Spirit of Birkenhead Institute

The History and Heritage of Birkenhead Institute

VISITORS' BOOK

Birkenhead Institute

Posted by birkenheadinstitute on November 17, 2008 at 4:39 AM

Welcome, and please feel free to add your thoughts and comments here. Please ensure that all comments do not give unnecessary or extremely adverse opinions to anyone or anything. Offensive comments will be removed.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and the email address for any of your memories or photographs is :-

[email protected]

 

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114 Comments

Reply Ben Johnson
1:00 PM on October 17, 2009 
Has anyone else reading these comments taken part in the Headmaster's Initiative and Endurance Test? It involved a lot of walking and then getting around to various points in the country, spending as little money as possible. Denis Welch and I bravely (foolishly some might say) volunteered in 1966 when the challenge was to walk to Chester, then climb Snowdon and The Wrekin and visit Lichfield cathedral. If that wasn't enough we went back again the next year to walk all the way around the Wirral Peninsula then visit as many abbeys as possible in 4 days. Denis and I are piecing together our memories of these "character building" expeditions which will be posted on this site when ready, and with Phil's permission. It was open to all boys from 4th form up.

Who else took part?
Reply irene hird
2:54 PM on October 31, 2009 
You mention the name John Williams in your article. I was wondering if it is John Williams who at that time would have possibly been living on the Woodchurch Estate? The John Williams I am referring to went on to play for Old Instonians Rugby Club and worked at Girlingsat that time. Hope you can assist. With thanks.
Reply Keith Sedman
10:55 AM on November 1, 2009 
janet edge says...
I came across this site yesterday March 25th and I was delighted to see the memories and photos of this old school. My late father Edward Noel Edge attended B I from around 1933 or 1934 (after attending Mersey Park) until 1940 (according to his school certificate) because he went down to Oswestry when most of Birkenhead schools evacuated in 1939 and mentioned this to me when we often dorve through this town. When I looked on his school record a couple of years ago I found out that his father also briefly taught at the school because the appointment was noted down. His name was Frederick Joseph Edge who was a Housecraft teacher, which I think is a posh name for woodwork because he had previously taught at technical schools and the college in Liverpool and Birkenhead. I don't have all the details with me at the moment but I think he entered the school aroounf 1944 but I also think that he had serious health problems towards the end of the war with his heart so he may not have been there for long and he died in 1948. <br> <br>Edward was known as Ted to the family and I presume friends and he and his sister Marjorie lived with his Uncle George and Aunty Nancy (Rogerson) after their mother died. Another family connection is William Henry Heaps also known as Harry who attended B I between 1929 to 1940 as he was a little bit older than my dad. Unfortunately he also died a few years ago but I wonder if there are ex-pupils from this era who may remember them and the famous Norman Thelwell who attended B I during this period of the 1930's. I also would to know the exact date of the second lot of pupil photos donated by Mrs Jones because as far as I can tell I cannot see Dad on them but we do not have any photos of him when he was young so it does not help. However if these photos were taken say around 1934 or 1935 he may not be on them because I do not know if it of the whole school. Hope you can help and thanks for creating this site keep updating if you can.


I remember Mr.Edge very well. In fact, I can see him before me now, wearing his apron in the woodwork room. I was at the school from 1942 to 1949 and thoroughly enjoyed his classes. He was an avuncular man and very popular with the pupils. He was also a very good teacher. The woodwork room was always clean and in tip top fashion. His first concern was safety (not the current 'elf n'safety methods). He didn't let us near tools until we had learned how to look after them. Planes, for instance, had to be turned on their side when put down. He never lost his temper, but was always in control of the class.

I still have a T square made there. I have used it for years to put a straight line on wallpaper!

It was a sad loss when Mr Edge died and I, and half a dozen other boys, attended his funeral.

Happy memories!

