Methodist College Belfast


Methodist College Belfast
Methodist College Belfast
"Methody" - geograph.org.uk - 60179.jpg
Motto Deus Nobiscum (God With Us)
Established 1865
Head Mr Scott Naismith 2007–present
Board BELB
Location 1 Malone Road
Belfast
County Antrim
BT9 6BY
Northern Ireland
Students 1,850
Colours Navy & White
Publication Methody Matters, M.C.B. Magazine
Type Voluntary Grammar
Affiliation HMC, ISC
Facilities Pirrie Park, Deramore Park, MCB Boathouse
Website Methodist College Belfast

Coordinates: 54°35′00″N 5°56′25″W / 54.5834°N 5.9402°W / 54.5834; -5.9402

Methodist College Belfast (MCB), styled locally as Methody, is a voluntary grammar school in Belfast, Northern Ireland, one of eight Northern Irish schools represented on the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, and is a member of the Independent Schools Council. Located at the foot of Malone Road, in south Belfast, it possesses two preparatory departments (Downey House and Fullerton House), each with 280 pupils, aged 5 – 11. There is a Pre-school on the site of Downey House catering for children aged 3 and 4.

The College is generally regarded for its high academic standards, regularly sending students to Oxford and Cambridge Universities[1], and was ranked 2nd in Northern Ireland in "The Times" state school league tables 2009.[2] It has also had considerable sporting success, especially in rugby, having won the Ulster Schools Cup a record 32 times and the Medallion Shield a record 34 times.[3] Methodist College also has a strong reputation for music. Its choirs have won several awards, such as Songs of Praise Choir of the Year, Sainsbury's Choir of the Year, and RTÉ All-Island School Choir of the Year.[4] The Chapel Choir has performed in Westminster Abbey and the Carnegie Hall as well as during Queen Elizabeth II's visit to the Republic of Ireland.[5] The College has also sent several Choral Scholars and Organ Scholars to Oxford and Cambridge colleges in recent years.[6]

Past pupils of the school are known as Collegians, and the school has an extensive Past Pupil organisation in the form of 'The MCB Former Pupil Association', which has several branches across the world, meeting as far as Hong Kong and Canada as well as regular alumni reunions in London and at Belfast Harlequins.[7] The College also has a past pupil sporting organisation in Belfast Harlequins.

Contents

History

Foundation

Methodist College, as seen from the Malone Road

Methodist College Belfast was founded in 1868 by the Methodist Church in Ireland. The idea of establishing a Methodist Grammar school had been around since 1843 and in 1844 the Conference of the Methodist Church in Ireland approved the proposal to establish such a school in Belfast. Shortly after, a decision was taken to relocate the site of the school to Dublin. Funds for this school were raised in 1845 and it was opened the same year first as the Wesleyan Connexional School and later Wesley College, named after Charles Wesley, founder of Methodism. The school is still operating to this day.

It was only in 1855 that the idea was raised of founding a school specifically for the education of sons of ministers like the Methodist Church in England had at Kingswood School in Bath. Funds were again raised with significant amounts coming from America and England. The original site for the school was to be in Portadown but the location was changed, first of all to Dublin. Land was acquired in Dublin but proceedings stalled. Several prominent Belfast Methodists began a campaign to have the school built in Belfast. The Methodist Conference allotted the remaining £2000 left from the purchase of the Dublin site to Belfast so long as they could raise £8000 extra with the added proviso that no building could take place until they had raised £10,000. A last attempt was made 1863 for the building to take place in Portadown but this failed. The necessary money had been raised by 1864 to satisfy the Conference’s stipulations but it was held that £10,000 would not be sufficient. Further fundraising missions were made to the United States and England in 1866. These were led by Robinson Scott, the Rev Robert Wallace and William McArthur. Wallace would die on this mission in Cincinnati from Cholera. However an additional £10,000 was raised. Several subsequent missions took place to fund building work.

The present site of the college, near Queen’s University Belfast on the Malone Road, was purchased by James Carlisle and offered to the committee on the same terms. The site covered 15 acres all of which have been developed by the college to the present day. In addition to the school it was proposed that a strip on the North side be let for building and the rest used by the college. This would become College Gardens which is still owned by the college.

The school originally had a dual foundation as a school and a theological college and the school was designed with this in mind. The architects firm Joseph Fogerty & Son of Dublin won with their bid to design the school. The foundation stone for the Main Building was laid in 1865, and in 1868 the College was ceremonially opened.

