Thursday, 3 January 2013

A Victorian Headmaster - Notes on Dr. Maurice C Hime

The Foyle College over which Maurice Charles Hime LL.D., J.P. and Barrister at Law presided was certainly a very different educational establishment from that which presently bears the name. As to whether the successor in title is better I leave that to be answered by those who have a much greater knowledge of the world of education than myself.

Hime entered Trinity College Dublin in 1858. His earlier education included a period at, "Mr Flynn's School," in Dublin (1852) and a subsequent period at Protora (1853) which he attended along with his brother. It appears that he toyed with the notion of ordination into what would still at that stage have been the Established Church, but ultimately viewed himself unworthy. Thoughts of a career in the Indian Civil Service also crossed his mind as more seriously did a career at the Bar. It appears to have been the approaching termination of his scholarship which prompted him to accept the head-mastership of the Monaghan Diocesan School in 1866 and enter the world of education.

The school buildings at Monaghan were at the time described as being ,"in a ruinous state." and the house, "void of furniture." Hime's position provided him with a salary of one hundred pounds per annum. Whether from these funds or school funds he purchased several ponies for his pupils to ride. His young gentlemen were frequent visitors at local hunts. Clearly the features of a rounded education have altered over the past one hundred and fifty years.

It was during his sojourn in Monaghan that Hime entered upon his literary career. In 1871 he issued a series essays by himself and others entitled, "Parting Words to Boys Leaving School." His subsequent publications included introductory texts on Latin, Greek and Logic and a publication with the jaunty title of, "Women's Superiority: On the Superiority, as Moral and Spiritual Beings, of Women to Men." Throughout his life he contributed articles to various periodicals and newspapers, including, "Our School Times," the magazine of Foyle College.

It was in 1877 that Hime was offered the head-mastership of Foyle College by the Hon. The Irish Society which position he accepted. As with his previous academic establishment "Foyle" was in need of , "a vigorous revival." Having honed his educational skills in Monaghan, Hime, who by this time had established the Schoolmasters' Association, proceeded, to attract increasing numbers of both boarders and day boys to his new scholastic care. The names of the new scholars are listed assiduously in each edition of the school magazine.

Hime had married Mary Stuart Robinson the youngest daughter of Rev George Robinson at Tartaraghan Parish Church on 24th December 1870. The ceremony was carried out by the bride's father who was the then Rector. Unfortunately she was to die in 1879 not long after the move to Londonderry. She was twenty nine years of age.

Unlike may of his contemporaries Hime was not a proponent of corporal punishment and it was not permitted during his tenure at Foyle. He was not however a lax disciplinarian and bad behaviour was not tolerated. It seems that both masters and pupils had a high regard for him. In 1888, on the occasion of his birthday they presented him with a gong together with a laudatory address. This prompted the granting of a holiday which largesse was received with, "great cheers."

Outside the world of education and his literary interests Hime seems to have had a profound interest in Freemasonry. He is recorded as being the founder Master of Sunbeam Masonic Lodge 191 with the first meeting apparently taking place in his Buncrana house.

Hime remained as Headmaster until 1896 when he was succeeded by John Clark Dick MA.


  1. Dr Patrick Vaughan29 July 2014 at 12:58

    Hime was a personal friend of my great-grandfather, Robert Staples Longworth-Dames Q.C. of 21 Herbert Street, Dublin. I possess RSLD's leather-bound photograph album, which contains a studio portrait of Hime c.1868(?), captioned in RSLD's hand "Maurice C. Hime. []

    1. I think that Hine may well have been the most intellectual of Foyle's Headmasters.

  2. Maurice Hime was a Governor of the Apprentice Boys of Derry. Was he a brother of Sir Albert Henry Hime a Prime Minister of Natal, South Africe, who was born in Wicklow in 1842?.

    1. Unfortunately I am unaware as to whether they were brothers. Certainly Maurice had at least one brother. I suspect that Lieut-Col H W L Hime was a brother.