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1879 – Wesley College, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin

Architect: Alfred G. Jones

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Wesley College was founded in 1845 on St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin as a Methodist Foundation but welcomes students of all faiths. It was originally proposed that to build a boarding and day school for boys near Belfast but later decided that the Wesleyan Connexional School should be established in Dublin which was the hub of Ireland’s transport system and had a far greater population. A large dilapidated dwelling house, No. 79 St. Stephen’s Green, sited on what is now part of the Department of Foreign Affairs, was leased from the trustees of The King’s Hospital.

The school buildings of 1879 were designed by Alfred G. Jones and finished with polychromatic brickwork, with later work by George F. Beckett. It was designed to accommodate 100 boarder and 200 day boys, together with a limited number of resident university students. The college chapel (illustrated) contained a war memorial which was removed to the new school. “This building was erected to the honour of all old boys of this College who ventured their lives for defence of home and country in the Great War and especially in loving and grateful memory of those who fell”. Also removed from the college buildings was the Crook Memorial Window, which was presented to the College in 1917 by Mrs. William R. Burgess in memory of her father, Dr. Robert Crook, Governor of the College 1857-62. In 1969 it was given to Methodist College, Belfast where it was re-erected in the Library.

From The Building News: “Wesley College, Dublin, was opened on the 30th ult. It is situated on the north side of St. Stephen’s Green, beside the Wesleyan Centenary Chapel. It is Gothic in style, and has been erected from the designs of Mr. Alfred G. Jones, of Dublin. The buildings are of red brick with limestone and granite dressings, and bands of blue and white brick. Over the governor’s house, in the centre of the buildings, is a richly-ornamented clock turret finished with a spire.”

Incidentally the school board and Methodist congregation of the nearby church were very concerned to prevent “unsuitable development” near their church and school and in 1846 they petitioned against an extension of the Bray-Harcourt Street railway line to a proposed terminus on St. Stephen’s Green.

In 1969 it relocated to Ballinteer, and their buildings on the Green were sold for redevelopment, and demolished in 1972.