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175th Anniversary

175th Anniversary

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In 2018, St. Columba's College celebrates 175 years of excellence in education. A weekend of celebrations took place in June 2018 and an ambitious building project will see Whispering House transformed in to a vibrant social centre.

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St. Columba’s College – 175th Anniversary

In 2018 St. Columba’s College celebrates 175 years of academic excellence. Founded on April 25th 1843, originally in Stackallan House in Co. Meath, the College has been in its current location since 1849. In that time it has undergone significant change and now has a traditional yet fully- modernised campus with educational facilities that are among the very best in the country. Thousands of pupils have passed through the doors of our beautiful campus, leaving their mark on their peers, their teachers and the wider world. Come and join our celebrations in June 2018. There is much to celebrate in terms of how the College has developed in the last 25 years and also much to look forward to, with ambitious plans for the future. We celebrated a special day here in the College on Wednesday 25th April 2018, when staff and pupils marked the foundation of the College with a series of low-key private activities.

In June we welcomed back to the College many Old Columbans, former members of staff and other members of the broader St. Columba’s community for more formal celebrations. The weekend of prize-giving, to which Old Columbans were invited, saw a drinks reception in Trinity College on the Friday evening, a gala ball on the Saturday evening, sports and other activities on the Sunday and a chapel service for all those who had survived the weekend!

Mark Boobbyer, Warden

Mark Boobbyer, Warden

Get in Touch

Sonia Young

Sonia Young

Development Officer

Development Office,
St. Columba’s College,
Whitechurch,
Dublin 16,
D16 CH92

Email: development@stcolumbas.ie
Phone: +353 (1) 495 6919

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Project 175

The College Hub

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Project 175 – The College Hub

To commemorate the 175th Anniversary the College will undertake a new building project – a new ‘College Hub’. As a mixed school we want to encourage our boys and girls to form sensible and wholesome relationships, but at present we do not provide an adequate facility for that to happen. It is not fair to expect boys and girls to develop friendships that are appropriate at school and expect them to meet outside in the rain, and pupils are not allowed to visit each other’s Houses. As a result I strongly feel the need to create a social hub in the middle of the school, which will serve as a place for pupils to hang out, buy snacks and drinks, act as an overflow dining area, be a venue for live music, contain newspapers and other publications and so on. It will also be a place for staff and even parents to bring guests to the College and make them feel welcome.

We are starting this project in the summer and it will take shape in the Warden’s Garden and the top floor of Whispering House, opposite the Library. I am sure that it will soon become the beating heart of the school and it will not be long before we wonder how we ever managed without it!

Mark Boobbyer, Warden.

Live feed from the site:

2,000,000

Estimated Cost of Construction

376

Square Metres of Internal Space.

128

Person Capacity

Support Us

Visit the College’s Development Office webpage to explores way to support the College’s pupils and our ambitious building projects to commemorate our 175th anniversary.

Since 150 – 25 Years of Progress

The College celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1993 and in the years since our campus has undergone dramatic modernisation and improvement. In the tab section below explore how these individual projects have impacted positively on all areas of College life.

The Library

It is not an exaggeration to say that the opening of the new College Library in April 1994 during Warden Macey’s time was the single most important physical development in the College since the current Chapel was built in 1880. The cornerstone of the 150th anniversary and appeal in 1993, the Library immediately became the most-used facility in the College, as it still is, being open all day and evening for seven days a week. Moreover, it was a physical symbol of the centrality of academic study and of learning in the school, combining the traditional functions of a library with a study space. Undoubtedly it has had a massive impact on the steadily-rising academic standards we have witnessed in the last 25 years.

At first the chosen site seemed odd: two sides of the Warden’s Garden formerly occupied by scrubs, a junior common room and a very unattractive lavatory block. The Warden’s Garden is also the busiest thoroughfare in the school. But it turned out to be just right, and the sympathetic design by Old Columban architect John Somerville-Large fitted in perfectly.

