Pirrie House


Senior Housemaster:  Mr. D.S. Scott

Year 8 Tutor: Ms. L. Gordon                      Year 9 Tutor: Mr. D. McCann

Year 10 Tutor: Mr. S. Archibald                 Year 11 Tutor: Mrs. S. Monteith

Year 12 Tutor: Mrs V.H. McCord               Year 13 Tutor: Mr. R.J. Wilson

Head of House: Adam Gowdy

Deputy Head of House: Daniel Simpson

House Secretary: Peter Bowman

Deputy House Secretary: Cameron Harte

Prefects: Peter Bowman, Michael Corbett (Senior), Adam Forsythe, Adam Gowdy, Cameron Harte, Jacob Heggarty, Michael Lowry (Deputy Head of School), Isaac Main, Robbie Marrs (Senior), Pierce McLernon, Theo Millar (Head of School), George Robinson and Daniel Simpson.

Mentors: Peter Bowman, Harry Brown, Michael Corbett, Jacob Heggarty, Pierce McLernon, Theo Millar, George Robinson and Daniel Simpson.

8P photo 3

           Valete: Omar Belkessam, Jake Chambers, Ryan Connor, Christopher Cranston, Ross Cunningham, Daniel Hamilton, Michael Hawkins, Jordan Hutchings, Adam Lambe, Niall Magee, Scott Magill, Benjamin McConkey, Ben Mellor, Alexander Mills, Ben Palmer, Blair Robinson, Jack Robinson, Ryan Scorer, Daniel Taylor, Aaron Wilson.

            May I firstly take this opportunity on behalf of the House to welcome the new members of Pirrie House to the school. Everyone within Pirrie hopes that you will all thoroughly enjoy and make the most of your time at RBAI. You will get out of the school what you put in through reaching your academic potential and also availing of the extensive extra-curricular opportunities that you have presented to you here.

            Last year’s Year 14, who have now left school, achieved an excellent set of A2 Level results. Former Head of House Ryan Scorer top scored with three A* grades and an A grade; Omar Belkessam obtained two A* grades and an A grade; Ben Mellor achieved three A grades; Ben McConkey obtained two A* grades and two B grades; and Ben Palmer achieved two A grades and a B grade. At AS Level, 13P achieved pleasing results with the highlights being four A grades from Michael Corbett, Isaac Main and Theo Millar; and three A grades from Robbie Marrs. At GCSE, there were some very good performances. Ben Connolly and Donal Shearer achieved the best profiles of 31.5 points, i.e. 11 A* grades, which is outstanding. Other pupils obtained at least five A grades – Finlay Bodel, Sam Kennedy, Mitchell Mercer and Will Millar.

House Officers 2015 2016 Jake Chambers Ryan Scorer and Niall Magee 2

           Pirrie House underperformed in last year’s House Championship, finishing in sixth place for the fourth year in a row with a total of 82 points, which is very disappointing. Successes did, however, include Year 8 Cricket, Sixth Form Football and Junior Hockey. We also maintained a commendable joint second place in Senior Cross Country. It is said with great pride that Pirrie won the House Cook-Off, a new element to the House Championship introduced last year.

            14P strongly contributed to the success of House Football with Scorer, Hamilton, Hutchings and Magill winning the Northern Ireland U-18 Football League as well last season. Ben Palmer represented Ulster in U-18 Hockey while Jake Chambers and Blair Robinson helped the 1st XV to win the Schools’ Cup for the second year in a row alongside Michael Lowry and Pierce McLernon from 13P. Jordan Hutchings won the 1500m event at Senior Sports Day; a notable individual achievement. This year group was also well represented in the school drama production with Omar Belkessam playing the lead role of Danny in ‘Grease’. In Year 13, Michael Lowry represented Ulster Rugby at U-19 level and he was also presented with the prestigious Steve Martin Elite Sports Scholarship. Theo Millar came second in fencing at the UK School Games with Robbie Marrs also taking part in this event in athletics. Other individual successes from Senior Sports Day included Adam Gowdy winning the long jump and Pierce McLernon winning the discus. Michael Corbett obtained a bronze medal at the Biology Olympiad.

            In 12P there were several individual successes with Donal Shearer achieving a first place finish in the 1500m event at Sports Day after winning the Year 12 cross country race. Sam Kennedy won a J18 4+ race in rowing. Myles Milliken obtained a role in a West End production. In Year 11, Ewan Magee helped the Medallion XV win the Medallion Shield for the third year in a row. James Morton achieved his Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards while Barry Cheevers achieved his Silver Award and Charlie Stafford obtained his Bronze Award. Freddie Johnston helped win a J16 4X+ rowing race at the BRC Sprints. James Morton and Harry O’Gorman won the House Cook-Off.

