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 John Beattie
7:09 PM on December 15, 2012 
Ben Johnson says...
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.


I can still hear Mr Townsend droning on for the umpteenth time about "saponification". I think it's one of the few things I remember from O-level chemistry (which I failed).
Reply Phil (Editor)
7:31 AM on December 16, 2012 
Hi, John,
Great to hear your comments, and the 1968 school photo is on the GALLERY page of this site.
Best Regards,
Phil
Reply Denis Knowles
6:18 PM on August 2, 2013 
I was a pupil at the Institute between 1960 - 66 and in Tate. I was not a good pupil and probably caused exasperation amongst staff and fellow pupils alike.

I would like to apologise to all who remember me as being a bit of a prat.

Best wishes and good health to all old instonians.
Reply andyhalliday
6:10 AM on February 17, 2014 
anyone any knowledge of my good friend at the scholl=peter taylor lived at that time in pembertion rd woodchurch, 1961-1966/67,thank you
Reply david wockenforth
10:09 AM on December 10, 2014 
hi i have just come across your site,,i think it is great,i was at bi late 70s early 80s and loved it,
Reply Phil
5:47 AM on December 11, 2014 
Hi, David,
Glad that you like my site and if you have any memories, please email them to me.

Regards,

Phil
david wockenforth says...
hi i have just come across your site,,i think it is great,i was at bi late 70s early 80s and loved it,
Reply Neal Sayers
11:12 PM on December 28, 2016 
I write in response to Jim Giddins post under pupils, I remember "Giddo" as being a fantastic footballer, probably the best in our year, he was built like a real footballer, he had a wicked laugh too as I recall. We used to play in the 2nd and 3rd year school yard which was on a bit of a slope and then fell away sharply to "the shrubs" as it was known. As an initiation on your first day at the school you had your new tie "tagged" and if you were unlucky, got thrown down the shrubs by the 3rd & 4th year pupils. Jimmy made mention of a few familiar names Billy Bailes, Ratta' Galloway, "Dicko" I can even remember what house they were in Ratta and Billy Bailes were in Davies, who as I recall invariably won the house football final every year, Giddo was in Stitt, and I think Dicko was in Cohen. Me and my close mates were Stephen Pridgeon(Tate) (Stidgy) Mark Upton(Stitt)(Uppo), Gary Heggarty(Davies)(Eggo), Philip Cornthwaite(Westminster)(Corny), Philip Roberts(Westminster)(Granny), and Karl Moore(Tate), who was knee high to a grasshopper!
Teachers that spring to mind are "Frothy Turner" Alan Overend(Geography) we used to give him some stick too, we always had his lesson last period on a Monday afternoon and I would always tell me mam I would be home late because of detention, we had some great laughs as I recall. As Giddo mentioned there were Mr & Mrs Davis(Art), 'Nogger", Mr Bowker(Sport) Mr Citrine(History), Mr Forster(Maths, I think) Mrs Tomlinson, and of course Headmaster Mr Sam Dennerley, known amongst the pupils affectionately as "Fat Sam". It was a great school and I have so many great memories of my time there, too many to mention, It has stood me in good stead the discipline the school taught, Alan Overend excepted, it was a real boys school with great traditions, which sadly are lacking in todays education system. Everything about the school oozed history, the desks, roller blackboards, plaques ofyears gone by of awards, trophies etc won by former pupils, I guess it was just the age of the place which made it what it was. I now live in Sydney Australia and was sad a few years ago to return and see a housing estate there, stands to reason the age of the school and its upkeep it could not continue as I remember it.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings, I just hope that Jimmy gets to read this and maybe too some of the lads I used to muck around with, they were honestly some of the best years of my life and I feel a sense of pride knowing that I attended BI, met some great characters and learned more about life and people than any of my given studies.
Neal Sayers(Tate)
Reply Neal Sayers
11:32 PM on December 28, 2016 
Hi Giddo, great photo's mate, I am guessing you are seriously into photography and maybe your profession nowadays, I have posted a blurb today,(page 6) hope you get a chance to have a read.
I live down under now in Sydney, fantastic city and lifestyle, I am the Catering Manager at the Childrens Hospital in Sydney. I still follow the reds and hope they finish top of the tree when may comes around.
Anyway mate, great reading your post and hope you and yours have a Happy New Year
Neal Sayers(Sezy)
Reply Phil : Editor
4:13 PM on May 20, 2017 
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE NEW CONTACT NUMBER FOR THE SITE IS:

07522 554855

THIS IS EFFECTIVE FROM MAY, 2017.
Reply Jim Giddins
12:58 PM on January 22, 2018 
Hi Neal, great you managed to read my ramblings and memories of the BI. Sorry to say today I was at Dave Jones funeral at St Stephens church in Prenton. A fantastic turnout for a remarkable art teacher and artist. As you can imagine the stories and memories of David all came running back. I would like to mention how small a world it is and how we miss connections with people we think we know. On arriving at the Church I bumped into a friends from 6 a side at the oval! Tom Williams an Matt Hibbert. Having not seen the two of them for 9 months (had an issue with 2 disc's popped in neck) I queried Tom and asked who they had come to see. Tom said he was here to see Dave off. But I was thinking how did they know David? and then I was thinking have I turned up at the wrong church!. It was Tom who mentioned that Marc and Jason who we always played footie with (Jason recovering from a knee op, who also organised us of a Tuesday night) where David's sons. To say it is a small world and the number of years we have been playing at the Oval, I was a little shocked and surprised to discover this. As you can imagine after catching up later at Prenton Golf Club, it was lovely to share some stories and hear the boys memories of their dad. I hope they don't mind me mentioning this but they did their dad proud, with Marc providing some wonderful tales of David throughout the years across his life of Art, Rugby, Tabs and teaching. Hope all who where there remembered their own. But great you are doing well and enjoying the life down under. Hope you read this also and keep in touch. Take care and keep in touch Jim (Giddo)
PS bumped into Andy Merry and Karl Devaney who are just a little older and grey the same as me : )

