Longstone pupils delve into the past

Pupils at Longstone primary have been researching the history of their school after a primary one pupil brought in an important artefact from the school’s past.

Wednesday, 27th November 2013, 8:55 am
Copies and drawings of the old Longstone Primary School looked over by pupils Andrew Chesney, John Bovil, Jordan Millar and Evan Watt. INBT 48-809H

110 years ago the children in the area attended the Upper Largy School. This building is still standing and can be found about 200 metres from the present building.

It now belongs to Mr Thomas Rainey the father of our P1 pupil Rachel, who brought the stone plaque from the old school for fellow pupils to see.

This revealed that this former building was erected in 1884 to replace an earlier building.

The Chesney family, whose grandfather and great, great uncle were on the Board of Governors of Longstone/Upper Largy brought in old minute books and an article that had been written for the Ballymena Observer in 1905.

In these documents it was discovered that Upper Largy School had been built in 1821 and became a National school in 1840.

Principal Emma Fitzpatrick said: “We were amazed to discover our history spans 192 years. 1821-2013

“At the end of the 19 century pupils attended the Upper Largy School. It was visited in 1903 by an inspector who recommended that another classroom be added to the school. The management committee met to discuss this and agreed that it would be unwise to spend money on refurbishment.

“They decided instead to find a site on which to build a new school. A member of the committee, Mr Thomas McMeekin, wrote to the chairperson to offer to pay for building and equipping the new school. Mr McMeekin even sketched the plans himself and these were put to scale by Mr A Boyd Civil Engineer.

“Thomas McMeekin will always be remembered at Longstone. His name and his kind deeds are inscribed on a plaque at the front of our school for everyone to see.”

Pupils discovered from an old register that Longstone opened in August 1905. The school gets its name LONGSTONE from a standing stone found opposite the old Upper Largy School. It used to be 5 feet 8 inches tall about but the top has broken off.

The present building was renovated in 1956 when toilets, corridor and a kitchen were added. In 1987 with the closure of Ballymontena PS mobiles were installed at Longstone to accommodate the additional pupils.

“Next year we hope to celebrate 110 years as Longstone Primary School and will be holding several events throughout the year,” added Ms Fitzpatrick.