            In Year 10, Daniel Boomer won the House Indoor Rowing for the third year in a row. Pearse Ferguson finished fifth at the Ulster Schools’ Swimming Competition. In Year 9, tennis ace Dylan Leeman continued to make pleasing progress. He represented Ireland at the Home Nations event in Glasgow in December; winning all his matches and helping the U-12 team to win the competition. Dylan also won the U-14 National Matchplay event and continues to seek to win European events so he can collect valuable ranking points as he aims to become a professional player. In Year 8, Oscar Dunbar was Irish Champion in U-15 Jujutsu while Ethan Hance represented Ulster in the Junior U-14 Interpros.

Mentors 2015 2016 Jack Robinson Omar Belkessam Matthew Stewart Niall Magee and Adam Lambe 2

            During the year, each tutor group was represented at Pupil Councils by Ross Cunningham (14P), Peter Bowman (13P), Sam Kennedy (12P), James Morton (11P), Edward Tang (10P), Callum Reid (9P) and Daniel Flynn (8P). Throughout the year, Pirrie House continued to consider others in the local and wider community, making donations to Habitat for Humanity Northern Ireland’s Open Doors Appeal, Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal and to Storehouse Belfast. At the annual House Rewards Assembly, the Pirrie Perpetual Cup For Leadership was awarded to Head of House Ryan Scorer while the Todd Perpetual Cup For Best Contribution To Pirrie House was presented to Matthew Hamill (9P) and Daniel Hamilton (14P). House Contribution Certificates were awarded to Matthew Barton (8P), Edward Tang (10P), James Morton (11P), Finlay Bodel (12P) and Michael Lowry (13P) while House Punctuality Certificates were awarded to pupils for 0% lateness.

Pirrie House Rewards Ryan Scorer Matthew Hamill and Daniel Hamilton 2

            In order to conclude my report, may I take this opportunity on behalf of Pirrie House to thank Mr. Scott for his leadership and to all of the tutors for their commitment, time and impeccable organisation. We are all privileged to attend a school where our form tutors encourage us, look after us and are committed to our well-being and pastoral care.

            I now wish each and every member of Pirrie well for the coming academic year with their academic studies and extra-curricular involvement.

Peter Bowman (House Secretary)




            When the House system was introduced in 1926, Pirrie was one of the original four Houses. It was named after the shipbuilder, businessman and entrepreneur Lord William James Pirrie.

            Born in Quebec, Canada on May 31st 1847, Pirrie rose to the top of the shipbuilding industry. The famous Victorian writer and political activist, William Stead – who himself died on ‘Titanic’ – described him as “the greatest shipbuilder that the world has ever known”, who has “built more ships and bigger ships than any man since the days of Noah”.

           Pirrie was educated at R.B.A.I. between 1858 and 1862 when he left and enrolled as an apprentice at Harland and Wolff shipyard at the age of 15. Sir Edward Harland almost immediately saw Pirrie’s potential and took the teenager under his wing: as a result, Pirrie’s rise through the company was meteoric. By the age of 22, he was chief draughtsman; by 27, he was made a partner in the company; and later he became the first chairman of the board. Under his energetic, but often dictatorial, control, the shipyard boomed – and alongside it, so did the city of Belfast. Pirrie was elected Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1896 and 1897, and played a key role in the drawing up of the plans for the magnificent new City Hall (work began two years later and the building was completed in 1906). He was the first person to be named a Honorary Freeman of the City in 1898; was the first Viscount of Belfast in 1921; and was elected to the Northern Ireland Senate in 1921. A bust of Lord Pirrie was unveiled in the grounds of BelfastCity Hall in 2006.

            Pirrie and his expanding shipyard embarked on some of their most ambitious projects at the beginning of the 20th century. First came the ‘Laurentic’ in 1908 and then the three sisters ships of the ‘Olympic’ class. However, the shipyard’s crowning achievement was soon followed by its moment of infamy – the sinking of the mighty ‘Titanic’ on April 15th 1912, less than one year after its launch. Pirrie was due to travel aboard the Titanic but illness prevented him from joining the ill-fated passage. In an ironic twist of fate, Pirrie died at sea on June 7th 1924 while on a business trip to South America.

            In the early days of the House, boys from East Belfast were allocated to Pirrie House where the House became synonymous with the “hard men from the east” according to former Senior Housemaster and historian Brian Todd. These boys certainly did not know how to give up in House competitions. In more recent years, boys enter the House from various parts of Belfast and beyond but the Pirrie fighting spirit is still alive and well.