This week’s memories are being shared by Paul Maxwell, a former teacher and boarding house master from Daniel Stewart’s College. Paul tells us that when he joined the staff of Daniel Stewart’s College in 1957, all the secondary school teaching took place in the main building except for Art and Technical. Its size, three form entry, was one of its greatest strengths. From the start Paul felt part of a happy community in which education flourished. What follows is Paul’s attempt to recreate for younger readers something of the ethos of the then College. Paul says:
“Life changed considerably in 1963 when I became the Housemaster in the College’s first Boarding house. My previous acquaintance with the building was confined to a visit to have my Medical prior to National Service. Typically, the Army had left the place in some disrepair. Thus a good deal of reconstruction and alteration was required of the Merchant Company to prepare for the arrival of 45 boys in August.
Their ages ranged from 10 to 18 years. The youngest, already a seasoned traveller, came from Borneo (my wife and I had never been in an aircraft at this point!). Others came from various parts of the Commonwealth where parents were in business, and the remainder from the UK. Many of the boys had already been in several Primary Schools, to the detriment of their education. I remember my colleagues complaining about the difficulties this posed.
The main task for me and my wife was to establish a routine which would settle this disparate group of pupils, produce a happy ethos and support their ongoing education. This wasn’t always easy, not least because our own family were 3 and 1! However, with the help of our House Tutor, George Murdoch, our Matron, and most important of all our Cook, we established a good atmosphere quite quickly.”