Patrick Old School

2011 - From Committee to Registered Charity

The Committee running the Schoolrooms Charity consisted of experienced, professional and commercially minded members of the Patrick community, bringing their experience in various fields as well as their gift of time and financial support, and agreed that action was needed to ensure this community building was preserved into the future.

With our very special village community building, the crumbling Victorian Patrick Old Schoolrooms under threat of being sold by Patrick Church to fund its own renovations, in early 2011 the active members of the Patrick Schoolrooms Committee of Chairman Robert Quayle, Alison Jones, Richard Jones, Fiona Anderson and Ciaran Downey (now members of the Patrick Old School Board following the incorporation of a Charitable Company limited by Guarantee) undertook a review to consider the Schoolrooms current use and state of repair, looking at how it could be improved in the short term and in the future, together with the financial implications of its resultant proposals. The fundamental aim is to ensure that the Schoolrooms can maximise the opportunities available in order to generate sufficient income for it to be self-sustaining for the future. The Committee’s review drew the following conclusions:

a.         Importance to the community

The Committee concluded that this building is vitally important to the Patrick community. Since the closure of its School, Public Houses, shop and finally the vicarage last year (which has now been sold), the Schoolrooms is the last non-denominational building in Patrick which brings together the whole community in a cohesive and all inclusive way, including Patrick Church-goers, those who go to other churches, and those who do not go to church at all.

Whilst it does provide a venue for church events (for which the church has agreed should be on a fair market price basis), there are those who use the Schoolrooms simply as a community venue, but in so doing it has the opportunity to enrich and enhance the lives of those within our community e.g. the coffee stop, children’s badminton, a meeting venue for local allotment holders, the local Tai Chi group, weekly youth club, children’s holiday club.

With enhanced facilities (a warm dry building with a hygenic catering style kitchen, and improved toilets and showers) it would allow for increased uses for other local groups, such as Pilates (sadly this group left due to the coldness of the Schoolrooms) and the “University of the Third age” (who left due to the cold and smell of rodents) as well as other income generating lettings

b.         State of Repair

The Schoolrooms are an attractive building of historical interest. The Committee, with the help of a chartered surveyor and a QS, and in consultation with a builder, agreed that the Schoolrooms were not sustainable in their current form. They are expensive to run and the fabric of the building is deteriorating. However, the Committee felt that they had a duty to seek to respect the Schoolrooms’ historic value in its current form, indeed it is likely that any attempt to seek planning permission to change them in any way was likely to result in the original building becoming listed in order to protect it. It should be noted that the Schoolrooms were used as the period school during the filming of “Lassie” on the Island a few years ago.

It was also agreed that the extension had been badly built, being constructed directly onto the old schoolyard stone and rubble wall with no damp-proofing, and it would be more economical to start from scratch with proper foundations and cavity walls. However, it was difficult to understand how the Committee could possibly raise the funds to save the Schoolrooms within a village of only a small number of residents, as such an investment would be difficult to justify. Thus, the Committee agreed that they needed to look to investigate further ways to maximise their use.

c.         Maximising the opportunities to develop the Schoolrooms for their wider use : A Recommended future for a financially viable and exciting way forward

The Committee concluded that, in order to justify the significant investment required, we must look beyond preserving this historic building for use by the immediate community or for occasional events, and additionally seek a wider and more effective function for the Schoolrooms.

Given the Schoolrooms’ location adjacent to Knockaloe Moar Farm – the site of the Island’s Internment Camp between 1914-1918, the Committee agreed to the proposal by Committee Members Alison and Richard Jones that the Schoolrooms be developed into a Visitors Centre for the Knockaloe Internment Camp to sit alongside its community use to provide the building with a future and opportunity for seeking Government and Charity/Lottery funding for the project as a whole. Alison and Richard brought together detailed business plans and started a process of seeking funding for the renovations and extensions. When funding could not be secured and with concerns over keeping the Knockaloe aspect of the project save form future interference by those with an interest in the building, Alison and Richard proposed that they should develop this for the Community and Visitors under a separate Charity, funding the build over and above the adhoc donations and Charitable funding of, e.g., the old windows’ renovation and/or replacement, collections and ongoing running and staffing of the Visitors Centre themselves which would then keep this aspect safe into the future. This aspect ultimately became the Knockaloe Charitable Trust.

