School Archive Report 2014

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The Deed of Bequest instigated by Edward Lord Viscount Bangor and The Honourable Robert Ward Esq. to establish a School in Bangor in the County of Down as provided for in the Will of Robert Ward’s Grandfather dated 1828 with money bequeathed by Lord Viscount Bangor, his brother.

Although this was reported in last year’s edition of the Grammarian, I feel that the full story needs to be told.

On the Saturday morning following the Bangor Grammarian Dinner of 2012, held in Bangor Grammar School College Avenue,  an Open Morning was held to allow members of the School Family to visit the College Avenue estate for the last time before it was handed over to Mr Eddie Irvine and the developers.  During this very successful event the School Archivist, Barry Greenaway, was approached by Frank Boyle, Grammarian (1949-58).  He produced and handed over a hand-written document contained in an acid free wallet which, with some shock, was realised by the Archivist to be the Deed of Bequest leading to the foundation of Bangor Endowed School, later Bangor Grammar School.  This Deed had not been seen by anyone outside the Boyle family for more than 50 years.  Before that it had possibly not been seen since 1906. Indeed there was no record of its existence (a document was known to exist in Dublin, where the pre-partition educational authority lay.) The date on the Deed is 17th April 1856.

During his sixth form years, more than fifty years ago, Charles Boyle (1952-63) brother of Frank was sent up with some other boys to “clear out” the tower room in College Avenue.  In doing so he came across the above document and had the good sense and foresight to put it in his pocket.  All the other material was destroyed!  He thought no more about it but kept it safe in any case.  Recently it once more came to light and realising it was important Frank returned it to the School as described above, in Charles Boyle’s name.  Thanks to him we have in our possession the single most important item in the School’s Archives.  It tells the entire story between 1821 and 1856 of how Bangor Grammar School (the Navigation School of the document) came into existence.

The Archivist after consulting with Mr Connolly, the Headmaster at that time, took the Deed to the North Down Museum where the Curator enthusiastically declared it to be genuine in that its character and component elements (paper, structure, ink etc.) belonged to the mid-nineteenth century. The Deed was signed by all the parties concerned including Edward Lord Viscount Bangor of Castleward and Robert Edward Ward Esquire of Bangor Castle. It was decided that there was no reason to believe it to be other than the original Deed of Bequest, a Memorial of which was made to be lodged in the then (1856) National Registry of Ireland.  The Archivist then contacted the Registry of Deeds in Dublin where a Curator was able to identify their Memorial from the Archivist’s description and to supply a catalogue number.  A certified copy of the Dublin document was then requested and supplied.  This Memorial is the official record of the Deed’s existence.  Bangor Grammar School’s Archives now possess both the original Deed – there is no other known copy – and a certified copy of the Memorial which is referred to in the Deed itself. We have in our possession the very hand-written words and signatures which were instrumental in creating Bangor Endowed School / Bangor Grammar School one hundred and fifty eight years ago.


Since last summer the Archives have grown to fill two bays of the Undercroft and have been called upon by a wide variety of people and groups.

Bangor Grammar School was asked  by Antony Seldon Master of Wellington College, Crowthorne Berkshire (founded 1858) and David Walsh, Schoolmaster and military historian via Stephen Connolly to contribute to the recently published Public Schools and The Great War, The Generation Lost.  The Archives participated in the nation-wide troll for information.  The book was published in January 2014 and includes our contribution.

Barry Niblock, Grammarian and Author, requested information in connection with a forthcoming publication by Terence Bowman.  The Archives were pleased to provide both photographs and information. The Archives also supplied information and photographs for Barry’s forthcoming record of those killed from North Down during the Second World War.  We also contributed to his earlier record on the Great War.

David Toman, Grammarian and Oxford graduate, sent Information to School and forwarded to Archives for action.  Contact made with David Toman and records updated.

Roger Corbett, Grammarian & BRFC official was approached by the Archives on behalf of Barry Niblock for information on Holden Baird, Grammarian & Second World War civilian casualty.

Allan Smyth, Grammarian (son of Councillor Marion Smith MBE & Stanley Smith MBE, Governor).

A search by the archives and Allan’s own work brought to light a Falklands War veteran and Grammarian, Kevin McGimpsey, former Captain and Adjutant 3rd Para.  His Regimental war dairies, recently publicised, form a unique day-by-day record of the Falklands War.

James Gibson, Grammarian, medical Doctor and the oldest surviving Grammarian visited the School in December 2013 and the Archives supplied photographs and information relevant to his time at School (1930’s).  He presented his Honours Blazer to the School and a report was published in the Spectator.

Brian Johnston, Grammarian, enquired from Stephen Connolly last December about a cup presented by his mother in memory of his father in the 1960’s. Was it still in existence? The Headmaster asked the Archives to help.  The cup was identified and produced for Brian to see a few days later.  It was the 440 Yards Challenge Cup.

Stephen Connolly asked the Archives for information on David Leslie Campbell, Grammarian, who had just presented the School with a copy of his book, a particularly fine one.  We were able to supply David Campbell’s full school record.

Andrew Weaver, Grammarian and Surgeon, Indian Army 1940-45 recently died. Stephen Connolly passed his obituary in the DT to the Archives.  After the War Andrew served at the RVH and was President of Ulster Medical Society amongst other things.  The Archives were able to supply his School record to SDC and the Grammarian Committee.

David Johnston, Grammarian and his wife Jilly asked The Archives for help finding information on Alexander Harold Philip G. Levine, Grammarian (deceased), a relative. We were able to provide  information from the archival record.

Gary Greer, Vice Principal BGS, asked for help from the Archivist in connection with a retirement gift for Stephen Connolly. The Archivist provided calligraphic work as requested.

The BBC School Report project featured the Archives in a headline making report by Harvey Tomblin and Louis Gault-Reid (Year 9).  The Archives supplied some Great War information and artefacts together with an interview and comment.

The archives receives a request by email from Dennis Holmes, California, for details of James McFeeters Headmastership during the Great War.



All the major events of 2012 and 201

Stephen Connolly’s last assembly:

The Carol Service 2013


BGS Between the Wars: a memoir by Paul Wilkins, Grammarian,  son of Maurice Wilkins: dated 1989

Advert for BGS in Belfast Newsletter dated 1897

Named photographs of BGS: inc. Drama, House, Debating, Form: gift of Colin Walker, Grammarian (1218)

A collection of photographs of the Pickie area in 19th century

The BGS Dramatic Society:  a collection of photographs and programmes

BGS CCF Title Board (1977):  the gift of Colin Lyttle, Grammarian and former Cadet RSM.

A level Music Examinations:  Aural Recordings 1970-1980

BGS school cap and tie pre 1965: the cap named Gary Dalglish (3052)

The BGS pupil register dated 1971-1988

BGS 1st XV Honours badges 1946-48:  different designs

The Walter Dowdall Trophy (Sailing):  dated 1965

Photos and documents of Gransha area dated Sept 16th 1910

Notebook of Palaeontology Drawings by Geoffrey Livens dated 1910

Honours Blazer from 1937: gift of Dr. Jim Gibson, Grammarian (0341)

BGS Board of Trustees Trust Deed dated 1979


                                                Floriat Bangoria