History Of Park Lodge

Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School opened its doors on 28 August 1958 when one hundred and fifty boys were enrolled.  These pupils came from all parts of Belfast but mostly from the Antrim Road area.  Many were transferring from St Patrick’s CBS Donegal Street.

The school has always been known as ‘Park Lodge’, – the name of the old mansion in which the first pupils were taught.

Park Lodge stood in wooded grounds with fruit gardens, outhouses and glasshouses, at the foot of the historic Cave Hill.  The house itself, complete with tower, overlooked Belfast Lough and the County Down coastline.  It was an imposing building said to be designed in the style of the villa used by Napoleon on Saint Helena.

At one time the house was in the possession of the Baird family, owners of the Belfast Telegraph.  During the war it was used as an ARP station and later as a welfare centre for orphaned and neglected children.

Early in 1958 the property was purchased by the Christian Brothers and during that summer the Brothers, assisted by local people, set about cleaning up the house and converting it into a school.

This brief account could not reflect the many long conferences and meetings which took place between the Brothers and Ministry of Education officials regarding the setting up of the new primary school on this site.

Apparently the Ministry was satisfied with the building itself, but they felt that there would not be sufficient pupils to justify the expenditure.

In 1964 work began on the present building and in January 1967 the first classes entered the new building.

Mr O’Grady, the first lay Principal, took up office in September 1988 and in 1990 the Brothers transferred trusteeship of the school to the Diocese of Down and Connor.

Perhaps the biggest single change in the school came in September 1990 when, for the first time, girls were enrolled in Park Lodge School.  The school is now fully co -educational.