THE ORATORY SCHOOL

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1st July 2016

Memories of Vic Lloyd

My name is Victor Lloyd and I entered The Oratory RC Secondary Modern School in 1957.  The only teachers I remember with any clarity are Mr Heaton, Mr Wells, Miss Gilfoyle, and Mr Barratt, the Headmaster, (who had taught my mother at a previous school and remembered her).  I found Mr Heaton particularly sympathetic and understanding, though today I can't remember any particular reason that made him so.

 

Because The Oratory was the only Catholic school available at the time I had to catch two busses from Northfield to Ladywood.  I did this journey every school day with my only friend Tony Latham who lived in the same road as myself. The only other pupils whose names I can remember are Paula Milne and Mary Wilson. (More on these later.)

 

I don't retain fond memories of my school days, though not through any fault of the school, I'm sure.  Too shy to integrate, too given to day-dreaming through lessons to engage with anything academic or even practical, I left in 1962 with qualifications hardly worth anything, becoming a bricklayer like my father.

 

The main thing I have The Oratory to thank for is my lifelong love of classical music.  I took part in a production of The Pirates of Penzance (as a pirate) and have retained every tune and all the words ever since.   I also still feel the thrill that I felt entering the hall for assembly to the Overture of Wagner's Tannhauser.  I can still see Mr Wells putting the record on the turntable to play again as we left.  It began a process of an ever-widening search for music which recreated that thrill, leading me to one of the great pleasures of my life.

 

A school trip to the Isle of Skye is another highlight.

 

One dread memory that still chills my heart is of some regular Friday afternoon lessons where the whole class stood up to be asked quick-fire times-table questions, sitting down when correctly answered.  As the numbers still standing dwindled, the terror of such exposure robbed me of any chance of remembering the few I did actually know.  Any number-related problem in any vaguely exposed situation, freezes me to this day.

 

One sad memory and one upsetting.  When my friend Tony was cast as Frederick, the lead in “Pirates”, his leading lady Mabel was Paula Milne whom I adored from a distance and who never knew I existed. 

 

And the terror and shame of the Leavers' Prom.  Though having no intention whatsoever of attending myself, we boys were forced to ask a girl to be our partner.  We just had to have a name to give when asked in class.  My long-delayed and eventual only choice was Mary, who through similar fears as my own, I'm sure, accepted me as her only possible chance of not being left without a partner.  I sincerely hope Mary didn't turn up; the thought that she did, to find her partner not there, remains with me to this day, an act of cruel and upsetting betrayal of which I am deeply ashamed. 

 

After some years in the building industry, I attended night school classes to gain qualifications for teacher training college and then taught as a secondary school English teacher for 30 years.  Perhaps that as I entered the gates of St Peter's College in Saltley for the first time my unconscious role model was Mr Heaton.

 

 

4th April 2015

Memories of Doris Lawrence

I am an old pupil of the Oratory School in Ladywood,   I attended there from 1940-50.   My name is Doris Lawrence.

 

My parents were both Ladywood born and bred.    My Father’s name was James Lawrence and my Mom’s name was Doris Curley.   Dad was C of E and Mom was the Catholic.   She attended the Oratory School herself with some of her Brothers and she was determined that myself and five other siblings should go there:   Their names are Mavis, Tom, Kath, Lynne and Christine.   I remember some of the teachers at the Oratory.

 

In the Infants there was Miss Powell, Miss Bradley and Sister Gabriel.

 

In the juniors there was Sister Joseph. Miss Croke, Miss Brindley, Miss Dillon, Miss Kane and Miss Barlow.

