Irish Masonic Girls School
A philanthropic and benevolent Masonic society for rendering assistance to the needy. In 1789 Chevalier Ruspini, State Dentist to George III, established a Royal Masonic Institution for Girls in England with thirty pupils. In 1790 several Irish Brethren met together and made themselves responsible for the school fees only that is, they did not pay for the board or clothing of the daughters of some deceased Brethren From that inauspicious beginning has sprung the present Masonic Female Orphan School of Ireland.
In 1792, a small house, affording accommodation for twenty girls, was taken where the pupils were boarded. clothed and educated until such time as they could earn their own living. In 1852, after several removals, Burlington House was opened. An appeal for funds was made to the Brethren and met with a steady response. Great interest was taken in the work by Augustus, third Duke of Leinster, who reigned as Grand Master of Ireland from 1813 to 1874. Such was the quality of the instruction given that the Education Committee was able to select its teachers from among the girls who had been educated in the school.
The first annual grant of one hundred pounds by the Grand Lodge of Ireland was made in 1855, which has been continued- ever since. Girls were admitted from six to ten years of age and retained until they reached the age of fifteen, unless they were then drafted on to the domestic staff. An extension of the building and equipment was made in 1860 and a further extension accomplished in 1870, when a public ball was held. Nine years later a more general enlargement became necessary and a more general appeal for funds was made. In 1880 the foundation stone of the school at Ball's Bridge, Dublin, was laid by James, first Duke of Abercorn who was Grand Master of Ireland from 1875 to 1885. Practically the entire sum appropriated for this building was subscribed by the Brethren.
In 1853 twenty-one girls were residents of the school; in 1875 there were forty-five; in 1890, eighty; and in 1925 there were one hundred four, but, in addition, more than sixty others were receiving extra grants to assist in their maintenance and education and annual sums are expended for the purpose.
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