This elegant building is Magee College, built in 1865 to the designs of the Dublin architect Edward Gribben in a Victorian Gothic style. At this time, Derry was a rapidly developing industrial centre and although the College’s principal function at the time was to educate the Presbyterian ministry, it was from the outset open to all denominations. The Magee Campus gained its name from Martha Magee, the widow of a Presbyterian minister, who, in 1845, bequeathed £20,000 to the Presbyterian Church of Ireland to fund a college for theology and the Arts. It opened in 1865 primarily as a theological college but taught many other subjects. In 1880 it became part of the Royal University of Ireland and later became associated with Trinity College Dublin. The Royal University dissolved in 1909 and was replaced by the National University of Ireland. In 1953, Magee College broke its links with Dublin and became Magee University College. It was hoped that this university college would become Northern Ireland’s second university after Queen’s University Belfast, but in the 1960s, the Stormont Parliament, made a controversial decision to favor a new university in Coleraine. This decision which was one of the pivotal points that developed into the history of The Troubles. From 1969 to 1984 the college halved in size while development focused on the Coleraine campus. Magee has however since grown from just 273 students in 1984 to over 4,000 today. Florence Nightingale visited Magee on 31st May 1867.

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