School memories of the late 1960s

The Junior School of Lourdes Convent, now St Bernadette's School
Photo by Tony Mould

I was nine years old when I started at Lourdes Convent in 1966 and I left just before it closed about 1970. There was a long drive leading up to the school, with the main convent and senior school on the left and the junior school and kindergarten on the right. When I started the kindergarten had boys and girls but the rest of the school was girls only.

Sixth formers in a hut
The 6th Form was a hut in the playground west of the convent and the 1st year seniors were in a large double hut east of the convent on the other side. The hut was still there in the 1980’s when I returned for a school reunion. The other senior classes were in the main convent. The convent accepted day girls and boarders. The boarders would have their dinners in a separate dining room to the rest of us.

Sporting activities
The senior and junior schools each had their own playgrounds and playing fields and they shared the tennis/netball courts. The highlight of my time in the junior school was when they purchased a large trampoline that during the summer months we had outside in the garden, I think we called it a garden as it was more like a garden with an enormous tree in the middle, whereas the field in the seniors was more like a field, just a large open grass space, at the back of the school. Sometimes I would use the back entrance that led into Cornwall Gardens to walk home with a friend.

The tuck shop
I remember the junior school having a tuck shop and just before morning break we would buy crisps, then go into the playground to play, some of the games we played were cats cradle, hop scotch and French skipping.

Strict rules on uniforms
Our uniforms were navy skirts or tunics no more than 2 inches above the knee, it is just my imagination or do I remember one of the nuns with a measure having us all line up? Pale blue blouses, navy and cream striped diagonal tie, navy V-neck cardigan or jumper with blue and cream stripe round the bottom edge and cuffs, navy raincoat, navy blazer with braiding round the edges and a navy felt hat.

We hated our boaters
In the summer we would wear a grey and white striped dress, if I remember rightly the stripes were horizontal for the top part and vertical for the skirt part, and of course our blazer and a straw boater. Many of us hated the felt hat and boaters and took them off as soon as we were off school grounds, but if someone saw us and reported it to the school we would get a good ticking off.

Comments about this page

  • Where was Lourdes Convent?

    By John Leach (01/02/2008)
  • Lourdes Convent was between Withdean and Preston, I’m not sure if that would be London Road or Preston Road. It was nearly opposite Clermont Road.

    By Josie (04/02/2008)
  • It was in London Road, just north of Harrington Road. It is now the Preston Park Hotel.

    By David Fisher (05/02/2008)
  • The actual main convent was knocked down in the 1970s and I think it is now flats that are on the site. The junior school building is still there and is still a school.

    By Josie (06/02/2008)
  • Would you like to hear about Lourdes Convent in the 1950’s? I still have nightmares about it. Five years there gave me a lifelong terror of nuns, even though I now know that they have human bodies under their habits.

    By Anne Bayley (07/02/2008)
  • I remember the convent well. I was a boarder from the age of nine (1963) full-time for a couple of years, then a weekly boarder and eventually a day-girl. I left when the school closed down and went into the sixth-form at Cardinal Newman.
    It was just as you described and brings back a multitude of memories – mostly unhappy.
    For the boarders it really was Draconian. Terrible food, long hours of study, very controlled free-time and very early bedtimes, with strict supervision. If one broke the rules one was easily punished. The nuns were not very sympathetic – and if one was ill – you could never see a doctor – my broken ankle was ignored for 3 days until my mother came and whisked me away to see our family doctor who sent me to the hospital for an x-ray – it was in plaster for 6 weeks. Gosh, I could go for ever – the memories (and smells – does anyone remember the dirty towel in the cubby hole in the main hall!) are all so vivid still. If anyone has any photos it would be so good to see them.

    By the way, the flats that now occupy the site of the senior school are Kingsmere. It is such a shame that the chapel was demolished it really was such a beautiful building; there was also a gorgeous magnolia at the entrance near the gates that had the most magnificant blooms every year.

    By Carol Pariser (Nee Evers) (11/03/2008)
  • I attended Lourdes Convent between 1954 and 1959. I have so many memories of the place and my friends there. I too was totally intimidated by the nuns, although I realize now what a good education I received there. I remember walking up the driveway every morning and the first Reverend Mother (French) checking the length of our grey flannel shorts as we went to sports. I would love to hear from any of my classmates. I live in San Francisco after many years in Washington D.C. Glad I found this website!

    By Janice Prossor (now Leach) (22/04/2008)
  • I attended Lourdes Convent from 1959 to 1966 (1st form to upper 6th)and remember it fondly. I was in the huts for my fifth and lower sixth years. I am still in touch with a few of my friends from those days although some of us have scattered abroad, I am living in Chicago. I completely agree about the excellent education imparted there. I remember the magnolia tree in the drive and the beautiful chapel – it was heartbreaking to hear that it had been demolished and the school replaced by flats. I remember Mother Margaret Mary, Mother Lutgarde, Mother Catherine and Reverend Mother Paul although I must say some of them not too fondly.

    By Pat Holmes (29/07/2008)
  • Does anyone remember Miss Welstead who taught English literature?

    By Dorothy Wrack (29/09/2008)
  • Hello Janice, I remember you well. Do you remember you cut my hair once! Do you remember Sister Claire, the cook? “Awful!” I’m still living in Brighton, just grown up a bit now. I would like to hear from you, you can contact me on either of these addresses, or Here’s hoping.

    By Josephine Walsh (13/11/2008)
  • What a wonderful site! I was 8 in 1966 when I started at Lourdes. I was in tiny Mother Elizabeth’s class and she was a saint. She taught embroidery and I still have my sample book! I remember Miss Tobin who also taught us Irish dancing, Miss Hamilton who terrified the be’Jesus out of us with her walking cane but was in fact a fantastic English teacher. I remember Sister Claire in the kitchen! Always muttering in French with her sleeves rolled up! I remember the terrible food, the piltchards 🙁 but I recall doughnuts and fruitcake too. I loved Miss DePiva the gym teacher, the hockey field up top and the little wooden chalet/gym. I remember we were in houses, I was in Saint Theresa’s which was yellow. I recall one of the very last assemblies when some hooligan senior had stuffed newspaper into the back of the piano so when Mr. Language sat down to play the hymns, no sound came out! Was he furious! I could go on and on. I too went onto Cardinal Newman and now live in Maryland USA. I was heart broken when I heard that the chapel and school had been demolished. All that polished wood! I did go back to snoop around the junior school about 10 years ago and the big tree on the front lawn where so many games of rounders with a tennis ball were played! Sigh!

    By Lisa Waltman (14/12/2008)
  • I was at Lourdes Convent Junior School from 1956 to 1961. I remember the teachers were Miss Cavanagh, Mrs Baise, Mrs Thompson, Miss Lamb (who was my godmother), Mother Elizabeth, Mrs Rogers and Mrs Tobin. (Not sure about all the spellings and whether I have correctly assigned Mrs and Miss.) There were quite a lot of boys in the lower classes, but most disappeared – presumably whisked off to prep schools or the Xaverian College – when they were seven. When I was in Miss Lamb’s class I think there only two boys in a class of about 16. It was an advantage being a boy. I too remember Mother Claire and the awful food. Half cooked sausages, lumpy mashed potato, cabbage with caterpillars and, worst of all, parsnips. The vegetables came from the kitchen garden, but had no hint of being fresh. The only good thing was the rice pudding. The junior dining room was supervised by Mother Imelda who made sure you ate the last scrap. She also took the class for first communion and I recall almost every moment of the day. We were allowed in the blue drawing room in the main school! The education was sound if unimaginative. I learned to write with a dip pen. Religion did not feature as strongly as may be thought – there was far more emphasis on it at the state primary school I moved to in 1961. As a small boy the grounds seemed immense with the drive, lawns, tennis courts, kitchen garden and everything. They stretched from Preston Road back to Cornwall Gardens. Form my last year I remember Catherine Marcus, Theresa Moody, Philippa Read, Susan Wheeler, Christine Thamides, Frances ?, Maureen ?, Joyce ?, Hilary ? and the only other boy, Martin Camlin.

    By Martin Sweetman (31/01/2009)
  • Lisa Waltman, Hi, I remember you well. We were in the same class with Miss Tobin and I guess with Mother Elizabeth as we started the same year, though I don’t remember you in Mother Elizabeth’s class, age is catching up with memory. But we were in different classes when we moved up to Senior School. We both loved horses, in fact I think most of the class did. I still have the brass horseshoe door knocker you gave me for my birthday one year.

    By Josie Campbell (nee Garnham) (11/02/2009)
  • I was at Lourdes Convent from 1953-59. I remember Mother Madelaine (taught French), Mother Claire (cook), Miss Hamilton (upper third), Miss Loakman (History). I would love to hear from any of my class-mates. My e-mail address is I am living in San Francisco now.
    Hope to hear from any of you

    By Janice Prossor now Leach (20/02/2009)
  • Oh happy days. Hi, You may remember me. I was the gardener at Lourdes between 1947 and 1961. I lived with my wife and Linda and Jill, my daughters, in the cottage in the playground attached to the junior school. Yes, I was the one that supplied all that cabbage, caterpillars and all, plus a few things that I hope you did enjoy. Yes I did know that some of the fruit was nicked by certain young ladies. Of that I shall say no more. I know I used to disturb you in class by mowing outside the windows but it was a very good mower, my daughters rode many a mile on it sitting on my lap. I can fully understand why some of you hated it so much, they say cleanliness in next to godliness but that was not always the case at Lourdes. It was me that either allowed you to freeze or get overheated in class. I would like as many pounds as tons of coke I shovelled into that furnace. How many of you remember the little summer house at the bottom of the lawn to the front of the junior school? And what about that big copper beech tree with the exposed roots between the two schools that I have no doubt you all tripped over at some time or other when rushing to genuflect at the grotto at the top of the main drive?

    By John Holden (22/02/2009)
  • I do remember you Josie Garnham! You were a real tearawy as I recall! I remember going to your birthday party along Western Road. Mr. Holden, I think I was at Lourdes after you left, but your post brings many memories. I loved that little summer house down at the end of the lawn. We used to imagine all sorts of things about it, what lived in there, etc. And the beech roots got me more than once. When I was there there was another family living in your cottage in the playground and his daughter went to school there with my sister Tara, but I cannot remember their last name. Martin, I am sorry but I have nothing but bad memories of Miss Lamb. She was a cold mean lady as far as I am concerned.

