Spirit of Birkenhead Institute

The History and Heritage of Birkenhead Institute


Here are some pictures from the B.I., including an old school report, the school rules in 1963, the complete school photographs from 1960, 1965, 1968, and the complete Speech Day programme from 1961. Please note that the school photographs are shown in several segments, as they were very wide "Roll-up" pictures.  Most of these items are self-explanatory, but if you would like to know more, please let me know. I have also included two articles from local newspapers when the B.I. closed its gates for the final time in 1994. These are reproduced courtesy of "Wirral News" and "Wirral Globe".  If you have any other memories, I will be pleased to add them here. The email address for the site is:

                                                                       [email protected]                                                                Here are some of my own memories of the Birkenhead Institute and the 1960s:-

Many of the teachers wore black gowns in those days, which used to be covered in chalk from the blackboard. (See photographs below).

Waiting in a queue for a new "General Notebook", (Green), while Mr J. Hall handed out new ones. Woe betide anyone who had not filled the book before going to obtain a new one! Also, if you handed in a textbook, there were huge problems if it was not in pristine condition!

Going to Byrne Avenue baths on the No. 51 blue Corporation bus.

Doing Cross Country runs down Lever Causeway.

Singing "Men of England" at the school Speech Day.

Playing "Pirates" in the school gym.

The old wooden stairs going up to the Physics laboratory.

The "Tate Laboratory", chemistry laboratory and the smell of chemicals.

The fine old building in Whetstone Lane where the B.I. was situated for most of its life.

Music lessons on a Friday afternoon with Mr Shaw in the Gym, or in "Beechcroft" next door. (Beechcroft is still there today).

Sports Days at the Ingleborough Road playing fields: It always seemed to be a sunny day!

Speech Days at "The Glenda Jackson Theatre" in Borough Road.

Morning Assembly in the Gym, with everyone standing, and Mr E. G. Webb, Headmaster, giving the lessons and prayers.

My favourites Helen Shapiro and Brenda Lee on the radio, singing songs such as:  "Tell me what he said" and "I wonder",  and also listening regularly to "Radio Caroline North" on 199 and 259 metres!

Listening to Radio Luxembourg on 208 on a Sunday night before going to the B.I. next day, especially the Top 20 on a Sunday night.

Rugby practice at Ingleborough Road playing fields.

The old Junior School building, which had a musty smell, and was used for Geography lessons and Library later.

The school canteen, with its customary Institute dinners, including semolina!

As I left the B.I. in July, 1967, Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" was top of the charts.

Memories of going past the old Argyle Theatre in Argyle Street which was still standing after the damage it sustained in the bombing in 1940.

As a music enthusiast, watching the only shows on T.V. at the time which catered for pop music, namely "Thank your lucky stars", "Juke box jury", and "Ready steady go!". These shows were typical sixties music programes, and "Top of the pops" came along in 1964 ,and was the longest running music show from those days. TV Presenter and DJ Simon Dee also had a television show called "Dee Time".


For more memories of the B.I. and the school magazine "The Visor", please have a look at the following site, where I have included more pictures and items from the school, in year order:-



Please find below some names and memories of staff and pupils from the 1968 whole school photograph above, with many thanks to Mike Wray:-

Dear Sir,

Please find below a list of pupils I managed to identify from the 1968 Whole School Birkenhead Institute photograph.

I am only 70-90 per cent sure of the identities of those marked with an asterisk*. The others I would bet a years salary on, especially No. 188; even my 9-year-old daughter identified him.


Michael Wray.


36. Chris Conroy (Form 4B)

 189. Alby Williams (Westminster House, Form 1W)

184. Taddy Thompson (Tate House, Form 1W)

185. David Ainslie (Stitt House, Form 1S)*

186. David Cross (Atkin House, Form 1S) aka Sos.

187. Derek Pulford (S, 1S) aka Pulley

188. Michael Wray (A, 1S) aka Misher

189. Alan Jones (S, 1S,) aka Chinney

190. Mario Georgiou (A, 1S)

191. Clifford Hodgkinson (S, 1S) aka Hodgy

192. David Phillips (A, 1S) aka Dava

 193. Stephen Hewitt (3rd Former) aka Titchy. (Named on the 1968 photograph. Titchy left Gautby Road Primary School in 1966 to attend Grange Secondary School at Tollemache Road. He passed the 13-plus exam in 1968 and transferred to B.I. at Whetstone Lane. By 1970 he was back at Tollemache Road with the rest of the school

 210. Michael Turner (W, 1W)*

211 (?) Rimmer (1W)*

212. Dennis Parke (W, 1W)

213. Paul Finnegan (T, 1W)

214. Ronnie James (W, 1W) (By 1977, Ronnie was a civil servant and had married his childhood sweetheart, Jackie [nee Halligan] - both had attended Gautby Road Primary School. He was with what was then the DHSS in 1981 and was dispatched to Tate & Lyle in Liverpool to prepare the staff there for their future unemployment in anticipation of the factory's closure. By the 1990s, he was running a pub in Liverpool city centre, where he was known as a popular host. One night, he was murdered on the pub premises by a suspected burglar. His killer has never been identified.)