 

At eleven years of age the girls were transferred to the boys’ side which became a senior secondary modern school.   The teachers there were Mr. John Barrett, Headmaster, Mr. Stinton, Mr. Monkton, Mr. Tillotson, Miss Donnelly, Miss Hazelwood, Mr. Drew, Mrs. Moseley and Miss Barlow who transferred from the juniors.   Mrs. Plant came to the school for a short time and was very influential in my life because she gave me a love of poetry.   There was one occasion when she had a competition to see who could recite a poem called “The Soldier” written by Rupert Brooke who died in the First World War.   There were two of us in the class who both stumbled at the end.   The other pupil was Gerard Hill a young French boy who was loved by all the girls.   He was studying English at the Oratory.   Mrs. Plant stood us in front of her desk and awarded us both with a bar of Cadbury’s chocolate which she  broke in half and gave us half each.   Chocolate was like gold during the time of rationing.   Many years later about 7 years ago I found out that Mrs. Plant was in a Nursing Home in Selly Oak and I went to see her and took her a box of Cadbury’s chocolates.   Unfortunately she didn’t really remember me.

 

I have had a varied career,   My first real job was as a despatch clerk at Kunzle’s Chocolate factory, I stayed there for 3.1/2 years and then went to Belliss and Morcom in Ledsam Street where I worked as a clerk/typist.   In the meantime I studied shorthand at an evening institute and in a short time became a shorthand/typist at John R. Lee in St. Mark’s Street in Ladywood.   There I met up with Mrs. Moseley from the Oratory who gave me a glowing reference where I was able to obtain a position as a shorthand/typist at the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board, Hagley Road.   This prompted me to study medical shorthand and for 25 years worked as a Medical Secretary at various hospitals in Birmingham, Leicester and London.   The Oratory School gave me a solid foundation which has stood me in good stead throughout my life.

  

On reading your column I found that some of my cousins have been contributors.   Their maiden name is Curley and if they should read my blog I should love to hear from them as I have lost touch with them over the years.

 

Many thanks

 

7th April 2014

Memories of John Richmond

 

The Oratory Football team on a foreign visit

Photograph courtesy of  John Richmond

 


 

 

Memories of Margaret Thorne nee Fitzpatrick

 

Photograph taken at the Lickey Hills, probably about 1942??

3rd from the right is Thomas Fitzpatrick

5th from the right is Taffy Williams

6th from the right is Michael Girling

 

Photograph courtesy of Margaret Thorne, nee Fitzpatrick

 

25th November 2013

Memories of Jo Bowkett (Josie Curley)

One of my sisters alerted me to this wonderful site about Old Ladywood.  We lived at 18 Great Tindall Street initially (my mum & dad (both now deceased), and six children, five girls and a boy in a 2 up, 2 down terrace house.  My elder sisters, Margaret, Eileen & Sheila were born very close to each other before WW2), then a gap of eight years and I am the eldest of the second three - me, (born April 1942) my brother (June 1943) and youngest sister (June 1946).  We all attended The Oratory School - of course, by the time we second three attended, it had changed somewhat.  We first went to the Primary School in Hyde Road and then my brother and I went to the Secondary School in Oliver Road.

 

Sisters Joseph & Vincent (struck terror into every child, I should think) are prominent in my mind, then I recall Miss O'Reilly, Miss Croake and Mr O'Shea.  Unfortunately I didn't pass the 11+, neither did my brother, and we then went on to the Secondary School in Oliver Road.  Mr Barratt was the headmaster.  Mr Tillotson introduced us to the wonders of Eng.Lit. and Mr Heaton took us for History.  Miss Guilfoyle taught French and Miss Heslington was our gym mistress.  I learnt Irish Dancing at Oliver Road and we staged some super Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.  At the time I was very involved in my stage dancing at the Betty Fox School of Dance and for part of the year I was away on pantomime for 3-4 years and so received private education (tutors) during this period.

 

I do have some very fond memories of Oliver Road, going to Harborne for domestic science and in those days the girls were taught "Housewifery" (this term wouldn't stand up now, but what a pity a similar course isn't included in the modern curriculum).  We went to a  big house where teachers had flats or rooms and there we learnt the methodology of cleaning/laundry/ironing - this alternated with our cookery class.  What would the girls of today make of this, I wonder?  I learnt how to make beds (hospital corners for the sheets and blankets) and how to deal with stains in laundry, etc.  We had great fun travelling to and fro and got up to all sorts of scrapes! 