Keith Sedman
Reply Keith Sedman
10:57 AM on November 1, 2009 
janet edge says...
I came across this site yesterday March 25th and I was delighted to see the memories and photos of this old school. My late father Edward Noel Edge attended B I from around 1933 or 1934 (after attending Mersey Park) until 1940 (according to his school certificate) because he went down to Oswestry when most of Birkenhead schools evacuated in 1939 and mentioned this to me when we often dorve through this town. When I looked on his school record a couple of years ago I found out that his father also briefly taught at the school because the appointment was noted down. His name was Frederick Joseph Edge who was a Housecraft teacher, which I think is a posh name for woodwork because he had previously taught at technical schools and the college in Liverpool and Birkenhead. I don't have all the details with me at the moment but I think he entered the school aroounf 1944 but I also think that he had serious health problems towards the end of the war with his heart so he may not have been there for long and he died in 1948. <br> <br>Edward was known as Ted to the family and I presume friends and he and his sister Marjorie lived with his Uncle George and Aunty Nancy (Rogerson) after their mother died. Another family connection is William Henry Heaps also known as Harry who attended B I between 1929 to 1940 as he was a little bit older than my dad. Unfortunately he also died a few years ago but I wonder if there are ex-pupils from this era who may remember them and the famous Norman Thelwell who attended B I during this period of the 1930's. I also would to know the exact date of the second lot of pupil photos donated by Mrs Jones because as far as I can tell I cannot see Dad on them but we do not have any photos of him when he was young so it does not help. However if these photos were taken say around 1934 or 1935 he may not be on them because I do not know if it of the whole school. Hope you can help and thanks for creating this site keep updating if you can.


I remember Mr.Edge very well. In fact, I can see him before me now, wearing his apron in the woodwork room. I was at the school from 1942 to 1949 and thoroughly enjoyed his classes. He was an avuncular man and very popular with the pupils. He was also a very good teacher. The woodwork room was always clean and in tip top fashion. His first concern was safety (not the current 'elf n'safety methods). He didn't let us near tools until we had learned how to look after them. Planes, for instance, had to be turned on their side when put down. He never lost his temper, but was always in control of the class.

I still have a T square made there. I have used it for years to put a straight line on wallpaper!

It was a sad loss when Mr Edge died and I, and half a dozen other boys, attended his funeral.

Happy memories!

Keith Sedman
Reply Phil (Editor)
3:33 AM on November 2, 2009 
Irene,
Many thanks for your comments regading John Williams. I am not sure which article you are referring to, so could you please let me know and I will check to see who the John Williams is in the original item. Many thanks, Phil
You mention the name John Williams in your article. I was wondering if it is John Williams who at that time would have possibly been living on the Woodchurch Estate? The John Williams I am referring to went on to play for Old Instonians Rugby Club and worked at Girlingsat that time. Hope you can assist. With thanks.
[/irene hird]
Reply Phil (Editor)
3:37 AM on November 2, 2009 
Keith,
Many thanks for your memories of the B.I., and also for the photos you have sent in, which I shall be very pleased to add to my site later this week.
Phil
Keith Sedman says...
I remember Mr.Edge very well. In fact, I can see him before me now, wearing his apron in the woodwork room. I was at the school from 1942 to 1949 and thoroughly enjoyed his classes. He was an avuncular man and very popular with the pupils. He was also a very good teacher. The woodwork room was always clean and in tip top fashion. His first concern was safety (not the current 'elf n'safety methods). He didn't let us near tools until we had learned how to look after them. Planes, for instance, had to be turned on their side when put down. He never lost his temper, but was always in control of the class.

I still have a T square made there. I have used it for years to put a straight line on wallpaper!

It was a sad loss when Mr Edge died and I, and half a dozen other boys, attended his funeral.

Happy memories!