Previously, smaller libraries, including the Masterman (for seniors only) were scattered around the campus; the new building brought together all these, and provided purpose-built study space for 70 pupils. The central section as you enter (with 10,000 books) branches to the right (the lofty Senior Reading Room, with its beams echoing the BSR and the Chapel) and left (an opening was created through the massively-thick wall of the Big Schoolroom building into the former-classroom Armstrong, which became the Junior Reading Room). The Submarine at the back of this was first used as a Librarian’s office; in 2017 it was converted into a seminar space.

The quality of architecture and fittings has meant that almost 25 years later the Library still looks as good as new. It has provided a quiet comfortable warm space for many generations of pupils studying for their exams, finding peace in a busy boarding environment, and reading and thinking. It cost a ‘mere’ IR£500,000: the best-spent money in the College for over 100 years.

Julian Girdham, Sub-Warden and former Librarian.

Boarding

A huge improvement in boarding facilities in recent years, especially during the Wardenship of Dr Haslett has, without doubt, contributed to an enhanced school experience for our boarding and day pupils alike.  All of our day pupils belong to a boarding House, and so they too have benefitted from the improved facilities offered by the new Grange building, home to Glen and Hollypark Houses, which opened in 2004, and the attractive refurbishment of Argyle in 2006, where Stackallan House is now based. Indeed, all the other Houses have also had improvements.

One of our current Form V pupils, Alexandra Murray Donaldson, has some interesting observations:

“I was welcomed into St. Columba’s College in Form II as a day boarder. The atmosphere in the boarding House is like no other. It is an incredibly welcoming and homely environment with individual study areas, common rooms and places to relax.”

The appeal of our boarding houses and the friendly environment certainly has helped to contribute to the outstanding academic success that we have enjoyed in recent years.  Alexandra adds,

“I came to love my days in school so much that I didn’t want to go home in the evenings! This led me to making the decision of becoming a boarder, one of the best decisions that I have made. I absolutely love boarding in Hollypark and I truly feel part of a second family. We have the best of fun in House, and I have found it a lot easier to work while boarding as there is always someone there to help. Everyone from Form Primary up to Form VI looks out for one another and this leads to a very supportive environment that makes our boarding house our home.”

In our commitment to provide the best boarding environment in the country, we are determined to improve our facilities still further, and hope to build a new boarding house in the coming years, allowing Beresford House to move out of its current accommodation. The College is fully committed to boarding, and the boarding way of life, for all its pupils.

Amanda Morris, Head of Girls’ Boarding.

Sport

We regard sport and exercise as of being of vital importance, and though we are a small school, we take justifiable pride in our top-class facilities and the coaching that helps our teams compete, as well as learn valuable life skills. As with so many areas of College life, sport too has seen great improvements over the past 25 years.

In facilities alone these years have seen the great strides forward made possible by the building of the Sports Hall (1998), the creation of a much larger cricket area after the opening of the M50 motorway, four new tennis courts (2006, thanks to generous support from an Old Columban family), the refurbishment of the old cricket pavilion (2010), and a second Astroturf pitch on the site of the old grit hockey pitch (2008). Of these the most significant of course was the Sports Hall, a hugely impressive facility for any school. Designed by Old Columban architect John Somerville-Large as the next project after his superbly successful Library, it provides a huge central indoor area for PE classes, basketball, indoor cricket and much more, as well as a mezzanine fitness facility and an aerobics room. This has helped us develop sporting activities probably unheard of by Columbans of a certain vintage, such as Athletic Gymnastic Conditioning, spin, fit-ball, circuit, dance, step, high-intensity interval and suspension training. As a result, the College is right at the forefront of the latest physical conditioning techniques as well as focussing on injury-prevention and rehabilitation.