 

I do hope others will write in with their memories.  After we left Gt Tindall Street, we moved just up the road to 44 Alston Street, almost next door to a little shop that sold just about everything - groceries, vegetables/fruit, sweets, household items - and this house seemed so big to us, it had four bedrooms and three rooms downstairs and a garden!  The front room was turned into a room for me to practise ballet - my mum bought a huge mirror from one of the dress shops locally that was closing down and paid for a barre to be installed for my ballet exercises). Then my sister, Eileen married and she and her husband had that room while they saved for a deposit to buy their own home in South Yardley.  We then moved to Sparkhill.

 

When I left Oliver Road, I applied to Joseph Lucas (Electrical) Ltd. Gt King Street, as a secretarial trainee.  We had to sit an exam and Mr Barratt gave me a wonderful reference and I received a first-class training as a Secretary whilst working in the mornings in the various departments.  My last position before I married was as Secretary to the Chief Electrical Egineer.  It was always said that a Lucas trained Secretary could obtain a position anywhere!

 

Keep up the wonderful work with this gem of a website, Mac.

 

Jo Bowkett (Josie Curley)

 

29th October 2012

Coronation Day at the Oratory School

Some of the names we have are ???Girling, Betty Brayshaw, Stanley Blackford, David Curran

Christopher Brayshaw,??? Patterson; Jacqueline Brayshaw

Photograph courtesy of Christopher Brayshaw

RESPONSE 

My name is Terry Richards. I was born in Dudley Road hospital, lived in Ladywood for a time and was minded by my grandmothers in Ladywood. To cut a long story short, I now live in California, USA and I was visiting recently when a friend loaned me some of his mother's Brummagem magazines. I noted your website and have subsequently checked it out. To my surprise, I saw the photo of the Coronation Day at the Oratory. My mother also has that photo and I'm in it, standing next to Stanley Blackford. He was my Granny Richards' next door neighbour.

On the front row, I am tenth from the right. I'm sort of hiding behind Stanley Blackford's right shoulder.

Granny Richards lived in Hyde Road, where the Oratory was. My dad and his brothers went there.

Granny Green lived in Beech Street, Cope Street & Stewart St. My mom went to Stewart Street School in the 20's

 

 

17th September 2012

The Oratory Swimming Team about 1955

Photograph courtesy of Dorothy Carr, nee Osborne

 

12th November 2011

I have just been reading through the comments of old pupils of the Oratory. I well remember some of the teacher’s names and a few of the pupils.

 

I was at the Oratory throughout my school life, infants, juniors and seniors, from 1952 at the age of 5 to 1963 at the age of 16.

 

 In the infants I remember Sister Vincent (still recovering from the traumas) Miss Clark (a bit vague on her) Miss Bradley (a bit scary) and Miss Ramsell (double scary).  Some of my fellow pupils I remember were Sean Cox, Mary Eardley, Dermot Winston and Julius Da Silva ( I see there are comments made by Harry Da Silva. I presume that Harry was his older brother. The family lived in Coxwell Road as I recall)

 

In the junior school I remember teachers Mr. Goddard Miss Croke and Mr. Frost and a lady whose name I'm struggling to recall who looked about 100 and used a magnifying glass to read!

 

I also remember banging the back of my head against the external iron staircase/fire escape. There was blood everywhere and I still have the scar.

 

In the senior school my teachers were Bob Heaton, Peter Wells, Jim Shields, Mr. Shrive (maths) and the famous J.P. (Jack) Barrett who had the uncanny knack of forecasting the questions that would come up in the GCE O Levels.

 

In my 4th year I had a massive crush on a girl called Josie Grogan. I thought she was wonderful, but I couldn't get up the nerve to ask her out.

 

I have lived around the West Midlands all my life except for a two year spell in Devon. In fact I am currently living only a short walk from where the school used to be.

 

I am nearly 65 now, close to retirement, have lost all my hair and I'm still not good with women!

 

Regards

 

Tony Hill

 

Memories of Robert Holland

I thought you might like to post this photograph of a class at the Oratory School circa 1933. My aunt, Mary Holland (now Mrs Mary Godwin and living in Stafford) is seated second from left at the front row desk.

 

Does anyone know any of the names in the photograph?

 

As many of the visitors to your excellent site will know Charles ‘Daddy’ Holland (Mary’s father and my grandfather) was headmaster of the school between the wars.

