Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > School > Respecting 125 Years of Campbell College

Respecting 125 Years of Campbell College

On this day 125 years ago, Campbell College Belfast first opened its doors.

3 Sep 2019
On this day 125 years ago - 3rd September 1894 - Campbell College Belfast first opened its doors.  To mark the occasion the College partnered with the Belfast International Tattoo to welcome a multitude of Pipes and Drums from around the world to its East Belfast Campus – including pipers from as far afield as Australia. In addition, as a mark of respect for the hundreds of Old Campbellians who lost their lives in conflicts across the world, Belfast City Hall will be lit in Campbell green tonight - the colour representing the Old Campbellian community.  Pupils and staff will also be presented with a 125 Commemorative Coin.
The College’s Pipe band was joined by The National Youth Pipe Band of Australia along with bands such as The Ulster Scots Juvenile Pipe Band, the Cleland Memorial Pipe Band, the Gilnahirk Pipe Band and the Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band as they play together in celebration.
The College was founded with a bequest from linen merchant, Henry James Campbell whose desire it was to build a school that would deliver a liberal education.  Starting as a day and boarding school, Campbell has continued as such and still attracts boarding pupils from across the world with 150 of its 1200 strong cohort hailing from 30 different countries across the globe.

125 years of Campbell College history includes many stories of success and hardship.  The College’s Central Hall was one of the multiple locations where the Ulster Covenant was signed on 28 September 1912. The College lost hundreds of pupils in both World Wars and in World War II the school buildings were requisitioned by the war office as a hospital with pupils transferred to Portrush.  On 1st June 1951 the Queen Elizabeth (laterally the Queen Mother) and Princess Margaret (deputising for King George VI) visited Campbell to present the College with the Royal Charter in recognition of this sacrifice.  The College motto Ne Obliviscaris ("Do Not Forget") remains to this day and was most evident in 2018 when the College marked the centenary of the end of WW1 with a poignant heritage project entitled, ‘The Men Behind the Glass’ remembering the 126 pupils and one member of staff who died in WWI.

The College boasts many notable alumni including; Nobel Laureate Professor William Campbell; VC recipients Edmund De Wind and William John English;  author C.S. Lewis; film director, Mark Huffam; rugby legends Mike Gibson, (Ireland,  British and Ireland Lions), Gordon Hamilton, (Ireland), Chris Farrell (Ireland) and Paddy Wallace (Ireland); Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and Jonny Quinn; journalists John Irvine, Gordon Burns and Noel Thompson and many more.

Commenting on the 125th celebrations, Headmaster Robert Robinson, MBE stated.  “We have been hosting a number of events to mark our 125th year and have more to come.  Today is about remembering those that have gone before and, as we do so, looking forward to the next 125 years. Ensuring that we stay true to the ethos that Henry James Campbell envisaged - that of building men of character who will contribute to the world around them.  I look forward to hearing the cacophony of pipes and drums as we pay tribute to this wonderful College.”


To view this photo gallery

Similar stories

Annual Dinner 2019 & 125th Anniversary Celebrations - Fri 15 Feb 19

Over 260 OCs And Guests Gathered In The Central Hall On Friday The 15th Of February At The 2019 Annual Where They Celebrated the 125th Anniversary Of The College. More...

Gary Lightbody (7848) and Jonny Quinn with the Headmaster and Chair of Board of Governors
Speech Day 2019

"It Was A Pleasure To Welcome Back Gary Lightbody (7848) and Jonny Quinn (7471) To The College As Chief Guests At The 20… More...

Andrew Wilson (7177) with OC Society President Sam McIlveen (6446)
OC Society Annual Golf Outing 2019

Over 50 Golfers Took Part In The Annual OC Society Golf Outing At RBGC On Friday 17th Of May. More...

Americas Branch Dinner - post event report

With thanks to all attending OCs and their guests for their support. More...

The Henry James Campbell Bursary

Over £2,000 was raised for The Henry James Campbell Bursary at the 2019 Annual Dinner. More...

Most read

Respecting 125 Years of Campbell College

On this day 125 years ago, Campbell College Belfast first opened its doors. More...

Obituary - Kenneth Boyle

It is with regret that the Society announces the death of Kenneth Boyle ( 1957 - 61). More...

Obituary - Dermot Strahan

It is with regret that the Society announces the death of Dermot Strahan (1943 - 1951) More...

This website is powered by