Another change over the past 25 years (in all schools) has been a move towards more professional coaching, and while our teaching staff are still heavily involved in sports, there is now a much wider range of professional coaches from Dublin. This expertise, combined with the dedication of teachers and the terrific facilities, has contributed to an improvement in standards and participation (the 3rd XI player is as important as the Leinster star). We are particularly delighted that a series of Old Columbans continue to play at very high levels of their sport after leaving the College, such as Ian McKinley (a recent rugby test player for Italy), Cormac and Conor McCooey (tennis), Ross Canning, Harry Morris and Freddie Morris (hockey) and Patrick Tice (cricket). No doubt Sophia Cole, currently in Fourth Form and an Irish international hockey player at under-16 level for the last two years, will follow in their footsteps.

In short, sport is thriving at St Columba’s as never before.

Liam Canning, Head of Sport.

The Cadogan Music Building

The Cadogan Building opened as a boarding house for boys in 1896 as the ‘New Building’. Almost destroyed three months after its opening by the ‘Great Fire’ in December of that year, it was then fully rebuilt, but by the 21st century had clearly become unsuitable for boarding.

The refurbished Cadogan Building for Music and the Performing Arts was officially opened with a concert in February 2008 featuring Old Columban Benjamin Russell (baritone) and Anna Brady (soprano). This was an exciting time for music in the College as the Music Department moved from the cramped, uncomfortable and inadequate facilities in Kennedy to new state-of-the-art facilities. The refurbishment was made possible by a very generous anonymous donation following a successful Gala Concert. The funds were to be used specifically for music and the performing arts.

I was brought over to view the building in its original state and, although the boarding facilities were still in operation, I got a thrill at the potential that was ahead – beautiful high ceilings and large windows meaning great bright space for teaching and practice rooms, and a wonderful upstairs room with large wooden beams and fantastic space! As the Cadogan was ‘listed’, many features had to remain the same, but this was perfect. We decided to have six teaching rooms downstairs, including a large room to incorporate a drum kit. We purchased four new Kawai pianos and installed two large mirrors in two of the rooms as we had a rapidly expanding demand for voice training. A costume room for the drama department was also created and a boudoir grand piano was purchased for upstairs, to be used for rehearsals, examinations and concert purposes. We installed soundproofing in the teaching rooms, locker facilities for pupils’ instruments, and I moved into a wonderful office upstairs. Some fine art work from past pupils was hung on the walls downstairs, and framed Gala Concert posters now adorn the granite staircase. The teaching and practice rooms are bright, heated and spacious, all of which has contributed to improved teaching and practice in the College. The standard of music has risen due to our wonderful facilities.

The upstairs room is used every day for class-teaching, choral and ensemble rehearsals and for informal soirées. Pupils who have had a real interest in music have thrived, and some have gone on to continue their studies at third level at the Royal Academy of Music in London, British and Irish Modern Music institute, and Trinity College. Many students have achieved an A grade in Leaving Certificate Music, undeniably helping them attain the required points for medicine, law and other third-level courses.

I feel incredibly lucky to have been part of the exciting move and creation of our wonderful Cadogan building and to work in such a great department, knowing that future pupils of the College will thrive and prosper in this creative environment.

Geraldine Malone-Brady, Head of Music Department.

Art

From the mid 1970s, when art was fully recognised and timetabled at the College, the art and craft rooms were in the farmyard area of the campus.

Mr Vis upstairs (across a causeway) in the old henhouse ran art.  Mr Watts down in the sunken courtyard underneath the art room, in the old pigsty, ran pottery and photography. This courtyard outside the pottery was also used as a wonderful en plein air workspace – weather permitting!

Towards the end of the 1980s art, searching for more space, moved into the barn next to the hen house. This proved relatively short-lived as it was very cold and did not have great light. I stayed put in the pigsty. Due to the unsuitability of the barn the College brought in an old prefab building which had been rejected by another school… this became the “new” art room for a few years. This, I remember, had a wonderfully springy floor (due to rotten beams).