 

Memories of Robert Holland

 

The attached photograph depicts a prize giving ceremony at the Birmingham Catholic Schools Sports Association Championships 1932. Archbishop Williams has his hand on the Universe Shield and Charles ‘Daddy’ Holland, headmaster of the Oratory School, is standing with his hands in pockets left of the Archbishop.


I understand that this was taken on playing fields at Cape Hill. Would this be the M&B sports ground or the playing field, which would later be called Hadley Playing Fields nearer to Bearwood?

It is thought that the trophy was later melted down to help the war effort?

 

Memories of Fred H. Lee

My brother and I went to the Oratory and even now remember some of the teaching staff.

 

The head was Mr. Holland (Daddy), he gave me the cane for scrumping in Sir Harrys Road.

 

Mr. Monkton (monkey), Mr Stinson (stinker), had the cane off him a number of times. Mr Fitzgerald (hop a long), a Miss Jones took the infant class (she with loud voice).

 

My brother Ted left in 1935, and I, a year later 1936 (I am Fred). Ted joined the army in 1940 and I joined the army in 1942.

 

We lived in Oliver Road, right opposite the school gates, so as you might guess we were never late. Mates of mine were Freddy Bradley of the Nags Head, top of Icky Port Road and Chas Morris of Shakespeare Road.

 

I like to think we were great mates whom the war parted, Freddy went to Maryland USA,  and Chas went to California, USA. Later on in life we went over to the US  to see them, so actually we were mates and friends for 60 years.

 

Fred. H. Lee

 

Memories of Pat Kryszewski

My name is Pat Kryszewski (nee Meredith), and I am 78 years of age.

 

I was delighted to find your site and am, really enjoying it.

 

In 1935 at the age of five I started in the Infants at the Oratory School.   My sister Mary was 6.1/2 and also attended the Oratory.

 

We lived at Warley, but the Oratory was the nearest Catholic School, and together with other Catholic children from our area we travelled to school each day on a charabanc.

 

In 1936 St. Hubert's Catholic School was opened, so after a year I left the Oratory School to attend St. Hubert's School.

 

At the time Sister Gabriel was in the Infant's School and I also remember Miss Bradley at the Oratory.

 

Until the age of nine I remained at St. Hubert's School, by which time my sister Mary was 11 years of age and had to return to the Oratory.   Mother insisted that we both attend the same school, so I also returned to the Oratory and was in Miss Kane's Class, the classroom with the iron fire escape.

 

I remember Miss Brindle (who taught us poetry - ABU BEN ADAM  - MAY HIS TRIBE INCREASE).

 

Miss Dillon, Miss Cunliffe, Miss Donnelly and SISTER JOSEPH, who I have been told was, before entering the Convent, a titled Lady by the name of Lady Elizabeth Cotter.   I was terrified of her throughout my time at school.

 

I remember Mr Holland, Headmaster of the Boy's School.   His daughter Felicity was in my class, and I remember she was a tall girl.

 

I can remember the names of some of the girls in the top class (Sister Joseph's class) aged 13 to 14.   They were Josie Grant, Mary Smyth, Marjorie Grant, Agnes Maguire, Gwennie Lines and others more fortunate who had taken their 11+ exam and moved on to St.Paul's Grammar School.

 

The War had just started in 1939 when I returned to the Oratory School, and we had reinforced classrooms in the basement as air raid shelters, where we retreated to when the sirens sounded in the day.

 

During the War for a period of time the school was closed down.   It was said that people walking down Monument Road had been machine gunned by German planes.   I do not know whether or not this is true.

 

My sister and I went to Osler Street School for our dinner (an old five pence).   It was a sort of prefabricated building, the door being in the middle, with the kitchen to the right and the trestle tables and benches for the children to the left.   Health and Safety would not allow this today, but the War was on and the meals were good.

 

There was a shop down the road where we used to get a halfpenny drink.   It was run by the Dean family, and Betty Dean who was the granddaughter was in my class.

