LISBURN STREET 1. 5330 (South Side) The Victoria Infants' School NU 1813 SE 1/61 NU 1812 NE 5/61 II GV 2. Founded 1858/9 on land given by John Lambert, and reformed 1854 as 'The Ragged School'. Single storey 3 bay building. Ashlar with bays divided by plain Tuscan pilasters to single entablature bearing legend 'Victoria Infants' School'. Glazing bar sash windows; door to right. Slate roof with coped verges,
Tate: Ragged School This school was originated in 1848 "with the view providing destitute children with the elements of a secular and religions education, and of assisting them to enter on a course of honest industry." Instruction is given by three paid teachers ; one is master of the school; a tailor instructs a class of hoys in his art ; and a female, assisted by a committee of ladies, teaches sewing and knitting to the girls. The religious instruction is according to the rules, "unsectarian in its character, founded simply on the bible, and embracing the great truths of faith and duty on which all evangelical christians are agreed." There are a day school, an evening school for those who are at work during the day, and a Sunday school; in 1807 the day school had an average attendance of 80, the numher on the hooks being 92; the evening school had an average attendance of 90, out of a roll of 150 boys and adults ; and the Sunday school had an average attendance of 50, out of a roll of 90. Connected with the school are a library and a penny savings hank. The expenditure for 1867 was £100 17s. 7d. ; and the income £124 12s. 4 1/2d; of which sum £22 10s. 0d. was a legacy from the late Captain George Selby, R.N. ; £10 a legacy from William Horsley ; and £15 6s. 0d., the annual interest on a bequest left by Captain George Hall R.N.
This school supplies the wants of a class not provided for by other educational societies; "out of 253 scholars attending it, 47 are fatherless, 13 are motherless, 4 are orphans, 22 are illegitimate, 40 have one or both parents drunken and dissipated, and the remaining 127 have parents so poor that they are unable to pay the smallest school fee." The average attendance of such scholars is about four years. "Comparatively few," it is reported, "have turned out badly; many are doing well ; some young men as mechanics and labourers, and some young women as wives or domestic servants. A few have attained higher positions in society, but the great majority are met with in the ranks of industry."
This school is now held in a large building in Lisburn street, erected in 1838, for an Infant School, which had been establ'ished by the decision of a public meeting to commemor- ate Queen Victoria's coronation, and which was hence called The Alnwick Victoria Infant School. The site of the building was given by John Lambert ; but the scheme had to struggle with difficulties, arising out of sectarian feeling; for a party claimed that the Church of England formularies should be taught in the school, and, as this was not done, refused to give support.
Nevertheless the school struggled on for fourteen years, taught by mistresses who had been educated at Normal Trainnig Colleges but as funds could not he raised for its permanent efficient maintenance it was discontinued in 1853. The trustees of the building agreed in February, 1854, to allow it to be used as a Ragged School.