However, when the new Sports Hall was built in 1998, everything changed. The former gymnasium was freed up, and helped greatly by a very generous unsolicited donation from an Old Columban, the gym was redeveloped into the new Arts Centre.  An additional floor was inserted into the building to help create two areas for teaching and creation, and the new Centre was properly equipped. The mainstream acceptance of art as a central part of College life had culminated in the establishment of this wonderful facility.

The imaginations and talents of those that have passed through the College in recent years include OCs such as Paki Smith, Bridget Flinn, Clare Bigger, Richard Mosse, Emily Archer and Mark O’Neill, to name but a few. The quality of art being produced by their successors is plain to see.

Peter Watts, Head of Art.

The Science Block Renovation 2016

The Science Block opened in 1971, designed by the modernist Irish architect Robin Walker of Scott Tallon Walker. Nearly 50 years later, it had become increasingly clear that the architecture had been ahead of the engineering, and in June 2016 a major refurbishment started, to equip the building for the challenges of educating the scientists, engineers and doctors of the future.

In September 2016 we moved back in. The first major benefit was the provision of an additional laboratory. As all junior, and 80% of the senior, pupils study at least one science this extra capacity is a major asset.

The laboratories are bright, modern cheerful and comfortable. The innovative design of the bespoke furniture allows increased opportunities for collaborative and experimental work, both so essential in the 21st century educational and workplace environments.

We have also made a major investment with the restocking and updating of laboratory equipment, ensuring that our pupils benefit from the latest innovations. Each laboratory is equipped with a large smartboard, opening up new opportunities to explore new topics and developments. There has also been a significant improvement in the quality and number of prep rooms, making it easier to lay out work, and ensure smoother practical classes and increasing opportunities for staff collaboration.

Our results continue to excel and I am confident that the improvement in our physical environment will enable us to reach even greater levels of excellence. Already in its first year of opening we achieved a remarkable success in the international CANSAT competition, in which our Transition Year pupils, having won the All-Ireland competition, finished second in all of Europe.

As a pupil has put it, the facility is now

“a fun, modern, technology-filled building that has made learning science even more enjoyable.”

The future looks bright.

Mary Singleton, Head of Science Department

Drama

When the new Library was built in 1994, a Drama Room was connected to the Big Schoolroom stage, providing very valuable access and preparation space. However since then further developments have upgraded and improved the opportunities for Columbans to perform drama in new, interesting and increasingly varied ways.

The boldest move in developing how we deliver drama came in 2003 when the traditional ‘proscenium arch’ stage in the BSR was entirely removed. This was a massive job and left this much-loved space open, airy and oozing potential.

Married to this change were two other vital elements. Firstly a portable flexible staging system was acquired. This allows a stage to be erected anywhere in the hall and in a huge variety of sizes and configurations. The other important change in transforming the BSR was the need to install a totally new lighting rig – one which mirrored the flexibility that the newly transformed space had been given. Now shows can be lit in any orientation and plays performed ‘in the round’, traverse, on a catwalk, and so on.

Another terrific step forward was the redevelopment of the Cadogan building, right beside the BSR, since in 2006 a special room was reserved as the costume facility, a huge improvement on the poor conditions that clothes had previously been kept in. Moreover, the Cadogan provides excellent preparation and changing spaces during a major production.

With these investments drama in the College displayed its openness to change and showed its knowledge of moves afoot in the wider world of performance. Not being tied to one stage setting literally brought the pupils involved in drama among the audience, giving our budding performers a better sense of what might be expected of them in the dynamic world of theatrical performance beyond the College.

Ronan Swift, Head of Drama.

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Since 1843 – A Full History of the College

1843-1849

On April 25th1843 the College came into being.  At Stackallan House, Co Meath, the ceremony of installing the first Warden was held in a coach-house, recently converted into a chapel. This new College had neither a name nor any pupils. The Founders of what shortly became ‘The College of St Columba’ were High Church Anglicans of the Oxford Movement, intent on reforming the Church of Ireland. This was a time often bitter rivalry between the different Christian Churches. The Founders saw this new College as the means by which to effect a converting of Roman Catholics. This is why the teaching of Irish was, in its very early days, one of the central aims of the College.