Early years

From the outset, the school catered for boarders and day pupils with accommodation on site. Although the school was originally founded as an all boys institution, girls were very quickly included when in 1869 “ladies classes” were started. However, as they were strictly segregated from male pupils this put significant pressure on space. In the years that followed, wings were added to the main building. In 1877 a porter's lodge was built at the Lisburn Road end of College Gardens which was the only college building designed by notable Belfast architect Charles Lanyon. Also in this year, it was decided that no land would be let along the Lisburn Road.

Although originally conceived primarily as a school for the education of the children of Methodist Ministers, the school has been interdenominational from its inception.

During this time the college prepared some students for the examinations (including degree examinations) of the Royal University of Ireland.[8]

While day classes had been provided for girls for the early years, there was no provision for the daughters of ministers to board as the boys could. This was remedied by a gift from Sir William McArthur to found a Hall of Residence for girls. Building work on McArthur Hall began in 1886 and completed in 1891.

No further major building work would take place until the 20th century but there were modifications were made to existing buildings including the creation of science labs.

Edwardian period

In 1901 it was decided that the provision for science in the school was insufficient and a dedicated science block was constructed which included two lecture rooms and now comprises H-Block. Further specialised rooms were built in 1919 including more labs, art rooms and classrooms.

In an attempt to provide classroom space to a growing student population, the college purchased second hand American Hospital Huts which were erected across the school in 1921. Only one of these remains in the school and is situated between the Whitla Hall and the drama studio.

Around this time with the theological students gone and the Headmaster moved out of his rooms to College Gardens, the Main Building was remodelled to better accommodate boarders. Like other schools at the time, the boarders lived in “houses” but unlike other schools, rather than staying on the same house during their time there, they would move from house to house as they progressed through the school. The houses were Bedell House, Castlereagh House and Kelvin House and the boys would move up through them. They were named after three prominent Irishmen; Anglican clergyman William Bedell, Statesman Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh and scientist William Thomson, Lord Kelvin. There was also another house for day pupils named after Lord Wellington.

In 1932 the college purchased Pirrie Park from Harland and Wolff with the financial aid of WIlliam Fullerton and Hugh Turtle. It had already been partially developed by Harland and Wolff including the erection of a pavilion. The college began work to convert this pavilion into a Preparatory School. It was called Downey House and named after John Downey, a benefactor to the college.

Following a bequest by Sir William Whitla, the college completed the construction of the Whitla Hall in 1935.

Further modification were made to the science rooms in 1936 to bring them up to required standards.

World War Two

Due to governmental restrictions no significant building work took place in the college during the Second World War which included maintenance. As a result many buildings deteriorated including the huts which were still being used as classrooms. In addition, MacArthur Hall was rented to the Government for war use. 16 members of staff and over 1000 former pupils joined the reserve forces including the Territorial Army and RNVSR and saw active service. 101 men lost their lives in the war. Unlike other city based schools, the governors at Methody decided against relocating outside of the city. Adaptations were to the college to provide additional protection to the school. The Main Building's Victorian basements were reinforced and campbeds and bunks installed. Fire escapes were added and a fire engine bought.

The college was thankfully unaffected by the Belfast Blitz in April 1941. After the evening of the first raid the college offered the Whitla Hall as a refuge for people who had been left homeless and from the evening of the following day people began to arrive. Food and beds were provided for the men, women and children until the women and children could be evacuated to the country and the men who needed to work in the city were moved into hostels.

Until the end of the war and food rationing Pirrie Park was cultivated to grow crops along with raising hens and ducks.

Post-war Methody

With the passing of the 1947 Education Act, all children over the age of 11 had to be enrolled in secondary education and created the grammar school system as understood today with the selection taking place after the age of 11. This resulted in a large increase in the number of applications to institutions like Methody and the number of pupils increased significantly.

One of the houses in College Gardens fell vacant and was converted into a second preparatory department in 1950. It became known as Fullerton House, named after William Fullerton who had been a governor, chair of the board and founder of Downey House. Extensions to this were made to the adjacent house in 1957. The existing preparatory department, Downey House, also received extension works in 1954. In 1959 a boathouse for rowing was built at Lockview Road in Stranmillis whereas the college had relied on outside clubs.

