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The last year of the De La Salle Brothers

Cardinal Newman School
Simon Carey: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

The brothers’ final year

I moved to De La Salle from St. Joseph’s primary in 1969, the final year under the De La Salle brothers. Brother Wilfred was head of the school with Brother Gerard as deputy head. I also remember brother Adrian and brother Alise (my spelling may be inaccurate here). My form was 1X and we were situated on the top floor of the wing overlooking the cricket nets and a tarmaced play area. It was a pretty intimidating atmosphere for a small 11 year old boy.

Remembering our teachers

We had some very kind teachers including Mrs ‘Nobby’ Clark who taught English, Mr Malley-Smith who taught science, Mr O’Sullivan the P.E. teacher and Mr ‘Crusty’ Kerr the very deaf maths teacher. We also had some teachers who were pretty fearsome there was Mr North who would send one of the boys down to the drinks dispenser for a cup of something, read the paper and put his feet up on the desk for many of the French lessons he was supposed to be teaching. I remember Mr Sadek, Mr Duffy and Brother Gerrard. There was also a very odd music teacher, Mr Langridge, who used to play Schubert on the piano while we all sat in semi-circles in front of him as if he was a concert pianist. Other teachers included Mr Lawson who taught English and was reputedly younger than some of the upper 6th, and the highly perfumed Mrs Horsfield.

Rigid discipline maintained

Discipline was instilled and inflicted in equal measure. We all wore the school uniform and our shoes and appearance were inspected each morning. We were punished if we had been playing football before the bell went in the morning and our shoes were scuffed. It was not uncommon, in class, for us to be the target of projectiles such as sticks of chalk, rubbers etc, aimed from the teachers’ desk. Often, offenders were stood at the front with the blackboard rubber held at arms length, until ones arm dropped and a ruler would descend across your knuckles. I have never missed that school and was glad when the brothers departed.

Comments about this page

  • I joined De La Salle from Cottesmore when the school moved from Xaverian College. My form teacher was Bro Kieran who also looked younger than some of the 6 formers. The best maths teacher was Bro Michael, Mr Kerr was a great old gent but a useless teacher, Mr Sadek was feared by all and Mr Zielinski was so laid back. Two things stick in my mind from that time, the visit by Mike Mercado “the swinging monk” who had left the order at Beulah Hill under a cloud, and the one to one “birds and bees” chat. It was great when it changed to Cardinal Newman for my last 2 years, being treated as a young adult by “normal” teachers.

    By Peter Foulser (15/06/2013)
  • I joined De La Salle College at 11 in Sep 70 and went into form 1Y. We were situated on the top floor in an interesting little room. We were a small diverse group of boys from various prep and primary schools. I remember it as a very happy carefree time with good teachers and fun in the grounds at break times. The form teacher was our PE teacher and resembled (in my mind) a teacher in a popular TV sitcom running at the time. I can’t remember too much about the other teachers other than a  lady who taught us English, quite well I thought, and had a very pungent perfume. We could smell it both before and after she had ‘visited the classroom. Sadly our small group broke up and our carefree life ended at the end of the academic year as we amalgamated with several other schools and increased in size. The uniform changed and we had to adjust to a new culture, one that none of us at the time really wanted but was probably academically a good thing. I will always remember that year at De La Salle with fond memories and gratitude to the Catholic order that taught and looked after me. 

    By Richard Elwell (31/10/2016)
  • I find myself agreeing with everything that Richard wrote, even about our form teacher Desmond O’Sullivan’s resemblance to the actor John Alderton in ‘Please Sir’. The fragrant lady was Miss Horsfield, I believe she left when the school became Cardinal Newman having taught for several years in the De La Salle prep school. Mr Kerr who was known as ‘Crusty’ by the boys managed to give me an enthusiasm for maths which enabled me to reach university. The change to Cardinal Newmam was a change for the better and whilst I personally have no complaints about the brothers, I do wonder what OFSTED would have made of them.


    By Stewart Wood (05/11/2016)
  • Hi Richard and Stewart. I remember you both well from 1Y. Richard (Dickie, to us all at that time), you played guitar and I still recall your Chuck Berry numbers. Stewart, you were a very good race-walker and trained with international race-walker, Alan Buchanan at Brighton & Hove Athletic Club. Weren’t you also a track official? I think you owned a mini when we were in the 6th form – the only person in our year to own a car in the late 70s. I believe you moved on to coaches?

    By Kevin Cooke (28/11/2016)

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