Londonderry Schools Company History Timeline


Strand House School (1860) closed during the First World War and the girls mostly went to Victoria or St Lurach's.


For 30 years, from 1868, Foyle College had to compete with a vigorous rival in the Londonderry Academical Institution.


The town maintained an agriculture-based economy until 1870 when Colonel William Pillsbury began shoe factories in the Broadway section of Town.


The first of these, the Ladies' Collegiate School, was set up in 1877 by the Misses McKillip - pioneers in the movement for higher education for women in Ireland.


At the top of Lawrence Hill, Miss J. Kerr had opened St Lurach's College circa 1900 - this school also took boarders.


1905) and poet, known as ‘Eva of the Nation’, who contributed patriotic verse and poetry to The Nation and other nationalist periodicals, died in poverty in Brisbane.


1910 Mary Eva Kelly, widow of the Young Irelander Kevin Izod O’Doherty (d.


Attempts to remove this influence, such as the MacPherson Bill (1919), mainly failed because of opposition from the Catholic Church and their allies in the Nationalist Party.


The Government of Ireland Act 1920, section five, forbade the devolved Northern Ireland parliament from endowing any religious body with state funds: if schools wanted funding they could no longer be denominationally controlled.


From the outset of his appointment, in a speech to the Northern Ireland Senate in June 1921, Londonderry made it very clear what his hopes were:

In September 1921 Londonderry established the Lynn committee on education reform.

Local accountability arrived incrementally in Northern Ireland from its official creation in the summer of 1921.

Logue replied, describing the committee as ‘an attack…organised against our schools’. He maintained this stance despite the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921) which effectively ensured Northern Ireland’s existence for the foreseeable future.


Important to nationalists, though largely overlooked at the time due to the oath row, was the Method of Voting and Redistribution of Seats Act (1922) passed in September; it abolished proportional representation in local elections.

Catholic schools had lost financial backing from Dublin in October 1922 and so reluctantly recognised the education ministry’s authority in order to receive pay.

The committee, under the chairmanship of Orangeman and Belfast News Letter editor R.J. Lynn, pressed on with its hearings throughout 1922 and presented interim findings to Londonderry in the summer.

The end of 1922 witnessed a remarkable battle of wills between Catholic teachers and the ministry over the oath of allegiance to the king required of public servants.

In 1922 Victoria High School and St Lurach's amalgamated to form Londonderry High School.


In the spring of 1923 the Education Act (Northern Ireland), more commonly known as ‘the Londonderry Act’ was passed.

Aside from other social and religious questions, not least the refusal to transfer any schools, the Catholic Church found itself vigorously opposing the 1923 act on the issue of teacher training.

Despite the relatively successful though transient outcome to the training crisis it could not hide the fact that the 1923 act was fatally damaged.

The Catholic Church demanded a separate Northern Ireland college for Catholic men but despite the determination of leading northern bishop, Joseph MacRory, Stanmillis recorded fifty applications from Catholics in 1923.


Protestant opposition grew throughout 1924 gaining popular support.

Londonderry realised MacRory would not move and towards the end of 1924 wrote to another important northern bishop; continuing Logue’s boycott Bishop Patrick O’Donnell refused several invitations to join a committee to resolve the issue.


Persistence paid off in January 1925 when O’Donnell succeeded Logue as Archbishop of Armagh.


With his act in tatters Londonderry’s relationship with Craig worsened and probably contributed to his resignation in January 1926.


By 1928 Duncreggan, formerly the home of the late William Tillie, H.M.L., had been purchased and the boarders were transferred there from St Lurach's.


Following the Second World War, and as a consequence of the many changes brought about by the 1947 Education Act, the governors acquired a site at Springtown on Northland Road, overlooking the school playing‑fields, to build a new school.


In 1960, the last of our Broadway shoe factories was destroyed in a fire.


All this would change in July 1963 when Interstate Highway I-93 opened.

Derry’s population now is about 5 times larger then it was in 1963.


D. Akenson, Education and Enmity (Belfast 1973).


H.M. Hyde, The Londonderrys: a family portrait (London 1979).


In October 2007, the school celebrated its 390th anniversary with a plaque commemorating headmasters of the school since 1617.

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