Additional classrooms in what are now called K, L and M blocks were added as well as a lecture theatre (now the drama studio), specific rooms for Home Economics, other classrooms (F Block), a canteen and the middle gym throughout the early fifties and were opened by HRH the Duchess of Kent.

Later 20th century

Methodist College Chapel of Unity

The later 20th century was a very turbulent time in Northern Irish history and became known as "the Troubles". While the Troubles touched nearly everyone in Northern Ireland, the school was thankfully materially unaffected. The 1960s and 1970s were a period of intense building work for the college, particularly in the run up to the centenary in 1968. This included new labs, modern language classrooms (E block), a new music department and indoor swimming pool, further science labs (now P and N blocks) and a gym. In 1968 the Chapel of Unity, Methody's first chapel on the college grounds, and a permanent memorial to the college’s centenary, was completed. The organ currently present in the Chapel was donated as a gift from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

The Worrall Centre, an area specifically for the 6th form (now AS and A Level) students, was completed in 1972. In 1975 Fullerton House was rehoused in its present position, facing the Lisburn Road and closing off the quad. The Sports Hall and art rooms were opened by Sir Roger Bannister in 1995.

The Walton Building, which included new science labs and computer suites was also constructed in the early 1990s. This building was named after Methody alumnus Ernest Walton, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for splitting the atom.

The new millennium

In 2005 the boathouse the college had been using was judged to be below standard and a new one was constructed on the same site. Further developments were made to sporting facilities when the David Wells Pavilion, named after the College’s Director of Rugby, was opened at Pirrie Park.

In 2008 it was announced that in 2010 the boarding departments in McArthur Hall and the Main Building would close, ending a 142 year history of boarding at Methody. The rooms will be converted into classrooms and offices.

The college has been vocal in its opposition to the Burns Report into Post Primary Education in Northern Ireland. The college is one of the schools calling for the continuation of academic selection in Northern Ireland.

The School Song

Latin words by Professor R.M. Henry; Music by F.H. Sawyer

Latin English
1. (Solo) Omnes condiscipulos

confidenter oro,
celebrent Collegium
carmine canoro;
optimum pulcherrimum
ludum qui habemus,
hilari, laetissimo
cantu celebremus.

2. (Omnes) Situs in monticulo
callide delectus,
omnibus rivalibus
Invide conspectus,
omnibus fautoribus
solitus amari,
prohibet scientiae
lumen occultari.

3. (Omnes) Floreat Ultonia,
floreant Hiberni;
floreat Collegium
nominis aeterni.
Dumque cum laboribus
vitae concertamus,
semper in memoria
ludum habeamus.

1. (Solo) Confidently now I beg

scholars here before us,
celebrate our College with
tuneful praise and chorus;
best and fairest M.C.B.
honours still await thee:
now with joyful mirth and song
let us celebrate thee.

2. (All) Pile of beauty, fitly placed
on a site commanding,
thou, on whom thy rivals gaze
envious of thy standing,
whom thy sons regard with love,
fealty and affiance,
thou dost radiate afar
culture, art and science.

3. (All) Let our Ulster flourish well,
all the Irish flourish;
flourish our most famous school
which the arts doth nourish.
While we fight together the
toils of life that claim us,
let us ever keep in mind
Methody the famous.

