Publication M.C.B. Magazine
Phone +44 28 9020 5205
|Head Scott Naismith (2007–)|
Colours Navy & White
Number of students 1,850
Colors White, Navy Blue
|Location 1 Malone Road
Address 1 Malone Rd, Belfast BT9 6BY, UK
Motto Deus Nobiscum (God With Us)
Methodist college belfast chapel choir performing i ll make music by karl jenkins
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.
- Methodist college belfast chapel choir performing i ll make music by karl jenkins
- Dies irae methodist college belfast
- Early years
- Edwardian period
- World War Two
- Post war Methody
- Later 20th century
- The new millennium
- The School Song
- List of head teachers
- Academic achievement
- Public examination results
- University places
- Choirs and instrumental groups
- Senior Chorus
- Musical events
- Rugby Club
- Hockey Club
- Rowing Club
- Model United Nations
- Chess Club
- Fullerton House
- Downey House
- In film and literature
The College is generally regarded for its high academic standards, regularly sending students to Trinity, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and was ranked 2nd in Northern Ireland in The Times state school league tables 2009. It has also had considerable sporting success, especially in rugby, having won the Ulster Schools Cup a record 35 times and the Medallion Shield a record 35 times. 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. 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. The College has also sent several Choral Scholars and Organ Scholars to Oxford and Cambridge colleges in recent years.
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. The College also has a past pupil sporting organisation in Belfast Harlequins.
Dies irae methodist college belfast
Methodist College Belfast was founded in 1865 by the Methodist Church in Ireland. But the College was not opened until 1868. 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.
From the outset, the school catered for boarders and day pupils with accommodation on site. Although the school was 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. It was also a boarding school until 2010.
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.
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.
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. One of these huts remained in the college, between the Whitla Hall and the Drama Studio, until the early 2010s.
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 two prominent Irishmen and one Englishman; Anglican clergyman William Bedell,born in Essex but dying in Cavan, 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 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.
With the passing of the 1947 Education Act, all children over the age of 11 had to be enrolled in secondary education so creating 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
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 J 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, a building 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
List of head teachers
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.
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.
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.
The vast majority of Methodist College students go on to attend university.
A large number of Methody pupils have been successful in obtaining places at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. 15 pupils were awarded places in 2011, 16 in 2010, 15 in 2009, 13 in 2008, 14 in 2007, 8 in 2006, 23 in 2005, 21 in 2004, and 22 in 2003.
The University of Cambridge student newspaper, Varsity, has previously listed Methody as one of the University of Cambridge's top ten feeder state schools.
Choirs and instrumental groups
There are 5 choirs in the College:
There are also several instrumental groups:
The choirs have won several competitions:
The Chapel Choir has led worship in Westminster Abbey in August 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2013 when the Abbey Choir were on holiday, and have performed in several radio and television broadcasts, such as the BBC's Songs of Praise. 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. 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.
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.
The Senior Chorus consisted of every pupil from Fourth Form to Upper Sixth; they performed choral works at some events throughout the year. The last performance of the Senior Chorus was at the 2014 Easter Concert, after which it was dissolved. The Chorus' duties have since been taken over by the smaller Senior Choir.
This tradition had 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. With the Director of Music, Ruth McCartney MBE, the Senior Chorus learned one large-scale choral work each year, starting in September. The Senior Chorus performed on three occasions in the school year: Senior Prize Distribution, College Carols, and the Easter Concert. At the Senior Prize Distribution in October, they sang two movements from the choral work, as well as another popular tune. At the College Carols, in December, they sang two movements from the choral work, as well as a Christmas piece. The Easter Concert was the most important event in the Senior Chorus calendar; in the second half of the concert, they sang the entire choral work, followed by a popular tune. At Senior Prize Distribution and the College Carols, they were accompanied by the Senior Orchestra, and at the Easter Concert they were accompanied by the Easter Concert Orchestra, made up of some members of the Senior Orchestra along with other guests.
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 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. 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 Choir & 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. Every other June, there is 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.
The College 1st XV have won the Ulster Schools Cup a record 35 times, and the Medallion Shield a record 36 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. 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 invitational Blackrock Rugby Festival, organised by Blackrock College, Dublin a once off event to celebrate that school's 150 year anniversary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The most recent success for the Hockey Club was the U14 Boys winning the All Ireland Championship in 2015, along with the Ferris Cup and Bannister Bowl in 2014. They were losing Finalists to Banbridge Academy in the 2016 Richardson Cup.
Many pupils have represented Ulster at Junior level including, Jonny Caren, Michael Patterson, Owen McIlhinney, Patrick Jack, Ciaran Gough and Chris Larmour. Currently Jonny Caren is Ireland U21s Coach and Assistant Coach to Craig Fulton for Ireland Men's Seniors.
The girls last won the Senior Schoolgirls Cup competition in 2016, beating Sullivan Upper School 1-0 in the final, with Katie Larmour scoring the only goal of the game. The school has the most wins in the history of the Cup, however most of the success came prior to World War II. The girls also won the Kate Russell All Ireland Championship in 2016.
The College has won many recent rowing regattas and Heads of the River competitions. In June 2008, the MCB J16 8 won the Craig Cup, a major rowing competition.
Every year, Methody and their traditional rivals RBAI compete against each other in "The Race".
Model United Nations
There is a Model United Nations Society within the College. 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. The College regularly sends delegations to the annual conference at its sister school, Wesley College (Dublin).
Methodist College Chess Club was set up by Brian Thorpe and Arthur Willans in 1960. 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. 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, the first of several wins. The Ulster Schools Division One title has been won on many occasions.
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. 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.
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 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.