Castlewellan

Built by Murland brothers,mill owners in 1835. It was an integrated primary school by 1996. The enrolment in 2006 was 42 & it was threatened with closure .

References; MO 20/4/2005 p20; DR 29/3/2006 & 20/4/1936


Ardmillan/ Ballydorn School
near the village of Ardmillan in Ballydorn townland

A boy's school was erected in the village in 1825 and paid for by local subscription. It was supported by the National Board of Education for £10 a year in 1836 and had 86 pupils; all Protestants, who paid 2 shillings & 6 pence per quarter in 1836. It was a National School in 1863 Mr John Morrow was manager 2/3/1928(DR)

This photo was kindly sent by James McMillan whose father, William McBride McMillan, finished his schooloing at Ballydorn school in 1925 and emigrated to America in 1930 (the sign over the door says Ardmillan). The picture was taken by his Uncle John McMillan ( who emigrated to America in 1911) while visiting in 1927.


  References; OSM; school files on LDS film#247416 for 1861-1874 ; GV; DR; Sandra Gilpin




This photo was kindly sent by Sandra Gilpin. It shows the Ardmillan/Ballydorn School c. 2010. It was converted and extended in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

Regarding the different names, Sandra Gilpin says that this was a tussle between locals and the men from the Education Board. The nearest collection of houses (what would be known in England as a hamlet and here as a clachan) was Ardmillan but the townland boundary was the river at "The Brig" and the school was very firmly in Ballydorn. I assume the locals ignored the sign and refused to call the school by the official name - particularly if they lived in Ballydorn.



Old school house in Ballyculter

Ballyculter school
The old school built in 1823

George Jackson, who emigrated to Vancouver, remembers the old school at Ballyculter where he went as a boy (around 1900). It was a mixed school financed by Lord Bangor. His teachers were Mr. McMurray and Miss Mooney. Lord Bangor ran a party every Christmas for the children and gave out the prizes for the exams set by the teachers. Mr. George Stockdale of Downpatrick was the builder.

References; Inv 2001 p 51-57& Inv 2003 p37



Ballyhalbert Public Elementary School

Ballyhalbert National School

It was built in 1832 at the expense of £400 which was a very large sum for the size of the house. It was supported by the Kildare Street Society which gave £50 but the remainder was raised by subscription. The master received £8 a year form the National Board and 2 shillings & 6 pence to 3 shillings & 4 pence per quarter from the children. In 1836 there were 102 boys, 73 girls with 102 Protestants.

This lovely old postcard was kindly sent by Pat McGowan Bartos


Ballykinler School

In 1836, the original school was under the National Board of Education and patronage of the Marquis and Marchioness of Downshire. Its enrolment was - day school scholars (48 males & 30 females); Sunday school scholars (15 males & 24 females) with 5 male& 4 female Sunday school teachers.

7 Apr 1855 (Down Recorder) At a meeting of the Catholic Parishioners of Tyrella and Ballykinlar held in the Parish Chapel on the 25th March 1855, the Rev. Patrick Curoe P.P. in the chair, rhe subjoined Resolution and address were adopted. Moved by Mr. P. Murray and seconded by Mr. P . Curoe that Mr. W. Russell Graharn be requested to act as Secretary. It was further moved by Mr. John W. Hanna, seconded by Mr. William Magorrian, "That the grateful thanks of the Parish are due to Mr. McGrath of Waterloo, Liverpool, for having built and endowed at his own expense the new Parochial School and for contributing so munificently towards the erection of a new Church and that the following address be signed by our chairman and secretary on the part of the parishioners and be presented to Mr. McGrath.
The Endowed School, as it was originally called, was a handsome building in the Gothic style - and a unique country school, at a time when many rural schools were little better than cowsheds. It had an open bell-turret and was built on a little hill near Carricknab Four Roads. The Boys' school and Girls' school were finally amalgamated in the 1930's. Mr. McGrath's contribution to its erection was in excess of 2 thousand pounds. A princely sum in those hard times. For the next hundred years first as a National School, then after 1920, a public Elementary School, it served the educational needs of Ballykinlar. In 1942 there was a bell tower in the centre of the roofI. t was finally replaced by the modern St. Joseph's School which was built in 1963 close to the church of St. Patrick and St. Joseph. The late Rev. Matthew Dillon C.C. had the old school building renovated and improved and it now has a new life and function as a Parish Recreation Hall. There used to be a porch at either end. The piece with the flat roof was added in the 1970s when it was turned into a Parochial hall.
The school registers, roll books, etc are preserved in the Public Record Office, Balmoral Avenue, Belfast (LM 1997 p83, photo)

Newspaper Articles from Down Recorder;
notice (see above) 7 Apr 1855 DR; concert 3 Feb 1883 DR; concert 9 Jan 1886 DR

This photo was kindly sent by Paddy Todd who attended the school. References; Paddy Todd; DR; LM 1997 p83



Ballyknock School in Moira parish ; This school had funds provided by the Kildare Place Society. It was established in 1823 and had 80 pupils in 1836. The sign above the door says school built 1853. Boys & girls were in separate rooms.