 

We also used to buy a halfpenny scrubbed carrot from the greengrocers in Monument Road (opposite Hyde Road) (sweets were rationed)   The diet we had must have been good, as my Sister Mary (80) and myself (78) still have all our own teeth!!

 

From the age of 12 to 13, I went to cookery classes one day a week to Osler Street School.

The first thing I made was potato and watercress soup, which was a bit difficult to get home on the Sandon Road 6 bus and then the Midland Red bus to Warley.

 

From 13 to 14 we went to Vivien Road, Harborne, one day a week to Housewifery, where we were taught to sweep, dust and mop, make beds with hospital corners and also taught how to cook simple meals.   Our teacher was Miss Griffiths, who was a lovely lady, who had a lisp.

Miss Griffiths must have been a saint to put up with us the way she did.   I only remember her being very annoyed with us on one occasion when we did a bit of scrumping in the garden!!

 

The Gym Hall was where Miss Dillon took P.E.   We also played netball and rounders in the playground.

 

In the Hall we also had a percussion band.  I always hoped to get a tambourine, but usually ended up with a triangle.

 

Sister Joseph also used the Gym Hall to mete out punishment on occasions with her cane to the ready.

 

There was a cupboard in there too, very smelly, with pumps of all sizes and in all conditions, and we used to rush to try and find a reasonable pair.

 

In fairness to Sister Joseph, she had to contend with 48 girls in her class.   It makes me smile today when teachers find it difficult to control 20 children in a class.   I think the difference in those days was that there was strict discipline and no one dared to disobey.

 

In those days the Oratory was called an Elementary School, but we were taught how to read, write and spell correctly, we had basic arithmetic, history, geography, plenty of religion and prayers, how to sew and good behaviour.   No one would dare to answer any of the teachers back, and Sister Joseph was very adept with the cane!!

 

From the age of 12 to 13, the highlight of my week was when Father Charles Heurtly came to give us a religeous lesson on a Monday morning.   He seemed to me to be a very old man then, but he was very kind and we all loved him.   Later on he was confined to a wheelchair.   I can remember the Orphanage boys racing down Monument Road pushing him and he seemed to enjoy every minute.   He told us that his friend was Hilare Belloc the poet.

 

We used to go to the Oratory Church from school quite often, and Father Charles ran a competition.

 

We had to go round the Church and see how much we could find out and write about St. Philip Neri. I won 2/6d, which was an absolute fortune in those days.

 

In her last year at School my sister Mary was Head Girl.

 

We used to have regular visits from the NIT NURSE and from time to time a girl would have her head shaved.   This was cruel and humiliating and she was made to feel ashamed.  It used to really upset me to see how unhappy they were.   My sister and I were lucky because Mother always had the Derbac soap handy!!

 

We had Assembly in the morning, The Angelus at 12.00.p.m. The Rosary at 1.50.p.m. and prayers before leaving school at 4.30.p.m.

 

Happy Days in Lots of Ways. Not much money, but plenty of friends.

 

I left at the age of 14 in July 1944.

 

I should be surprised if anyone remembers my sister Mary and me, as we must be amongst some of the oldest surviving pupils, unless anyone knows different.

 

Lovely website Mac.

 

Thank you.

 

Pat Kryszewski

 

Memories of Chris Brayshaw

My name is Christopher Brayshaw, born 1947, I lived in Hyde Road up till 1967, and have some great memories of the Oratory School from the infants all the way to seniors.

So yes it is true, the nuns sister Joseph and sister Vincent were very scary indeed, but because we came from a very catholic family we dare not go home and tell our dad that we had been told off or had the cane by the sisters, because that meant you would almost certainly get a clip round the head off our dad, because in his eyes they were never wrong, but I suppose it did not do us much harm.

I played football for the school from a very early age, well the kit we had to wear was awful, it was only the shirt that was the same colour, if you were lucky, but socks and shorts well, they came in many colours. I still wonder if any of the teachers are still alive because when we were at school they all seemed older than they probably were, so if anybody can help on that score please let me know.

One thing I do remember quite well was the tuck shop that was up the stairs over the science lab, you could get most snacks if you could afford them, but coming from a family of 7 brothers and sisters we did not spend much, and on the other hand our house was right opposite the junior school gate in Hyde Road so we just went home in our dinner hour.