    By Lisa Waltman (25/02/2009)
  • I had almost forgotten about the cottage in the playground. I remember you Mr Holden and your daughter Jill. I seem to recall that she started in the kindergarten very young and only stayed in the mornings at first. She was sick one day and tried to escape to get home! I also remember the long tree-lined wall that ran down one side of the playground. There must have been beech trees as I can remember that we used to collect and eat the beech nuts – not very tasty. The nuts must have attracted the squirrels. How many lawns were there? The place seemed to be nothing but lawns and tennis courts. When we waited outside to be let in, the school milk was at the front and I am sure you brought it in. Sometimes bluetits had got at it, peeling back the silver tops to get at the cream. The grotto incorporated a rosette made of stone fragments taken from Lourdes. I have not forgotten the warm cokey smell that came out of the boilerhouse as it was next to where I used wait for my big sister who was at the senior school and we went past it on our way out to Cornwall Gardens. Miss Lamb was certainly strict, but I do not remember her as mean, but as I said above, it was an advantage being a boy, especially if you were a well-behaved like me. I still have the book I won as a prize “for conduct and work”. Miss Lamb always bought me a tin of Quality Street for my birthday. I went from Lourdes Convent to Cottesmore St Mary’s Primary School when I was about nine. It was a very good school, but the change was a bit of a culture shock. I had been used to a class of sixteen and found myself in one of forty. I learned that boys were supposed to play football and marbles.

    By Martin Sweetman (07/03/2009)
  • The chapel was a beautiful building with its flying buttresses and Portland stone, lovely on the outside but really beautiful on the inside. I seem to remember it glowed pink when the sun shone through the windows and the nuns seemed to float not walk almost as if they were on roller skates! It was a sin when this building was demolished.
    Mother Elizabeth was so kind to everyone, a walking saint if ever there was one. Unfortunately, I believe, not all of the nuns were as kind hearted as she was.
    The whole place smelt strongly of Ronuk polish and as there was so much wooden furniture and floors, it occurred to me many times that the place would burn like a torch if ever it caught fire!
    There were five staircases in all, two of them were quite wide but the other three were so narrow and steep two people could not pass. I am sure safety rules of today would never allow such conditions.
    I took great pride in getting the grounds ready for the First Communion celebrations. I used to get annoyed when parents drove up the drive and ruined the carefully prepared edges by running over them with their wheels. The pupils had the job of collecting rose petals to strew on the path of the procession (the grounds were strangely devoid of roses for a few days!).
    Then there were the days when garden fetes were held in the grounds, they were red letter days, particularly for the boarders, mainly because, I believe, being a boarder was not much fun. They had to abide by a very strict regime overlooked, at one time, by a little French Mother Superior. She used to scare me, God knows what her presence did to the pupils. I had the job of weedling money out of her to buy things for the garden, she used to look down the list and say ‘waszat’ (in a French accent) meaning what is that. It was like getting blood out of a stone.
    Overall, the job had its compensations and I enjoyed my time, plus my two daughters grew up in lovely surroundings.

    By John Holden (05/04/2009)
  • If anyone is interested, there are a few pictures of Lourdes on the Regency Society – James Grey website (  I have a very old cine film that my father must have taken in the 60s but it’s so washed out you can barely see. There is a bit of film of the hall with the words of hymns hanging on a large ‘scroll’ thing on the wall. Just before the school was demolished I went in with a friend. It was very creepy to see where the nuns used to sleep and to go in all the places we were never allowed. I remember feast days when we had ice cream on the lawn. Although I don’t remember what Mr. Holden looked like, I remember his name and the house he lived in. I drove around the back of the flats just the other day and looked at the hockey pitch – it brought back lots of memories. I loved Mother Clare’s fruitcake and the overcooked macaroni but my sister hated it. I remember Carol Evers and her sister – was it Diane? They seemed so grown up. There were some other sisters who boarded called Fiona and Siobhan MacKenzie. I was in the same class as Isa Nagle who seemed to be a boarder at 4 years old. Could that be right?

    By Sue Baker (05/04/2009)
  • Goodness how the years fly. I was at the Convent from 1966 until 1970 (I think). Memories are not that fantastic. I was not a popular girl being overweight and was teased by most of the girls. My house mother was Mother Bernadette. When I returned to vist the nuns when my father died 10 years ago, they asked me if I had been happy – I said no and told them about Mother Bernadette, only to be told she was a schizophrenic, and was not allowed to teach anymore! It did wonders for my self esteem. However I remember wonderful fruit cake (being a boarder) that Sister Clare made, my skirt being measured by the nuns, once we were made to kneel. Detention every Saturday, walks into Preston Park. My sister Glynis and I going to church on a Sunday in order to get away from the school.  But most of all two wonderful friends who I still think of so often, Isa Nagel who I named my own daughter after, and Carol Evers, they were my port in a storm. I have lost touch with them but would love to regain communication if they wished. I live in South Africa now and have three children, two grandchildren, a wonderful husband married for 32 years, so school must have done something right to be able to be so blessed in life after Lourdes Convent!

    By Denise Carter (nee Ward) (04/05/2009)
  • Denise, I do not recall your name, but was at Lourdes about the same time as you. My memory is so bad these days! I was in 2nd year Senior School when Lourdes closed and we were moved to Cardinal Newman. I have tons of memories and was thrilled to see the above mentioned site with the photos of the chapel and school. My nemesis was Mother Emelda. I remember spending an entire afternoon locked in the toilet under the stairs next to the hall because she said I looked like a fat sausage in a tight skin. I had donned a pair of shorts as a volunteer ball girl at a school tennis tournament. I have never forgotten those cutting words or her mean spiritiness. Do you remember lovely sweet Mother Elizabeth from the Junior School and the lovely young and tall Mother Teresa? I remember the gardens vividly, the amazing rhododendrums etc at the mouth of the driveway and all the different trees and bushes. And what about the tiny gym/chalet round the back! We were the first class in the new portables behind the Senior School and I recall how Miss Hamilton would have us stay behind to brillo pad off any scuff marks! Oh the memories!

    By Lisa Waltman (05/05/2009)
  • I was at Lourdes Convent between 1971-1972. There were between eight and twelve boys there. I was nine years old, and I very well remember going through the girls’ senior school to play sports. I was described as looking like John Lennon and duly captured! I don’t remember it being a boarding school, but I well remember the Nuns. Very frightening, some of them. Mother Elizabeth used to make her own ink and if any of the girls cried she would make fun of them. I believe that Miss Lamb is still with us. I didn’t mind the rotten food at all, but I do recall the Nun who used to dish out the dinners. She would always say “..some more?” I bumped into Mary Kaucus some years ago, also Denise somebody and David Parminter who later went to Varndean. I also remember the beech tree! Plus a little statue of Mary which is still there. I walked up to Miss Tobin one afternoon and asked if I could leave and go to a proper school. I wound up at Hurstpierpoint College which made my previous miseries seem slight by comparison!

    By Laurence McMurdie (26/05/2009)
  • Mr Holden – this is Hillary Thompson, Dorothy Thompson’s granddaughter, Tom’s daughter. You will remember I lived in the convent cottage? My fondest childhood memories are of your garden, the budgies, Sammy the cat and the packets of crisps you used to leave for me in the big chive pot outside the window. My email address is and I would dearly love to hear from you x

    By Hillary Thompson (25/06/2009)
  • Hello Hillary. It was very interesting to read your post but I am rather confused as to who you actually are. Was your grandmother Miss Thompson who was a teacher in the junior school and lived above the old stable? And could you please check that the email address you have left on the site is correct? Thanks.

    By John Holden (28/06/2009)
  • Dear Mr Holden, – yes, my grandmother was Mrs Thompson who taught at the school, she lived there with her mother (my granny) Mrs Linton. My dad is Warwick (Tom) he was in the RAF, my mother is Pat. please contact as I would love to tell you more & find out how you are!

    By Hillary Thompson (29/06/2009)
  • I was at Lourdes Convent from 1957-1968. I remember starting with John Geary in the Primary School and had fond memories of Mother Elizabeth and a fantastic teacher Mrs Bingham. I hated the school dinners and went onto packed lunches after much pleading with my parents!

    By Dominique Brunning (11/07/2009)
  • I remember Mrs Thompson very well. I recall her telling us her son was in Germany and I expect he was in the RAF at the time, round about 1957. She once brought in one of his pullovers for me, but it was too big. She used to take the school for music. The boys got to play the drums in the percussion band – must have been a terrific racket! I remember Dominique. I am sure you could hardly speak any English when you first came, but soon caught up.

    By Martin Sweetman (14/07/2009)
  • I would like to comment on the fact that Sue Baker thought my sister Isa [Nagle] was a boarder from the age of 4, actually it was from 5 years old! I was already a boarder at the time. The reason Isa also became a boarder was because our mother had to go into hospital. Isa was by far the youngest boarder that I remember during my 7 years at the school. I joined the Lourdes in 1957 – a late starter at 10 years old! What can one say, so many memories – both good and bad. However, I have made some lasting friendships!

    By Cherry Gillingham [nee Nagle] (17/07/2009)
  • It is so interesting as we get older to review our childhood memories. Cherry, I remember you and you knew my sister Glynis, who still lives in Brighton.

    By Denise Carter (22/07/2009)
  • I guess I was the youngest boarder that Lourdes had and was glad when Doddy Swain joined us, as a weekly boarder, because then I wasn’t the youngest. Many memories, some good but most of them not. but it made me who I am for better or worse. I knew how to stand on my own two feet at a young age, which put me in good stead for a life spent traveling and living around the world.

    By Isa Nagle-Taylor (27/07/2009)
  • I was at Lourdes Convent from 1948 (Mother Elizabeth’s class which was in the room you had to pass through to get to the chapel choir loft) until 1956. Oddly my year in the Sixth Form was also spent in the same class room. Mother Elizabeth taught Art. Do you remember Mrs Dann who taught singing as well as having her own class – very strict, but we won many singing competitions (choirs) at the Brighton Music Festival at the Dome? The Drawing Room (for visitors) usually had a collection of cups and a shield on display. I was a day girl to start with and then became a boarder in 1953. Mother Mary Paul was the Head Teacher and also organised the Chapel Choir with Mother Madeleine. We were rewarded for our efforts by having a tea party on St. Cecilia’s Day – 22nd November. Does anyone remember a very old nun called Mother Theresa who was a novice when St. Bernadette was a nun at the Mother House at Nevere in France. Mother Marie was very good at stoolball (like rounders). I have a photo (probably in our loft) of the magnificent magnolia tree, and a few other photos from when I was in the 6th form. On the whole I enjoyed my time at Lourdes Convent, especially once we were in the 6th form and were given a bit more freedom to go out on our own in a small group on Saturday afternoons instead of going on the “crocodile” walks with the younger children.

