St Gerards Boys, Haverton Hill 1952-ish

Bill Pearce commented on the St Gerard School picture and he mentioned Peter McGrogan as a particular friend, this photo of some of the boys from St. Gerards features Peter amongst a group of classmates, I thought Bill and other ex St Gerards pupils may be interested in seeing it and hopefully naming some of the unknowns in the picture.

Back row: Alan Lavery, Kevin Deery, -?-, Peter McGrogan, -?-, -?-, (Brian Featherstone?) Middle row: Billy Burnett, -?-, Stephen Waller, Alan Gatley, -?- Front row: (Donaldson?) -?-, -?-, Dennis Dowdle, -?-

There is a little uncertainty about Brian Featherstone, Bill Burnett thinks that is who it is but can’t be fully sure. Bill doesn’t know why the photo was taken as it doesn’t show all of the boys in his class and none of the girls.

Details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

May Richardson in her garden, summer 2017

May is the last survivor of the Dibbles Bridge disaster, the 1975 tragedy which claimed 32 lives of a coach party from Thornaby mainly senior citizens. Dibbles Bridge was the worst peace time loss of life in the town.

I am assembling a photo memorial to all 32 victims of the disaster for an exhibition and book planned for showing at Thornaby Town Hall. I am trying to contact relatives who might be able to loan photographs and help me compile a short biography on each person. Can anyone help?

Details courtesy of Derek Smith, Thornaby Project.

Furness Shipyard Athletic Club Medal

t13986I was intrigued with the quality and potential cost of this medal, in a Collingwood Jeweller presentation box, given to my grandfather John William Hill in 1922. Furness shipyards must have provided quite an extensive social facility. As this medal was for cricket I assume all of the team received one. Any information about this period, particularly the social facilities at Furness, would be very much appreciated.

Photograph and details courtesy of Maggie Pulle.

Thornaby Railway Station

During the 1960s I was a fairly regular user of Thornaby station, my wife and I used to travel from Billingham to Kings Cross in London on an overnight service, spend the day sightseeing and come back on an overnight train from Kings Cross to Billingham, we had to change at both Thornaby and Darlington so our experience of Thornaby station was always either late at night or early in the morning, the one time I was on Thornaby station during the day I bumped into an old workmate of mine called Eugene Moore, we had about a ten second conversation and that was it, I was boarding a train on my way to London and didn’t have time to chat, it was over 40 years ago but if you are out there Eugene get in touch.

I know there are people well versed in the railways in this area who contribute to this site and I am hoping they can put a date to this picture.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

St Gerards School, Haverton Hill

Bill Burnett has written his memories of his time at St. Gerard’s school for my album project and I thought it may be an idea to use his words. Bill was at the school in the early to mid 1950s.

‘There were just four classrooms in the school with folding partition ‘walls’ between them; infants at one end, the seniors at the other. When the folding partitions were opened up a fair sized space was created, which had been used in the past for Sunday mass; though I don’t remember it being used for that purpose while I was there. Miss McNamee took the infants, Mrs McGloghlan took the next class, then Mr Carroll took the third class, and finally the headmaster Mr. Morrisey took the senior class. I have a clear memory of my first day at school and being paired with another boy – his name long forgotten – who was very tearful after his mum had left. We were given a toy ‘shop’ to play with. At some point in the proceedings Miss McNamee asked if anyone could count to more than 10. My hand shot up and I confidently counted 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace; my parents and grandparents were keen card players and I was all too familiar with the hierarchy of a pack of cards! Miss McNamee was highly amused but my mother was mortified when she told her. On another occasion we had an inspector visiting the school he wrote the initials B.Sc on the chalk board and he asked if anyone knew what they stood for. Muggins responded with “British Sugar Corporation”. Well – at that time if you went shopping and bought sugar it came in blue paper bags with British Sugar Corporation printed on the side; a reasonable mistake to make I think.

Behind the school there was a playground with a toilet block and to the side a sloping playing field, which was out of bounds in wet weather.
The lower part of this field was largely devoid of grass and after rain we would often find small coloured patches on the surface of the mud, indicating that there was a metallic object buried beneath. These would be eagerly dug up in the hope of finding a coin. In those days we used to have free milk delivered to the school in 1/3 pint bottles. In the winter the milk often froze and pushed the foil top off leaving the creamy top part sticking out of the bottle – ice cream!’

Courtesy of Bruce Coleman and Bill Burnett.