Keith Sedman
Reply Raymond Stewart
6:28 AM on November 8, 2009 
I went to B.I. from 79 to 83...I had some great times...though being from the North End we didnt have a pot to piss in and i used to get a bit jealous of seeing a lot of me mates in all the proper kit at sports events, football etc...the teachers i remember are the likes of Broadbere and Wyn Hughes teaching us down in the bowels of the school in room 18..Mr Citrine made history fun for me, strict and handy with the chalk or duster to lob at you but a good man... Edgar and Skinny Malcolm prowling the corridors in their batman capes menacingly...Edgar giving you a whallop if he caught you with your hands in your pockets...Georgy Forster mumbling and swearing under his breath throughout maths lessons ("Stewart, you useless little shit!" ) was a favourite of his as i struggled to get me head round the complications of mathematics...old school mates i remember...i think i saw the name of Lee Hughes come up in the earlier comments, i wonder if that was Lee 'fathead' Hughes that used to live down near the old General Hospital...Rayo Upton, Graham Bennett, Alan Brett, Harry Topham,Billy Vaughan, Roy Smith, Ian Pearson, John Williams, Steven Williams, Gary Atherton,Eddy Anderson are amongst a few i can remember...am sure there are a few other of us toe-rags that i can remember their faces but cant put a name to...happy days had there...though as for the academic side of things, i was one of them kids that thought school was there to have fun in rather than knuckling down and learning stuff which is what i now tell my own kids is what they must do...oh how the worm has turned
Reply Paul McLean
4:07 AM on November 22, 2009 
Every time I return to the site my memory is provoked into remebering people and incidents that I had long since forgotten. So my fellow Old Instonians here is another blast from the past I am having trouble putting a name to.
In my first couple of years at B.I. (1965-66) I recall that we studied both Arts and Sceince subjects, before making a choice in third year to focus on one particular discipline. As many of you will recall there was a sceince Lab on the first floor in Whetstone Lane. I remember a master coming to teach either Physics or Chemistry in my second year, a rather large man with a bald head and prominent eyes, I think he is in one of the old photos, circa 1967?
He stands out in my mind because I can remember that on one occasion he talked to us about the First World War and the horrors of being gassed. In order to force home his point I remember he made a small amount of Chlorine gas in a conical beaker in order that we get a whiiff of it and appreciate its power for ourselves. Needless to say there was a lot of coughing and spluttering and very firm understanding of what it must have been like in the trenches. At this point I must stress that I do not advocate these methods to be introduced into the current teaching practises, could you imagine the outcry?
Can anyone put a name to the description of the mad gassing master of old B.I.?
Reply Ben Johnson
9:17 AM on November 24, 2009 
The chemistry teachers during your stay, Paul, would have been Mr Woods and Mr Townsend. The revolutionary experiment you describe sounds more like chemistry lesson than physics and from your description of him the likely teacher was Mr Townsend. Maybe the methods have changed but even after all these years you still have a very vivid memory of the lesson, how many others have been forgotten?

In fact there were three labs on the first floor, the physics lab, the chemistry lab and one called the "advanced" lab, however, it was only advanced in it's state of being run down. The chemistry lab had a strange feature, the upstairs corridor ran through the back, and so people would be passing to and fro, especially if you had double chemistry.

During my time at the BI a new lab was put in the basement, I think it was named the biology lab, but other science lessons also took place there. I didn't go often but I do recall though, in my third year, at the end of a chemistry lesson, being politely asked by Mr Woods to put two glass bottles of ammonia back in the cupboard "Put the bottles in the cupboard, Johnson, middle shelf!" I think was the request. For reasons unbeknown to me the bottles fell on the floor and smashed, filling the lab with ammonia fumes. Mr Woods knew the reason "Johnson, you're a fool!" He also knew the solution to the problem: "You're going to clean that mess up!" The rest of the class, and Mr Woods, sensibly depated and I was left alone in the biology lab, in the middle of a mass of broken glass and ammonia. Today I imagine such an incident would involve evacuation of the whole building, suspension for Mr Woods, hospital for me for "extended observations", a national outcry and a law banning the use of glass bottles in schools. At that time however I opted for the simple solution and when the choice came for Latin or Biology, I took Latin: Doctus in se semper and all that.

Ben Johnson.
Reply Phil (Editor)
9:33 AM on November 26, 2009 
Thanks, Ben for the information. I , too, took Latin rather than Biology. I think the teacher in the Chemistry Lab was Mr Townsend, who was my teacher for A level Chemistry.
I can only recall Mr Townsend junior as the other Chemistry teacher, but we also had a lady teacher for a while, but can't remember her name.
Phil

