Douglas Grammar School

The following brief history is taken from a short account by Owen: The original grammar school was founded by Bishop Wilson in 1705 who arranged for a grant of £270 to found a school there from the "Academic Fund," and by a charter executed in 1707 he arranged for the appointment of a master of the new school to be with the Bishop, the post being attached to the Chaplaincy of the then newly built St. Matthew’s Church, (built 1703). The School House was "Dixon’s House," in New Bond Street, so called after William Dixon, Alderman of Dublin, related via marriage to Bishop Wilson who gave it for this purpose. The Chaplain of St. Matthew’s continued to be Master of the School until it closed in the 1870's. Several famous Manx clergymen occupied this post including Philip Moore and Robert Brown. Some account of the standard in mid 19th century is told by Hugh Stowell Brown.

Douglas Grammar School, c. 1899
Douglas Grammar School, Dalton Street c. 1899

What became the second Douglas Grammar school was founded in 1858 as Douglas Middle School, by Mrs Cecil Hall, widow of the late Archdeacon Hall - this was associated with St Thomas's - the trustees of the school were the High-Bailiff of Douglas, the Vicar-General, and the Vicar of St. Thomas’, and it was to be conducted with religious teaching in accordance with the doctrines of the Church of England. The school was renamed Douglas Grammar School in 1878, according to Owen with an eye to obtaining the scholastic endowments which were with some difficulty, disentangled from the ecclesiastical endowments relating to St Matthews and ordered to be applied for the use of a new school, if one should be founded, to be called the Douglas Grammar School. This money however did not come until 1916 and with the reorganisation of the Island schools in 1920 it was closed - its functions being taken over by the Eastern Secondary School though the building remained briefly in use as the junior department of that school before being aquired for redevelopment as Douglas telephone exchange. (The last head, Mr. J . A. Barthélemy, was allowed to continue living in the school master's house).

It was described in 1860: as

The business of the School is conducted in the handsome and commodious Building near Dalton Terrace, Windsor Road.

Pupils receive either a Classical or Commercial education according to the desire of the parents. In the Classical Department the Boys are instructed in those branches of study which will either fit them for the learned Professions,or entrance at the Universities. The Commercial Course includes all the usual subjects - every effort being made to render the boys quick at mental arithmetic, careful and ready accountants and apt letter writers. Their moral and religious training is particularly attended to, and a tone of manly self dependence is inculcated which shall make them in after life useful members of society in any position to which God may call them.

At the end of each Quarter, Examinations are held, and a report of each Pupil's general conduct and work is sent home and at the close of the midsummer quarter prizes are distributed after a public examination conducted by gentlemen of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

The school is well supplied with Maps, Models, Diagrams and all the requisites for a well ordered Scholastic establishment.

A Library of upwards of three hundred volumes to which additions are constantly made and regularly supplied with periodicals suitable for boys is open to the pupils free of charge.



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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2005