List of head teachers

  • Rev. William Arthur (1867–1871).
  • Dr Henry R. Parker (1879–1890). He left to become joint Headmaster of Campbell College.[9]
  • Henry McIntosh (1890–1912).
  • Ernest Isaac Lewis (1912–1917). Chemistry scholar and educationalist who devised the 'Bridge' course to introduce senior public school pupils to industry.[10]
  • John W. Henderson (1917–1943).
  • John Falconer (1943–1948).
  • Rev Albert Ball (1948–1960).
  • Dr Stanley Worrall (1961–1974). The Worrall Sixth Form Centre was built in the modernist architectural style and was named in his honour. A vorticist mural was painted on one interior wall of the centre's "rec floor". Worrall left to pursue his interest in the ecumenical movement.
  • Dr James Kincade CBE (1974–1988). He retired in 1988. Kincade also served as the Chairman and National Governor, Broadcasting Council for Northern Ireland.[11]
  • Wilfred Mulryne OBE (1988–2005). Wilfred Mulryne was a Church of Ireland lay preacher and a former pupil. A Classics graduate of St Catharine's College, Cambridge,[12] he taught at the Methodist College, before becoming Headmaster of the Royal School, Armagh in 1979. In 1998 Mulryne was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Education by the University of Ulster. Shortly after his retirement in 2005, he was awarded the Allianz Award for Services to Education in Ireland, along with a Distinction Award from the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education.[13] He now sits on the Governing Bodies' Association (GBA) for schools.
  • Cecilia Galloway (2005–2006). Former headmistress of the Royal Latin School in Buckinghamshire, succeeded Wilfred Mulryne at Christmas 2005. She was the first headmistress in the school's history. In 2006 Galloway's management style was criticised. Staff claimed that she had increased their workloads, comparing her to Alan Sugar. She denied the claims, stating that her style was "democratic, transparent and straight-talking". On 20 October 2006, Galloway announced that she was resigning from Methody, citing personal problems, such as "problems with buying and selling property and the management of her husband's business interests".[14] She officially left her post on 31 October 2006.
  • Maureen P. White (Acting) (2006–2007). Following Mrs Galloway's departure, Mrs White assumed the acting headship. She had joined the College as a modern languages teacher, and was Senior Vice-Principal before taking the role of Acting Principal.
  • Scott Naismith (2007-). Appointed by the Board of Governors in March 2007, formerly of Regent House, Newtownards. He assumed office in the summer of 2007.[15]

Academic achievement

The College is a grammar school, and therefore admits pupils using academic selection.

Methody has a reputation for academic excellence, and was ranked 2nd in Northern Ireland in "The Times" state school league tables 2009.[16]

Public examination results

Methody's performance in public examinations is consistently far above both the Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom average.

In the 2011 A2 Levels, 19.1% of grades awarded were A*, and 55.0% awarded were A*-A, compared with the UK average of 8.2% and 27.0% respectively. In the 2011 AS Levels, 38.0% of grades awarded were A, and 77.2% awarded were A-C, compared with the UK average of 19.3% and 59.4% respectively.

In the 2011 GCSE examinations, 36.3% of grades awarded were A*, 68.6% awarded were A*-A, and 97.4% awarded were A*-C, compared with the UK average of 7.8%, 23.2%, and 69.8% respectively. Also in the 2011 GCSEs, 12 pupils achieved 11A*, 16 pupils achieved 10A* 1A, 1 pupil achieved 10A* 2A, 4 pupils achieved 10A*, 7 pupils achieved 9A* 2A, 2 pupils achieved 9A* 1A, and 1 pupil achieved 9A* 3A.[17]

In the 2010 A2 Levels, 21.1% of grades awarded were A*, and 52.5% awarded were A*-A, compared with the UK average of 8.1% and 27.0% respectively. In the 2010 AS Levels, 43.5% of grades awarded were A, and 82.6% awarded were A-C, compared with the UK average of 19.4% and 59.1% respectively.

In the 2010 GCSE examinations, 31.6% of grades awarded were A*, 65.2% awarded were A*-A, and 95.1% awarded were A*-C, compared with the UK average of 7.5%, 22.6%, and 69.1% respectively. Also in the 2010 GCSEs, 1 pupil achieved 12A*, 9 pupils achieved 11A*, 7 pupils achieved 10A* 1A, and 7 pupils achieved 9A* 2A.[18]


University places

The vast majority of Methodist College students go on to attend university.[19]

A large number of Methody pupils have been successful in obtaining places at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. 16 pupils were awarded places in 2010, 15 in 2009, 13 in 2008, 14 in 2007, 8 in 2006, 23 in 2005, 21 in 2004, and 22 in 2003.[20]

The University of Cambridge student newspaper, Varsity, has previously listed Methody as one of the University of Cambridge's top ten feeder state schools.[21]

Music

Choirs and instrumental groups

There are 4 choirs in the College:

  • Junior Choir
  • Senior Choir
  • Girls' Choir
  • Chapel Choir

There are also several instrumental groups:

  • Junior Orchestra
  • Senior Orchestra
  • The Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Irish Traditional Group
  • Recorder Group

The choirs have won several competitions:

Year Competition Choir
1996 UTV School Choir of the Year Girls' Choir[22]
1998 UTV School Choir of the Year Girls' Choir[22]
1998 Sainsbury's Choir of the Year Girls' Choir[4]
2002 UTV School Choir of the Year Girls' Choir[22]
2002 Sainsbury's Choir of the Year Girls' Choir[4]
2004 Songs of Praise Choir of the Year Chapel Choir[4]
2004 UTV School Choir of the Year Chapel Choir[4]
2005 BBC Radio Three Children's Choir of the Year Junior Choir[23]
2009 RTÉ All-Island School Choir of the Year Chapel Choir[24]