In August 1843 the first three boys entered the College. By 1847 there were 35 boys, aged between 9 and 17. They were, as would be the case for many years, the sons of the landed gentry, of clergymen, and of professional men. All were members of the Church of Ireland. Numbers slowly grew. One of the Founders described in idyllic terms the behaviour of these boys. Other sources suggest more familiar pursuits: boating on the River Boyne, building mud huts, swimming, digging caves, fighting with the boys from the nearby village, and misbehaving in prep-time.  Formal games   as we know them were not seriously played.

Small as it was, St Columba’s was a public school on the English model. Therefore the curriculum was strictly Latin, Greek and religion, with some maths, art and other minor subjects – and of course Irish. In the Chapel, strict religious observance was followed twice daily in fully choral services.

Religious controversy within the College itself and financial uncertainty were characteristic of these early years. Some of the Founders converted to Roman Catholicism. Only the munificence of Lord John George Beresford, Archbishop of Armagh, kept the College afloat.

1849 – 1867

In 1849 the College purchased its permanent home at Hollypark, Whitechurch, Co Dublin. It was made up of the main house, outbuildings and was situated on about 100 acres. Immediately it was necessary to build dormitories, a dining hall, a temporary chapel and a large temporary classroom. This programme of building was undertaken by the remarkable Fellow of the College, J.H. Todd FTCD.

The religious controversies of the 1840s faded away, though financial uncertainty would remain a feature for many years to come. The College did not have any endowments and large benefactors became harder to find. Therefore the number of pupils in the College was critical to survival. Numbers fluctuated in the 1849 – 1867 period: in 1850 there were 43 pupils; in 1856, there were 18; in 1864 there were 40; and in 1867 there were 30.

However new buildings were put up: in 1852, Lord John George Beresford paid for the new Cloisters (and thus cloister cricket started). In 1862 a second storey, for use as a dormitory, was added to the Dining Hall.

Organised games were beginning to come into being. In 1850 an Eton Fives court was built and in 1866 the Cricket Pavilion was completed. There were also a form of football and some athletics. Some boys kept small gardens.

The curriculum, as one might expect, remained very strongly Latin and Greek: examination papers from this period suggest that the standard was very high. There was also some mathematics and some French. A small amount of history and geography was taught in the junior forms. In 1853, 11 boys were learning Irish. By the late 1850s the teaching of Irish had ceased.

Religious observance continued to be central to the lives of every pupil and to members of the teaching staff.  For a resident teacher in those days salaries were low and few could afford to stay for more than a few years at most. As in previous years the teaching staff was drawn mainly from Oxford and Cambridge, with a modest sprinkling from Trinity College Dublin.

1867 – 1891

Immediately after Rice’s appointment as Warden the number of pupils rose to a steady 100. This number was maintained in the years 1870 to 1883.

Warden Rice’s permanent achievement was the construction of new buildings.  In 1875 the Big Schoolroom was built and paid for out of school revenue.  In 1880 the new Chapel, paid for by subscription, was consecrated. These were splendid additions to the College. They reflected the  continued central importance of scholarship and of religious observance.

The curriculum remained essentially unchanged. A visiting Trinity College Dublin professor of classics was very impressed by the standard of Latin and Greek.

Steadily the new popular enthusiasm for games took hold in the College. The playing of cricket and rugby football grew rapidly. Other games were athletics, fives, racquets, tennis, swimming and some hockey. From 1879, full reports on all these sports, and other College events, were reported in a new magazine, The Columban.

The Warden in those times carried a very wide responsibility. The Fellows met only very infrequently. The Warden was the College Bursar. There were no housemasters to look after ordinary discipline. Members of the teaching staff continued to remain for at most a few years (that they were all Englishmen underlines that St Columba’s was then an English public school in Ireland).