 

We all had to go to church on a Sunday at 9 o’clock mass if you did not go, well on Monday you would be asked why not by you know who (THE NUNS), we also went to catechism on Sunday afternoon and if I remember right it you attended so many masses over the year you when on the church day out, I think I only ever went Harvington Hall.

 

One other memory I have, but I cannot remember her name, in the first year at the senior school we had a very young Polish teacher she was very nice, but she did not stop that long and went back home to get married, so can anybody tell me her name.

 

After I left school I became an engraver and that is what I have done for all my working life but only 4 years to go before I can put my feet up.

But all in all those days were just great, they could not of been that bad or we would not be talking about them 44 years on.          

 

Memories of Terry Cook

 

My name is Terry Cook. I was born 1942 and lived at 8/60 Osler Street, until moved at around 14 years of age. I lived in Anderton Street for a couple of years and then in Alexandra Road.

 

I attended the coronation party for Queen Elizabeth that was held in the large hostel on the opposite side of the road from where we lived. I do not recognise anyone in the picture on your site unfortunately.

 

Looking at the pictures for the Oratory School, I did remember David Hunt and Harry de Silva. My mate there was Derek Bradley, I am still in touch with him.

 

Say hello to Harry for me, he may remember me, one never knows. And tell Jo Bowkett both sister Vincent and Joseph filled me with terror too, in fact I am sure that the dear ladies would have caused Attila the Hun to faint.

 

One photo did give me a lot of joy and that is the one with Mr Boggon in it. He came to the oratory when I was around 10 or 11.

 

He was very different and a breath of fresh air. He spent time with kids, like myself, that other teachers did not want to know. Most concerned themselves with the bright pupils and star sports boys and girls.

 

He read to us every Friday afternoon and I could not wait for it to come around. The story of Lorna Doone, an illustrious historical romance set in the backdrop of the Monmouth Rebellion in the 17th century during the reign of Charles II, gripped my imagination.

 

He read extremely well and inspired in me a love for literature and poetry that still remains today.

 

So thank you very much for the photo of the one teacher that I held very dear.

 

I have some pictures of my family at the addresses we lived at if you are interested. I have lived in Australia since 1963.

 

Kind regards,

 

Terry Cook 

 

Memories of Robert Holland

I thought you might like the attached photographs of my grandfather Charles Joseph Holland who, for thirty years or so, was headmaster of the Oratory Boys' School.

 

Charles (known to us all in the family as 'Pa' and to all at the Oratory Boys' School as 'Daddy Holland') was a Lancashire man and educated at St. Bede's College, Manchester. Having decided to enter the teaching profession he went on to Hasenmouth College for further studies. Following completion of his training he was appointed an assistant teacher at the Oratory Boys' School in 1908.

 

On the death, in early 1917, of the then headmaster Mr. Pearson, Charles was appointed his successor for the duration of the war. I understand that he made such success of the role that the post was made permanent in 1918. He continued as head until 1948 when he retired.

 

Charles married Mary McGough (from Cumberland) in 1916 and had a family of seven children.

 

 

Regards,

 

Robert Holland

 

Memories of Jo Bowkett

One of my sisters alerted me to this wonderful site about Old Ladywood.  We lived at 18 Great Tindall Street initially (my mum & dad (both now deceased), and six children, five girls and a boy in a 2 up, 2 down terrace house.  My elder sisters, Margaret, Eileen & Sheila were born very close to each other before WW2), then a gap of eight years and I am the eldest of the second three - me, (born April 1942) my brother (June 1943) and youngest sister (June 1946).  We all attended The Oratory School - of course, by the time we second three attended, it had changed somewhat.  We first went to the Primary School in Hyde Road and then my brother and I went to the Secondary School in Oliver Road.

