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Coordinates: 54°39′54″N 5°39′36″W / 54.665°N 5.660°W / 54.665; -5.660

Bangor Grammar School
Bangor Grammar School Crest.png
84 Gransha Road

, ,
BT19 7QU

TypeVoluntary Grammar
MottoLatin: Justitiae Tenax
Maintain Justice
Religious affiliation(s)Interdenominational
FounderCol, The Hon. Robert Ward PC MP(Ireland)
Local authorityEducation Authority
Chairman of the BoardMr J. Adrain, B.Sc (Econ), FCA
PrincipalMrs Elizabeth P Huddleson
ChaplainsRevd Nigel Parker, BSc
Revd Willis Cordner, BTh
Age11 to 18
Colour(s)         Royal Blue & Yellow
PublicationThe Gryphon
Former pupilsGrammarians
Chair of the GrammariansMr Trevor Gray

Bangor Grammar School (The Grammar or B.G.S.), is a Northern Irish voluntary grammar school for boys in Bangor, County Down. It was founded in 1856 by the Conservative politician, Col The Hon. Robert Ward PC MP(Ireland)[1] and is one of eight Northern Irish schools represented on the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Old boys of the school are known as Grammarians.


Bangor Grammar School Sites
Original site on Main Street (1856–1901), now site of a Bank of Ireland building.
College Avenue site (1905–2012), building in foreground is Crosby House.

Endowment for the school came from the will of local gentleman and politician Col The Hon. Robert Ward PC of Castle Ward. The Hon. Ward was the fourth son of 1st Viscount Bangor and grandson of Michael Ward MP. The Hon. Ward bequeathed £1,000 to be, "…expended in building and endowing a School-house for the education of boys in Mathematics, Astronomy and Navigation…", in his family home town and parliamentary constituency.

Initially established as Bangor Endowed School, the school was originally situated on the site of the modern day Bank of Ireland building on the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue. By the turn of the 20th century the school had changed its name to Bangor Grammar School and because of a growth in school population moved from site to site over a number of years. With the help of Mr W.K. Crosby, the school moved to a new site on College Avenue, in the northeast of Bangor in 1906. The facade visible from College Avenue is a combination of two buildings: Crosby House (known as the Crosby Buildings), which dates back to 1905 and was named after the school's benefactor; and a later extension to the north, which was added as a Headmaster's residence around the time of the outbreak of The Great War (1914–1918).

Despite Northern Ireland not being subject to conscription like the rest of the United Kingdom, a significant number of Grammarians volunteered for the British Armed Forces and fought in both World Wars, in particular the Second World War (1939–1945). The school population was comparatively small at this time, reaching just 200 pupils in 1930 as opposed to 936 pupils in 2008.[2]

Two commemorative plaques are erected in the school assembly hall listing the names off all ex-pupils that died whilst serving in the British Armed Forces during both World Wars. The school's Debating Society minutes present a record of motions brought to the house concerning key events of the times, including a motion concerning the Munich Agreement and the veracity of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's assertion that it would secure, "…peace for our time."

Site moveEdit

A three-year campaign to gain funding from the Department of Education for a new school building for Bangor Grammar School came to a successful end on 1 March 2006, when funding was granted. Building on the new site started in 2011, and the school finally moved to Gransha Road for the term beginning January 2013.

The School SongEdit

Bangor Grammar School has a Latin school song. It was written in 1950 by Miss Elsie Patton and set to music by Dr Emery, the school's music teacher. It is sung on major school occasions, competitive events and Scripture Union weekends. It has also become customary for it to be sung at the conclusion of Senior Debating Society meetings.

Clubs and societiesEdit


Former School Playing Fields at Ballymacormack, near Groomsport.

Bangor Grammar has won the rugby Ulster Schools Cup on five occasions and has appeared in nine finals.[3] The school is therefore ranked as seventh in terms of overall success in the competition.[4] The late 1980s saw a particularly successful period for the school, appearing in four finals from 1985 to 1988 and winning three of them.[3] Bangor Grammar have won the Burney Cup and McCullough Cup and All Ireland schools titles in hockey. In 2005, a badminton double was achieved in the Ulster Finals of the Minors Division 2 and the Seniors Ulster Cup. The Minors beat RBAI in the League Final 4–2 and the Seniors won 4–2. The Seniors were also in the Division 2 final but were beaten by Belfast Royal Academy, a Division 1 team.