Meanwhile Ciaran Downey started work on bringing together fabulous plans for the Schoolrooms renovation and extension suitable for its future use. This then moved on to seeking planning permission and appointment and overseeing of the 

Robert Quayle commenced the process of discussions with the Department of Education and the Church. Following a protracted process, where both Church and Government also looked into selling the building instead to provide themselves with funds, thankfully saved by the fact that neither had absolute ownership of the building, the Committee finally obtained the agreement of the Church that they would cede their right to use the building to a new Schoolrooms Registered Charity set up for the purpose of running the Schoolrooms into the future, subject to the Church having their priority usage and representation on the Board, and the Department of Education then gave approval for a 20 year lease to the Board with and automatic renewal for the following 20 years.

Richard Jones commenced the process of setting up a company limited by guarantee which would be a registered charity set up by the Committee. This would be run by Directors from the local Community with a broad range of experience.

And during this time Fiona Anderson continued to manage bookings and organise events such as the Burns night supper, and Harvest Auction Supper ably assisted by others on the Committee and in the community.

The uncertainty over the lease meant a considerable delay in the project which left The Knockaloe Charitable Trust with an extremely challenging tight timeline within which to achieve its goals. Rather than opening in 2014, the centenary of the start of WW1, instead they were only able to launch the website and Facebook page,100 years to the day from the initial camp opening on 17 November 1914. However, this allowed Descendants to start to get in contact allowing Trustee and Researcher, Alison Jones, to start to provide the research assistance sought by so many families as well as providing guided tours for those who visited as detailed on the research section of the Knockaloe Website launched

Finally opened as a community building in 2018 with the Centre for WW1 Internment formally launching the following Spring, this project has allowed the Schoolrooms to continue to function as the only non-denominational building serving the community of Patrick village, bringing together both new and older residents from the community in a light, warm and welcoming environment. The Patrick Old School is also available for private bookings – contact for more information. 


Patrick Old School Development Committee and Board members

Robert Quayle MA (Cantab): Chairman

Robert is a solicitor by profession, with his past experience including solicitor at Linklaters and Paines and Partner of Travers Smith Braithwaite. From 1976 to 1987, Robert was Clerk of Tynwald and Secretary to the House of Keys.

He is currently a consultant and non-executive Director, including Chairman of Isle of Man Steam Packet Co Ltd, Chairman of Communicator Limited, Chairman Ellan Vannin Fuels Ltd, Chairman AXA Isle of Man Limited, Director IPIR, Deputy Chairman, Employment Tribunals.

His Charitable work has included former Acting Chief Executive of Manx Blind Welfare (and now member of the Management Committee of same) Chairman Salvation Army Advisory Council 1980 to 1988, Chairman, Manx Foundation for the Physically Disabled 1986 to 1988. (and now on the Management Committee) Governor, Monkton Coombe School 2000-2008, and Governor, Q3 City Academy.

Robert and his wife, Clare, are very much involved in organising fundraising events at the Schoolrooms together with the other Directors/Committee.

Alison Jones BA Hons, ACA: Funding, Visitors Centre, Website and Archive development

Alison is a Chartered Accountant, qualifying with Price Waterhouse on the Island. She is a Shareholder and Director of two businesses, employing 18 staff, which provide accounting services to a variety of clients based on and off-island, the second of these is a joint venture with Cains Advocates Limited, providing Accounting Services to Cains Group’s clients.

She is also: Trustee of The Milntown Trust and thus experienced with the establishment and management of tourist attractions on the Isle of Man; Treasurer of Culture Vannin (The Manx Heritage Foundation); Non-executive Director of Radio Manx Limited (Manx Radio) since 2000, and Chairman of its Audit Committee; Non Executive Director of the captive insurance companies of each of London Heathrow Airports (formerly BAA), and Cathay Pacific.

