St. Patrick's Hall School Alumni

Benevolent Irish Society

Formed in 1806, it was the first fraternal society permanently established in Newfoundland. Members were men of Irish birth or ancestry of any faith. Founded on the principles of "benevolence and philanthropy" the Society's main objective was helping the growing number of poor and needy in St. John's, without distinction. In 1823 the Society set about to establish an Asylum for the support and education of orphan children. Their Orphan Asylum School first opened in 1826 in a private home while a school building was being erected. The new school opened in 1827 and while it never operated as an orphanage, its enrollment rose to 600 by 1833, making it the largest in the Colony. The Orphan Asylum School flourished for many years at its location on Queen's Road, south of the Basilica. It lost its earlier prominence in the 1860s but that was quickly restored with the arrival of the Congregation of Christian Brothers in 1875.

BIS c. 1906