    By Margaret Brown (nee Roca) (23/08/2009)
  • I really enjoy reading all the comments about the school. It seems a lot was going on that I didn’t know about. I particularly appreciate the comments by Mr. Holden, the gardener etc. Thank you for sharing what it was like for you. I live in San Francisco, but hope to be in Brighton next spring and would love to see any of my classmates who are around. I was in the third form with Miss Hamilton in 1954 I think. Then we had Miss Toomey, Miss Loakman, Mother Mary Agnes and finally Miss Welford as our class teachers. Contact me at

    By Janice Prossor (now Leach) (05/09/2009)
  • How fantastic to read so many comments about my old school! I was there from around 1955 to 1960, as a day girl. I used to travel by train daily from Haywards Heath to Preston Park. My earliest years there are a blur but I remember my final year reasonably well. We were in a prefab just outside the main school building. We were taught by a French nun (Mère Madelaine?) who must have taught me something, as I have been living in France for many years. I think I also remember Miss Hamilton and Mother Mary Agnes. My best friends were Janet Thomson, Myra Ward and Jenny Boella. I know poor Janet died quite a few years ago, but I would love to hear from Myra or Jenny. I remember Myra married her boyfriend Colin, a policeman, and also that Jenny’s parents ran an super Italian restaurant on Ship Street, where I had many sleepovers. I have a few photos of us 4 during our final days at Lourdes.

    By Janet Flesher (née Wood) (14/09/2009)
  • I was at Lourdes from 1952 (kindergarten) until 1963. I remember Avril Boella whose parents had the restaurant in Ship Street. I also had a good friend called Eva Miedziak who used to travel on the train from Haywards Heath every day. I often used to go home with her on a Friday after school as there was a really good youth club in Haywards Heath! I also remember a girl called Jenny Simpson who lived in Hassocks.

    By Virginia Hartwanger (nee Winters) (23/09/2009)
  • I was at Lourdes roughly from 1964 until 1969. I left the convent when I was twelve moving onto Cardinal Newman. Not all happy memories for me. I do remember playing happily in the playground and gardens. The few classmates names I remember are: Sylvia Blatt, Alison Worthington, Susan Foster, Caroline Ham, Alison Gunn, Miss Tussaud and a little girl who lived with her dad in the garden cottage. Sadly, I too remember crying my eyes out in the toilet under the stairs near the hall when I was a homesick boarder for a short time and had salt thrown in my eyes. The beds were hard and you got one tiny pillow to sleep on. My long hair was disliked by the Sister who had to wash and dry it on bath day. The chapel was a beautiful place to be and Mother Clare’s cooking was comforting. I have a memory of a teacher running around the school with a shoe in her hand chasing one of the younger boys for being naughty and wonderful Mother Elizabeth trying to put us all at ease. I remember the day when the Sisters could wear a shorter under-the-knee look and you called them Sister and not Mother. Boy! could Miss Hamilton be strict….. in those day you stood up when the teacher entered the room.

    By Bernadette Gaffeney (now McDowell) (11/11/2009)
  • I went to Lourdes Convent from 1965 to 1970. I remember Miss Tobin, Mrs DePaiva(?), Miss Hamilton (who was very scary and had lived in India and taught us all about the Empire). I enjoyed Biology taught by Mother Teresa and Mathematics taught by Ms Ship so much that I am now a mathematician myself in the US. My sister was 2 years younger and we left to emigrate to France when I was about 15. I went back to the school a few years later and was heartbroken to see they had torn it down. Although I did get to see some of the nuns (Mother Columbus?, Mother Clare, Other Theresa, young and tall, Mother Elizabeth who taught me to sew), and of course the tall imposing Mother Mary Agnes, after whom I named my daughter. I remember girls called Carol, Allison (who didn’t come to religious classes), Ann who had a little sister Pauline who was like a doll, a tall friend of mine who was called Pat and another friend Fiona whose dad had an antique shop. As I have moved around so much, I now live in the San Francisco area, I have never made contact with anyone from those days, but I’d like to.

    By Susan Patricia Holmes (15/11/2009)
  • Hello Susan. You are welcome to contact me via facebook (Brighton & Hove). I had a younger sister at the school – a red head called Amanda Gaffeney, she is three years younger than me.

    By Bernadette McDowell (07/12/2009)
  • Janice, you may remember me from Primary School, St John the Baptist. I believe you lived in Sussex Square? I lived in Chesham Road.

    By Jackie Soutar (nee Gladwell) (09/12/2009)
  • I attended the convent between 1958 and 1962 – can’t really remember a lot about it as I was 8 when I left. I do remember the long drive and the high wall and do seem to remember being quite happy there.

    By Paula Hardy (22/12/2009)
  • I am looking to locate Lisa Waltman who wrote ‘The Event Groom’s Handbook’, please contact me if the above is the same.

    By Therese Washtock (06/01/2010)
  • The girl who was a pupil at the school and lived in the grounds cottage was Mary Wilding (sorry not sure of the spelling).

    By Bernadette McDowell (18/01/2010)
  • Susan Holmes – your sister must have been Sarah, and you lived in Ditchling and had a St Bernard called BooBoo?  Sarah and I wrote to each other for ages after she moved to France – long excercise books full – Lord knows what we had to write about! It would be wonderful to get in touch with her. I was known as Gabby in those days (about 1966 till close of play) and my friends were Anne Clive (now living in Cornwall), Mary Johnson (who had a lovely little sister called Pauline), Susan Harmshaw from Haywards Heath (she was the one who named me Gabby, until then I was always known as Lalie), Lucy Hobman whose father was someone big in Age Concern, Alison Reed (gorgeous hair), Anne Turner, oh, so many. I loved it at Lourdes, except for Miss Hamilton – terrifying. Mrs Scaping taught us dressmaking and we made the most awful creations ever! Mother Imelda had a squeaky voice (very Irish) and Anne asked her if she had any hair under her wimple. For anyone interested, I posted some photos on Friends Reunited. Thanks for the trip down memory lane ladies.

    By Lalie de le Vingne (16/03/2010)
  • I was at Lourdes Convent from 1952 to ’64, was also a boarder from ’58. Great memories of both the nuns and fellow pupils, Wendy, Teresa, Jacqueline, Sally Mallum and my brother married her sister Pamela. Am living in South Africa now, anyone from my era - would love to hear from you – I am on facebook.

    By Anne Gee (nee Leach) (20/03/2010)
  • Hi, have just come across this fascinating page. I lived in the grounds with my father Ken who was the gardener/caretaker. My name then was Mary Wilding. I am now married with two children and still live in Brighton. I remember Bernadette Gaffney (really lovely girl) and Lisa, I was good friends with your sister Tara – how is she doing now? Also good friends with all the boarders Lousie Hawkins, Ellen Dunn, Tanya Danjay also Hilary I used to play with you in the grounds, and your lovely gran taught me.

    By Mary Mcdonald (29/03/2010)
  • I was in a convent home at St Ann’s Well in 1950. I am 60 now and my name is Nina. I think some names I remember are Ann Wall, Richard Charman, and some others. I would like to hear from anyone who  remembers me.

    By Nina Alberici (05/04/2010)
  • Mary, I am one of Mr Holdens’ daughters (see my father’s earlier posts). I was wondering what house you lived in at the Convent when your father was the gardener / caretaker. Was it the cottage in the playground of the primary school or the one at the bottom of the drive? What years were you there? This is such an interesting site as our family were so involved with the school over several years. Our mother also worked as secretary to Reverend Mother Agnes for some time and told us many amusing stories about her – despite her stern exterior!

    By Linda Kane (nee Holden) (09/04/2010)
  • Hi Linda, we moved from London around 1963 when I was four and lived in your cottage in the playground (which is still there as the teachers’ rest room come common room). I was in there a few years ago as my children went to St Bernadettes and I was helping out at the summer fair. I ended up making tea for all the helpers in my old bedroom (the small bedroom upstairs). When my mother died (when I was 10) we moved to the cottage at the bottom of the drive. It was called Grove Lodge. I remember your father and I thought he then lived at the cottage near Cornwall Gardens. He was always really kind to me and put up with me asking lots of questions and following him around. I also got to ride on the sit-on mowers with my own father and he also had to shovel coal into the furnace at night. I can remember it as though it were yesterday. How wonderful to share these memories, please ask your father if he remembers my late father Ken Wilding.

    By Mary Mcdonald (nee Wilding) (28/04/2010)
  • Hi Mary. We left the cottage in the playground (we knew it as Grove Lodge Cottage) in 1961. The Mr Holden who lived in the cottage at the end of the large top field, on the way up to Cornwall Gardens, was in fact my grandfather. I can’t remember what year he moved there, but it was after we left the cottage (I was 11). My mother died some years ago now but we took Dad back to see the old place, we were still able to recognise some of the trees and other features of the gardens, despite the school being replaced by flats. We bumped into the caretaker who took us into the primary school. So interesting to see the class where both my sister and I started in Montessori at the age of 3! We have a photo of the room when my sister was there, seems virtually the same. Apparently she used to run out of the classroom to join Dad on his mower! And I’ve got a photo of me sweeping leaves in the playground aged about 8. What an amazing coincidence that we’ve both found this site.

    By Linda Kane (nee Holden) (03/05/2010)
  • How lovely to hear from you Mary. I felt quite emotional when I read your reply. I have good memories of you playing in the grounds. I am working in Brighton and live on the outskirts. I look in on this site every so often. I hope to hear from you again.

    By Bernadette McDowell (24/05/2010)
  • What an amazing trip down memory lane this site is! I was at Lourdes convent from about 1963 to 1970 when I left to go to Vardean 6th form (better academically but not as much fun). My three sisters were also there -at various times – Teresa the oldest, Mary two years younger and Pauline who was a lot younger! My best friend at school was – and still is to this day – Jill Halford (now Laishley and living in NY). We were both rather naughty at school though I think it had a lot to do with needing to break some of the more petty and pointless rules. Among our misdeameanours were seeing how many of us could be stuffed inside staionary cupborad to hide from Mrs de Piver and a freezing cold hockey pitch; locking Miss Hamilton out of the classroom, which earned us a terrifying lecture from Reverend Mother; repeatedly covering Mr Langridge’s piano seat with glow in the dark chalk – though I don’t think we put paper in the piano; tying up the Angelis bell out of reach of the nuns and calling the school together for a non existent assembly. (I’m surprised we weren’t expelled – although it was a close call on a couple of occasions). I remember Sister Catherine’s ‘Question Box’ which was supposed to provide some sex education but as she invariably vetted it, I think all we were ever told was that ‘men are only after one thing’ but none of us quite knew what that ‘thing’ was!