215. Willie Innes (T, 1W)

216. Norman Sisk (T, 1W)

217. TootsFlewett (1W)

 219 Stephen Menio (T, 1W)*

220. Raymond Salisbury (W, 1W) aka Sozzer

221. Snapper Haresnape (T, 1W) (Named on 1968 photograph.)

222. Ronnie Hayden (W, 1W)

223. BilWilson (W, 1W)

 225. Sanjoy Basu (T, 1W) aka Sunny

226. Richie Aldcroft (T, 1W). (Richie, a member of Tate House, left B.I. in 1973 and joined Tate & Lyle in Liverpool, where he remained until the factorys closure in 1981. That's  brand loyalty for you.)

227. (?) Cotgrave (1W)*

228. (?) Griffith (T, 1W) (N.B.- Definitely not Griffiths.)

229. Hugh Monney (W, 1W) aka Docker*

230. Stephen C. Jones (1W) aka Twinnie*

 232. Roy Williams (T, 1W) aka Daitch

233. Paul Bennett (W, 1W) aka Nebo

234. Nicky Regan (1W)

235. (?) Tellett (1W)

 292. David (?) Waite (2nd or 3rd Former)*

 299. David Kyle (S, 1S) aka Killer

300. Derek Simms (A, 1S) aka Simbo. (Named on the 1968 photograph.)

301. Graham Cannell (S, 1S)

302. Richard Lally (A, 1S)

303. Enoch Powell (S, 1S)

304. Steve Roberts (A, 1S) aka Pod

305. James McCosh (S, 1S) aka Jammy

306. Philip Sheriden (A, 1S), aka Shezza. (Named on the 1968 photograph)

307. Richard Landsborough (S, 1S), aka Lando. (Brother of Ringo Landsborough, No. 7 on 1968 photo.)

308. (David) Scott Brown (A, 1S), aka Scotty. (Sadly, Scotty died during the 1970/71 term when he collided with a lorry at Upton cross roads when cycling home from the Tollemache Road school.)

309. Mark Bailey (S, 1S)

310. Kevin Walker (A, 1S) aka Dimbo. (Left B.I. at the end of the 1969/70 term and thus never moved to Tollemache Road.)

311. Jeffrey Ainslie (S, 1S.) (Cousin of David Ainslie, No. 165 on 1968 photo.)

312. David Hobden (A, 1S) aka Obbo

313. Stephen Gowsell (S, 1S) aka Gowy

314. Roy Stephenson (A, 1S). (Roy and his family emigrated to New Zealand immediately upon him leaving B.I. in 1973.)

315. Jim Dixon (S, 1S) aka Diggo

316. Mark Johnson (A, 1S) aka Ness

317. (Stephen) Glenn OBrien (S, 1S), aka Gob

318. Eric Atherton (A, 1S)

319. Paul (?) Harboard (S, 1S) aka Hardy

320. Michael G. Daly (A, 1S). (Left B.I. before the end of the 1968/69 term.)

321. David Horrocks (S, 1S)

322. Billy Roe (S, 1S)

 341. Robbie Hutcheon (2nd Former)*

 346. Ian Jones (2nd Former)*

 351. Stephen Gaskell (2nd Former)

352. (?) Harrison (2nd Former)*


I couldn't put faces to several Newt names. This is partly because there was a bug spreading around the classes in the Annexe at the time the photograph was taken, causing relatively significant sickness absences.

The reason I can be certain of the identities of non-Newts such as Chris Conroy (No. 36) and Stephen Gaskell (No. 351) is that they were my neighbours at Challis Street, Bidston. Titchy Hewitt (No. 193) was two years above me, but I knew him because he was the school soccer captain at my primary school, Gautby Road, in 1965/66.

The late Scott Brown (No. 308) and Glenn OfBrien (No. 317) were known- at home, at least- by their middle rather than first Christian names. Glenn was known as Gob due to his habit of labelling his personal stationery with the abbreviation G.O.B.. He was still known by this name in 1975.

I do know about the future work-places of several pupils (British Rail, Cammell Laird etc.), but I've only referred to their post-B.I. lives where I think it may be significant.

The female member of staff, No. 275, was the laboratory assistant. The 1967 Visor  published the term before the photo was taken- lists the lab assistant as Mrs. Waring, although this may not be the same lady. My memory could be playing tricks on me, but I have a vague idea that the lady name-checked as the lab assistant in The Visor while I was at Whetstone Lane (1968-70) had a surname that ended with-borough

Denis Hughes (aka Yosser, No. 266) died while I was at Tollemache Road, around the same time as an ex-Grange teacher, Alan Lewis (aka Kipper). This was during the 1971/72 term.

