50th Anniversary in Orr's Lane
Mrs Dorothy Weir plants a tree to commemorate
her late father, a past pupil of Hillhall Primary School.
Included in the photo are Rev Dr Jack Richardson MBE, Mrs
Angela Moore (Principal) and pupils Kathryn Reid and Jordan
Mr J Fitzsimmons Chief
Executive SEELB, Rt Hon Mr J Donaldson MP, MLA, MBE, Mrs E A
Moore Principal, Rev Dr J Richardson MBE, at the 50th
Anniversary of Hillhall Primary in its current site.
Joshua Magill P5
Jonathan Dempster P4
My first memory of school was when we went to W5. I remember PE at
Glenmore, and playing on the grass and the `Amazing Journey' and the car
boot sale. My favourite trip was the American Folk Park and going across
Niall Armstrong P3
We went on school trips. We did Sports Days; we had car boot sales
and barbecues. We did a Spring Fair. We went to Glenmore. We heard about
the Amazing Journey. We went to the garden centre to sing and choose a
Christmas tree. In Glenmore we do stuff that is fun, we do races.
Dean Keery P3
My memory of Hillhall would be my first day at school; it was also my
most nerve-racking day as well. I remember not wanting to get up out of
bed and taking ages to get dressed. On the way to school I checked if I
had everything, ruler - check, pencil case - check. When I arrived, Mrs
Halliday opened the door and said "Hello Ewan". I thought to myself, how
can she be so tall. Mrs Moore was even more scarier.
Ewan McClearn P7
I remember the first day at Hillhall Primary School; I met Ellie and
became friends very quick. I made friends with Niall, Dean, Emily and
When I was in P2 I got the hang of the work and I had a busybook and
a maths book for work. When I was starting P3 the work got harder and we
got more workbooks.
Frank Thompson P3
Why I Love Hillhall Primary
I love Hillhall Primary School because I have learnt a lot at
Hillhall and I have had great fun. We went to Glenmore for P.E. Miss
Halliday is our PE teacher. We have also great fun swimming. I will
never forget when I won 1st place in the P2 sprint race for the first
time. I will never forget my best friend Jonathan. I have had lots of
fun with him.
Bailey, Rachel, Neil, Aaron, Niall, Frank, Ellie, Rachel, Jonathan
and I all went to W5, we went to the play area, we went to the glass
bridge at the top level it was very good. Miss Halliday always lets us
have playtime. Mrs Young is very good at art, we have made lots of
things like ice-creams, fireworks, iron � men, snow men, snow drops, pet
shows, dragons, snakes and we painted ourselves. Miss Halliday is our
P.E. teacher, we do lots of games and we have lots of fun. Mrs Moore is
the Boss of the school, she lets us go on the computer in her room and
she teaches the P6's and the P7's, she is a great teacher. Mrs Casement
is our music teacher she plays the Piano she is really good at the
piano. She lets us use other instruments like the drum, tambourine,
shaker, xylophone and the cymbal. Hillhall is a brilliant school. I have
had lots of fun at Hillhall. I have had lots of friends and the teachers
are great as well.
I remember when Jasmin brought in a pretend rat and put it outside
the staff room and when Miss Halliday came out she thought it was real
and screamed really loudly.
Long, Long Ago...
My school days started in 1946 when the school was at the church hall
now known as the Youth Hall. The facilities were very poor, a partition
across the middle of the room to separate the two classes. Two pot
bellied stoves, which were fuelled by coke from the gas works. The
school had no playground and the children just ran about Church Lane or
carefully round the graveyard. There were two teachers, Mr Alfred
Topping, Principal, and Miss Elsie Roy (now Mrs Thompson). The school
had a garden in part of the Manse field; Mr Topping was very
enthusiastic about gardening and would have shown the boys how to grow
vegetables and fruits.
was great excitement about the prospect of a new school in Mr Bob
Gilliland's field. The site was covered with 20-30 Nissan huts as the
site was previously in use as an army camp. The soldiers in charge of
the camp were Belgians and there were German prisoners of war kept
there. The prisoners' purpose was to dismantle the radar station that
was in Miss Minnie Crother's field further down the Hillhall Road.
Eventually the site was cleared and the new school was built and
opened in 1952. The pupils were all greatly excited about their brand
new school with plenty of room for fun and games. Moving days were
hilarious. Not for us the sophistication of a removal firm. Equipment,
records, stationery, books etc. were packed and trundled down the road
on wheelbarrows, trolleys (lent by Mr Walker, the Manager of Gracey's
factory) and anything on wheels. Even the old desks had to be taken. But
it was a labour of love and all was in readiness for the new school
opening in August 1952.