Her voluntary roles include assistant leader for the St Johns Brownies, and teaching gardening at St Johns Primary School. With the assistance of the rest of the Committee/Directors, Alison organises various fundraising events for the Schoolrooms.

Richard Jones BSc, ACA: Funding and Treasurer and Build liaison with builders

Richard is a Chartered Accountant, qualifying with KPMG on the island. Together with Alison he is a Shareholder and is Managing Director of the two accounting services businesses detailed under Alison Jones above, namely Hanover Resources Limited, and Cains Accounting Services Limited.

He is also CEO of Gibbs Amphibians Limited, Director of Flat Technologies Limited, Sydney, Director of Downtown Music Inc, New York, in addition to involvement in a number of other underlying structures for clients.

His voluntary roles have included Commissioner of Patrick, and Chairman of the Western Civic Amenity Site.

Fiona Anderson BSC (Joint Hons) PGCE, DipOE: Schoolrooms bookings coordinator

Together with her husband, John, Fiona is a Director and Shareholder of Knockaloe Beg Farm Limited. Fiona is responsible for running their “bed and breakfast” and self-catering tourist accommodation aspect of the Farm.

A former secondary school teacher, with a specialism in geography, more recently Fiona has project managed the build of Knockaloe Beg farm buildings and renovation of its various stone outbuildings into a 4* holiday accommodation. In addition she has subsequently project managed the renovation of two further properties in Patrick, one of which is a listed former coach house.

Her voluntary roles have included running the weekly youth club at the Schoolrooms. With the assistance of the rest of the Committee/Directors, Fiona organises various fundraising events for the Schoolrooms.

Ciaran Downey B.Sc. (Quantity Surveying): Schoolrooms Contract Design and Project Manager

A trained Quantity Surveyor by profession, Ciaran is Construction Director for Dandara/Heritage Homes.

Ciaran has spent considerable time developing the plans in conjunction with the former Committee (now Directors) and in consultation with the community, liaising with planners and putting in the planning application, entirely on a voluntary basis. Ciaran and his family are very involved in fundraising events for the Schoolrooms.

Patrick Old School Board – new additional members upon its incorporation on 12 November 2013

The Charity’s Constitution details the role and responsibilities of the Board members to ensure the Charity and its funds are properly protected.

The Charity runs to break even for the benefit of the community, with all surplus funds reinvested in its continual improvement.

In addition to the previous Committee members above, the following additional Board members joined the Board.

Elspeth Griffiths B.Sc. MRICS: appointed to Board 12 November 2013

Initially obtaining a degree in Land Economics and becoming a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Elspeth became Property Acquisitions Manager for Halfords. Elspeth subsequently took a with a Diploma in Integrative Counselling (MBACP) and, since having her children and moving to the Island, is now a self-employed counsellor.

Elspeth and her husband, Peter, have just finished building their home in Patrick, with Elspeth overseeing the Project Management.

Her voluntary roles include teaching gardening at St Johns Primary School. Elspeth is also very involved in various fundraising events for the Schoolrooms.

Sara Hogg: appointed to Board 12 November 2013

Sara is a former residential social worker, however for the last 18 years Sara has been home educating her five children who are diagnosed as gifted and dyslexic (known as twice exceptional children).

Sara and her family now live just the other side of Peel having been unable to buy a house in Patrick, but are former residents of Ballcallin House, Patrick. Sara has been heavily involved in developing the Patrick Allotments and assisting in clearing, organising and planting the Patrick Community orchard this year. She is also very involved in various fundraising events for the Schoolrooms.

Graham McAll MA (Cantab) MB BChir FRCSEd MRCGP: Church Representative appointed to Board 12 November 2013

After seven years helping commission a new medical school in Malaysia as a surgeon and head of the Department of Surgery, Graham returned to the UK with his Manx wife Jenny and their four children. For 19 years he was a GP in city centre Sheffield, and selected and trained GP registrars. After moving to the Island in he became a locum GP at Peel Medical Centre and at other surgeries. He is on the Advisory Board of Manx Bird Life. He also became involved in Patrick Church as Church Warden and became involved in the development and running of the Patrick allotments and various church related events in the Schoolrooms.