In spite of Warden Rice’s achievements, courage and long and dedicated service to the College, his time ended in severely declining numbers and thus debt. One cause was the fall in income of the landed gentry owing to the Land War. Another was the threat of home rule for Ireland.  Also there was the attraction of the many new public schools in England. Finally, Rice himself was becoming tired after so many years of hard work. By 1891 there were only 14 pupils in the College.  Sadly, after all Warden Rice’s brave efforts, the permanence of the College had not been secured.

1891 – 1919

On the appointment of the Reverend Percy Whelan, an Irishman and a TCD graduate, the fortunes of the College improved. Much must have been due to Warden Whelan’s engaging personality which it seems created a vibrant feeling in the school.  Numbers rose rapidly to 100 by 1895.

The Cadogan building was opened in 1896 and provided new dormitories and some senior classrooms. However, only weeks later fire destroyed both the new Cadogan building and a large part of the Big Schoolroom.

In 1902 the number of pupils plummeted for reasons which are not clear. Certainly Warden Whelan had been over-ambitious in increasing numbers, but at the cost of debt. And the Great Fire of 1896 had been a further cost.

His successor in 1904 was Warden Parker, a good schoolmaster and a poor Bursar. In 1909 financial mismanagement caused his resignation.

At this point the Old Columban Society was set up to help the College. Its objectives remain to keep Old Columbans in touch with one another and with the College, and to assist the College in its work.

More routinely, in those times, there were three choral services every Sunday and each boy had a cold shower every morning, though servants cleaned shoes and made the boys’ beds.

In 1909 Warden Blackburn was appointed. An Englishman, he had an impressive personality, and was a sound scholar and a respected disciplinarian.

Some improvements included a Chemical Laboratory in 1911.The pre-eminence of the classics continued, though there was a growth in mathematics. In 1910 the levelling of a new cricket pitch was completed.

In 1912 Officer Training Corps was set up (under the aegis of the War Office). This was reflection of the years of crisis in pre-1914 Europe. In the Great War 385 Old Columbans served in the armed forces. Sixty-seven were killed. The memorial in Chapel and the cross on the terrace outside the Chapel commemorate them.

Kindly provided by Ninian Falkiner

1919 – 1949

After the sudden death of Warden Blackburn in 1919, he was succeeded by the Reverend C.B. Armstrong. Warden Armstrong, a modest and scholarly man, faced formidable difficulties: the War of Independence and the Civil War caused a faltering of confidence among southern unionist parents. In the 1920s St Columba’s was a small Church of Ireland school in a strange new landscape. The new State’s policy of compulsory Irish was implemented in the College.

Pupil numbers fluctuated: in 1920 there were 115, but by 1933 numbers had fallen to 58. However, Armstrong left the College free of debt.

The Reverend C.W. Sowby, who became Warden in 1934, was a modern Englishman, a man fit for the times. He exuded confidence and energy and began reaching beyond the College, quite untroubled by Fianna Fail coming to power in 1932, an event deeply troubling to the whole Columban community. Warden Sowby may sensibly be called the College’s Second Founder .

Numbers rose to 90 in 1935, 120 in 1938, to 153 in 1949, and the teaching staff from ten to nineteen. A house system was set up for the care of the boys: and so legendary figures such as S.J.Willis, G.K.White (and later N.H.  Lush, D.J. Caird and R.G.Caird) emerged.

Activities outside the classroom flourished: clubs, societies, music outside and inside the Chapel, scouting and, of course, games. Boys worked on the College farm which during the Second World War supplied food for the boys and staff.

New buildings appeared at speed: Deerpark House and other staff accommodation, Founders classrooms, a biology laboratory, Orpen dormitories, Kennedy music building, a swimming pool. All this was paid for by appeals, bequests, loans, large gifts and revenue from fees. The work of the Fellows became increasingly frequent and regular.

