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Castle Gardens Primary School, Newtownards
Early Finish for P1 and P2 Pupils To allow for the induction afternoons for our new pupils, P1 and P2 pupils will be finishing early at 12.45pm on the 6th and 7th June. Lunches will be provided as normal. | Friday Newsletter Now Online Click here to access the weekly newsletter
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School History

2001
The New School (Bowtown Road)

The beautiful new building opened its doors on Monday 3rd September 2001 to fulfill a vision that began in the early 1990’s. Set on a hillside on the Bowtown Road with panoramic views of Scrabo Tower and Strangford Lough it was the culmination of years of planning and preparation.

Castle gardens has a long and proud history as an educational establishment and this tradition will continue in our modern building.

Our accommodation comprises a main building with 21 classrooms with spacious resource areas. A large Assembly Hall, alongside a Minor Hall, a purpose built Dining Hall and kitchen facilities, administrative block, Staff Room, ICT Suite and modern Library.

The facilities are first class and children are happy to be in such a safe and stimulating environment. Castle Gardens Primary School will continue to be influenced for good in such a place. The school continues to move forward as it has done for over 140 years.

Many thanks to Mr Derek Beattie (local historian) for allowing us to use some of his images on our website. Please click the link below to visit his website and learn more about the history of Castle Gardens and Newtownards.

http://www.derek-beattie.comxa.com/school-castle-gardens

 
1992
1992 P3&P4 Trips
 
1981
Football Team
 
1981 - 1982
Castle Gardens Football Team 1981/1982
 
1969
Castle Gardens Primary School Staff

Back Row (L-R): Mr K.E. Hompstead, Mr S. J McGibney, Mrs K. Cherry, Mr J. N Millin

Front Row (L-R): Mrs Y. Greer, Miss A. Tims, Mrs H. Spence, Mrs J Sloan, Mrs G. Jamison

 
1969
Castle Gardens Primary School Staff 1969

Back Row (L-R): Mr K.E. Hompstead, Mr S. J McGibney, Mrs K. Cherry, Mr J. N Millin

Front Row (L-R): Mrs Y. Greer, Miss A. Tims, Mrs H. Spence, Mrs J Sloan, Mrs G. Jamison

 
1967
Renovation and Extension

The accommodation was now able to cope with eleven classes of pupils and served Castle Gardens until 1967 when the school was regarded as being in urgent need of refurbishing and modernising. During the renovations the old original building of 1882 was modernised – new roof, new suspended ceiling, new windows, toilets, floors and heating. The old army huts and toilets were removed and a modern suite of buildings added as follows – new kitchen/servery, dual purpose dining hall/gymnasium, stage, five classrooms, staff room, medical inspection room and Principal’s Office.

 
1961
Miss Cherry's P7 Class
Second photo is of Miss Cherry’s P7 class taken in 1961- Back Row L-R: James Stevenson, Brian Lawther, ? ?, Miss Cherry, Billy Lindsay, James Meredith, James Hollinger, Ian McCallum. Middle L-R: ?  ?, Joan Robson, June Dunlop, Elizabeth Dalziel. Front L-R: Sam Edgar, James Arnold.
 
1960
Football Team 1960

The school football team photo taken in 1960 – Back row L-R: Drew ?, Billy Lindsay, Ron Harper, Ian Munn, Kenneth Maxwell, Michael ? Front Row L-R: James Lawther, Finlay Orr, Bobby McNally, Tony Maxwell, Jimmy Crothers.

 
1960 - 1961
Thank you to Billy Lindsay for these two photographs.
Photo is of Miss Cherry’s P7 class taken in 1961- Back Row L-R: James Stevenson, Brian Lawther, ? ?, Miss Cherry, Billy Lindsay, James Meredith, James Hollinger, Ian McCallum. Middle L-R: ?  ?, Joan Robson, June Dunlop, Elizabeth Dalziel. Front L-R: Sam Edgar, James Arnold.
 
1952
Class of 1952
 
1926 - 1928
Class photo

Another old photo courtesy of Glimpses of Old Newtownards. Only one name known at time of posting - Harold Johnston on the back row middle with his hands clasped.

 
1926 - 1928
Castle Gardens Primary School 1926/28

Another old photo courtesy of Glimpses of Old Newtownards. Only one name known at time of posting - Harold Johnston on the back row middle with his hands clasped.

 
1922
The School Grows

As the school numbers grew an army hut was purchased in 1922. This had been located on ground beside the Comber Road nearby, where several business firms like Crepe Weavers etc. now stand. The hut was purchased by Mr Walker and public subscriptions were invited to help offset the cost of dismantling, transporting and re-erection in the senior playground. The purchase on one hut only is recorded, although we know two were later in use. Records show that a couple of school concerts were also mounted to help defray costs of re-erection, painting and installation of heating.

 
1897
The New School (Portaferry Road)

The old premises were too small and most unsuitable for a school, and so a deed vested in the following Trustees James Brownlow, James Whisker and Nathaniel Legerwood, was executed on 12th April, 1882 and granted to George Walker Esq., to erect one main school room. It is recorded that it was necessary on 19th July, 1895 to execute a new deed, appointing Montserrat H. Walker of “Mountain View”, Newtownards and Valentine Walker of “Mamre”, Knock, Co. Down, new Trustees in place of James Whisker and James Brownlow, who had both died. Mr Montserrat H. Walker was now recognised as Manager in succession to his father Mr. George Walker. From 20th November, 1897 the school premises were to be used for Temperance meetings after school hours – it being understood that this would have regard to the Educational interests of the children.

 
1870
Early Days

Miss Sarah Bradshaw, who had trained in 1862, and held a First Class Teacher’s Certificate, was appointed in 1870 at the age of 29 to be the first Principal. The first pupil to enrol was John Carlisle on 1st July 1870, but he was absent 17 days out of 50 days. The first girl with no absences in the first term was Mary Brown, while the first boy with 50 out of 50 days was Robert A Thompson.

Half-timers who attended had an average age of 12½ years. Summer holidays in those far-off days lasted for 3 weeks, around the 18th July.

Fees were charged as follows

Second Class – 1s.6d. (7½ new pence) for 1 full year.
Third Class – 4s.0d. (20 new pence) for 1 full year.

The premises were also used as a night school. Records show that on 4th April 1876 Mr James Murphy was principal of the Evening Department at a salary of 10 shillings (50p) per month. Two lady assistants from the day school helped him. Later a Mr. W.H. Greer was engaged as a teacher of drawing. In 1880 the grants to the evening school were cancelled due to lack of numbers and the evening school was closed, until further notice.

 
1870
The First School Building

George Walker was the owner-manager of a flax spinning mill in Newtownards, in which was employed between 300 and 400 people. The population of the town was around 11,000. In April 1870 he commenced to employ children in the half-time system, and so the first Castle Gardens School was opened for these half-timers, as they were called. Of course, younger brothers and sisters were also eligible to attend.

This school opened on the upper storey of a private house which was at that time constructed of stone and lime and had a slated roof. Mr Walker paid rent for the premises, together with the sum of £10 towards the Head Teacher’s salary and so became its patron. One part of the premises was occupied as a grocer’s shop, and the other part as a store. The school room was over the store. This site is now occupied by a shop selling motor supplies, and is located at the corner of Castle Street and Market Street.

School hours were 9:30am – 12:30pm and 1:30pm – 4:30pm.

Half-timers went to school three days one week, working in the mill on the other days. Those who missed school were not permitted to go to work.