News Archive

May 2011

One event dominates this month's news for our school - and rightly so!

Hopefully you will have already visited us on this page and read about our exhibition plans below.  Now it's time to share some of the pictures of the actual weekend itself, and to say how incredibly proud we all are!  The event was a huge success, with 100s of people visiting the hall over the course of the weekend.  On Friday evening, we held a special preview for our parents and pupils, before the Titanic Convention delegates visited on Saturday morning.  They were genuinely thrilled - our visitors' books are full of glowing compliments - a true testament to the talents of everyone involved.  Una Reilly, Chariman of the Belfast Titanic Society and organiser of the convention, commented, 'It's a school about which everyone should be really proud.'

If you click on the link here, you will find a welcome to the exhibition and a list of our sponsors, as well as all the schools that so generously contributed their pupils' work.  We are indebted to everyone!

Below you will find a selection of photographs from the exhibition weekend.  The pictures just give you an impression of the displays, but we hope they also reflect the creativity and commitment of all involved.  We will 're-stage' it next year, so if you did miss it this time around, hopefully you'll be luckier next time!

We were honoured to be asked to take part in two very special events to celebrate titanic's launch on 31 May itself.  P7 children attended a ceremony on the site of the actual slipway in Belfast, now in the shadow of the incredible Titanic Signature building.  They had to use the full power of their lungs in a celebration cheers that lasted the full 62 seconds it took to launch the ship - a lot harder than it sounds!

P6 children were invited back to celebrate the opening of the new Titanica exhibition at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum at Cultra. This new exhibition  now occupies a much more pominent site at teh museum and we were delighted to be asked to take part in the event, having also worked with the museum in evaluating the previous exhibition.  The children dressed in their Edwardian attire and acted as 'artefact guides' to the visitors.

100 years ago, on 31 May 1911, the largest liner ever built was launched from Harland & Wolff's shipyard in Belfast.  That ship became one of the most famous ever built by virtue of her tragic loss on 15 April 1912.  Striking that iceberg in the Atlantic, catapulted Titanic to global fame and spurned one of the world's most enduring maritime legacies.

Thomas Andrews, Titanic's chief designer, was born in Comber.  Thomas lost his life on Titanic and, in his memory, the family sponsored the building of the Thomas Andrews Jr Memorial Hall.  That hall is now the beating heart of our school, having been passed into the ownership of the local education authority in 1973.  However, since its opening in 1915, the 'big hall' has been a focus for the community life of the town. It's probably most fondly remembered as a dance hall, but it was so much more.  It hosted all GB and BB displays, it acted as a petty sessions court, a baby clinic, a WW2 billet for troops, a home guard drill hall, a cinema, a location for wedding receptions, a polling station and a meeting place for all kinds of groups.  It was also home to a snooker and billiards club and the local tennis club.  A children's playground was built in its grounds, too.

The life of the hall didn't die when it became part of our school, however.  Andrews Memorial has a long and rich tradition of promoting music and drama in the curriculum.  Indeed, with this beautiful building, and its famous musical history, how could we not?

A detail of Praeger's famous cherubs above the front door - the foundation of a musical legacy?

Now, as the centenary year of the Titanic approaches, the hall is once again in the limelight for the Comber community - and beyond. The school, with support from the Comber Historical Society, is hosting an exhibition in celebration of the Titanic story, Comber's Titanic links and the life of the hall.  The details are summarised below and we'll be publishing lots of pictures soon.  Please take the time to visit the school over the May Bank Holiday weekend, and on the launch centenary itself.  You are all very, very welcome!

Titanic Centenary 31 May 2011 - 15 April 2012

Building a Legacy

Public viewing times - Saturday 28 May, Sunday 29 May, Monday 30 May - 2.00pm - 4.00pm

Tuesday 31 May - Comber Historical Society presentation & film show, 7.30pm - 9.00pm

On Saturday 28 May, the school and Comber will host a visit from some 70 delegates from 9 countries, as part of the Belfast Titanic Society's Titanic Centenary Convention.  Visitors will be given a tour to include the Memorial Hall, the Unitarian Church and the North Down Cricket Club.  This promises to be a very special time for our town - be part of it!

Thomas Andrews Jr The 'Big Hall'

Here's us... or you... in 1957? Stepping out...  1957