400 years of Foyle College exhibition proving a big hit with visitors

Foyle College Junior School, Northland Road Derry
Foyle College Junior School, Northland Road Derry

A new exhibition looking back of 400 years of Derry’s oldest school is proving to be an extremely popular attraction, staff at the Siege Museum have said.

The ‘400 Years of Foyle College’ exhibition was opened by the Mayor Alderman Hilary McClintock in early April and numerous visitors have already arrived to take in the display of artefacts linked to the historic Derry school.

Foyle College can trace its origins back to 1617 when a Free Grammar School was established in Society Street, not far from the present location of the anniversary exhibition.

Since then, the College has evolved into a successful co-educational school and will shortly move to a new site on the Limavady Road.

Visitors to the exhibition have a chance to see examples of the College’s old fashioned uniforms, P.E. kits and sports jerseys worn as far back as the Victorian period.

In addition, there are school trophies, rare medals, shields and other awards presented to pupils for academic and sporting achievements over the last 150 years.

One of the most popular exhibits centres around an ancient Japanese sword donated to the college by a former pupil who served in the Far East during the Second World War.

Next to this is the General Sir George Lawrence Sword which is awarded to pupils who have given outstanding service to the College in their final years.

The college has merged with other schools through the years, such as Londonderry High School, and other interesting artefacts relate to these institutions, such as a prospectus, badges and an antique cow bell used to call boarding pupils to meals during the early 20th century.

The exhibition runs until September.

Admission is £3 and visitors can also see the award-winning Siege Museum galleries. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday 10am to 4.30pm, and the exhibition is one of several special events taking place this year to mark the anniversary.