 

Sisters Joseph & Vincent (struck terror into every child, I should think) are prominent in my mind, then I recall Miss O'Reilly, Miss Croake and Mr O'Shea.  Unfortunately I didn't pass the 11+, neither did my brother, and we then went on to the Secondary School in Oliver Road.  Mr Barratt was the headmaster.  Mr Tillotson introduced us to the wonders of Eng.Lit. and Mr Heaton took us for History.  Miss Guilfoyle taught French and Miss Heslington was our gym mistress.  I learnt Irish Dancing at Oliver Road and we staged some super Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.  At the time I was very involved in my stage dancing at the Betty Fox School of Dance and for part of the year I was away on pantomime for 3-4 years and so received private education (tutors) during this period.

 

I do have some very fond memories of Oliver Road, going to Harborne for domestic science and in those days the girls were taught "Housewifery" (this term wouldn't stand up now, but what a pity a similar course isn't included in the modern curriculum).  We went to a  big house where teachers had flats or rooms and there we learnt the methodology of cleaning/laundry/ironing - this alternated with our cookery class.  What would the girls of today make of this, I wonder?  I learnt how to make beds (hospital corners for the sheets and blankets) and how to deal with stains in laundry, etc.  We had great fun travelling to and fro and got up to all sorts of scrapes! 

 

I do hope others will write in with their memories.  After we left Gt Tindall Street, we moved just up the road to 44 Alston Street, almost next door to a little shop that sold just about everything - groceries, vegetables/fruit, sweets, household items - and this house seemed so big to us, it had four bedrooms and three rooms downstairs and a garden!  The front room was turned into a room for me to practise ballet - my mum bought a huge mirror from one of the dress shops locally that was closing down and paid for a barre to be installed for my ballet exercises). Then my sister, Eileen married and she and her husband had that room while they saved for a deposit to buy their own home in South Yardley.  We then moved to Sparkhill.

 

When I left Oliver Road, I applied to Joseph Lucas (Electrical) Ltd. Gt King Street, as a secretarial trainee.  We had to sit an exam and Mr Barratt gave me a wonderful reference and I received a first-class training as a Secretary whilst working in the mornings in the various departments.  My last position before I married was as Secretary to the Chief Electrical Egineer.  It was always said that a Lucas trained Secretary could obtain a position anywhere!

 

Keep up the wonderful work with this gem of a website, Mac.  

 

Memories of Patricia Evans

 

My name is Patricia Evans, I used to be Patricia Eakens and I went to the Oratory. I went right from Infants to Secondary.

 

My memories of the Infants are of Sister Joseph and Sister Vincent. 


I don't remember much about the Juniors, I must have behaved myself there. The one thing I do remember is the school "orchestra", we used to rehearse in the hall, and I always got to play the triangle.


The Secondary school, I remember a teacher called Mr. Bobbet, he was the science teacher and he was a darling. He used to live not too far from me, and my friend Margaret Brennan and I  used to butter him up and he would give us a lift home. I don't think it would be politically correct to do that these days


Come on all you Oratory school kids, lets have lots more stories.

 

Patricia Evans

 

 

As promised here's a photo of the old school. The Oratory athletics team about 1954.

The teachers are Miss Croake and Mr J. Boggan. This should stir a few memories especially the beautiful ceramic pictures of the stations of the cross.

I'll leave out what names I remember so that viewers can test their memories.

 

I'm sure the team has maintained its training. For myself I'm lucky enough to be able to swim in the sea every day down here in Cornwall.

 

Kind Regards to all past Oratory Pupils who may remember my 

family, the D'Silvas.

 

Harry D'Silva

 

Here is a photo of the pupils who passed their 11 plus at the Oratory in 1954 and left all their old mates, to go to various Grammar Schools, the following September.

 

Back row left to right----- David Hunt, Ian Griffiths, Chris Mackay,   me Harry D'Silva.

 

Front row---  Bernard Welch, Stephen Webb, Margaret O'Brien? , ? Poole and ??.

 

I stayed at school  until I was sixty one years old, since I enjoyed it so much and retired as Headteacher a few years ago here in Cornwall.

 

I have very clear memories of the old Oratory school, its teachers and pupils. It was a privilege to have been there.