    By Bernadette Fisher (nee Johnson) (26/05/2010)
  • Still trying to find people who were at this children place back in 1950 called St Anne’s Home, Lasdale Road, Brighton/ Hove. The place aint their anymore but I was there as a child. My name is Nina Alberici.

    By Nina Alberici (24/07/2010)
  • Bernadette Fisher – Hi, I remember Mary very well and have often wondered what she is doing now. And Pauline – she was known as Polly, wasn’t she? I used to come to stay at your house in Knoyle Road – such happy days. Mary would probably know me better as Gabby. Please let me know what Mary is doing. I’m on Facebook.

    By Lalie de le Vingne (26/07/2010)
  • I was at the Convent from about 1954 -1959, first as a day pupil then a boarder, I was friends with Sally Mallam, Sonia Metcalf, Anne Wyatt, Ellen Mai and Nancy Ferraria (can’t remember all the names). Many memories of those days, does any one remember me?

    By Ruth Sylvester now Heywood (21/08/2010)
  • I went to Lourdes Convent from 1968 until it closed in about 70/71 and we all transfered to Cardinal Newman. I remember Miss Hamilton vividly and her cast-iron control of her classes, Mrs De Piver and the never-to-be forgotten bad food (grey-mince / boiled egg and potatoes). Happy days. I was in a class with Angela Weller, Sharon, Vivien, Janet Durrent. Does anyone remember Francis Miles and her mother Mrs Miles who taught at the school and an older sister who attended? Francis was in my class. Tragically she was knocked down coming back to school after the summer holidays and killed. I have photos of her on a school trip to Brussels. We all attended her funeral. I have never forgotten her and often think of what might have been. I have very special memories of Lourdes Convent and even though it’s not there now I always look for it when I pass. I was called Cynthia Riley in those days.

    By Cindy Irvine (23/08/2010)
  • Hi Ruth, I was at the Convent from ’52 to ’64. I was younger than Sally Mallam who now lives in the States. Her older sister Pam married my brother and she still lives in the Brighton area. There was also an Indian girl called Camilla - can’t remember her last name – her father was a dentist - do you remember her?

    By Anne Gee (nee Leach) (27/08/2010)
  • Dose anyone remember the cook called Agnes in the Childrens’ home called St Anne’s, Brighton & Hove? I was a child there in 1950. I am Nina Alberici

    By nina alberici (16/09/2010)
  • Have just read the comments from Anne Gee (nee Leach). I was a friend of Pam, your sister, and she lived with us for a while in Brighton before she married Mark. I have also been trying to find out about Camilla Thiru as we were close friends many years ago (I even worked for her father at the Dental Surgery for a while) – we lost touch after she went to live in Ibiza and have no idea where she is now. If anyone has knowledge of her whereabouts I should love to hear from you. I love reading through the messages on this site as it brings back great memories of my school years at Lourdes Convent.

    By sally-Ann Schertle nee Richardson (02/10/2010)
  • Does anyone know what happened to Mrs Bingham?

    By Dominique (21/11/2010)
  • Well, I have accidentally fallen on this site, and this is why! I’ve just listened to Desert Island Discs and heard Frances Wood (British Library) and this made me remember about another Frances Wood who I thought went to Lourdes Convent and who came to De La Salle in 1970 along with girls from Blessed Sacrament Convent in Brighton. So I punched Lourdes Convent into Google! Scrolling through messages, some memories flooded back, as they do! My sister Bernadette went to Lourdes, as did my younger brother Michael for a year. Both then came over to Cardinal Newman. We lived in Burgess Hill and I took the train daily, so often saw Lourdes girls on the platform – us boys dared each other to throw our caps on the line, then jump down and retrieve them! Anyway, I noticed some names that seemed to strike a chord. Isa Nagel – were you doing Latin O Level with Captain JJ Kelly in 1972/73? I was retaking Latin, I actually failed it 3 times each with grade 7 – I couldn’t stand the poetry! Carol Evers, I remember you in 6M Cardinal Newman. I think you were doing Geography A Level and you must have come on the field trip to Carmarthenshire in March 1973? I still have my old A level text books. I was very shy with girls (having been at De La Salle since 1966!) but I remember “hanging around” with Priscilla Wong (I think she was at Lourdes), Diana Shields and several other ex Lourdes girls – all doing Latin! We used to go and listen / watch / dance to Dennis Hegarty’s band at the Richmond, Rocky Sharpe and the Razors! All happy days! One last thing, if anyone anywhere knows the whereabouts (or his later career) of Capt JJ Kelly, Latin Master from De La Salle / Cardinal Newman, I would like to hear from them. My email address is:

    By Arthur Rayner (05/12/2010)
  • The BBC wants to speak to old Convent girls of all ages. Three 60 minute documentary films are being made for BBC4 about the experience of being Catholic in Britain today. As part of our research, we want to talk to a wide range of women about their Catholic identity. We’re interested in how Catholicism shapes women’s lives, whether for good or for bad. We’re interested in those who are practising and devout as well as those who are struggling or lapsed. We would like to find a number of girls who attended the same school and had the same Catholic education, and then speak to them about where their lives have taken them and the part that Catholicism has played and continues to play. The women could be from the same class and have known each other at school, or be from different years and therefore a range of ages and generations. If you can spare a few moments, we would very much appreciate the opportunity for an off the record conversation which respects your confidentiality. If you are happy to talk then please email Jennifer Forde at We very much look forward to hearing from you.

    By Jennifer Forde (11/02/2011)
  • I was at Lourdes convent from 1957-1969. I remember the boys in the primary school and the smelly toilets under the stairs in front of the main hall in the senior school. There were never enough toilets! I remember learning Irish dancing in Mrs Tobin’s class and playing stool ball (sounds a bit rude). Beautiful grounds! The names of classmates which I remember are: Bernadette and Theresa Johnson, Sharon Webb, Fiona Jackson, Philippa Lamarque, Cynthia Shields, Victoria Peske, Sarah Gunn, Carol Batchelor, Allison Reed, Victoria Hart (I’m mixing Primary and secondary). The staff I remember: the very severe Miss Hamilton, the art teacher Julia Sexton, Gym with Mrs Da Paiva, Mother Agnes, Mother Elizabeth, Reverend Mother Mary Paul, an excellent Latin teacher now left Patty White?, excellent history with Mrs Bingham, enjoyed English with Miss Welford, a fantastic maths teacher who managed to get me through O level Mrs Fish? The poor very pretty French conversation teacher whom our horrible class brought to tears. Loved singing in Mr Landridge’s class! I was shyest in the most troublesome class. Shunned for being the “goody goody”. A miserable time! Thank God for piano, a few good friends and Varndean which was a liberation!

    By Stephanie HUBERT (now Wester) (27/02/2011)
  • Just saw on the St Mary’s church site that the last few remaining nuns are moving away. There is going to be a special farewell mass and lunch at the church on the 17th April. Home – St. Mary’s Catholic Church (Hillary Thompson)

    By Bernadette Gaffeney (16/03/2011)
  • In an attempt to maintain some historical accuracy in this wealth of fascinating reminiscence, may I throw in the following: I believe David Fisher’s comment of 5-02-2008 is inaccurate in that the site of Lourdes Convent was wholly within the Withdean estate — in Patcham parish and therefore north of the parish boundary which (on the east side of the A23 at this point) ran to the immediate south of Grove Lodge. The Preston Park Hotel was (as its name suggests) “across the border” in neighbouring Preston parish. Peter Booth (17-03-2011)

    By Peter Booth (17/03/2011)
  • Writing under my mum’s name. She wants to mention the Névers (Névairs?) order of nuns which has been in Brighton at Lourdes Convent for 107 years. The last two left this week after a ceremony in St Mary’s church. It was filmed by South Today apparently.

    By Angela Hubert née Oakeshott (20/04/2011)
  • I was there from 1971-2 when I was 10 years old. It was my first time at school as had been previously taught at home by a governess. On my first day my sister, brother and I were marched onto the stage in Assembly and everyone was told we had never been to school before so could everyone make us feel welcome. Naturally we were teased from that point forward. I remember I was in Mrs Tobin’s class, had needlework with Mother Elizabeth and Sister Martha was the fearful old nun in charge. My classmates were Anne Lynne, Mary Kaukas, Amanda someone (Queen Bee) and a pair of twins (Kate & Sarah possibly). I also remember an Alison Cook who Mrs Tobin hated. I remember the bad food -spam, salad cream, baked beans and lumpy mashed potato, all cold, and being forced to eat it, even after I was sick over it.

    By Melanie McMurdie (18/05/2011)
  • I understand that there is a book entitled ‘ Lourdes Convent, Withdean, Brighton – Its history, development and present day activities’, published in 1937. Has anybody any knowledge of it as I would love to get hold of a copy. I’m interested in the history of the school having been a pupil 1954 – 1966 , living in one of the cottages there as my father was the head gardener from 1949 to 1971 ( see our earlier posts)

    By lindylou (09/06/2011)
  • To add to my post above, I omitted to mention Jane Burley and Louise? who had an older sister at the school.

    By Martin Sweetman (21/06/2011)
  • Fascinating stuff! I went to school here from 1965 to 1969, I am remembering a lot of names, and a lot of the teachers too. I have to own up to putting the paper in Mr. Langridges piano, on my last day, and for locking the music room doors from the inside and climbing out of the window, but I wasn’t alone. If only I could remember who my accomplices were. I do have some photos somewhere I will add sometime.

    Editor’s note: If you send me the photos and some info Eileen I will publish them on the site for you. Contact me via:

    By Eileen Valder (Nee Carty) (15/09/2011)
  • Referring to the above post “writing under my mum’s name” Angela Hubert, the full name of the nuns is “The Sisters of Charity of Nevers”. Angela Hubert was a friend of my mother’s, though whether they were contemporaries at Lourdes Convent I do not know. When I moved to Cottesmore I often used to walk home up the hill with her sons. I am afraid I only remember Simon by name.

