Starting school in 1948
The photos posted by John Leach bring back memories. I started at St. John the Baptist in 1948 and went to the secondary school in 1954 in Woodingdean. I recognise the boys’ toilet from the photo in the playground.
Sweets through the fence
When I first went to the school, my mum would sometimes come to the playground fence when she was on a shopping trip to St James’s Street and pass sweets through a small opening in the fence. These were always Rowntrees Fruit Gums.
A dark and frightening place
Just near to where the group photo was taken there was an alleyway leading to the nun’s garden and the convent. We were frightened stiff of this dark place and we would only venture a few feet along it.
John Leach was, I think, two years behind me, but in the same row as him, 4th from the left is Kenny Macklin who lived in my road, Bennett Road. The other photo in the garden looks like a first holy communion photo. I remember Father Flanagan and Mr Beech who was my class teacher in one year, he was a kind teacher. The nun on the left was Sister Mary of Mercy, who had a large pointed nose and was stern looking and very strict.
Sister Anthony taught my brother, and it looks like Sister Gertrude on the right who taught my sister. The nun that I loved best was Sister Carmella, she was a really kind and loving soul. She later ended up in Ditchling as head of the retirement home for nuns. If ever I met her when I was grown up, she never forgot my name. I kept promising myself to go and visit her St St. Georges’ Retreat, but kept putting it off – only to be too late when she died. She was lovely. I remember Mr. Head, he always looked like he needed a good meal and had a very prominent Adam’s Apple. He had two daughters, I think Angela was one and the other I forget.
The school choir
I was in the choir at school when I was in Mr. Mcquaid’s class. He was a good shot with chalk and blackboard rubbers. But we were a good choir and sang at the Dome in Brighton one year. We sang All in the April Evening. Do you remember those little blackboards we used to write on with chalk, and the little bottles of milk at playtime? I also had a grandfather living in St. Georges’ Terrace. He was my father’s father and lived at number 16.
I am afraid that all the annual photos of my school times have all gone by the wayside for some reason or other. Does anyone remember the the time of the Coronation at school. We had a photo taken in the dining room/gym. We were given a blue coronation mug with an orange sitting in the top. Nice to hear from you John, if you ever find any more photos it would be great if you could post them.