The same Principal and teacher moved with the school and Mr Topping
retired in April 1955 and was replaced by Mr Bob Johnson who continued
until August 1956 whenever I left to go to Lisburn Technical School.
My days at Hillhall Primary were very happy days and stood me in good
stead for my later working life.
Mr Joe Lockhart
Past Pupil and Governor, Hillhall Primary School
I remember my first day at school on 17th' March 1947; it was my
brother's first day too. We wore no school uniform in those days, not
like the ones you have today. Our schoolbags were made of real leather
and lasted a very long time and was made by the man who also made my
The old school was divided into two by a curtain and was heated by a
stove that burnt "coke" (a bit like coal except lighter, cheaper and
doesn't last as long.) When it came to playtime after lunch and break
you had to play on the main road or in Church Lane because there was
hardly any traffic on the road. The toilets weren't flush toilets they
were just a hole with a wooden set and outside too. On a very cold day
it would be horrible!!
Mr Harry Simpson
Past Pupil and Ex-Governor, Hillhall Primary School
In 1952 the school moved up the road, to transport the books and
cargo we borrowed vans from Gracey's factory and in this school they had
flush toilets! But when we moved in we had to change our shoes into
plimsolls. Our shoes would have destroyed the floors because of the
One of my lasting memories of Hillhall was being called a `chatter
box' and those who know me would more than likely still agree.
I remember my first day in April 1959; we didn't have to wait to
September to go to school. Miss Breasley was my teacher who later became
Mrs Frizzell and immigrated to Australia, where I know she progressed to
be the Head of the Infant Department in Geelong Grammar School.
Our classroom was the first classroom at the top of the corridor,
which is still used, by P1 and P2 today. Funnily enough some of my main
memories are from the playground, the trees were the venue of many
games- the girls would play house (no little wooden houses in those
days) and sometimes we'd join the boys and play `Cowboys and Indians'.
Many a successful ambush was staged from the middle set of trees along
the back hedge! Skipping games and elastics were very popular.
Everyone had to drink milk and there were no fridges or Mary Simpson
back then and chances were it would be warm regardless of the season. In
winter by the time we arrived at school it could well have been frozen
and would have had to be put on the radiator to thaw.
Mrs Thompson said one of her memories of me was in P2, at break time
I went missing and both Mrs Price and her searched for me and I could
not be found. Mrs Price sat down at her desk and unbeknown to her I was
hiding under the desk and I then tickled her leg and frightened the life
out of her.
Learning joined writing was quite a difficult challenge for us as we
moved from pencil to a pen that had to be dipped in ink well and we had
to use blotting paper to dry it. It was a very messy affair, not only on
the paper but also our hands. Once you mastered joined writing you
progressed to a fountain pen, biro's were not allowed!
On a Monday morning we all used to gather at the front of Mrs
Thompson's classroom to do Singing Together on BBC Radio. It appears we
were not the only class that enjoyed the use of the radio; I have been
told that in Mr Topping's day his class ground to a standstill the week
the motorbike racing was on!
Mrs Thompson used to have large Cacti's in her room and a piece of
Coral from the Great Barrier Reef that she'd collected on her travels.
But the one thing in those days that kept us in line was the cane, you
didn't think about coming to school without your homework or being
cheeky. When Mrs Thompson went towards the dreaded cupboard even the
bravest of souls shook at the knees. Rumour has it that when Mr Topping
retired the boys buried his cane in the school garden. I don't know
whether a new one was purchased or the old one crept back in.
When the day was over there wasn't any parking problems at the school
gates because in those days parents were able to let their children walk
home safely and when you were walking home any sort of lift was
appreciated be it car, tractor or even the back of a trailer!!
Iris Sleator (1959-1966)
Present Governor of Hillhall Primary School
I have only good memories of Hillhall Primary, I remember coming home
and checking the weather forecast for the next day to see if the weather
was going to be good. We loved football and always looked forward to
playing on the grass. It was great fun, our football pitch was the envy
of many a school. Mary always used to check the grass and we always
pleaded with her to let us play on it even when the weather wasn't so
Another memory is of the diaries we all kept noting down our thoughts
about what happened each day and at the weekend. Mrs Moore always
assessed our diaries at the end of the year and gave a prize to the
pupil with the neatest diary.
On Fridays with Mrs Casement, we were given a puzzle to figure out in
a certain time and we also had recorder practice.
In Mrs Young's class, we always had a Friday test and anyone who got
full marks in spellings or tables would get a sticker and put it on the
Miss Halliday and all the teachers put in a lot of time and effort
with all the school plays. The best part about them was dressing up and
performing in all the costumes.