    By Martin Sweetman (31/12/2011)
  • Hi, memories – some good! I was at Lourdes Convent from 1951 to about 1961 – I well remember Miss Lamb – Mother Clair – Moss Tobin – Mrs Thompson – and others! the awful Cheese pie thing! The Chapel was wonderful. Other names Maxine Brooks – Mary Gunstone – Rona O’ Brien – Roma Meyers – Pat Whiting – Billy Catchpole – Pat Joyes – Maxine Reilly and loads more – my email address is Best wishes to ALL and a Happy New Year xx

    By Paddy Berry (nee Doyle) (06/01/2012)
  • I have just discovered this site and wondered where are the girls of ’58-’64 (some of whom I know the names as above – Maxine Brooks, Mary Gunstone, Maxine Reilly). Is it not time to have another reunion as I missed the last - although was there the night after the Brighton bombing! Living near the Welsh Borders now – my email address is

    By Veronica Cox ( nee Davies) (24/01/2012)
  • I have just had a look at this amazing site of memories of Lourdes Convent. My name is now Wilkinson but when I was at Lourdes I was Katy Christmas, somebody must remember the name if nothing else. I was there from 1966 to 1970/71. My younger sister Anna was there too. I was friends with Leela Thiruchelvam, Joanna Reed, Georgina Court. I remember Diarmuid Sexton and Luke ? Also Ildiko Kerekes and Eva Ballantine and I remember going to a great party at Jacqui Hibberds. My memory is hazy about so many things. On the whole I was happy there, but Miss Lamb made me cry a few times and to this day I become anxious having to do any kind of mental arithmetic. I remember the beautiful magnolia tree and seeing red squirrels on the lawn. I was in touch with Leela but that was many years ago now and I would love to hear from anyone that knew me.

    By Kate Wilkinson (26/01/2012)
  • I am so pleased I stumbled upon this site, so many memories, my surname was Thiruchelvam, I have mostly fond memories of the school and loved Mother Elizabeth, it is lovely to remember Sister Clairehe and the terrible food and I’d completely forgotton about Mr Language. What a coincidence Kate you were the last entry, I too remember the names you mention and more such as Adrian Atkins and Claire. I have been inside St Bernadette’s primary and although changed there are still some of the original features there. I moved away from Brighton but have been back for a few years no. It would be great get in touch with you Kate and anyone that knew me, you can contact me on facebook.

    By Leela D'Arcy (20/03/2012)
  • I came across all these comments quite by chance and found them so interesting. I am older than all of you, and was a boarder at Lourdes during the war. I left in 1945 but I knew quite a few of the nuns you mention. I have loads of memories of the years I was there. Mother Mary Paul taught literature. Mother Mary Agnes history. Mother Elizabeth art. Mother Clare was the cook – we seemed to live on omelettes and lentils. Mother Bernadette taught pian, and so did Mother Mary Madeleine. Mother Mary ?? taught geography-very French and she used to spit a lot when she spoke. We had a Japanese nun (Mothet Clotilde); and of course the oldest nun, Mother Teresa who was said to have known Bernadette. If anybody wants to know about those wartime days, I will tell you – but that would be before your time …

    By Jill Bristow (10/04/2012)
  • I was at Lourdes from 1966-1970. I remember Miss Pigneguy, Mother Elizabeth (who I adored), Sister Columbus, Miss Tobin and Miss Lamb. I remember being made to stay behind one day after everyone was excused for lunch, until I ate the lunch. I never did eat it! After that I was allowed to take a packed lunch. I had many fond memories, I was a day student. Playing jacks on the steps, french skipping in the playground. I left the year before it closed to continue on at Deepdene School in Hove. Mark Leach is my cousin!

    By Nicola Leach (16/04/2012)
  • To Janet Flesher 14/09/2009: Sadly, Myra Ward died on October 20th 2005. You are correct, she did marry Colin (Taylor). Myra was a bridesmaid at my mother’s wedding in 1948 when aged 4 and a half. I only met her a few times.

    By David Ward (22/04/2012)
  • Thanks so much to David Ward for writing here to let me know the sad news about Myra. I do remember her very fondly – very dark curly hair, freckles and big brown eyes, lovely girl. I hope she had a happy life. Thanks again David.

    By Janet Flesher (27/04/2012)
  • I was at Lourdes Convent from 1959 to 1966 when I was Pamela Hunt. I almost got expelled for running for the bus with my beret in my hand! I would love to get in touch with old school friends.

    By Pamela Haslam (nee Hunt) (01/05/2012)
  • I didn’t go to the convent, though I grew up in the Brighton area in the 50s. This is just an oblique comment, we visited the grave of relatives, in Hove Cemetery (Old Shoreham Road) and tidied up both it and the nearest one, against the hedge at the far western end, but rather covered by greenery until we clipped it off. There were several names from the convent in a large grave, with a nice statue; the names of maybe 4 or 5 sisters, and Rev Mother, one of whose names I think was Madeleine, and died I think late 50s (faded lettering on the stones). Those of you in the area still (we’re not) might like to visit, and maybe contact the Catholic Church, remind them it’s there, as it looks like it’s been forgotten?

    By Tony Holmes (31/05/2012)
  • I’ve just come across this fascinating site. I went to Lourdes Convent from 1966 to when it closed – 1970? I went to Cardinal Newman for a while but didn’t like it and left. I wonder if there are any of my class mates out there – I was very good friends with Fiona Purden and Francine Parsons (now Cook) and still keep in touch with Francine. Other girls include Judith Rawlinson, Rosanne (can’t remember her surname) and I think I recongize Isa Nagle’s name. Would love to hear from anyone.

    By Anne Byrne (nee Greenham) (05/06/2012)
  • I went to Lourdes Convent with my sister Melissa when Whistons closed down, probably ’66 or ’67. We were some of the few Jewish girls at the school! I remember Bernadette Gaffeney very well and Malvina Mann. Mrs Penegy (I’m sure I’ve spelt that wrong) was our English teacher, I think. My best friend, who I would love to get back in touch with, was Caroline Hamm. She was one day older than me! 

    By Caroline Raphael (07/08/2012)
  • I was at the convent from about 71-73 until it closed and went to Cardinal Newman which I absolutely hated. I have lovely memories of the convent – Sister Bernadette, Sister Theresa, Clair and the little one that used to check our uniforms and that we were wearing our hats. Still in contact with Jane Keenan and Sharon Morris. I have a couple of lovely photos – Penny Brown, Anne Clive and the day before the place was knocked down a few of us went and had a look round and I took a big key out of a door around the back somewhere near the old gym which I still have here in Sydney, Australia. They were lovely days.

    By Debbie Massey (nee Cox) (18/08/2012)
  • Goodness! Just spent an hour reading this entire site – how wonderful to remember. Mary Wilding, I remember you and your Dad so vivdly in the cottage next to the playground. You and my sister Tara were good friends. She is living in New York now and has been for 20 years. Still tall and skinny! I laughed out loud to read someone owning up about packing paper into the piano, and interested to see the various spelling of the music teacher’s name, Landridge and language. Debbie Cox, I remember you very well from both schools! You are a long way away and I envy your trip back there before it was demolished. If anyone has any info on where Mother Elizabeth or Mrs Hamilton ended their days and where they are buried, I would be most grateful. Anyone recall fi fo bombardiment played with a tennis ball at break time? Or playing jacks on the hall floor when it was raining? Do you remember the Galsworthy girls, Marilyn and Corinne? Marilyn was to go on to become a “Bond Girl”. Josie, one of my hugest regrets in my lifetime is when I lost my temper in the playground and threw a ball at you, dislodging your glasses. Do you remember that horrible incident? I apologise profusely now for doing such an infantile thing. It haunts me still. So many memories. I remember the garden fete each year when we would have to do all the Irish dances Miss Tobin had taught us and we all had to bake cakes for the stalls. I remember us being bussed to King Alfred for swimming lessons. I have kept up with a couple of old friends sporadically, Debbie Sinnatt and Caroline Ham. Keep the stories coming.

    By Lisa Munyan, nee Waltman (10/09/2012)
  • Hi Lisa, just read your comments, wish I had known Tara lived in New York was there three years ago for my 50th and would love to have caught up with her over a coffee. She was a good friend and I remember we were always laughing, please send her my regards. Yes I do remember playing fi fo bombardiment (having to hit from afar anyone else playing with a tennis ball below the knee to the feet) it really hurt sometimes. So many happy memories what a special school it was really a bit like the Enid Blyton series of books Mallory Towers.Especially for the girls who boarded.

    Dear Mary,
    Sorry but we have had to delete part of your post. We are no longer allowing the posting of requests to find third parties, as sharing information like this breaches their privacy. We recommend you try Friends Reunited website if you want to track old friends or neighbours.
    Comments Editor

    By Mary McDonald, nee Wilding (23/09/2012)
  • Someone has kindly put the 1967 school photo on Friends Reunited website of Our Lady of Lourdes Convent 1967.

    By Bernadette Gaffeney (05/11/2012)
  • Hello Pamela, I would love to be in touch. I remember us seeing you off to ? in 1965? and often wondered how you are. You were the calmest member of our class. I have seen other names I remember too.

    By Deborah Riley (Rheam, 1959-1966) (10/11/2012)
  • If anyone would like me to email the scanned image of the 1967 panoramic photo let me know on

    By Lalie de le Vingne (10/11/2012)
  • Does anyone remember Louise Arnett in the early to middle 50s at Lourdes? She lived at the time in a bungalow facing the railway near where Brighton Zoo used to be. I’d love to get in touch.

    By John Snelling (16/12/2012)
  • I was at Lourdes from 1955 ’till 1958. I was in the same class as:Biba, Ann Canning, Shiel Toller, Janet Thompson, Patricia Breden, Janet Wood, Beverly, Victoria Bassett. We all survived, I think. Janet, Patricia and myself had been at Stella Maris in Portslade. Janet Wood and myself went to the cinema one night in Brighton when she was staying overnight with me and she wore lipstick… we ran into her parents..oops. After many years of being abroad I am back here in Walmer, Kent. I have lousy memories of the nuns too – my hair was uncontrollable!

    By Eugenia Patricia Young (19/01/2013)
  • Oh Patricia Young, did you bring back a memory for me. Yes, it’s Janet Wood, and I have been quoting that embarrassing incident all my life. My parents never went to the cinema and that night they not only went but to a cinema miles away from where we lived. I even remember that I wore a turquoise turtle neck sweater that night! How old were we, can you remember? Thanks also for adding a few fellow classmates’ names (Victoria, Biba, Patricia B). I know that dear Janet died many years ago, and found out on this site that Myra had also passed away recently. Like you, I have lived abroad for over 30 years, currently in France.

