Lurgan Industrial School / St Michael's School, Lurgan, Armagh, Northern Ireland

On 7 October 1886, at the Church of St. Francis, Glasgow, the Rev. M.B. McConville, of Lurgan, made an appeal for aid in the task which he had undertaken of founding an Industrial School and Orphanage in the town. His efforts came to fruition on 28 April 1888 when the Lurgan Industrial School for Roman Catholic Girls, also known as the House of Divine Providence, was certified to operate in premises on Cornakinnegar Road, Lurgan, with accommodation for 50 inmates.

On 18 April 1905, a new school for 50 junior boys was temporarily certified for operation at 81 William Street, Lurgan, in connection with and under the same management as the girls' school. This was on condition that extra accommodation was provided without delay on the grounds of the girls' school, so that the two buildings could subsequently certified as a mixed school for 50 girls, and for 50 boys under 10 years of age. The management secured a suitable building with a small farm attached, at the opposite side of Cornakinnegar Road. The joint establishment, known as St Michael's, was formally certified on 28 July 1908.

An inspection in 1911 recorded that the total number of committed inmates was 127 (63 boys, 64 girls) plus 5 out on licence. The manager was Mrs Malachy Matthews, assisted by ten Sisters of the Order of Mercy together with a domestic science teacher, matron, cook, nurse, and sewing mistress. In the classroom, singing, drawing, geography and grammar were all rated as 'good' while mental arithmetic was 'fair'. Industrial training included dairy care, cookery, laundry, needlework and housewifery. The junior boys learned darning, patching and knitting, and assisted with the domestic work. Nine boys were transferred to senior schools during the year. The children had drill twice each week and did exercises with dumbbells, poles and clubs. They also learned step-dancing, played outdoor games and had frequent country walks.

From 31 July 1924, St Michael's became a girls only establishment. On 25 June 1929, it was announced that the managers had resigned the school's certificate. St Michael's subsequently continued to operate as a Roman Catholic Voluntary Grammar School until finally closing in August 2015. St Ronan's College now occupied the premises.

Records

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Bibliography