Which School?

t15120I have been given this photograph to include in the Billingham School Album, the information that came with it says that It is St. Johns on Cowpen Lane, Billingham. I have a number of photographs of St. Johns and the building is very similar to the one in this image but the houses to the right of the image are definitely not next to the school. It has been suggested that it may be St. Johns at Ragworth, since demolished and rebuilt. Does anybody know which school this is and who the teachers are?

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

16 thoughts on “Which School?

  1. I was at St Johns from 1946 to 1953. Passing the scholarship was like being released from prison. I was taught by Mr Hodgson, Miss Bewley and lastly by Mr Bradley. I was caned a lot, on the slightest pretext, but essentially because I wasn’t a likeable child, and made to repeat a year in spite of coming top of the class that year. Others were caned even more, possibly for even less. Thank goodness for classmates like Michael Antrobus, Val Gallagher, Joe kirwan and Pat Larmouth (who also passed that year – just one boy and one girl in a class with several very bright children who didn’t pass, but would have in a fair system with good teaching). Definitely not the good old days…


  2. Came across this photograph totally by accident while procrastinating instead of working and recognised my mother immediately even though I had never seen the photo before. My mother is Miss Curran (Conlin) back row third from the right. She reliably informs me that the teachers are; Back row left to right:
    Mr Bradley, Mr O’Connor, ??? (My mother thinks this lady was a supply teacher from Darlington) Maureen McCabe (Armstrong), Miss Catherine Curran, ???, Mr Jimmy Hodgson
    Front row left to right
    Miss Bewley, Mrs Bradley (mam can’t remember her maiden name) Miss Margaret Eglington, Mr Smith (headteacher) Miss Wildish, Miss Clifford, Miss Hilda Welsh

    Miss Bewley became head at Holy Rosary in Billingham
    Mr Bradley became deputy head at St Michaels when it first opened when comprehensives came in.
    Jimmy Hodgson became head at Haverton Hill
    My mother married my dad and became headteacher at Norton Glebe Infants (1975) She is now very much retired with one wonderful child (me – Peter) and four very average children and loads of grandchildren and now 2 great children, my dad Bill Conlin died in 2011.
    My mother (Miss Curran) later went to teach for Mr Hodgson at Haverton Hill after she married my father and was called Mrs Conlin
    Miss Eglington left to become a peripatetic music teacher

    I hope that helps.


  3. Many thanks to all that wrote in, I now know it is St. Johns and have added it to the second version of the album which will be out in early December.

    I must have walked past St. Johns many hundreds of times on my way to the South Modern, Billingham baths and the Synthonia Boys Club and I didn’t know of the existence of the buildings behind the school.


  4. I went to St John’s from 1949 till 1953. Mr Smith (Smaffer) was the headmaster way back then. A lovely man. Mr O’Connor (affectionately known as Jack) was one of my teachers, then there was Mr Diamond. (Dicky Di Doe) I remember the twin teachers the Misses Welsh. One married a Mr English. One Miss Welsh was famous for her often repeated expression. “Ït’s just TYPICAL of you girls.” I remember we all had to take a penny in every Friday to save for a new church.
    Happy Days


  5. St Johns Cowpen Lane, around mid fifties, I believe the gentleman in the middle of the front row is the then headmaster Mr Smith, who was succeeded by Mr Morrissey, The “houses” on the right of the picture are as Steve said, classrooms a corridor ran along the front of them. The other side of the classrooms faced out onto the playground, now a car park on Cowpen Lane.


      • Don’t know where the “scottish” came from Steve except my dad was from there, we lived there for a while in the early fifties, I notice you are now living in WA, my son & family are residents of Rockingham (south Perth), & yes we lived down the road from you in Lomond Ave until 1960


  6. From a member of ‘Stocktonians’

    It’s definitely St johns Billingham, some of the teachers are Mr Bradley. Mr O’Connor. Miss Bewly, Mr Hodgeson, Miss Eglington I was taught by all of these.


  7. I posed this question on our FB group page “We Love Stockton Us” and one of our members, Peter Comb, tells me that it is indeed a photo of St. John’s, Billingham. He attended the school from 1955 to 1963.

    Also he identifies some of the teachers, extreme right back row is Mr. Hodgson, extreme left back row Mr. Bradley and next to him is Mr. Jack O’Conner. Front row, third from the left is Miss Eglinton, in the centre is, he assumes the head teacher, Mr. Smith. The lady extreme left, he says he knows the face but can’t remember the name but then it’s over fifty years ago.

    The building to the right are classrooms and form part of the quadrangle which was open to the elements, we were really hardy in those days he says.


  8. How very confusing. I can identify a number of the teachers, who were certainly St John’s, Cowpen Lane staff ie. G Bradley, JL O’Connor. Mr Hodgson? Miss Eglington.
    The buildings at the side do look incongruous. I suspect the picture was taken in the early 1950’s. There were a number of demountable buildings around the junior playground, this could be one. Alternatively, maybe the staff were attending an event at another school also in the vernacular style. Or. The church building would have been around that time too.. I wouldn’t have noticed that as a number of us moved to the new Holy Rosary school on Rievaulx Rd.


    • I’ve only just discovered this site so am not sure if we’re allowed to issue corrections but here goes: it was (and still is) Rievaulx Avenue. Holy Rosary was built around 1960.


  9. Definitely St. Johns, Cowpen Lane , Billingham. I attended 1955 to 19 61. The “houses on the right” are actually classrooms.
    Some of the teachers are Mr. Bradley, Jack O’Connor, Mr. Tirelli, Mr. Hodgson and Miss Sleightholme. Can’t recall any of the others.
    I now reside in Perth WA.


    • Definitely St Johns RC School Billingham. I attended 1947 to 1957 The names above are correct plus the man in the center is the Head Master Mr Smith. Miss Bewley first lady on left side, in front of Mr Bradley, Beside Mr O’Connor. Miss Clifford is the lady second from the right in front of (Mr Turrilli?). Mr Hodgson is the last Man on top row Right. Mr Hodgson often took class photos and I wonder what had happened to all his work.
      The photo was taken on the Grass quadrangle within the school buildings. The Classroom behind, in the photo, was in fact the Woodworking and metal working, work-shop and was Mr O’Conner’s normal classroom. I remember teachers and sisters Miss Welsh + Miss Welsh and Miss Bentley who I believe married Mr Bradley, but I do not recognise them in this Photo.
      The right side of the photo was a covered corridor to the classrooms that looked out towards Cowpen Lane. The domestic science class was located at the end of the corridor behind where Mr Hodgson is standing.
      Behind Mr Bradley and slightly to the left was a small fenced compound that Housed a rain gauge and wet and dry thermometer. I think it also had a Barometer. After working in lots of different places around the world I now live in a rural Village not far from Hull.


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