    By Janet Flesher (09/03/2013)
  • Dear Janet Flesher, sorry for the delay. We were 13/14 and needed an adult to accompany us to an “A” film. I was always shy and lacking in derring-do (I have changed), so it fell to you to supply the disguise. The cinema was in Hove and I lived in St. James’s Street, Brighton. I travel to Brussels a great deal to see my daughter and grandchildren. My email address is

    By Eugenia Patricia Young (01/05/2013)
  • Another Lourdes Convent blast from the past site! I was at Lourdes from 1954 to 1957. Not too many names of fellow students that I remember (but they are in my autograph book) – where are my memory pills? However I can remember who I loathed – Miss Tobin, Miss Hamilton, Mrs Dann, Sister Claire, Miss Locum – probably more. I did have respect for Mother Mary Paul though, and Agatha Aires (spelling) taught geography and Mother Magdeline who taught French.

    By Shiel Toller (now Barr) (17/05/2013)
  • Lisa, Did you really throw a ball at me? I can’t remember ever having glasses until I was 40. Still if you did, apologies accepted.

    By Josie Campbell (14/08/2013)
  • We used to visit my cousin Mary McDonald nee Wilding at the Lourdes Convent Brighton. My email address is if you read this Mary.

    By Maeve Lindars nee Freeman (12/09/2013)
  • I went to the school in the 70s, enjoyable times , mr wright was headmaster and miss Mortimer my first teacher, anyone else there at this time?

    would love to see any photos

    By Maria Gathy (30/11/2013)
  • I went to Lourdes Convent in approx 1955. I had a good education there but always felt that the nuns and teachers disliked me as I wasn’t R of C. I remember the school uniform which was lovely, especially the pale blue summer dress that we had to wear on religious days. The garden fetes were fabulous, as there were always pony rides and one year I won the fancy dress competition dressed as a postbox.  I also remember being dressed in a swimming costume with goggles and flippers with a group of chums and singing a song called, ‘We went to Sea, what did we see? We saw the sea!’ My cousin Geraldine Goddard went to LC but was two years older than me as did Christine and Teresa Bridges who were friends. My best friend was Rona O’Brien who sadly died about four years ago. I remember Roma Meyers, Avril Boella, Linda Steed, Billy Catchpole, Graham Rumsey and Jacqueline Pino and also Anne Leach.  I remember Reverend Mother dying and we all trooped past her body in the chapel. I remember going into the chapel which always smelt divine. I remember how we used to put our hands in the little bowl attached to the side of the wall full of ‘holy water’ and throw it at the girls in front! I had good experiences of some of the teachers, but not all of them. My first teacher was Mother Elizabeth who was lovely, then Mrs Tobin who was good but hated Enid Blyton books, so the ‘Famous Five and Secret Seven’ were banned! I remember Mrs Rogers who was short, plump and her face was ‘caked’ with Max Factor pan stick makeup. She taught geography. She sat up on a platform behind a high desk and used to lean backwards in her chair. One day she went too far and tipped up, and all we saw was a pair of legs with suspenders and stockings. I think we were all horrified and sat very still until she had got up and composed herself. I remember Mrs Thompson who might have been the music teacher. When singing, we were either singers or ‘growlers’, I was a growler! We used to dance with coloured chiffon scarves to music. My worst experience with a teacher was Miss Lamb who was horrible, very austere looking.  After school one day, she kept me late and I remember her hitting me and chasing me around the classroom. That wouldnt happen in the 21st century. My last memory is of the day that lots of pencil cases went missing and everyone felt guilty. The culprit was never found but I remember going to a certain girl’s house after school for tea and she opened up a cupboard and it was full of pencil cases. I never said anything to anybody, not even my parents. If that certain lady looks at this site, she will know who she is and I hope she remembers her thefts.

    By Lesley Miles (25/02/2014)
  • Have come across this site quite by accident.  So good to read all the comments – certainly brought back memories!  I was at Lourdes from 1959-1966, studied French to A-level and O-level Latin, Italian and German and have now lived in Spain for nearly 30 years! Unfortunately my memory is fading fast so names escape me, but if anyone would like to get in touch my e-mail is My name is Pauline Hayward (née Jeffery).

    By Pauline Hayward (14/07/2014)
  • What a wonderful site – lovely to read about so many memories. I was at Lourdes from 1967-1971. I remember lovely Mother Columbus who was very kind, and Mother Elizabeth, Miss Tobin and the formidable Miss Lamb, whose hair seemed to resemble that of a curly lamb! I remember the beautiful beech tree, playing French skipping in the playground, the gardner who used to chase us with his false teeth, the nuns buying the whole school ice cream one hot summer’s day and packed lunches, luckily for me!  I remember Melanie Stone, Melanie McMurdy. If anyone remembers me, it would be great to hear from you.

    By Sally Dorman (nee Crawford) (17/07/2014)
  • My younger sister Annabella and I were boarders at Lourdes Convent 50s/60s (can’t remember exactly).  It has been fascinating reading memories of time spent with the ‘Les Girls’ as our Mama used to say. I do remember some things: raiding the wine cellar and a couple of midnight feasts. I was generally caught doing something I shouldn’t have done -  a bit wild, maybe.  Both Annabella andIi liked sports.  I’m sad to read that the beautiful  grounds and house were demolished.  

    By Olga Damant nee Jacson (02/09/2014)
  • As a child (1950-60) I spent a lot of time with my aunt, Dorothy Thompson, (a brilliant pianist and teacher at the convent) and Granny Linton in Lourdes Convent Cottage. We knew John Holden, the gardener, and my two friends were his daughters Linda and Jill. I have wonderful memories of watching Mother Claire making soup in an enormous vat in the kitchen, of curtsying to Reverend Mother, blackberrying in the hedgerows along the drive and feeding the beautiful budgies in the aviary.

    By Brenda Stephens (06/10/2014)
  • Hi Brenda. Great to hear that you remember Dad, Linda and myself. Unfortunately Dad passed away in October 2011 aged 86. He had such lovely memories of his time at Lourdes Convent and really enjoyed reading (and contributing!) to the messages on this site. Yes, I loved Mother Claire too, she may not have been the best cook in the world but she was very kind to us all and, in fact, she was one of the first people to see me after I was born. Linda and I would love to hear any memories you have!

    By Jill Holden (10/10/2014)
  • I attended Lourdes from age 9 to 16 (1959-1966), till I couldn’t stand it another day, and transferred to Varndean for A Levels.  The only lovely memories I have of Lourdes are of the grounds, especially the vegetable garden, and the chapel, which I loved though I am now an atheist/buddhist.  The only teachers I remember really liking were Mrs Bingham, I think she taught geography, and tall beautiful Mother Bernadette.  I quite liked the older man who taught maths – poor man, we were such a handful.  Mother Elizabeth was nice, though she lost her temper with me one day and slapped my face.  She thought I wasn’t paying attention, but I was filling in the spaces in my ‘rough book’. Do you remember we had to do that?  I was righteously angry, and she molified when she realised her mistake, but I must have been a pain otherwise to cause such a reaction! I also remember that for once, we were to have a Field Day of sports, but someone broke some flower pots, so they cancelled it.  At age 16, I was seen by a parent smoking a fag with a friend in a nearby cafe in school uniform.  I fessed up. My father rolled up at school to talk to the very tall and very scarey Mother Mary Paul to plead my case that I was allowed to have a cigarette after meals at home.  My hero. I still had my prefectship taken of me. Living in Australia since 1975.

    By Barbara Chevalier (31/12/2014)
  • Small correction to the above: it was not Mother Elizabeth who thought she caught me doing the wrong thing in my rough book.  It was Mother Catherine – who I liked a lot. She taught English and Latin.

    By Barbara Chevalier (01/01/2015)
  • I was so pleased to find this site but I go back rather a long way and was at Lourdes convent from about 1944-52.  I was very very happy and loved being at school but do remember the terrible food! My friends were, Lilian Janes, Jean Rowan, Brenda Parlett, Susan Patching, Suzanne Hall, Moirai Duff, Sandra Cross, Lesley Callow, Elaine Schultz, Rosemary Chatterton, Karen Ansel. My best friend Pauline Phillips, sadly died when we were quite young, she had a sister Nicola. I have a photo of the choir in the grounds of the Pavillion after a singing contest. We too used to stuff paper in the piano keys, Mrs Dann was not popular. I was so sorry that nothing remains of that lovely school but I do have very good memories and wonder if anyone remembers me – I was Pamela Adlington and moved to Cambridge about 1952/3.

    By Pamela Thurley (07/01/2015)
  • I am so sorry to be the bearer of such bad news but to all the pupils of Lourdes Convent(1950/60) who knew Camela Thiru. She very sadly passed away towards the end of last year having been unwell for a time. I shall treasure the memories I had with Cammy both at school and socially. We had been friends for over 58 years and had such fun together. Although she had lived in Ibiza for some time, we still met whenever family and commitments allowed. I shall miss her and her wonderful laugh so very much. She was truly a beautiful person both inside and out. The last time we spoke was only a few days before she passed away in her sleep. May she rest in peace. Her very sorrowful friend, Adriana Litston  (Novis)

    By Adriana Litson (01/02/2015)
  • So very sad to read the news about Camilla.  Although we hadn’t been in touch for many years she was a really good friend and we spent a lot of time together in our young years and again when I first came to Germany.  Over the years I have tried many times to find out where she was but without success.  Adriana, I am sure you remember me – Sally-Ann Richardson – I used to live just round the corner from Cammy when we were at Lourdes Convent together.  I would be so grateful if you could contact me as I would love to know more about Camilla’s life as the last correspondence I have is from Ibiza and I still have that letter.  My e-mail address –  -  Thank you Adriana.

    By Sally-Ann Schertle (20/05/2015)
  • My sister and I attended Lourdes for a couple of years around about 1955. Does anyone remember Jennifer and Elizabeth Hope? I was friends with Sally Rankin. Reading all those Nuns’ names reawakened memories. The awful food, the way everything done on the cheap. I hated it there, as I was experiencing a period of personal unhappiness I must have blanked a lot out. However I do remember Miss Hamilton who taught English.

    By Liz Valette (26/11/2015)
  • Tonight something made me type Lourdes Convent into Google and up came all these amazingpPhotos and memories. I can’t say that school was my happiest time, but I loved the sport. I was at Lourdes from 1958-1964, I think. I remember Annabella Jackson, she was in the netball team, tall with dark hair in bunches. Names I remember are Maxine Reilly, Roma Meyer, Rona O’Brien (one Nun insisted on calling you Veronica), Christine Glynis, Joanna Pound, Geraldine (we travelled on the train together), Anne ? Can anybody give me anymore names from that class? Depressing day when I realised the building had gone.

    By Dianna Hills (Morris) (24/02/2016)
  • Hi, I was at Lourdes from 1954 until 1964. Reading through everyone’s entries certainly brings back memories but it is hard to remember names. I lived out in Kingston near Lewes. I have lived in Australia since 1982. I would love to catch up with anyone who remembers me.