After swimming on Thursdays, we always came back to listen to Mrs
Moore read the class novel. I remember listening to the story and
enjoying the different accents she would use for all the different
I had a happy time at Hillhall and will miss not being able to pick
Lydia up and having a chat with my teachers.
Thank you all for everything and good luck to everyone for the
Christian Heath aged 13years
1998 � 2005
One of the memories of my days in Hillhall that sticks most in my
head was ironically not a great moment for myself. Sports Day was always
a fun event (a day off school basically) and we all enjoyed trying to
outdo each other. Unfortunately for me Wayne Smith always seemed to win
most of the events with the rest of us trying to get the 2nd and 3rd
The one event I or rather we - Wayne and me (as I remember it)
excelled at, was the three-legged race. It was my last ever Sports Day
and Wayne and I were tied up ready to go. We flew out of the starting
blocks only to be felled by rough ground left by the tractors that had
left three blasted lumps of tree halfway down the playing field.
I have many other fond memories of my days at Hillhall, not least the
trips to Edinburgh and Killyleagh respectively but perhaps the old
adage, "What goes on tour stays on tour!" should apply to most of those
1991 - 1998
Hillhall � So Much To Do...
I really enjoyed Hillhall Primary School, as there was always so much
to do. Building a dragon from willow canes; playing football and rugby
on the grass; end of term productions, bulbs for Marie Curie; practicing
the three-legged race with Christopher D for sports day; singing for the
Red Cross, toast on Wednesday; swimming on Thursday, PE on Friday,
Geography with Mrs Kirk, History and Music with Mrs Casement, Art and
Craft with Mrs Young, PE with Miss Halliday, Poetry, Maths, English,
Science and Computers with Mrs Moore; so many school trips: Explorais,
W5, Castleward, Dunluce Centre, Carrickfergus Castle, Ballyboy,Tayto
Castle, Crawfordsburn Country Park, Castle Espie, the list is endless;
residential trips to London with Mrs Moore, Mrs Young and Mrs Wilson �
absolutely brilliant; dancing at Stormont and Saintfield Show; our
weekly competition with Ballyboye by video conferencing; making clocks;
begging Mary to let us play on the grass; Good News Club with Mr & Mrs
Cowan; dinners being served by Mrs Fleming; cycling proficiency; and
lots of notes from Mrs McAteer, the secretary (and my mum). As I said,
there was so much to do.
I am very disappointed that Hillhall Primary School is closing, but I
have so many brilliant memories of my time there that I will never
Class of 2005 � Clocks Made
Mr Harry Simpson past pupil
and retired Governor of Hillhall Primary looks round the
school at the 50th anniversary celebrations.
I attended Hillhall Primary School from 1979 to 1986. Looking back on
my seven years at Hillhall, I now realise how fortunate I was to attend
such a small and close-knit country school. Due to the small number of
pupils and the two teachers, a very friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere
prevailed throughout each term.
I will continue to look back on my years there, as I have formed many
Gail Marks 1
979 - 1986
I have many pleasant memories of Hillhall Primary School but one of
my worst was when I was in P2. It was the day before Sports Day and we
were going to practise outside. We had to line up at the back door in
Mrs Elliot's with our chairs to sit on outside.
Whilst we were waiting, I put my chair over my head (which we were
not supposed to do) and of course I got my head stuck between the bars
on the back of the chair. I did not realise it at the time how I had got
it stuck, but Mrs Elliot was coming in again and I got worried about
what she would say. Somehow I got it twisted around and got my head out.
That day I will never forget!
1982 - 1989
Mrs Mac telling us about the school site being an Army base
Our trip to Ardnabannon for three days
Our day trips to: The Giant's Causeway, Ardress House, The
Mountstewart, Scrabo Tower and Groomsport.
Football matches. Scoring my first goal when in P5.
Being Captain when in P7.
I really enjoyed my years in Hillhall.
1983 � 1990
I have many great memories of Hillhall Primary School where I spent
seven enjoyable years before moving on to Friends. My recollections are
both of incidents where my sporting awareness was first nurtured. Here
we participated in many activities including football, rounders,
badminton and tennis.
Then came Sports Day! This event always drew parents and friends to
see the team and individual races. They all were rewarded for competing
and this emphasises the point that it is not winning but participating
that is important. When I left Hillhall I took with me a good basic
education and many other qualities that have stood me in good stead thus
far in life.
1978 - 1985
These children worked hard
to raise �875 during a sponsored read for World Book Day.
With the money raised they bought library books for the
The Hillhall Choir 2004 who
raised funds for the Red Cross at a concert in the Island