The Ladies Collegiate School/Victoria College

Ladies Collegiate SchoolThe influential educationalist Margaret Byers founded the Ladies Collegiate School in Belfast in 1859. The school was later re-named Victoria College in 1887. Byers supported reforms in the way in which girls were educated. The school grew rapidly due to the increased interest in educating girls in the late nineteenth century. The school encouraged academic excellence but also taught the skills required for homemaking. After petitioning by Byers, Queen’s University set exams for the school from 1869. Byers also encouraged students to attend university and carry out philanthropic work such as a mentor scheme with the Victoria Homes for orphans and needy children.

Victoria College was the leading girls’ school in the country and remained open during the first world war. Students participated in the war effort by donating prizes, staging patriotic concerts and knitting socks for soldiers. Victoria College remains a school for girls today but it moved to Cranmore Park in the 1970s.