    By Gillian Gough (13/04/2016)
  • I was sent to this school from Patcham junior school. My name at that time was Mandy Michele Fry. It must have been in the late ’60s. I remember the nuns and was a little scared of them. I just remember it being this very old, and a little bit of a creepy, house with amazing grounds. I remember that we had English lop-eared rabbits at that time in the grounds in a very large hutch. I was a rabbit monitor while there and would sometimes hide from the dinner ladies in the rabbit house with a friend. Also remember that large lawned area in front of the Headmasters French windows and trying to sneak across it without being seen – was caught, actually. Would love to see any old photos of this place if anyone has any. 

    By Shelly (18/05/2016)
  • How sad to hear of Camilla’s death. She sat behind me in class and was such a wonderful relief in tedious lessons. I live in Australia but love reading this sight. I remember many of the names mentioned. How about Sandra Baynard; Carol Greenwood; Diane Hill and Sally Sharpe. I wonder where they are.

    By Carol Cooney (29/08/2016)
  • Hi Gillian Gough, where in Australia do you live? I live in North Queensland, Townsville. Would love to connect. Carol

    By Carol Cooney (31/08/2016)
  • I come back to this page every now and then to see if I recognize any names, and to take a trip down Memory Lane. My maiden name was Hicks, and my sister and I were there from about 1962 – 68. I was very happy at the convent, and remember many people with affection – Mother Catherine, Sister Claire in the kitchen (although the meals she served up were not haut cuisine!!), Mother Mary who seemed to be dinner lady, and Mother Agnes who was behind the scenes and rang the Angelus bell every day. Miss Welford was tiny, and so was Miss Hamilton,who was terrifying. She used to say, “Wish, children”, as she came into the classroom, our signal to wish her good morning or afternoon. I loved the cedar tree in the grounds and was often in trouble for gazing at it rather than concentrating. On the down side were the awful toilets. Did anyone ever clean them, I wonder? They were truly disgusting! I still keep up with Krystyna Piotrowska, and through her with Antoinette Tussaud, Debbie Hardwick, Pat Lyons, Christine Wormold (all maiden names). 

    By Sue McShane (24/11/2016)
  • Hi, I’m Carol Greenwood and went on this website yesterday and oh what a surprise to read all the comments and to recognise names from the past. Lovely to read all the positive notes but sad to read about those who are no longer here. My happy memories were mostly based around sport: tennis, netball and lacrosse. Does anyone remember the huge tray of doughnuts we had at the end of matches, probably better than a lot of the meals! I am living in Yorkshire and still play tennis- does anyone remember Diana Hilton who was my partner? I think she moved from Lourdes as her father’s job meant moving on.

    By Carol Greenwood (27/11/2016)
  • Just read the posting by Sue McShane on 25/11/16.There can’t be 2 Antoinette Tussauds, can there? Was she about 5 foot nothing tall, became a teacher and taught at Cardinal Newman school? I believe she was part of the family connected with Brighton Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks. She was an A.S.A. Diving Judge. She came along to Hangleton Youth Club to help supervise the trampoline, which is where I knew her from. Tell her Roger says “Hello”. 

    By Roger (28/11/2016)
  • I am originally Iraqi and was in full time boarding at Loudes Convent between the years 1958-1960.  The first few weeks were very difficult for me as first from a completely different culture and second I was away from my family.  But after I made friends I started liking life there although the nuns were strict particularly with foreign students.  I used to cry at night as I missed my mother terribly, but I now thank my mother, bless her soul, everyday for sending me to Lourdes Convent as I was taught to be obedient, patient, tolerant  and appreciative of life.  One of the teachers was called Miss Hamilton, who taught us English, and because I was good in English she used to like me and give me special attention.  Unfortunately, at my age now, I cannot remember names of all the friends I made while there, except for a red-head girl called Carole.  If anyone who was at Lourdes Convent at that period and remembers me, please do get in touch, I would love to hear from you.

    By Layla Yousif Said (14/01/2017)
  • I never went to Lourdes Convent but I read Layla’s comments and especially that being at the convent taught her obedience, patience, and tolerance, and the appreciation of life which seems to go by the wayside today. 

    By Mick Peirson (16/01/2017)
  • I was at Lourdes Convent from 1965 until my transfer to Cardinal Newman for 6th form. I’m still in touch with Mandy Potter (nee Cornwell) but have lost touch with others. Marion Lambert, if you are reading this, contact me on Facebook; would love to be in contact again.  As ever I recall Mother Catherine, most irritated when I called time on Latin. I’ve made up for it since with French and German exams! My time in the science lab served me well with a career in industry for 30 years. I remember Miss Hamilton every time I go to see Shakespeare and remember all the interpretation and insight scribbled in the margins of my books. Cold days on the hockey pitch, being hit on the nose at an inter-school match ahead of hot date – ah, good times! We were the girls who tied the school Angelus bell out of reach one day. Bernadette Johnson, I remember you well, always ahead of me in the exam ranking! Enviable long hair too.



    By Laura Frampton (01/02/2017)
  • I was there from 1956/59 and reading some of the comments think it must have improved in the 1960s.  Even though I was very quiet I didn’t escape the wrath of some of those nuns and teachers (another non-catholic child).   Miss Lamb was vile but she got caught sitting in Sister Elizabeth’s class, which she often did, by Reverend Mother showing some priest around the school. She went bright red at the time. I didn’t like Mrs Rogers and Mrs Tobin but remember learning my tables up to the 19 times.  Very good education but learned mostly through fear.  Loved playing stool ball which I missed when we moved.  I remember Cherry De’ath and would love to get in touch with her. Spent some lovely times in the grounds.  I will never forget the beautiful chapel and the horrible smell of stale food as one went down the dark corridor to the dining room.  Some nun caught me putting my chewing gum down in the chapel and I got told off thoroughly as usual.

    By Lynda Whybrow (23/02/2017)
  • Just found this site today – many happy memories. I remember seeing Reverend Mother after she died, and I remember Mother Claire’s food!  Hi Olga Damant!  Kept in touch with her for a while after school (I left in 1958).  I also am in touch with Sheelagh Graham, Pamela Mallam and Edwina Robey (all boarders).  My mind is a blank with other names. Wonderful evenings playing tennis in the summer and trying to avoid gym and lacrosse!

    By Dinah Shortt (19/04/2017)
  • This site is a wonderful discovery. I attended the convent between 1953 and 1956 (I think).  I remember Shiel (you’re in my autograph book), Victoria, Myra, Beatrice (sister of Biba Hulanicki), Ruth known as Wiggie, among others.  My particular friend was Christine Bridge and we used to correspond for a while until we lost touch. Just don’t mention Miss Hamilton (fearsome) or the cheese pie (yuk!). Mrs Dann and her daughter Prudence used to attend my church in Hassocks and Mrs D used to thrust smelling salts under my nose when I felt faint in church (disgusting stuff). I used to travel to school from Hassocks by train – lovely in Clayton Tunnel when the lights failed! Not! I too remember filing past Reverend Mother after her death (you wouldn’t have dared if she was still alive!). Would love to hear if anyone remembers me (fat chance probably).  After moving to Epsom from Sussex I now live in Folkestone with my husband.

    By Linda Forster (nee Westoby) (30/04/2017)
  • I went to Lourdes Convent between 1960 and 1965, Catherine Winter then. I started in Mother Columba’s class and remember her as an angel; not so Mother Elizabeth who gave me the cane on more than one occasion for talking in class! The education delivered by Miss Tobin, Miss Lamb, Mrs Thompson (who suffered with such severe headaches that she used to leave us alone in the classroom whilst she went somewhere quiet and dark) and Mr. Langridge who taught music, has stood me in good stead over the years. I was only one of five pupils who were not Catholic (I am now – perhaps the nuns had a lasting influence) so was not permitted to go into the chapel, however I do recall it as being pink so must have seen it at some time. Of the pupils, I remember Paula Rhyll, Marilyn Galsworthy, Isa Nagle, John Geary and a boy called Simon whose surname I have long since forgotten! I do not remember having a particular friend at the school but I suppose I must have done. Other memories: jacks, playing budge in the playground, horrible food and stoolball which I was very bad at. Very pleased to find this page; a real trip down memory lane.

    By Catherine Daniel (nee Winter) (05/07/2017)
  • I have just come across this site!   I was at Lourdes Convent from 1942 until 1954.    Mother Mary Paul taught me for the last two years of school.   Mother Marie Bernard was Reverend Mother, as French as possible with an accent to match.    Miss Lamb and Miss Loakman were both teaching then.   Mrs Dann taught music and we won many cups with our choirs in the Brighton Music Festival.    We were the Second World War students.   I loved every minute I was in the school, they gave me security in a very difficult time.   Anne Waite ( was Anne White!)

    By Anne waite (26/09/2017)
  • Last night I was watching a programme on Sky Arts about the painter Charlotte Johnson de Waal, and she mentioned she had been to a very strict convent in Brighton where she had been accused of whistling at boys at a bus stop.  For this she she was virtually sent to ‘Coventry’ for 3 weeks whilst her fate was decided.  Her fate was expulsion (lucky girl).  It so reminded me of my time at Lourdes Convent as a boarder around 1960 – 63.  I googled Lourdes Convent and found this site.  Amazing to read such polar opposite memories of the same place.  My time there was hell on earth:  repressive, hostile and frankly unchristian.  Looking back I think the nuns were a sad group of dysfunctional and unhappy women .  For example, why else were we boarders made to eat so many meals (which by the way were always disgusting) in silence – day after day after day because of some imagined infringement by one girl.  The worst screamers were Mother Collumba, Mother Catherine (vicious)and Mother Bernadette was totally unpredictable and her temper was very frightening.  Mother Mary was also always bad tempered.  During my time there were three head mistresses:  Mother Mary Paul (scary) , a small squat French nun who I could not understand ,and lastly the tall and humourless Mother Agnes.  Sundays were the worst days as we were not allowed to sew or knit or draw or play sport. We were only allowed to read books from the ‘library’ which were mostly about saints. It was all homework, chapel and a walk.  To this day I hate Sundays.  The worst thing that happened to me was when the nuns took away my letters.  I used to keep them in a locked case and one night I left the case unlocked and they were removed.  Most of the letters were from my parents (who lived in HK) but there were also some cards and letters from boys – all completely harmless.  I was hysterical for a few days as none of the nuns would speak to me or tell me what had happened to my letters.  I have never felt so alone and scared so Charlotte Johnson de Waal’s experience really resonated with me.  Generally speaking my fellow boarders in my year were either foreign or from broken homes (as divorced parents were referred to in those days) or parents living abroad like mine.  We were therefore a fairly dysfunctional group ourselves and in my view the nuns took advantage of this and bullied us, presumably venting some of their own unhappiness at the same time.  I don’t remember one kindness in my entire 3 years under their regime.  The day girls undoubtedly had a better time of it. We were all very vulnerable.   One last thing – who could forget the lavatories stuffed full of used sanitary towels as the incinerator did not work and there was no where else to dispose of them – medieval or what.

