Category: Schools

Crosbie Heights, Everton, 1975

Haigh Street, Everton, 1975

Two more superb images from Paul Trevor’s book (and forthcoming exhibition at The Walker), Like You’ve Never Been Away. The photographs were taken for a project/book Survival Programmes in Britain’s Inner Cities – a compelling portrait of child poverty and deprivation. I have posted a number of images of poverty in Liverpool in the 1890s, 1930s and 1960s and these images, taken in the mid-1970s are a shocking indictment of how little progress has been made to eradicate the inequalities in our society. How could we have instigated a housing policy that condemned young children to such bleak playgrounds in the sky, or an education system that supported such grim establishments as that on Haigh Street?
Paul’s book is now in the shops and is a remarkable record of inner city childhood in Liverpool. Buy the book and catch the exhibition (from May 14th) at The Walker.

St Mary’s C of E Junior Boys School, Archer Street/Westminster Road, 1976

Lambeth Road Secondary Modern School, 1976

St Alphonsus RC Primary School, Stanley Road, 1976

Here are another three ‘lost’ schools. I never ceased to be amazed by what you can find out on the internet. Out there are an army of enthusiasts who are putting in hours of unpaid research to keep us informed about their particular interests. One such site which is a mine of information is http://liverpool-schools.co.uk

St Mary’s, Archer Street, opened in 1844 and was still listed in 1911. The other two schools are more recent. St Alphonsus opened in 1952 but was merged with St Alban’s and St Gerard’s in the 1990s. Lambeth Road Secondary Modern closed in 1982 when it merged with John Hamilton Secondary School. As I look at the photographs, I cannot help feel how badly society has served children in such inner city areas. There is hardly a blade of grass in any shot and the buildings exude soullessness and dreariness. I taught for a short while at Archbishop Whiteside RC Secondary on Silvester Street as a supply teacher in the early 1970s and the sense of failure permeating out of the place was almost tangible. However bright a child was, they had little chance of succeeding in such negative places.

St John’s RC Secondary Modern, Fountains Road, 1976

Birchfield Road Primary School

St Vincent RC Primary School, Norfolk Street, 1975

In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned that, as a book publisher, one of the most neglected subjects is schools. This has puzzled me because it is one common experience we all share. In recent years, I have published books on pubs, cinemas, churches, railway stations and many other aspects of Liverpool life (or afterlife if you count all the ghost books), but schools have hardly merited a mention. I have thrown out this challenge already but is there anyone out there who can make a decent stab at the subject?

I cannot add much about today’s selection (there are more to follow) except for St Vincent’s on Norfolk Street because I can see its site from my office door. The main body of the church has been demolished but there is part of the school still standing on Brick Street, even though it is covered in corrugated iron and not recognisable. I met Tommy Walsh recently. Tommy a leading figure of the Liverpool Irish community (he is now in his 80s) was born in nearby Blundell Street and attended St Vincent, so it much have been in operation up to the war. The area was very much an Irish Catholic community and the school was at its centre. Pat O’Mara’s Autobiography of a Liverpool Slummy creates a vivid picture of the area, although he went to St Peter’s, Seel Street. Interestingly, my offices are on the site of Pat’s house, which was pulled down in the 1960s.