[/Ben Johnson]
Reply Phil (Editor)
5:37 AM on November 27, 2009 
JUST A REMINDER ABOUT THE "LATEST ADDITIONS" PAGE ON THE B.I. VISOR SITE, WHICH SHOWS ANY NEW ITEMS WHICH HAVE RECENTLY BEEN ADDED. FOR EXAMPLE, SOME ITEMS FROM THE 1889 - 1959 SPECIAL EDITION OF THE VISOR HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE 1959 PAGE, THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS AND MEMORIES, AND PLEASE KEEP THEM COMING IN!
Reply Bill
4:17 AM on December 2, 2009 
What a great site, well done and thanks for taking the time to construct this site, it brought back memories I had long forgotten. keep up the good work and I am looking forward to the updates.
Reply Phil (Editor)
6:09 AM on December 3, 2009 
Bill, Many thanks for your positive comments about the site. I hope to keep adding updates shortly, and you can see from the "Latest Additions" page on the bivisor site, (http://bivisor.webs.com/), what has been added recently. Phil
What a great site, well done and thanks for taking the time to construct this site, it brought back memories I had long forgotten. keep up the good work and I am looking forward to the updates.
[/Bill]
Reply Phil (Editor)
4:14 AM on January 11, 2010 
I would like to wish all former pupils and staff of the B.I. a very happy 2010. I very much look forward to reading your memories and comments during the New Year.
Reply eddie hynes
10:09 AM on January 12, 2010 
Hi,first of all i would like to thank you and all the past members of staff and pupils for the great job you have done with this website.I myself was a pupil at Birkenhead Institute high school on the tollemache road site from 1980 until 1984 and have very fond memories of my days there.I was wondering whether you have been contacted by any past staff members or pupils from this time although i sadly have no photos to submit i would love to see them if anybody has any .It has been great to stroll down memory lane looking at articles on your site please keep up the good work.
Reply Phil (Editor)
6:21 AM on January 13, 2010 
Hi, Eddie, Many thanks for your compliments about the site, and I was pleased to hear that you like the memories and items on it. Not many staff members or pupils have been in touch from the 1980s, but Ken Richards has contacted me, (Former Physics Teacher), and sent in an old photo from Whetstone Lane Physics Lab. I have also recently added an article about the BI Junior School and its magazine "The Whetsonian", so please have a look, and many thanks again for all your kind comments. Phil.
Hi,first of all i would like to thank you and all the past members of staff and pupils for the great job you have done with this website.I myself was a pupil at Birkenhead Institute high school on the tollemache road site from 1980 until 1984 and have very fond memories of my days there.I was wondering whether you have been contacted by any past staff members or pupils from this time although i sadly have no photos to submit i would love to see them if anybody has any .It has been great to stroll down memory lane looking at articles on your site please keep up the good work.
[/eddie hynes]
Reply Richard O'Brien
10:18 AM on January 14, 2010 
Hi Phil and thank you for this site. I came across it by chance and have found it most interesting. I was there 63/68 (I think!) and don't remember enjoying much of it! My fault. Mostly! Anyway, I remember David Gregory , one of your contributors, who must be about twelve feet tall by now, and I, having a conversation on the home turn of the 440 yards as he passed me. Something on the lines of 'Go on Gregory' from me and 'I don't need your permission' from him! I was on ten a day by then though! In my first year I was awarded the victor ludorum on sports day (a very important day in the school year) for winning my four individual events and anchoring the Atkin relay team to victory. I got the impression they would rather have handed it to someone from the upper sixth and not a newt in borrowed shorts! An old boy who had won the shot putt for Britain at the olympics presented me with it. Are their any records of sporting achievements anywhere? With reference to our lady French teachers mentioned earlier, something I will never forget is, when we were at lunch, a particularly attractive one being asked by a sixth former if she would like stuffing! True!Richard O'Brien.
Reply Phil (Editor)
3:52 AM on January 15, 2010 
Thanks for all of your positive comments aout the site, Richard.
Many congratulations on receiving the Victor Ludorum, as this was a prestigious award at the B.I.! I hope to add some information on sporting achievements shortly, from information in some Visors which I have. I do remember the incident with the French teacher, but not sure who the offender was! If you have any memories or photos, I would be pleased to add them to the site, so please send them in.
Reply Ken Kerr
10:40 AM on January 15, 2010 
How the time flies. Long time since I had a look on the site and it is as interesting as ever, have trouble getting away from it once I've started. Still trawling through. It would be great if more photos could surface as I'd like to see some of my long departed school mates, Freddy Almond etc. Personal cameras weren't very common in my circles at the time so this sort of site is the only source for such as. Keep up the good work Phil.
Reply Phil (Editor)
11:40 AM on January 16, 2010 
Thanks, Ken for all of your comments about the site. I hope to be adding more photos to the site shortly, and since you last looked, I have received several excellent photos and inputs from former pupils. Please keep looking and I shall be adding more information very shortly. Phil