The Debating Society is Bangor Grammar's oldest society, having been established in 1927 by A.L. Hawtin. Providing an insight into past pupil's opinions are the minutes of the society, which have been maintained since its inception. The Senior Debating Team defeated Abbey Christian Brothers from Newry in the final of the Northern Ireland Schools Debating Competition on 22 April 2016. This was the fourth time the school had won the country's schools cup. The Senior Debating Team on 24 April 2009 defeated Our Lady's and St Patrick's of Knock in the final of the Northern Ireland Schools Debating Competition, won Schools Cup in 2004, the Best Speaker's Shield in 2006, and has been a finalist a record eleven times. The Senior Debating Society is currently run by Mr. S. J. Wolfenden. The Junior Debating society is presided over by Mr M Dickson.


Bangor Grammar School employed Mr Ian Hunter, BA, MSc, CertEd, LTCL, LGSM as its first Director of Music in 1969. It was a post that he held for 32 years before retiring in 2001. Mr Hunter's replacement was Mr Jonathan Rea, MA; PGCE, LTCL, a graduate of Girton and Homerton Colleges, Cambridge. Mr Rea resigned in summer 2012 in order to pursue a freelance career, both as a director and composer/arranger. In 2015 a permanent successor, Mr Paul O'Reilly, B.Mus, PGCE, LRSM, was appointed Head of Department.

The school has a long musical history with its concert band playing at many events throughout the year including Speech Day, the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (1969-) and the Spring Concert (1970-). The concert band also plays annually at Bloomfield shopping centre in Bangor, raising money for charitable causes. Past charities include MacMillan Cancer Care and Abaana.

A recording entitled 'Christmas Music from Bangor Grammar School' featured the Gryphon Consort, the school orchestra, and the brass ensemble performing various congregational carols was made in 1990 under the direction of Mr. Hunter.

The department has recorded and produced two CDs: A String of Pearls (2004) and The Christmas Album (2005), both under the musical direction of Mr. Rea.

During the 2006/2007 academic year, the school celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary (150th) with a gala concert held in Belfast's Waterfront Hall on 14 October 2006.


The school has a bridge club in recent years run by Mr Chris Harte, up until his retirement in 2009. It is now run by Mr Andrew Walker. The school bridge club has won numerous events in both Ulster and All Ireland competitions. Winning The All Ireland Teams competition in 1994, 2007, 2009 and 2011 in addition to winning the Pairs competition in 2010. The current 1st team consists of Philip McKeown, Graham Dickson, Matthew Smyth and Adam Smyth.

Preparatory schoolEdit

The school had a preparatory school called Connor House for pupils aged 4–11 until the end of the 2011–12 academic year.

Associations with other schoolsEdit

As is the case for many single-sex schools Bangor Grammar maintains close links with its sister single sex school in Bangor, Glenlola Collegiate. The two schools regularly participate in joint activities, most notably the Combined Cadet Force, which meets in an MoD-funded, purpose-built site on The Grammar's campus; the two Scripture Union Societies which hold joint meetings and activities; and the two drama departments, which collaborate on student productions.

Indicative of the close relationships between the two schools was the agreement between the two schools during the 1980s. According to this agreement, students wanting to study A-level subjects which were unavailable at Glenlola but offered at The Grammar were able to attend the boys' school for those classes[citation needed]. Together with Glenlola Collegiate, Bangor Grammar is a member of the Bangor Learning Partnership, which includes Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College and St Columbanus' College[citation needed].

Notable past pupilsEdit


Media and societyEdit



Former Bangor Grammar students have represented Northern Ireland, Ireland, Great Britain and Europe at international level in a number of sports.

Rugby unionEdit

  British and Irish Lions
  Ireland A



Association footballEdit

  Northern Ireland

Field hockeyEdit

  Great Britain


  Great Britain




  1. ^ Great Britain Parliament; House of Commons (1889). Reports From Commissioners, Inspectors and Others: Thirty Volumes -U- Education (Ireland). XXX. London: HMSO. From the Harvard University Collection. See notes 2972-3081
  2. ^ Northern Ireland Assembly – Department of Education Interior Correspondence "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) See Page 7, Under the list of SEELB voluntary schools. Retrieved 26 August 2010 .
  3. ^ a b "Ulster School's Cup Previous Winners". Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Ulster School's Cup Rankings". Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  5. ^ "Bangor Grammar School launches its Sporting Wall of Fame". 22 March 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  6. ^ Ward, Tony; Rooney, Kieran; Kelly, David (25 January 2006). "Where are they now? Kenny Hooks (Markethill 1/1/60)". Irish Independent. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  7. ^ "Bangor Grammar School - News Sesquicentenary Sports Weekend". 28 May 2007. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  8. ^ "Ulster Rugby : News Archive - An Exile Returns Home". Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  9. ^ "Ulster Rugby Player Has Decided to Retire". Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  10. ^ "Ulster Rugby News U21 World Cup". Retrieved 20 December 2010.

External linksEdit