Family give new life to historic school house

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Tracy McCausland and her family recently moved into the old Ballymacbrennan School House and she is on the lookout for more information about the history of the listed building,

The Ballymacbrennan National School was built in 1834 and for some 90 years it catered for the children of the surrounding area.

In the late 1920s the school ceased and a ruling was made that, under the ownership of the Marquis of Downshire, a committee of 10 to 12 men of the countryside should be responsible for the Schoolhouse. It was to be used as a community centre for people of the district.

In the following years various social activities took place at the school. It was used for wedding receptions and public meetings. At times of elections it was used a polling station.

The Old Schoolhouse is associated mainly as a place for religious meetings. An afternoon Sunday School was held there for several decades.The Sunday School finished around 1980.

In November 1952 the Faith Mission organisation approached the Property Committee with the request to use the building for Gospel Meetings. The building also became the meeting place for annual conferences of the Mission.

The Old Schoolhouse became a Listed Building in 1987. In 1999 the two-storey building, which included a teacher’s residence at the rear, was fully renovated. The building was sandblasted, and a new roof and conservatory added.

“At the start of this year my two boys and I moved into the old Ballymacbrennan Schoolhouse on the Saintfield Road,” explained Tracy. “I’ve been trying to put together some history of the house and I would love to find out if anyone has any memories of it or might have old photos kicking around their roof space.

“We have worked hard over the past few months to create a beautiful home whilst trying to preserve something of the tradition and feel of the original use of the property. We really do love it.”

If you have any information about the school house that you would like to share with Tracy, she can be contacted by email at tracymccausland1@gmail.com