Lurgan College

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Coordinates: 54°28′19″N 6°20′53″W / 54.47194°N 6.34806°W / 54.47194; -6.34806

Lurgan College
College Walk

, ,
BT66 6JW

Northern Ireland
(+44) 28 38 322 083
TypeSelective Grammar school
MottoMeliora Sequor (To Follow Better Things)
Religious affiliation(s)Christian [1]
Established1873 (1873)
FounderSamuel Watts Esq.
ChairmanMr. S Abraham
HeadmasterMr T.D. Robinson
Age14 to 19
Enrolment420 students
HousesBoulger     , Cowan     , Harper     , Kirkpatrick     
Colour(s)Navy, Red, White
Board of Governors16 members
School BoardSouthern Education and Library Board

Lurgan College is a Christian,[1] co-educational[2] , 14–19 age selective grammar school situated in the town of Lurgan, County Armagh, Northern Ireland.


In lieu of the establishment of Lurgan Model primary school in 1863, the town of Lurgan required a secondary education school which met the educational needs of the growing industrial town. The owner of a local brewery, Samuel Watts, set out plans for an endowment fund in his will for the formation of a middle class, secondary school which provided education to boys in Agriculture, Classics and English. After Watt's death in February 1850, a Trustee Committee was formed to ensure the £9000 in Watt's will would contribute towards creating a new school. However, it was not until December 1872 that the Trustee Committee had gathered enough funds to commence construction of the school.[2]

The school was established at a residence on Market Hill, Lurgan in March 1873. The first headmaster was E. V. Boulger of Dublin. The construction of the school buildings in the township of Brownlowsderry was completed in August 1873 and the school accepted its first cohort of students in October of the same year.[2]

Boulger was a Classical scholar and uncomfortable among small boys, and left in 1875,[3] to be replaced by William T. Kirkpatrick of the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. Kirkpatrick oversaw the student population grow numerically and was responsible for the growth in academics at the College. Kirkpatrick retired in 1899 and Mr James Cowan of Manchester Grammar School assumed principality of the College. Cowan was responsible for the introduction of Science education in the College in 1905 and the further integration of female student admission in 1918. Cowan retired in 1922 having failed to rectify the school's dwindling numbers with under 30 pupils enrolled when he retired.[2]

Present Day[edit]

The school continues to rank within the top 20 Northern Irish secondary level schools in the Sunday Times Parent Power Survey.[4]

The school has received the necessary funding to proceed with plans to erect a new building, replacing all of the current accommodation except for the listed 1873 portion. Work was to commence in March 2009, but this still has not happened due to departmental cuts.[5]

Notable former pupils[edit]

Albert Lewis, father of the author C.S. Lewis (1898–1963), attended the school from 1877-79 under Headmaster W.T. Kirkpatrick. Albert later became Kirkpatrick's solicitor. When Kirkpatrick retired and began to privately tutor pupils he taught both of Albert's sons, first Warnie Lewis whom he prepared for the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, and later C.S. Lewis himself.[6]

William "W.T." Kirkpatrick, headmaster of the school in the late 19th century, was a private tutor to C.S. Lewis in the mid 1910s. He was inspiration for the character Digory Kirke (a professor) who was created by C.S. Lewis for the Narnia books a quarter of a century later.[7]

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, FRS FRAS, Ph.D (born as Susan Jocelyn Bell, 15 July 1943) is an astrophysicist, who, as a postgraduate student, discovered the first radio pulsars with her thesis advisor Antony Hewish, for which he (but not she) won a Nobel Prize. Some feel Bell Burnell's contribution was deliberately understated.[8] She attended Lurgan College Preparatory Department from 1948–56 and returned to Lurgan College in 2007 while filming the BBC bio-doc 'Northern Star' and then again later that same year as the guest of honour at the school's speech day and prize-giving ceremony.[9][10]

Clubs and societies[edit]

The School offers the following extra-curricular activities, clubs and societies:

  • Army Cadets Force,
  • Art,
  • Community Service,
  • Computer,
  • Debating,
  • Drama,
  • Duke of Edinburgh's Award,
  • Environmental Club
  • First Aid,
  • Girls' Hockey Club
  • Geographical,
  • Historical,
  • Modern Languages,
  • Political,
  • Public Speaking,
  • Rugby club
  • Boys Hockey Club,
  • Scripture Union,
  • Skiing


Girls' hockey[edit]

The 1st XI girls hockey team have had notable success in the past number of years. In 2003 they won the Ulster Girls Senior Schools Cup and went on to win the Kate Russell All Irelands in 2003. They repeated this success three times more in 2011, 2013 and 2014. They have been in the final of the Ulster Girls Senior Schools Cup in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The 2nd XI have also had great success. They reached the final of the McDowell Cup in 2012 and won this trophy in 2013.


  1. ^ a b Varied (2008). Lurgan College Welcome Booklet (Year 11). Lurgan: Lurgan College.
  2. ^ a b c d Lurgan College. "School History". Lurgan College. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  3. ^ Ian Wilson. "Edward Vaughan Boulger (1848–19??) - First Headmaster of Lurgan College". Review - Journal of Craigavon Historical Society - Vol. 8 No. 3. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  4. ^ "The Times - UK News, World News and Opinion". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  5. ^ "NEW DAY FOR LURGAN COLLEGE". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  6. ^ "The Life of C.S. Lewis Timeline". C.S. Lewis Foundation. 31 January 2013. Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  7. ^ "C. S. Lewis". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  8. ^ Zuckerman, H. (1977). Deviant Behaviour and Social Control in Science. pp. 87–138 in Sagarin, E. (ed.) Deviance and Social Change. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.
  9. ^ "Visiting star at college". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Jocelyn Bell: the true star". Retrieved 23 September 2015.

External links[edit]