These photos were kindly sent by Margaret Mueller

Ballyknock Girls School BallyknockBoys School


Ballyvester School

Ballyvester School house in Donagadee parish

It was a National School in 1863 (GV); records in PRONI film #1701995 Ref #697



The Bann National School, Lawrencetown, Tullylish parish - now known as Laurencwtown, Lenaderg & Tullylish Community Association

This school started in 1832 in a small cottage near the Catholic chapel. It's income of £8 per year was from the National Board with £12 a year contributed from the pupils. It taught intellectual & moral education using the Authorised Version of the Scriptures & was visited by Rev. Edmund McGinness, parish priest. In 1836 , there were 76 males & 45 females with 27 Presbyterians & 94 Catholics. The master was Terence O'Reilly, a Catholic . The head master in 1910 was Francis Armstrong with headmistress Mrs. Armstrong & assistant teacher Miss Fealy. (POD) ; records in PRONI film #1736304 Ref #1278; click here for a class photo 1932

records in PRONI film #1736304 Ref #1278

References; POD


Castlewellan- St. Malachy's Public Elementary School
in Main Street

This public elementary school built 1897 by Very Rev. Joseph O'Connor & enlarged in 1937 by Ven. Archdeacon McKenna & opened by Most Rev. Damiel Mageean. By 2008 the school was closed and the building used as a community centre.

records in PRONI film #1710195 Ref #685; LDS film#247458 1864-1918

This photo was kindly sent by Damien Rogan


Clandeboye National School School on the Claneboye Estate, Bangor

Built in 1858 most probably for the children of the estate workers. It was a National School by 1863 (GV); Mr Waterworth was princpal c. 1900 & Miss Kennedy a teacher (NDM p11)

Down Recorder article;
fete 10 Sep 1864



This lovely old photo was kindly sent by Vernon Moore


Click here for a photo of the class c. 1890



Clonduff Presbyterian School
in Ballynagappag townland

This school was under the auspices of the London Hibernian Society and patronage of the Marquis and Marchioness of Downshire. in 1836, there were day school scholars, 16 males & 8 females. The Sunday school scholars were 16 males & 24 females. Sunday school teachers were 6 males & 2 females . The school still there in 1863 .


This photo taken c. 1980 shows the building being demolished. It was kindly sent by Jim Hanna


Glebe National Schol

Donaghmore Glebe National School
opposite Church of Ireland

records in PRONI film #1701994 Ref #243

This rear photo of the school was kindly sent by Philip Dinsmore

Drumballyroney School
next door to Drumballyroney Church of Ireland

a Parish School in the church grounds. An early schoolmaster was Patrick Bronte (rector) who was the father of the famous Bronte sisters. It was described as a a thatched building in good repair with 20 males & 10 females in 1835. It was rebuilt by subscription in 1870 with a teaching staff of 3. Evening classes were held for adults. b/w photo available ORHB p45. It has been converted into the Bronte Museum.

records in PRONI film #1701994 Ref #298


Dunbar School in Downshire Rd, Banbridge

next to Unitarian Presbyterian Church

Named after Hugh Dunbar who was a manufacturer of linen, a Unitarian and philanthropist. The school was built after his death in 1847. In (much) later times it housed the Academy’s preparatory department and the Technical College .


This photo was kindly sent by Philip Dinsmore  


Guiness National School
This school was built on the site of an old Mass Rock in 1848 under National System. It had one room with 34 students. The first teacher was John Fishbourne from Lisburn. Miss Mary Harvey was principal 1909-1911 ( HMP) then Bernard Mullan 1911-1913; Miss Margaret Murphy 1914-1914; George McKeown 1914; Miss Arabella Sheahan 1914-1937; Sr. Angela Boyland 1937-1944; Miss Mary Lundy 1944-1946; Miss Frances Coughlin 1946-1947; Miss Margaret Murray (Mrs. Liddy) 1947- 1972; Mrs. Glenys Magennis 1972-1977 & Mrs. Mary Kelly 1977- . With an enrolment of 32 in 2006 it was threatened with closure (DR29/3/2006) . Finally closed (MO11/6/08)

records in PRONI film #1701995 Ref #716

References; HPM p31,32


Holywood National School

Holywood (Sullivan) National School

The principal in 1910 was Mr Black, Infants School mistress Miss Scott & female principal Miss Gardner . Now a Library

This photo was kindly sent to me by Brian McCleary.


2nd Killyleagh Presbyterian Church School

- at the rear of the church in Cow St, Killyleagh

This school was opened 3 Jan 1885 . The Down Recorder newspaper has an article about its opening.

