Bob so enjoyed reading TellingTales.blog he wanted to tell some of his own stories, so here we have the first story. We can look forward to more of these in the future. For those who find reading difficult we have printed the text at the end.
My days at St Albans R.C. Secondary boys school
1960 I got my 11 plus results, no grammar school but ”a border line case” much to the amusement of my family. I am one of six children, “he’s a border line case!” they were shouting to one another.
Through this dilemma I had the chance to attend the now long goneTechnical Grammar School, there was one in Padiham a few miles from my Great Harwood home and one in Darwen a little further away.
No! No! you aren’t going there was being banded about, they are not catholic!!
Being brought up in a practicing Roman Catholic household, the last thing I would be allowed to do was to go to “Padiham Tech”!
After a few days deliberating my parents, John and Hilda decided a good R.C. secondary modern in Blackburn would be the answer. A step up from “St Huberts” in my home town, and still keeping me under the guidance of the church.
We had the long summer break before then so lots of mischievous fun and adventures to be had before then, with my friend Denis. jumping the stream, birds nesting and going down to my Dad’s hen pen. Denis’s parents has secured a place for him at Preston Catholic College, where his uncle a priest was a teacher there, so I was in good company.
So St Albans R.C. secondary for boys was the one.
My forst day came, new uniform, bus pass, dinner money so off I went on the Ribble B13 bus. A bit nervous I remember and we all gathered in the playground, we were called out in order and sent to our allotted classrooms.
St Albans was located in a part of Blackburn that was being cleared of unfit housing. One of my memories was sitting in class watching workmen demolish empty properties with a huge metal ball being swung by a crane. Being in the first year, whether it was to help us settle in or not we had one of the two female teachers the school. This was a false sense of security, because we were all about to find out about the corporal punishment that was about to be dished out over the next 4 years! The female teachers could administer the cane just as well as any of their male counterparts! In fact I can recollect “Haggis” as she was known for obvious reasons used to jump up on the down swing. I kid you not! The stick was used with regularity throughout the day.
We soon learned how to avoid a thrashing because that is what it was, all the teachers used a cane, I would say between 20 and 30 inches in length and was used on your flat open hand. The dosage varied according to the offence. Usually 2 to 4 thrashes. If for instance you had been caught talking mallarking about you would be called to the front of the class and told to extend your right hand fully out. You would then receive a sharp swipe from a shoulder height swing, the pain was excruciating. next the order would come to put your right hand out again for the same treatment. If the punishment was for 4 thrashes the left hand was then used. If you withdrew your hand when a swipe was coming, you would be threatened with another swipe, which incidentally you could not help but do.
I remember the pain being so severe that crying was inevitable, and do you know that even the toughest lads in the class never made fun of anyone who had been thrashed because they knew how much it hurt!!
I remember getting through my St Albans years trying to avoid the bulls, and the cane and just wishing my time away until I could leave at 15. Whether I received a better education than at my home town school of St Huberts is debatable. Certainly not like the one I might have had at “Padiham Tech” thats for sure.
Categories: School days