Ulster Industrial School Ship 'Gibraltar' / 'Grampian', Belfast, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
The Industrial School Ship Gibraltar was established in 1872 by a committee of the leading inhabitants of Belfast. They raised the sum of almost £8,000 to fit up the former battleship which had previously been offered to another group at Cork but had been rejected by them. The ship was moored at Belfast Lough, at the mouth of the River Lagan. On June 22, 1872, the ship was officially certified as an Industrial School to accommodate 310 Protestant boys, aged 10 to 14.
As well as nautical training, the boys on the ship were taught tailoring and shoe-making. Unlike most other training ships, the Gibraltar never acquired a sea-going tender which limited the boys' experience of practical seamanship.
The committee that ran the Gibraltar also Belfast's Fox Lodge Industrial School for boys under the age of ten. Fox Lodge acted as a feeder school for the ship.
In around 1889, the Gibraltar was renamed Grampian. In the early 1890s, criticism was made of the small proportion of boys being trained on the Grampian entering naval service. In 1888, only 6 of the 52 boys leaving the ship had to sea. Many of the boys ended up working at Belfast's booming shipyards. The Grampian was eventually closed in March 1899 and the vessel was then broken up. The ship's role was taken over by the Fox Lodge establishment which was renamed the Balmoral Industrial School.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals.
- Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, 2 Titanic Boulevard, Titanic Quarter, Belfast BT3 9HQ. Holdings include: TS Grampian Admission Register (1896-1899).
- Carridice, Phil Nautical Training Ships: An Illustrated History (2009, Amberley Press)
- Barnes, Jane Irish Industrial Schools 1868-1908 (1989, Irish Academic Press)
- Dunne, Joe The Stolen Child: A Memoir (2003, Marion Books)
- Rafferty, Mary and O'Sullivan, Eoin Suffer the Little Children: The Inside Story of Ireland's Industrial Schools (1999, New Island Books)
- Touher, Patrick Fear of the Collar: Artane Industrial School - My Extraordinary Childhood (1991, O'Brien Press)
- Tyrrell, Peter and Whelan, Diarmuid Founded on Fear: Letterfrack Industrial School (2006, Irish Academic Press)
- Wall, Tom The boy from Glin Industrial School (2015, Tom Wall)
- None noted at present.
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.