. This book, "A Tale of Two Centuries"
costs �4-50 collected
(or �5-00 inc post and packaging)
and can be purchased from:
The school on (028) 90 826498 or
(or see contact details for the school on the
THE DAYS I WENT TO SCHOOL
||In summer and in winter,
In sunshine, rain or snow,
I walked the road from Leverogue
To school in fair Drumbo.
Just a Master and a Teacher
With several classes each.
To read, to write and work out sums,
Endeavoured us to teach.
||When the air raids came to Belfast
The classes rose in numbers
As children came to Drumbo
To escape from German bombers.
Many, many things we learned,
In those happy
Things we never would forget
As we went our separate ways.
|| I remember Mr. Morrison.
Headmaster of repute,
Miss Maxwell was the Mistress,
Precise and quite astute.
She took the girls for needlework,
To teach us how to knit,
It took so long to knit my socks,
I'm afraid they didn't fit!
||Poetry learned long ago
I can remember still.
Songs and music from the
I can recall at will.
From time to time I go back home
To Drumbo on the hill,
My schooldays now so far away,
But very near me still.
||Although everything was basic,
Not up-to-date like now,
The things we learned, we learned them well,
And life was good somehow.
There was no central heating,
No low-flush inside `loo',
supplied the heat
The long, cold winters through.
||In memory I'm setting out
Down Ballycairn Hill,
Past Sam Hanna's farmyard,
Walking with a will.
To Drumbo Schoolhouse, past the Church
I enter in once more,
With friends and pals from long ago,
And gently close the door.
Aline Hanna (Matthews) 1987
(Pupil in Drumbo 1940-1944)
It gives me great pleasure to provide a brief foreword to what you, the
reader, will discover, is an interesting and thoroughly researched account
of the historical origins of Drumbo Primary School. Dr. Chris Reid, its
author, has cast his research net widely and this particular example of the
history of an individual school, which has had such a close connection with
Drumbo as a community over the years, is firmly rooted in primary sources,
notably the relevant source materials from the period of the `national
schools' now held by the Public Record Office (Northern Ireland). Some of
these documents are in fact reproduced to good effect. The book is also rich
in evocative photographs of the teachers and pupils of yesteryear, thereby
providing a valuable historical record of the Drumbo area, not to mention
interesting evidence of the changes in clothing and fashion styles of both
adults and children during the past century.
These faces, from a past now
lost and gone forever, stare out at us, the readers, across the years,
provoking the obvious question - whatever became of them all'? Were their
lives happy and fulfilled or otherwise'? Some of the teachers look proud of
their profession, as well they might be, in a part of the world where
education has rightly been valued. I was naturally intrigued to discover a
`Herbert McMinn' (no relation to my knowledge) amongst the members of the
class of 1918! I also wondered whether the girls' cookery class of 1919 had
the makings of some good Ulster soda bread in their mixing bowls.
recent letter from President Bill Clinton to the pupils and the reference to
the establishment of the school's own Internet web site bring us right up to
the present and I was pleased to see the school's commitment to Education
for Mutual Understanding, through its involvement in the cross-community
contact scheme with Saint Patrick's Primary School, Castlewellan, given due
recognition. The appointment of Mrs. Ruth Daly, as the first female
Principal in 1997 is also an interesting example of how the role of women in
the management of primary education has developed positively in recent
years. Things have come a long way from the days of `The Master' and Me
situation described by one national school pupil at the beginning-of the
century: 'The master put fear into every scholar ... for he used his cane.'
I would want to wish both Drumbo Primary School and this book well. It is a
fitting celebration of over two hundred years of educational endeavour in
the Drumbo district. Drumbo is no longer `out in the sticks', and the postal
address of its school does not accurately reflect its forward-looking
approach to education.
Professor Richard McMinn Principal
Stranmillis University College, Belfast
The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, not unlike her
parent church in Scotland has, from its earliest beginnings, stressed the
importance of education and of presenting "the divine image of education
encircled by her three children, Knowledge, Power and Virtue."
education was, to a large extent, the result of the religious
characteristics of the Presbyterians. The Reformation opened the Bible and
invited the people to read it for themselves. Consequently, the Bible was
introduced into the family and with it other books, such as the Longer and
Shorter Catechisms, to complement it. Thus it was felt that children must,
at least, be taught to read these. This was the primary reason for the
establishment of schools, which parents themselves for many years, a to
maintain It has always been a Presbyterian principle that the responsibility
for education is primarily the concern of parents and, the development of
this principle has led as we shall see, to much controversy between Church
The narrative that follows has been written in the hope that
those who attended Drumbo National School, latterly to become Drumbo Primary
School, might realise in a deeper way how much they owe to the opportunities
afforded them in this unassuming rural school, in the heart of Co. Down.
History has been defined as "a past of more than common interest". It is
hoped that this edition of the history of education in Drumbo will prove
such to all who may read it, and that it will fall into the hands of all
lovers of Drumbo at home and abroad.
||Christopher I. Reid