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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Worlds disappear

I wondered what to write about this week,  or whether I should bother. A new computer, transferring of files, learning to find my way round a spanking new 'Office' as opposed to the familiar but outdated 2003, posed problems, but on the basis of learning by doing, I ploughed on, exploring this and that like a rat in a maze. Blogging though seemed one step too many.

Then something turned up. Some pictures I thought I'd never ever find. Pictures of Blessed Sacrament Primary and Junior school where people started at five and left at fifteen. I went there at five, fell in love at seven and left at fifteen. When I went back many years later it had been knocked down and replaced with something more modern and with a few houses squeezed in where once there'd been a much larger playground. 

I tell you, I spent ages searching the internet trying to find a visual record of where I'd learnt to read and write, and in-between times played. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. On one of my trips to Liverpool I'd even called into the Church Presbytery hoping there might be a photograph or two tucked in a chasuble. The priest was sympathetic. He murmured a blessing. I left empty handed. 

And then yesterday - this. And it is exactly as I remembered, but you have to imagine red and tarnished bricks, slate roofs and hard grey surfaces where, if you fell, you knew about it. 

The school gates where you were deposited or picked up. I've seen more attractive prisons, but we liked the main,

The Girls' Playground. The Boys' Playground was to the left, marked by a wall and a small exit point guarded by a teacher. Sometimes a nun.

Prefab classrooms at the other end of this playground. To the left, kids who had failed the 11+ were taught. The classroom to the right housed those preparing for the 11+ --- Grammar school, new bikes, leather satchels, and worldly success.

The Boys' Playground

A photo opportunity

And another photo opportunity: A First Communion.

Worlds disappear 

Like old computers


Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

I saw a gorgeous prison in upstate NY

Maria Zannini said...

I'm glad you were finally able to find pictures.

How many kids did the school teach at one time? It looks pretty big.

Ours was tiny by comparison.

Mike Keyton said...

Mac, Victorian schools were built like workhouses...or prisons. The windows, though big were high up and opened by a long wooden pole with a hook at the end.

Mike Keyton said...

Maria, I can't remember how many children were in the school, though class size averaged forty, and we were taught by nuns and ex soldiers who had once faced the Hun and dealt with children in much the same way :)

chestnuts23 said...

Hi it’s my sisters class in the photo on the benches - where did you find it? She went to the infants between 1992-1995 so that’s when it would have been taken.

Winfar said...

I wonder what year the holy communion picture was taken.? It looks like my younger sister could be on it but hard to guage the dates on these pics.

Mike Keyton said...

Hi Chestnuts23 There are only two groups I subscribe too, Foopers and the Walton group. It would have come from one of them. Like many (ref the comments) in Friends of Orrel Park, I spent ages looking for pictures of the school that formed my early years.

Mike Keyton said...

Hi Winrar, I have no idea when it was taken. I'm sorry.

Susan Martin said...

A very young father ormsby on the first communion photo. I’d guess that was the 60’s

Mike Keyton said...

Gosh, Susan, thank you. I didn't recognise him. He was more portly in my memory ��