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Ballyhackett Priamry School, Coleraine

Our History

We are interested in developing this history section of our website over time but to get us started here is a brief history of our school.

Ballyhackett Primary School (then national school) was built in 1870 by the Clothworkers’ Company of London who owned the land and several adjoining town lands. According to their accounts the school cost “£204 to build and a further £33 for the lease”. The school was typical of the period—one large room with a stove, essential items being a clock and an ordnance survey map of the world! The first head teacher Mr. Wray earned £32 per annum and his junior assistant mistress, Miss Craig £16.

What could be the school’s first “day trip” was reported in the Coleraine Chronicle in February 1871—- a magic lantern show, followed by tea and cake— “a treat—-through the liberality of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers”. Later that year the Clothworkers’ Company sold all their estates, including the school to Sir Hervey Bruce who became patron.

In 1880 the nearby Altikeeragh school closed and its staff and pupils were incorporated into Ballyhackett school, the teacher Mr William O’Kane became its head teacher. When Mr O’Kane retired in 1903, Mr James Nelson, twenty one years old, became the new principal. He and his long serving junior assistant, Mrs Pollock are still fondly remembered in the district.

Throughout the following decades, repairs were ongoing; in 1966 a report states “it is pleasing to note that although this school’s amenities are well below normal standards, its teachers have an enlightened approach to their duties.” Today we have a small, thriving, outward looking, happy, rural school still with that same “enlightened” approach!

We should remember, that prior to 1870 there was a Ballyhackett school, this building, still in good repair, is on Ballyhackett Road, a short distance away, on land belonging to a local farmer. This school was founded in 1835; the land then was owned by the Clothworkers and supported by local families. In 1868 it became a national school and it was replaced by the present school in 1870.

The school has had ongoing refurbishment and in 2008 had a major refurbishment with extension. In 2011 an additional porch was added to the school entrance.