The ‘Ragged’ School

This is the latest in our occasional series on hidden Newry.  Can you identify the following home and the plaque which is erected just outside its front door? 

If you are searching your memory, don’t read on for a moment, for we are about to tell you!

John Morgan, Joe’s (the painter’s) son lives today in what was the old School-house in Talbot Street.

You will see it near the junction with Arthur/Cowan Street and a few yards up from Penguin Place.

Do you know your own town at all?

This charming and desirable residence is just a few hundred metres from the town centre in what once was seen as the ‘Protestant’ North Ward of town.

This was the site of the old Church of Ireland ‘poor’ or ‘ragged’ school.

The fortunate scholars, in times gone by, would receive a bowl of soup, by way of sustenance, as well as their lessons.

Among our keenest readers are Jean Spears and the lovely Janine Masters who hailed from the immediate vicinity.  I wonder could they enlighten us a little more on the history of that old school?

Joe Morgan tells me that his son’s home was formerly occupied by a family who ‘signed their names in blood’ on the Ulster Covenant of a century ago.

Can any one confirm all this?

I presume our correspondent Cathy Morgan is the wife of the John Morgan we mentioned as the current owner of ‘The Old Schoolhouse’ in Talbot Street. 

In any case she has contacted Journal (26.5.07) with this message:

“Concerning the Old School House in Talbot Street. I searched the Ulster Covenant records and came across the original signatures of the Scott family who resided here at that time! Elizabeth and Samuel Scott. I also looked at old church records on line and came across info about the schoolmasters at the time, dating back to the mid eighteen hundreds; Isaac Lee and Robert Leech were the names.”

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