The Chapel Choir has led worship in Westminster Abbey in August 2004, 2006, and 2008 when the Abbey Choir were on holiday,[4] and have performed in several radio and television broadcasts, such as the BBC's Songs of Praise.[25] The Chapel Choir was chosen as the only school choir from Europe to perform in the US Premiere of Karl Jenkins' "Gloria", in the Carnegie Hall, on 17 January 2011.[26] The Chapel Choir performed at a reception at the British Embassy during the state visit of Queen Elizabeth to the Republic of Ireland in 2011.[27]

Several members of the Girls' Choir sang at the official opening of the Millennium Dome in 1999 and in 2005 the Girls' Choir performed with the Vienna Boys' Choir, in Vienna, Austria as part of the Fifth World Choral Festival.

Senior Chorus

The Senior Chorus consists of every pupil from Fourth Form to Upper Sixth; they perform choral works at some events throughout the year.

This is a tradition which has been established over many years. When Henry Willis was Director of Music at Methody from 1957–66, large scale choral works were undertaken by the Senior School, which continued under William McCay. Dr Joe McKee OBE was Director of Music from 1991 to 2002, and he arranged for the Senior Chorus to sing in public performances outside the College. In the present day, with the Director of Music, Ruth McCartney MBE, the Senior Chorus learns one large-scale choral work each year, starting in September. The Senior Chorus performs on three occasions in the school year: Senior Prize Distribution, College Carols, and the Easter Concert. At the Senior Prize Distribution in October, they sing two movements from the choral work, as well as another popular tune. At the College Carols, in December, they sing two movements from the choral work, as well as a Christmas piece. The Easter Concert is the most important event in the Senior Chorus calendar; in the second half of the concert, they sing the entire choral work, followed by a popular tune. At Senior Prize Distribution and the College Carols, they are accompanied by the Senior Orchestra, and at the Easter Concert they are accompanied by the Easter Concert Orchestra, made up of some members of the Senior Orchestra along with other guests.[28]

Musical events

The College holds several public musical events throughout the year. Senior Prize Distribution is held in October, in the Queen's University Belfast Sir William Whitla Hall and features performances from the Girls' Choir, Senior Choir, Senior Chorus, Senior Orchestra, Jazz Band, and the Band. The Autumn Concert then follows, normally held in a church or cathedral in Belfast, which features performances various musical groups. In December, a Service of Nine Lessons and Carols is held in the Chapel of Unity. This features several Christmas carols sung by the Chapel Choir, interspersed with Bible readings by pupils and staff. On the last day of the Winter term, College Carols is held in Fisherwick Presbyterian Church. The Easter Concert is the biggest musical event in the school year, and has been held in the main auditorium of the Waterfront Hall in recent years.[29] The first half of the concert consists of performances by each of the College's music groups, and the second half of the concert features the Senior Chorus & Orchestra performing a large-scale choral piece, followed by a popular piece of music. The light-hearted Band Concert is held in the Whitla Hall of the College near the end of the Summer Term. In June, there is often a Summer Serenade held in a Church in Belfast. The musical calendar ends with Junior Prize Distribution, which features performances from the Junior Choir, Junior Orchestra and the Band.

Sport

Rugby Club

The College 1st XV have won the Ulster Schools Cup 32 times, more than any other school,[3][30] and Medallion Shield a record 34 times. The College owns its own rugby pitches at Pirrie Park.

In 2009, the 1st XV defeated Royal Belfast Academical Institution in the final of the Schools Cup.[31] The man of the match went to Michael Allen, for the second consecutive year, scoring two tries. The Medallion Shield was recovered from the hands of R.B.A.I, when Methody beat Campbell College in the final at Ravenhill.

In October 2009, the 1st XV won the Blackrock Rugby Festival, organised by Blackrock College to celebrate their 150 year anniversary.[32]

Hockey Club

The school has played hockey since the 1890s. One of the earliest matches was when a Collegians ladies' team beat the schoolgirls 4-0 in 1896.[33]

The girls club celebrated its centenary in 1996 with a series of special matches. MCB possesses its own artificial turf pitch, located at Belfast Harlequins on the Malone Road.

