THE SCHOOL – PAST & PRESENT
By the terms of his will made in 1828, the Right Honourable Robert Ward ordained that a sum of £1,000 should be 'expended in building and endowing a School-house for the education of boys in Mathematics, Astronomy and Navigation'. In 1856 the school was opened under the name of Bangor Endowed School.
The first building occupied by the school was the 'Old School House' in Front Street, now Main Street. It was a picturesque cottage type of building on the site of the present Bank of Ireland at the corner of Central Avenue. Here the work of the school was carried on until 1901.
The school then became nomadic for a time, using various buildings, including one house in Princetown Road and another in College Gardens which later became the Ballyholme Hotel.
Thanks to a bequest from the late W K Crosby, the School moved to College Avenue in 1905 and remained on that site until 2013, adapting and developing the buildings to meet increasing demand.
In January 2013, after 11 years of planning and preparing, the School moved into its current newly-built building on Gransha Road, beginning a new era in its substantial history.
Bangor Grammar School today exists to provide for the boys of the greater Bangor area the best in modern grammar school education.
The easy accessibility and proximity to home allows the boys to engage in the wide range of valuable extra-curricular activities.
“I very much believe that Bangor Grammar School is one of the leading grammar schools in Northern Ireland, where each pupil achieves success alongside developing into a well-rounded, confident and articulate individual. To support this, the quality of pastoral care afforded to all pupils is excellent, both inside and outside of the classroom.
The relationship between parents and the School is a vital one, to ensure that your son engages with all the school has to offer, whether that be curricular or extra-curricular. In doing so, it will better allow him to develop the many qualities and skills necessary for success in today's workplace. More importantly, it will better guarantee that he reaches his full potential.”
History behind the School Song
1950 wasn’t exactly a quiet year. As Chairman Mao moved his furniture into Beijing’s Forbidden Palace, India was moving out of the British Empire, while crisis in Korea forced the world to the brink of a Third World War. In Bangor Grammar School, however, neither the looming threat of war nor the advance of Communism was sufficient to distract the indefatigable Miss Patton and Dr Emery, as their collaborative effort to produce a school song neared its great culmination. It was on 16th March 1950 that they finally unveiled Carmen Nostrum, and it was certainly no slap-dash effort. The Crosby building had been resonating to Dr Emery’s setting of the song since the boys had returned from their Christmas break, while Miss Patton had taken no chances with the Latin text, and had submitted it to the Classics Faculty of Oxford University for approval. The effort unquestionably paid dividends. The 1950 edition of the Gryphon declared the new song to be ‘eminently singable’, and even if subsequent generations of Grammarians have mangled the odd phrase now and then, it still has the capacity to stir the soul. Whether at Ravenhill, in the Clarke Hall, or more recently, atop the Eiffel Tower, no great school occasion would be complete without it. As for the difficulty some experience when learning the tune, J K Rowling offers some unexpected advice. It was, after all, her Albus Dumbledore who bellowed, ‘Before we go to bed, let us sing the school song. Everyone pick their favourite tune and off we go’. It’s hard to imagine the same words coming from the lips of Miss Patton, and she would most probably have thought Dumbledore’s lyrics a rather poor effort, but these two very different school songs do share a few common features. In both cases it’s true to say that not everyone singing necessarily sings the same tune, despite the best efforts of Dr Emery’s worthy successors. And yet, despite the passage of years and the disappearance of Latin from the school curriculum, it is impossible to deny that our school song, like its Hogwarts counterpart, is endowed with a certain indefinable magic. Floreat Bangoria!