Neal Sayers says...
Hi Giddo, great photo's mate, I am guessing you are seriously into photography and maybe your profession nowadays, I have posted a blurb today,(page 6) hope you get a chance to have a read.
I live down under now in Sydney, fantastic city and lifestyle, I am the Catering Manager at the Childrens Hospital in Sydney. I still follow the reds and hope they finish top of the tree when may comes around.
Anyway mate, great reading your post and hope you and yours have a Happy New Year
Neal Sayers(Sezy)
Reply Neal sayers
10:59 PM on February 11, 2019 
keithbrownlee says...
left the school in 79.good to an old boys site.brings back memories of some of the teachers. mike crocker,janet smalley,mr citrine (good history teacher)& the lady who re-married and became mrs moore(if memory serves me).some of the boys of the time,alan lacey,dave bowen. keep the reminiscace coming. keith

I remember those boys, Alan Lacey was in Davies I think, a right scally he was, good lad tho, Dave Bowen was in Westminster i think and you As I recall was in Cohen, good times and Yes Mr Citrine was a great teacher of History
Reply Neal Sayers
10:56 PM on February 12, 2019 
Jim Giddins says...
Hi Neal, great you managed to read my ramblings and memories of the BI. Sorry to say today I was at Dave Jones funeral at St Stephens church in Prenton. A fantastic turnout for a remarkable art teacher and artist. As you can imagine the stories and memories of David all came running back. I would like to mention how small a world it is and how we miss connections with people we think we know. On arriving at the Church I bumped into a friends from 6 a side at the oval! Tom Williams an Matt Hibbert. Having not seen the two of them for 9 months (had an issue with 2 disc's popped in neck) I queried Tom and asked who they had come to see. Tom said he was here to see Dave off. But I was thinking how did they know David? and then I was thinking have I turned up at the wrong church!. It was Tom who mentioned that Marc and Jason who we always played footie with (Jason recovering from a knee op, who also organised us of a Tuesday night) where David's sons. To say it is a small world and the number of years we have been playing at the Oval, I was a little shocked and surprised to discover this. As you can imagine after catching up later at Prenton Golf Club, it was lovely to share some stories and hear the boys memories of their dad. I hope they don't mind me mentioning this but they did their dad proud, with Marc providing some wonderful tales of David throughout the years across his life of Art, Rugby, Tabs and teaching. Hope all who where there remembered their own. But great you are doing well and enjoying the life down under. Hope you read this also and keep in touch. Take care and keep in touch Jim (Giddo)
PS bumped into Andy Merry and Karl Devaney who are just a little older and grey the same as me : )
Reply Neal Sayers
11:11 PM on February 12, 2019 
Jim Giddins says...
Hi Neal, great you managed to read my ramblings and memories of the BI. Sorry to say today I was at Dave Jones funeral at St Stephens church in Prenton. A fantastic turnout for a remarkable art teacher and artist. As you can imagine the stories and memories of David all came running back. I would like to mention how small a world it is and how we miss connections with people we think we know. On arriving at the Church I bumped into a friends from 6 a side at the oval! Tom Williams an Matt Hibbert. Having not seen the two of them for 9 months (had an issue with 2 disc's popped in neck) I queried Tom and asked who they had come to see. Tom said he was here to see Dave off. But I was thinking how did they know David? and then I was thinking have I turned up at the wrong church!. It was Tom who mentioned that Marc and Jason who we always played footie with (Jason recovering from a knee op, who also organised us of a Tuesday night) where David's sons. To say it is a small world and the number of years we have been playing at the Oval, I was a little shocked and surprised to discover this. As you can imagine after catching up later at Prenton Golf Club, it was lovely to share some stories and hear the boys memories of their dad. I hope they don't mind me mentioning this but they did their dad proud, with Marc providing some wonderful tales of David throughout the years across his life of Art, Rugby, Tabs and teaching. Hope all who where there remembered their own. But great you are doing well and enjoying the life down under. Hope you read this also and keep in touch. Take care and keep in touch Jim (Giddo)
PS bumped into Andy Merry and Karl Devaney who are just a little older and grey the same as me : )


Hi Jim,
great to hear from you, and sorry about Dave Jones, he was indeed a great artist. Do you keep in touch with any of the old boys, would be great look back on the old days if you still do. Andy Merry's name rings a bell, think he was in Cohen unless I am mistaken. Not so good with names but pretty good recognising faces, must be an age thing I guess. Anyway hope you and yours are well and staying warm, not meaning to gloat, in fact it gets quite unbearable in Sydney, 40 deg last week, I sometimes miss the changes in seasons, its not so obvious down here.
Do you follow the Footy at all, think you were a red if I'm right, I'm just hoping that after all these years Klopp can bring the title home to Anfield, Champions league would be a bonus :)
Do you still live on the Wirral, I was over in the UK 3 times last year for Dad's funeral, Daughters wedding and months holiday, when I do get back I try to get to Birkenhead to see how its changed.
Right then mate, I'm rambling on a bit, keep in touch and stay safe.
Neal(Sezy)
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