Orangefield High School

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Orangefield High School was a secondary school in east Belfast, Northern Ireland. Formerly Orangefield Boys' Secondary School and Orangefield Girls' Secondary School, it became coeducational before it closed in 2014.

Notable alumni of the Boys' School include Van Morrison,[1] Brian Keenan,[2] David Ervine,[3] Gerald Dawe,[4] Walter Ellis and Ronnie Bunting.[5]

Prior to closure, Orangefield High School had a student population of approximately 90 pupils from age 11 to 18. The school offered a wide range of subjects from compulsory such as English, Mathematics, Science that are required through years 8-12. The school also offers other subjects such as technology and design, home economics, information computer technology, media, music, geography, history, business studies, physical education and religious education.

On October 2012, it was announced that the school may possibly close, due to student numbers falling and failure to meet academic targets.[6]

It was announced on 14 January 2014 that the school would close. The school finally closed in June 2014.

After the closure of the school in 2014, the school was finally demolished by February 2017, plans for the site the school sat on are still unknown.

Prior to the schools demolition it was used as a film set for BBC drama The Fall in 2016.


Orangefield has had a long history within the east Belfast community, with many local celebrities and international icons having been educated at the school. The most famous former student is Van Morrison. Morrison wrote a song entitled "Orangefield" and included it on his 1989 Avalon Sunset. He also referred to his school days in Orangefield in the songs "Got To Go Back" (1986 album No Guru, No Method, No Teacher) and "On Hyndford Street" on his 1991 album Hymns to the Silence. John Malone was the headmaster from when the school opened in 1957 to the early 1960s.[7]


Some of the older school buildings were still in use until its closure, although the original boys' school building was used only for physical education lessons. The new buildings added throughout the years have brought together the girls' and boys' schools with additional add-ons such as a dedicated science wing (built in 1991) and a reception area. The school shares the area with other local schools Grosvenor Grammar School and Orangefield Primary School.

Principals & vice-principals[edit]

  • John (Boots) Malone / Brian Weston
  • Brian Weston / Ken Stanley
  • William Hyndman / Jennifer Mussen
  • Karen Burrell / Maurice Johnston

School houses (boys)[edit]

There were 4 school houses during the period to 1974 (linked to local businesses with respective colours) i.e.:

  • Davidson (red) - Davidson Sirocco Work
  • Hughes (blue) - Hughes Tool Company
  • Musgrave (green) - replaced by McNeill house after the Musgrave company went bankrupt. Became Stewart House in early 80's
  • Bryson (yellow) - Spence Bryson (Carpet Makers)

Integration of sexes[edit]

From 1972 onwards, girls from 6th & Upper 6th Girls school shared classes with the Boys school and vice versa. Lessons in the Boys school were undertaken in what was known as the 'new' block.


  1. ^ Turner 2003. p20.
  2. ^ "Former Beirut hostage to appear at ennis book club festival". 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  3. ^ "David Ervin". Archived from the original on 2011-05-17. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  4. ^ "Gerald Dawe biography". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  5. ^ "My killing cousin". 2006-02-19. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  6. ^ "Van Morrisons old school could be closed by next summer" Belfast Telegraph 15 October 2012 Retrieved 4 November 2012
  7. ^ "Diary of a somebody from the north". 2006-04-01. Retrieved 2008-08-18.

External links[edit]