It's now used as a church hall.


This photo was kindly sent by G. Mark Donald

  References; DR



old Court House Killinchy

Old School House, Kilmood

opposite St. Mary's Church

The school was established in 1822 with land attached. It supported by the Erasmus Smith's Board for £30 a year . In 1836 there were 62 males & 56 females; 118 Protestants. The pupils paid a half penny a week. The teacher in 1836 was J. Lamont. There was also a female school supported by the Hibernian Society in the same building . The old school is now the church hall

This photo was kindly sent to me by Brian McCleary.

References; Vol 7 OSM


Legananny School

Legananny School
in Drumgooland parish

A school was opened in Morgan's Barn in 1834 it then connected to National Board . The teacher in 1835 was John Gilmer. The children paid 1-2 pennies a week and there were 80 males & 41 females. A new school was built in 1893.

References; DDPP p67 & 86


Lurganville National School
in Moira parish

The school was established in 1810 and was formerly under the Kildare Place Society . In 1836, it had 40-50 pupils and was taught by a Presbyterian clergyman.

This photo was taken in 1968 and kindly sent by Sandra Stoddart

click here for class photos 1911 & 1913

References; OSM


Moneyrea Schoolhouse

Moneyrea National School
in Comber parish

This schoolhouse is on the north side of the Ballyknockan to Belfast road. It was built in 1820 and partly paid for by contributions & assisted by a government grant of £80 .In 1836 attendance was 99 Protestants & 1 Catholic. (64 males & 36 females) It was supported by the pupils and taught by Mr. Cowan/Cavan in 1836. The room was described as 20 feet by 40 feet . It became a National School and the teacher in 1863 was Henry Fletcher .

Attached to the above school was an annexe with 12 females, all Protestants. It was also paid for by the pupils. It was established 18th May 1834 & built by contributions. It was described in 1836 as being 33 feet by 16 feet and taught by Miss Emerson .

records in PRONI film #1701996 Ref #777

This photo was kindly sent to me by Sandra Gilpin

References; OSM ; GV


Raffrey National School

Nancy Schaalje has kindly sent this old photo.

It was used by the local Orange for a period after closing ( 4 May 1935) and is curerently being used as storage possibly by the Church nearby.

John and Agnes Minnis were Head Teacher and Home Mistress at the School while living near the school. They retired in the early 1900s.

References; Hilary Gowdy ; DR


Shanrod Schoolhouse in Garvaghy parish - 2 miles from Glen Corner

This school was established in 1828 in a small thatched house. It's income came from the London Hibernian Society for £8 a year and from the pupils £12 a year. It provided intellectual & moral education and was visited by Rev. Hugh Hamilton, vicar. There were no catechisms. The Authorised Version of the Scriptures was used. In 1836 there were 40 males; 20 females- 20 Protestants; 36 Presbyterians; 4 Catholics and the master was Hugh Piper (a Presbyterian). It was rebuilt in 1859. Closed now.


This lovely old postcard was kindly sent by Jim Bolger

  References; DDPP p55


St James Schoolhouse, Kilwarlin

This school is next to St. James Church, Kilwarlin. It was built in 1825. In 1836 it was described as a neat, roughcast brick cottage with dimensions of 33 feet by 15 feet. It was built in 1825 at a cost of £49 raised by subscription. The Marquis of Downshire gave £5 . It was under the Kildare Place Society & the patronage of the Marquis and Marchioness of Downshire. The day had 19 males & 20 females students then.
This photo was kindly sent to me by Brian McCleary.

References; V12 p 86, 88,99, 100, 106 OSM


Other Schoolhouse photos available- email me

Name of School Parish Reference
Ballyroney Drumballyroney ORHB p45
Banbridge Seapatrick OB p23
Derryboy Killinchy DR 29/3/2006
Donaghcloney Donaghcloney ODHD p45
Downshire School Hillsborough ODHD p35
Drumaghlis Kilmore DR 29/3/2006
Drumaroad Loughinisland HCDTD p156 & 159 ; DR 29/3/2006
Dunsford Dunsford DR 29/3/2006
Ferryquarter Ballyculter Inv 2003 p11-16
Gilford Tullylish OGSLL p18
Guiness Dromara DR 29/3/2006
Hillsborough Hillsborough ODHD p29
Katesbridge Drumballyroney ORHB p35
Knocknagor Tullylish OGSLL p45
Newtownards Model Newtownards NDM p57
Rathfriiland Drumgath ORHB p2,19
Saintfield Saintfield SHM 1990 p 62
Scarva Aghaderg OGSLL p32
Tonaghmore Saintfield SHM 1990 p30
Tullymacarath Dromore ODHD pi

click here for a list of schools in each parish & a list of class photos available
click here for a list of schools in 19th century

click here for class photos

by Ros Davies