In the Second Word War Old Columbans again served in their hundreds in the British armed forces. Thirty were killed. Two memorials commemorate them: one in the Chapel and one over the main entrance to the Big Schoolroom.

1949 – 1974

Warden Argyle’s long reign of 25 years was a time of stability. He had about him a sense of permanence, fairness and calmness. The College developed steadily under his and the Fellows’ guidance. Very importantly, many of the teaching staff serving for long periods of time, some for very many years. Numbers remained at a steady 180, reaching over 200 by 1974 – and debt was limited. The pupil body continued predominantly to be drawn from Church of Ireland families, many known to one another and a good few related to one another. The Chapel continued to be a central part of College life. However, services – previously held twice a day –  from the late 1960s have been held once a day. On Sundays and on Saints’ Days there was a voluntary Holy Communion. Matins on Sunday was attended by all.

The teaching of the sciences increased, as did for example geography and history. Latin continued quite strongly, but Greek became a subject for a very small number of classicists. Instrumental music, art and pottery, carpentry, ambitious drama productions, a large variety of societies and clubs, all continued successfully. Important university distinctions were achieved and there was success in ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level examinations and in the Leaving Certificate examination.

New building work, funded in part by appeals, included re-shaping the inside of the Chapel, a school shop, a surgery and sanatorium, modern farm buildings and a steward’s house, the Fellows’ Building and the Science Building. The name ‘Fellows’ was a proper reflection of the steady growth in the work of the Fellows.

In the early 1970s there were two major initiatives: in 1970 boys aged 11 entered the College and, much more radically, the first four girls entered the College in 1971. By 1974 there were 22 girls in the senior forms. The way to a co-educational St Columba’s had begun.

1974 – 1993

D.S. Gibbs was the first layman to be appointed Warden. His tremendous impetus touched every part of life in the school. He was very firm of purpose with a keen eye to detail: dress, the Choir, games, clubs, societies, academic standards, and a new activity, the Columban Award Scheme.

Numbers increased rapidly to a steady 300: in 1983 there were 307 pupils, 99 of whom were girls (in Hollypark – and later Iona –  and Beresford Houses). More women members of the teaching and house staff, of course, were appointed. St Columba’s was becoming co-educational.

New buildings were required (and old ones adapted). There were limited resources owing to the economic recession. Nevertheless, new classrooms units were put up, a gallery in the Chapel, and an all-weather hockey pitch was built.

In these years of Warden Gibbs and Warden Macey the denominational make-up of the College steadily changed into a multi-denominational community both of pupils and of teachers. At the same time the College maintained its Church of Ireland foundation. That this happened seamlessly was the work of the College chaplains, the Reverend B.W.N. Walsh and the Reverend M.R. Heaney.

Some important changes were the introduction of the Transition Year and special needs assistance. Half-term holidays, overnight exeats, and Exodus weekends were introduced. An active Parent Teacher Association came into being.

This account covers only the first five years of T.E. Macey’s Wardenship (1988 – 2001). Warden Macey was the first Old Columban Warden to be appointed. The planning for the new Library illustrated his love of learning and the way in which he consulted with others, both members of his staff and with pupils. He had a particular understanding of young people.

The splendid new Library opened in 1994 was paid for by appeal to Old Columbans, to parents and to friends of the College. The platform for this appeal was the 150th anniversary celebrations of the founding of St Columba’s in 1843.

Wardens of the College

1845-1846: R.C. Singleton

1846-1850: M.C. Morton

1850-1856: G. Williams

1856-1864: J. Gwynn

1864-1867: W.G. Longden

1867-1892: R. Rice

1892-1904: P.S. Whelan

1904-1909: W. Parker

1909-1909: R.M. Gwynn (Acting)

1909-1919: W. Blackburn

1920-1933: C.B. Armstrong

1934-1949: C.W. Sowby

1949-1974: F.M. Argyle

1974-1988: D.S. Gibbs

1988-2001: T.E. Macey

2001-2016: L.J. Haslett

2016-present: M. Boobbyer

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