 

Harry D'Silva

 

 

I've looked at your site about the Oratory School which I attended firm 1947 to 1955. There is a picture posted by Harry D'Silva of nine children who passed their 11+ in 1954. The boy at the right hand end of the front row is Michael Eardley who went to Moseley Grammar School. - Ed Blake

 

 

Just looking at the site again and Dad and I came across Harry's photograph of the pupils passing the 11+ exam at the Oratory school in 1954.  Dad seems to think that the last boy on the front row, who is not named, might be his cousin Patrick Withers, perhaps you can post this under Harry's reply.

 

Regards

Helen Bird and Frank Booth

 

This photo was taken in the Oratory Junior school yard in 1953. I am on the back row 5th from the left.

 

Others in this photo are:

 

Tony Sargent - 2nd left back row

Robert Hannah - 5th right back row

Terry Malins - 2nd right back row   

Harry da Silva - 1st right back row

David Hunt - 1st right middle row

Pat Howell - 2nd right middle row

Maureen Boyle - 3rd right middle row

Pat Caveney - 7th right middle row

Valerie Halpin - 3rd right front row

Mick Walsh - 1st left front row

 

Yours faithfully

Alan Hicks

 

With reference to the 1953 school photograph sent in by my old friend Alan Hicks, I’m pretty sure that the girl third right ,front row, isn't Valerie Halpin but is in fact Maureen Faulding.

 

I thought then that Maureen was the fastest and most elegant runner I  had ever seen.

 

After more than forty years in both Primary and Secondary Education,  I still think so.

 

There wasn't a girl or boy who could get near her.

 

I've no doubt that had she wanted to, she could have made it to international level later.

 

I am in the process of getting a couple of Oratory school photos ready to forward to you, circa 1954.

 

Hello

My Dad and I came across this site when on a trip to Birmingham and we realised that there was a website dedicated to Ladywood, so we have just been having a look at the website and Dad has been re-living lots of memories.

 

Dad lived at 6 back of  101 Monument Rd after he was born Loveday Street Maternity Hospital in 1927.  His parents were Cyril George Booth, born in Burbery Street in Lozells and Mary Elizabeth Withers, born in Beech Street, and he had a sister called Elsie and a brother called Arthur. Dad went to the Oratory boys school in Oliver Road and can remember Father Charles and Father Joseph and also Sisters Margaret and  Joseph. There was also a Miss Bradley. 

 

We have enclosed a photo of The Oratory Choir in 1935. Dad is the last one on the right of the front row, 2 away from him is his brother Arthur and the 4th lad from the left on the front row is John Wood.  The 4th person on the 2nd row is Mr Collins, who was the organist and next to him is Father Robert who was the choirmaster.  3rd in on the 3rd row was Jack Lewis. Dad can't recall the names of any of the others in the photo, perhaps somebody can help.

 

Nan moved to 144 Wiggin Street in 1949 after she remarried Henry Austin Rutter, who was a signalman on the railway at Monument Rd box, He came from  Freeth St.  I can recall that Mrs Spriggs lived next door at 143 Wiggin St and the Stewartsons lived at 145 Wiggin Street. 

At the back of the house was the bomb site that has been mentioned previously in Marroway St.  Fred Hadley used to repair the cars on the end of Marroway Street and Dad can also remember going for faggots and peas from the shop in Northbrook Street.

 

Thank you for allowing us to re-live a few memories and we will be looking in the photo boxes for more photo's to send you.

 

Yours

Frank Booth and Helen Bird

 

Coronation Day at the Oratory School

Some of the names we have are ???Girling, Betty Brayshaw, Stanley Blackford, David Curran

Christopher Brayshaw,??? Patterson; Jacqueline Brayshaw

Photograph courtesy of Christopher Brayshaw

Back row : Me (Margaret Aston (nee Thomas); Rose Boucher; Pat McKay; Pat Baker; Alice Findley

Front Row: Doreen Kingscott (nee Nation); Margaret ???; Mary Crowe

Many thanks to Margaret Aston for this photograph of the 1954-55 Netball Team

 

This photo was taken in approximately 1958 in the Woodwork shop at the Oratory School

 

Many thanks to Tony Walsh for this photograph

The Oratory Cricket Team, 1938

The two people marked with "x" are Joe Knight and Frank Knight

Photograph courtesy of Lilian Mawson

 

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