Teachers on the 1968 photo who didn't move to Tollemache Road in 1970 included-

Dicky Hale (No. 253)

Dennis Bordessa (No. 255. I knew him as a teacher of History and Geography rather than English.)

Mr. Brown (No. 256)

Rev. Tudor-Owen (No.257)

Barry Thornton (No. 258)

Squinty Squires (No. 260)

Mr. Connah (aka Jim Crow, No. 261- spelling of surname as in The Visor, 1967)

Danny Webb (the Head, No. 264- went to a school in Woodchurch)

Joe Townsend (No. 265)

Billy Taylor (No. 267)

Pedro Pierce (No. 268- I think he followed the Head to Woodchurch)

Mr. Tait (No. 271. He left at the end of the 1968/69 term [Iem almost certain thates the correct spelling of his name] and was replaced in 1969/70 by Windy Miller, a former B.I. head boy.)

Vinnie Shaw (No. 272)

Mr. Crompton (No. 273)

I seem to remember janitor Ben Wiggins (No. 127) retired at the end of the 1969/70 term and was cheered to the rafters at the closing assembly. Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing.

 Correction- Alby Williams is No. 183, not 189. (Second name on the list. Not a good start.).


Additional information- Jim Crow's first two initials were B.J. Connah (No. 261). Ken Richards (No.259) had the nickname "Akker".


Clarification- Yosser Hughes (No. 266) and Kipper Lewis were still on the teachers' list at B.I. when they passed away in 1971/72.


A check on this page-


 - reveals that the Christian name of "Toots" Flewett (No. 217) is David;

that "Griffith" (No. 228) is David John Griffith;

and that "Enoch" Powell (No. 303) is Neil Robert Powell.

 Also featured on this document are the late Ronnie James (No. 214) and the late Scotty Brown (No. 308), along with Sozzer Salisbury (No. 220), Nicky Regan (No. 234), Jammy McCosh (No. 305) and Ness Johnson (No. 316). Accompanying Teachers were Lenny Malcolm (No..263) and Smiler Allan, sometimes known as Bert Allan (No. 262- spelling of surname according to the document).

 Further reading of the documents in this "School Holidays Abroad" section convinces me that No. 297 on the 1968 photo is Raymond McKay, an ex-Gautby Road Primary School pupil who would've been a 2nd Former when the picture was taken. Also, No. 210 Michael Turner (if it is he) should be more properly listed as "(Geoffrey) Michael Turner". [c.f. "(Stephen) Glenn O'Brien" and the late "(David) Scott Brown".]  The 2nd Former, Harrison (No. 352 on the photo) may be the Kenneth William Harrison who appears on the Collective Passport for 1971; the birthdate and surname both tally.

 The 1970 Collective Passport shows that the Christian names of the teacher Mr. Brown (No. 256) were James Edward.

 I believe No. 74 would have been a 4th Former who is an elder brother of, and shared a surname with, Killer Kyle (No. 299).


Here are some great memories from former B.I. pupil Ken Cattrell:

The school rugby pic of ’76 has many of my old school mate as they were in 6th Form. I left after the 5th year to Join the Royal Navy.

 My whole family the “Cattrell’s” all the way back to 1938 went to the school! I was the last year at Whetstone lane… My Dad born in 1930 who has now passed was also taught by Lenny Malcolm I believe in one of his first classes. who I met a few years back in the Glasfryn pub in Mold. I was disappointed and saddened to miss his funeral.

Thanks for the site. If anyone who reads this remembers me or my family please get in touch via facebook I’m the only Kenny Cattrell, so shouldn’t be too hard to find. 

BTW I hated Latin it was a dying language that was killing me. A big thanks to Norman Morris who used to call me the “Decorator” because I used help my dad to earn a few bob extra by pasting up for him to hang wallpaper, in other words I never did my Latin homework!!!! I know a little Latin still Like “O me misserum” “Oh woh is me”, and yes I was haha.. but I can really hang wallpaper well these days!

 All the best

 Ken Cattrell

Atkin House


Hi Phil
Wow. I have a few memories including my 1 st teacher Vinney Shaw. What a bloody good teacher. Lenny Malcolm who caned me 3 for smoking and 3 for telling fibs   Dave Jones again what a teacher my Maths teacher Mr Rowland's lived in Oxton helped me get into Grammar School with the help of of my Mum and Dad.   The other email is my dad.  He drove me to Whetstone Lane back in the early 70's.

Regards Steve
Thank you, Steve for your memories of your time at the BI : Editor