Methodist College Boathouse

In January 2007, boys 1st XI player Douglas Montgomery was selected to represent the school as part of a delegation from Belfast Harlequins that met with President of the Republic of Ireland, Mary McAleese in Phoenix Park, Dublin. This meeting was to mark the club's cross community work.[34][35]

Alan Green of BBC Radio 5 Live was one of the most famous players, off the field, that the school ever produced. Full international players include Ian Kirk-Smith, Gregg Sterritt, Andrew McBride (for Scotland as a "forgotten exile"), Neil Dunlop and Norman Crawford. Many pupils have represented Ulster at Junior and under age levels, including Connor Montgomery representing Ulster under-16s at the IHA Interprovincial Tournament, Shawsbridge, 2008 and Ulster under-18s at the IHA Interprovincial Tournament, Newpark, 2010.[36]

The most recent success for the boys 1st XI was the Burney Cup win in 1999. The Cup was presented to the team by Ulster Branch president and ex-pupil Peter Wood. In the 1985-86 school year, the boys' 1st XI hockey squad won the Tasmania Trophy as Irish schools champions, coached by schoolmasters Robert Kenny and Philip Marshall.[37]

The girls have not won the Senior Schoolgirls Cup competition since 1988, when they beat Friends School Lisburn by two goals to nil in the final. The school has the most wins in the history of the Cup, however most of the success came prior to World War II.

Rowing Club

The College has won many recent rowing regattas and Heads of the River competitions.[38] In June 2008, the MCB J16 8 won the Craig Cup,[39] a major rowing competition.

Every year, Methody and their traditional rivals RBAI compete against each other in "The Race".[38]

Clubs and Societies

Model United Nations

There is a Model United Nations Society within the College.[40][41] The college has won prizes at the Bath International Schools Model United Nations Conference , Model United Nations at Cheadle Hulme and George Watsons College Model United Nations. In 2003, a delegation of students went to Yale University, New Haven, to attend the Yale Model United Nations Conference. They won the overall best delegation award representing the United Kingdom. In 2005, a further delegation attended the North American Invitational Model United Nations Conference, hosted by Georgetown University in Washington DC. In March 2007 a team from MCB went to New York for the National High Schools Model United Nations. In March 2008, another MCB team attended GWCMUN at George Watson's College, Edinburgh. The team was successful in attaining the best delegation in General Assembly award, as well as jointly winning the best overall delegation award with a team from Hampstead School. A number of delegates also won individual awards.[42]

Chess Club

Methodist College Chess Club was set up by Brian Thorpe and Arthur Willans in 1960.[43] After Brian Thorpe's retirement in 1994, Dr Graham Murphy took over and presided over victory in both the Irish Colleges Chess Championship and the British Schools Chess Championship (sponsored at that time by The Times newspaper) in 1995.[44] In addition to the outright victory in the British Schools Chess Championship in 1995, the College finished 3rd in 1970 and 1979, and 4th in 1986 and 1997. The British Schools Championship Plate Competition for runners-up of the zonal heats was won in 1994, the first year the Plate competition was held. Methody won the inaugural Irish Colleges Championship in 1976[citation needed], the first of several wins. The Ulster Schools Division One title has been won on many occasions.[citation needed]

The most distinguished former member is International Master Brian Kelly, who occupied Board 1 in the successful 1995 team. Kelly also won a Gold Medal at the Chess Olympiad in Moscow in 1994 playing at Board 5. Past pupils Brian Kerr, Tom Clarke, Angela Corry and Roger Beckett have also represented Ireland at Chess Olympiads.[45] The Ulster Chess Championship has also been won by Methody alumni on 11 occasions, although only John Nicholson (1971,1973), Paul Hadden (1975), and Brian Kelly (1994) won whilst still at school. Brian Kelly is the only Methody alumnus to have won the Irish Chess Championship - in 1995 and 2007, Tom Clarke having come close, but losing on Tiebreak.

Preparatory Departments

Fullerton House

There has been a preparatory department in the main buildings of the college since it opened in 1868. The present building was opened in 1975 at the Lisburn Road end of the Methodist College campus. The first position however, was in the vestibule of 11 College Gardens, Belfast.

Downey House

Downey House was opened in 1933 following the purchase of Pirrie Park from Harland and Wolff, as the college playing fields. The existing buildings were modernised and extended. It was founded by William Fullerton and named after John Downey.

