Ulster History Circle ® 31/08/12 - 21:25
FOSTER, VERE HENRY LEWIS (1819 - 1900) | Educationalist and First President of the Irish National
Vere Foster was born in Amsterdam of an Irish-born father. He worked in the UK Diplomatic Corps but
left to help the victims of the great Famine on his brother's estate in Ardee, Co Louth. He founded the Irish
Female Emigration Fund in 1852 and helped many young women to emigrate to Canada, the first ship
leaving in that year.
Concerned by reports of the terrible conditions by those using them, Foster travelled on an emigrant
ship to New York and, contracting fever, remained in hospital there for months. His subsequent campaign
in the USA and Britain led to improved conditions for passengers being imposed on the shipping
companies. He helped to found and became the President of the Irish National Teachers Organisation,
travelling throughout the country campaigning for the maintenance of national schools.
Foster is best known for the popular Vere Foster National School Writing Books. He died in Belfast on
21 December 1900.
Location of plaque: At 23 College Gardens, Belfast