History

*Original source can be found here wikipedia 

Foyle College and Londonderry High School have been providing education for young people in the Derry area and further afield for more than 390 years. In October 2007, the school celebrated its 390th anniversary with a plaque commemorating headmasters of the school since 1617.

Foyle College

Foyle College traces its origins to 1617 and the establishment of the Free Grammar School at Society Street within the city walls of Derry by Mathias Springham of the Merchant Taylors' Company of London. The original building had the following Latin inscription over the main doorway: 'Mathias Springham, A.R. ad honorem dei et bonarum, literarum propogationem, hanc scholam fundavit anno salutis, M.D.C.XVII'. The Free School was built to "the honour of God and the spreading of good literature". The school received no endowment from that company or from The Honourable The Irish Society (the body charged with the plantation of the County of Londonderry in the 17th century). There followed an on-going dispute between the Irish Society and the Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry as to who had the authority to appoint the headmaster. The former because one of its representatives had founded the school and the latter because it held the school to be one of the diocesan grammar schools provided for by statute. This was only resolved in the early 19th century by Act of Parliament.

The old school within the city walls eventually outlived its usefulness, and in 1814 came the move to the newly erected and well-proportioned Georgian building set on a height above the Strand outside the city walls, designed by the architect, John Bowden (who had also designed the Courthouse in Derry, St George's Church, High Street, Belfast, and St Stephen's Church ['the Pepper Canister Church'] on Mount Street on Dublin's Southside). The school took the name 'Foyle College' in 1814. The story goes that one of the boarders, George Fletcher Moore, proposed to the other pupils "to christen the new school, Foyle College" which was seconded and carried with repeated "acclamations".

For 30 years, from 1868, Foyle College had to compete with a vigorous rival in the Londonderry Academical Institution. This school, established by a body of influential local merchants, moved in 1871 from East Wall to a new site in Academy Road. The Honourable The Irish Society, which contributed to the funds of both schools, proposed a scheme of amalgamation, and negotiations finally resulted in the passing of the Foyle College Act in 1896, the united school retaining the name and with it claiming the traditions of the older school. Foyle then had the use of the buildings at Lawrence Hill and Academy Road. Following the Second World War, and as a consequence of the many changes brought about by the 1947 Education Act, the governors acquired a site at Springtown on Northland Road, overlooking the school playing‑fields, to build a new school. This was opened on 2 May 1968 by H.R.H. The Duke of Kent.

Londonderry High School

Like Foyle College, Londonderry High School owed its existence to the merging of two independent institutions. The first of these, the Ladies' Collegiate School, was set up in 1877 by the Misses McKillip - pioneers in the movement for higher education for women in Ireland. Their vision and drive resulted in the starting of a school at 11 Queen Street. Two further moves saw the renamed Victoria High School located in Crawford Square, where boarding and day pupils were accommodated. The nearby Northlands School of Housewifery (1908) was associated with Victoria High School.

At the top of Lawrence Hill, Miss J. Kerr had opened St. Lurach's College circa 1900 - this school also took boarders. Strand House School (1860) closed during the First World War and the girls mostly went to Victoria or St. Lurach's. In 1922 Victoria High School and St. Lurach's amalgamated to form Londonderry High School. By 1928 Duncreggan, formerly the home of the late William Tillie, H.M.L., had been purchased and the boarders were transferred there from St. Lurach's. In the immediate post-war period there was an ever-growing need for increased educational facilities. The high point of an ambitious and forward-looking programme was undoubtedly the opening of the new £150,000 building extensions between Duncreggan House and Dunseverick. The new buildings were opened by Her Grace The Duchess of Abercorn in May 1962, and on the same day the then Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Education announced that a new block would be erected to house the Preparatory Department, and this followed in 1964.

Eventually the girls joined the boys of Foyle College Preparatory Department which moved into these premises in 1974, and so anticipated the later amalgamation under the Foyle and Londonderry College Act of 1976, resulting in the first co-educational grammar school in Derry. The school preparatory department closed in 2003.