In film and fiction

  • The 2008 film, City of Ember, used the School and in particular the Whitla Hall as a filming location.[46]
  • In the BBC's modern adaption of Cinderella, McArthur Hall was used as a filming location.[47]
  • In the 2008 film, Miss Conception, McArthur Hall is used as the setting for a nunnery.[48]
  • The 2011 novel, Popular is set in a fictional co-educational Belfast grammar school which is situated at the top of the Malone Road.

Notable Collegians

Ernest Walton, scientist and Nobel Laureate attended Methody in 1914
Chris Barrie, Red Dwarf and Brittas Empire actor attended Methody in 1971
Caron Keating, late Blue Peter and TV presenter attended Methody in 1973
Name Birth Death Career
William Macneile Dixon 1886 1946 Author and academic
Seán Lester 1888 1959 Irish Diplomat and the last Secretary General of the League of Nations, member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood
Ernest Walton 1903 1995 Scientist, winner of Nobel Prize in Physics, renowned for splitting the atom
John Hewitt 1908 1987 Poet and socialist
John Herivel 1918 2011 Scientist and World War Two codebreaker at Bletchley Park
Robert Greacen 1920 2008 Dramatist, poet
Sir Cecil Walker 1924 2007 Politician, Ulster Unionist Party MP for North Belfast (1983–2001)
James Ellis 1931 Actor
Martin Smyth 1931 Politician, Ulster Unionist Party MP for South Belfast (1985–2005)
Bertha McDougall OBE Interim Commissioner for Victims and Survivors of the Troubles
Roy Beggs 1936 Politician, Ulster Unionist Party MP for East Antrim (1983–2005)
Robin, Baron Eames of Armagh 1937 Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh (1986–2006), Bishop of Down and Dromore (1980–1986), Bishop of Derry and Raphoe OM
Sir Desmond Rea Chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board
Alan Green 1952 Broadcaster, BBS Football commentator
Sammy Wilson 1953 Northern Ireland Minister for Finance (2009-), Minister of the Environment (2008–2009), Democratic Unionist Party MP for East Antrim (2005-), DUP Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for East Antrim (2003-) and East Belfast (1998–2003)
Alister McGrath 1953 Theologian
Julian Simmons Local celebrity and UTV continuity announcer
Chris Barrie 1960 Actor and Comedian
Michelle McIlveen Politician and Democratic Unionist Party MP for Strangford (2007-)
Barry Douglas 1960 Concert Pianist
Glenn Patterson 1961 Author and novelist
Andy White 1962 Musician and songwriter
Caron Keating 1962 2004 Television presenter
Mark Hunter 1962 Founder of Axon Consulting and IT Entrepreneur
Peter McDonald 1962 Critic, author and university lecturer
Tim Phillips 1964 Political strategist and author
Rt Hon Ian Paisley Jr 1966 Politician, Junior Minister in the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Democratic Unionist Party MP for North Antrim (2010-) and Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for North Antrim (1998–2010)
David Perry 1967 Computer entrepreneur and creator of Earthworm Jim
Paul Loughran 1969 Actor
Carl Dinnen 1971 Channel 4 news broadcaster and journalist
Niall Malone 1971 Ireland and Leicester Tigers rugby player
Stephen Watson 1972 BBC sports presenter
Jeremy Davidson 1974 Ireland, British and Irish Lions, Ulster and London Irish Rugby Player
Niall Stanage 1974 Journalist
Phil Murphy 1976 Canada and London Irish rugby player
Myolie Wu 1979 Actress and singer in Hong Kong
Jenny McDonough 1981 International hockey player
Jamie Dornan 1982 Model and actor
Paul Marshall 1985 Ulster rugby player
Gary Wilson 1986 Ulster and Ireland International Cricket Player

Sources

  1. ^ "MCB Prospectus". http://www.methody.org/App_Themes/methody/MCB_prospectus1.pdf. 
  2. ^ "The Times State School League Table". London. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/parentpower/league_tables.php?t=state_secondary_schools. Retrieved 2007-03-17. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b "BBC 2006 Rugby Schools Cup Final Report including Winners Table". BBC News. 2006-03-17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/irish/4817522.stm. Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "About Methody's Choirs". http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t5j9v. 
  5. ^ "Queen Elizabeth II's visit to the Republic of Ireland". BBC News. 12 May 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13373834. 
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