    By Geraldine Higson nee Duffy (16/01/2018)
  • Hi, if Louise Hawkins or Tanya Danjea are reading this please let me know I would love to catch up.


    By mary mcdonald nee wilding (24/02/2018)
  • Hello.  I have just found this site and have enjoyed reading all the posts. I was a day girl from around 1960-1954. It brings back so much, so many memories. The strict nuns and teachers’ names, grounds, trees, chapel, lacrosse pitch, gym, dark wooden classrooms  etc. My school friends, Anne Thompson, Theresa O’Conner, Maureen, twins Mary and Margaret Dixon, Philomena Forte, Pauline, Theresa Gill, Rosemary Sweetman and Virginia to name a few. If any of you read this please do get in touch as it would be great to find out what happened to all of us over the years.


    By Patricia Ann Trinder (16/07/2018)
  • Hi Pat, Sarah Quinn told me she had seen your post and I checked it out. Great to hear about friends from the past. I’m on Facebook as Virginia Hartwanger (née Winters) and, assuming you’re on FB too, it would be great to hear from on you.

    By Virginia Hartwanger (18/07/2018)
  • Hi there, I was at school at Lourdes convent, from 1961-1965, aged 6 to 10yrs old. We had recently arrived from Ceylon. My two brothers, Hans and Michael Swan, were there too. I was in Mother Elizabeth’s class, Hans was in Miss Lamb’s and Mike Mother Columba’s. My friends were Linda Geary, Gillian ? who had me to tea one evening, Michelle Stanley, Francine Parsons, Karen Watson, Pamela Clayton and Alison Reed was a day friend of mine. I also recognise some of the other names. Isa  Nagle singing “Jesus, thou art coming” at that first communion. I remember naughty Jonathan Roberts, little Jeremy Roberts, Angus Nunaly and John and Michael Geary as well as some of the older girls – though not well. The day I made my first Holy Communion, Pamela Clayton was crying as we filed out and when I asked why, she replied that she had seen her Holy Guardian Angel the night before but no one had believed her. I told her most emphatically that I did, which of course I did! I loved to visit the Chapel during my lunch break frequently. I remember Mother Elizabeth as sponsor for my Confirmation, taking St. Anne as my name, which happened to be hers too. I loved the hot pease pudding, rice pudding, school mince and mash, and generally enjoyed my school meals. I recall dear Francine Parsons, I could never forget her gentle friendship and kindheartedness and her dear parents’ kindness to me on several occasions. Do you remember the strawberry blancmange? Yummy!. I  also had the good fortune of meeting Mother Madeline in Paris in 1984. She was such a dedicated soul and ministering to prisoners.! Does anyone remember the woodland play, some of us were the little bluebells. I remember Mrs.Thompson getting me to read the shoemaker and the elves and correcting my diction: ”Not pocket but pockit. Not kitchen but kitchin – and again”. Miss Lamb reading some fantastical magical tale everyday just before close of day – never got to hear the finish. Well dear fellow students, this has been a delightful site and opportunity to walk down memory lane. We moved off to Singapore and eventually completed my education in Australia, where I’ve lived the past 47 years on and off. I would love to hear from anyone who knew me. Cheers and God Bless you all.

    By Gail Swan (11/10/2018)
  • Just been looking at the website. I was at the Convent High School of Our Lady of Lourdes in Northfields, Ealing from 1954 to 1959. I believe it was closed down and am wondering how many of the old pupils are still around. I would love to know. I used to be called Lettuce and Cabbage which was a rough translation by my friends of my surname which was Lepiankiewicz. The Headmistress then was Madam Paschal.

    By Barbara Watkins nee Lepiankiewicz (12/10/2018)
  • Hi Pat (Trinder), just found this site. I was in the same class as you at Lourdes Convent, do you remember?

    By Jennie Newbigging (nee Siverns) (19/02/2020)
  • I was at Lourdes from 1964-69 as a day girl. I have both good and bad memories of my time there. The nuns disapproved of such trivial things…giving a birthday girl bumps led to after school detention for unladylike behaviour. My outstanding memory is of my parents being summonned to the school to be told by Mother Catherine that she believed my obvious unhappiness was caused by my struggle with God calling me to be a nun! My parents wisely didn’t tell me about this for some months and she could not have been more mistaken. I have a close friend now who also went to Lourdes but had left by the time I started. She was a boarder and loved being there. Even though we had different experiences, we agree to differ and enjoy telling each other stories about our time there.
    I would love anyone I was there with to get in touch.
    Anita Craggs Mersinoglu

    By Anita Craggs (23/05/2020)
  • Brilliant to find this page.I passed the 11 plus and got a scholarship to Lourdes convent 57-8 to 61.
    I loathed my time there always treated as a poor relation .I was a day pupil. Lifting skirts to see if the petticoat was straight or boufant. Most of the teachers were hard.I was in a small class of 13 girls only opposite the chapel,my duty was to ring the bell at break times.I can remember a sylvia stoddart and Terry someone,I think her mother was in Kismet. I was expelled because I had a love letter from my boy friend a heart with an arrow through it and our initials on it. One of the girls stole it from my inside blazer pocket while I was at P E. A nun saw her giggling with her friends that was the end of me. No punishment for her picking pockets. I married the boyfriend some years later and we have been married 58 years.

    By Margaret Body*nee Peggy Wheeler* (26/12/2020)
  • Hello everyone – I was there 1957-9 – I remember you vividly, Layla Yousif Said, and your cousins, Nashla and Noel – Please get in touch with me via facebook – I was Anne Wyatt then (friend of Sally Mallum, Elizabeth Briggs, and Ellen Mae Ferreira) I am now Eliza Wyatt – Elizabeth was always my first name — I am back in the Brighton area – after 25 years in Boston, Mass. Anyone who remembers me, please email me,or facebook me.

    By Anne Wyatt ( now Eliza Wyatt) (17/01/2021)
  • I found this site a couple of years ago while idly browsing in bed with a bout of flu. Memories, memories, so many remembered names I unfortunately cannot put faces to, but so many happily recalled. I am Mary Dixon (Margaret being the other one of us!) We went to the convent 1959-1964/5. So many extremes of memories. I can’t say that I was unhappy but found the environment distant with little communication or interest from the teachers/nuns, generally. I just went to school each day and went home, but didn’t find the nuns at all scary or overwhelming. It just lacked vitality there. Loved the grounds, & sitting along the path next to the tennis courts, even when we should not, the lacrosse field in summer, ahh, not sporty, but liked our old gym rounders instead of lacrosse, easily suggested to Mrs Du Pavier. Memories of her baby on our laps (Paul?) I didn’t learn much (uninspired), but oddly, have remembered quite a bit from lessons. We both say that we learned more in the first two years with Miss Hamilton than any other teacher. Does anyone remember a sweet teacher with curly hair and prominent teeth (sorry) who would start a lesson, only for one of the class to ask her about her holidays, & it always worked, so we had little maths or English language taught, she was often ill. Sadly this teacher died 1964. Mrs Bingham, (I think) as supply, saved our Eng Lang. (a firm knowledge of tables from Cottesmore junior saved my skin & is my only knowledge of maths), liked vibrant Mother Christine, Old Testament “history”, glad Mother Catherine was not our class!! Mother Agnes, Mother Claire, Rev Mother Mary Paul (scary). Met Mother Mary Agnes on the bus couple of times when visiting Mum with my son & had lovely chats, sad we did not get no know our teachers properly. Loved singing with Mr Langridge, Miss Loakman’s lessons were dull, dull beyond dull. I DID like some meals; the best baked beans & mince, but not mauve cobweb potatoes! & ooooh! CHOCOLATE PUD & CHOC SAUCE. I always felt comfortable with all you girls, Pat Trinder, Mary Moody, Mary ?, Maureen Littlechild, Pamela Hunt, Jenny Wood, Philomena, Lesley Sweetman (not Rosemary, Pat, possibly her sister?) Teresa (Tetty), Wendy, have kept in touch with Barbara Gordon, in all, so many of you. Playing cards the last week of term. I do agree that we learnt manners, self discipline, & a certain softness (can’t define). A shame there were no out-of-class interests unless you were sporty. Margaret loathed the school from the first day, and was so very unhappy there, I hadn’t realised just how much. Hope to hear more from you, I live in Worthing, so is anyone in the vicinity? Am not very computer savvy.

    By Mary Dixon (now Alexander) (04/02/2021)
  • I am so pleased to have found this site! I was at Lourdes 1959- 1966. Memories? Mostly of being made to feel like the poor relation,over-emphasis on correct uniform, being ladylike, speaking well…and far too little on our education. But several of the nuns were very kind to me and my mum for which I remain grateful.

    Pamela Hunt- I’d love to be in touch! I tried to look you up when I was in Canada a few years ago. Please get in touch.
    Bernadette and Amanda Gaffeney- wonder whether you remember me? I used to look after you when your mother was ill.

    By Ann McDonnell (08/02/2021)
  • Hello Mary Dixon!
    Loved reading your post. I remember you and Margaret very well and your lovely mother! I would love to get in touch. My email is:
    I do hope this stays up (as I consent to my details being shown) and you check back. I am in touch with some of the other girls in our year and they would love to hear from you too…. we have a group WhatsApp going and we would love you to join us.
    Until then, Stay safe !
    Love & Hugs Tricia (Pat Trinder) 🙂 🙂

    By Patricia Ann Trinder (Pat) (Trinny) (08/02/2021)
  • Lovely to read so many Lourdes messages. I was there from 1961-1968. I have been lucky to keep in touch with many girls in my year – Antoinette Tussaud, krystyna Piotrowska, Sue Hicks, Debbie Hardwick, Veronica Lane, Christine Wormald, Jennifer Russell, Judy Rowley, Liz Moore. Now Barbara Chevalier who lives in Australia. So many happy memories – I did enjoy my school years but I was a day pupil! Please get in touch if you remember me or any of our ‘gang’! I am now
    Look forward to news!!

    By Frances Mannings (now Low) (14/12/2021)

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