1. Back Room Girls
  2. News of Former students - Summer 1961
  3. News of the Old Boys - and as it was in Summer 1962
  4. Demolition at The Priory
  5. The College Silver Jubilee - 1st February 1961 at St Columba's
  6. "Mens Sana In Corpore Sano"
  7. The Wind of Change - ( 'twere harder in our day, of course . . . )

Taken from The Pelican - Summer 1961, lent by Mike Byrne

In reviewing the year's activities, one part of the Priory always receives generous space; Fathers and Brothers and teachers of every kind are at least noticed, and the boys receive an excellent Press in the Pelican.

Domestic Staff Dates
Mr CLEMENT 1918-19
Mrs COOPER 1919-33
Mr WHEELER 1930s,45-49
Mrs MERCIER 1933-36
Mrs BELSTONE 1934-40
Mrs HARFORD 1936-40
Mrs TILBURY 1939-41
Mrs BUTLER 1940-41
Mrs Rose APPS 1940-42
Mrs Norah RODGERS 1943-61
Mrs BREWER 1947-48
Mr Len POND 1950s & 60s
Mrs TILLNEY 1954
Mrs FENNER 1954-55
Mrs Lilian SMITH 1955-56, 58-61
Miss Ivy WARD 1958-60s
Mrs BROWN 1959-60s
Mrs CREIGHTON 1959-60s
Mrs FLOOK 1959-60s
Miss HAMMOND 1960s
Mrs Gilda IACOBUCCI 1962-67
Mrs SCOTT 1962-67
*data obtained from Peter Finn's "History of The Priory"  

But there is another part of Priory life, a part too often taken for granted ; in the kitchen and refectory a devoted band of women play an obscure but vital part in securing the efficiency and happiness of the house. We would like to devote a few lines in this issue of the Pelican to exiaressing our recognition and appreciation of their labours. Their work is hidden, noticed only on the very rare occasions when something goes wrong ; but it is also a work that allows of no holidays, and a work without which nothing could be achieved at the Priory.

Visitors to the house regularly comment on the excellence of the food here, and indeed we are blest in always having tastefully prepared and varied meals as far as resources allow. The cook is Mrs Lilian Smith ; she had already done one stretch here on the kitchen staff, and then returned after an interval in 1958 to take up the tenancy of what a previous inhabitant was pleased to refer to as "The Bungalow", but which is in truth a comfortless hut. Mrs Smith however, with a rich sense of humour and a deep understanding of true values, was content to live under the rusty corrugated iron, dodging round basins and buckets in rainy weather, if that was the price of serving the boys and the community at the Priory.
Early and late she is in the kitchen ; no union hours for her indeed and in spite of the work and the worry involveed in the daily feeding of some fifty persons, she is always ready to help by advice or otherwise some Father harassed by a problem which needs a feminine approach. Mrs Smith has now a house on School Hill, and the old shed behind the garage is rapidly falling apart. An order for its demolition was received two years ago ; if it is left alone much longer it will obligingly fulfil the order without any human intervention. We wish Mrs Smith more comfort and more security from the elements in her new home, and we hope that she will continue to give her devoted services to the Priory for many vears to come.

Mrs Norah Rodgers is Mrs Smith's sister, and she has been associated with the Priory for nearly twenty years. She has proved a true friend of the house, and many are the functions she has performed. At present she looks after the Fathers' house, and our common rooms are always spotless. Like her sister, she is not only ready but anxious to helo in any task in which her assistance is sought. For many years she has shown herself more than energetic in preparing for the annual garden fête ; recently she has made up new curtains for the study hall and the parlour, and no sooner were they finished than she volunteered to do the same for the Oratory, which is being re-decorated. This task she accomplished with great taste in a single day. We would like her to know that we do appreciate her goodness, and we hope that she too will long remain what she has so long shown herself to be, a real friend with the interests of the Priory very near to her heart.

Behind Mrs Smith in the kitchen are five more ladies: Miss Ward, Miss Hammond, Mrs Flook, Mrs Creighton and Mrs Brown, who appear at various times of the day to perform their allotted task in kitchen or refectory. They too go about their work witb. cheerfulness, and in the endless piles of washing-up which they tackle, in the mountains of vegetables thev prepare, relieve us all of what we mere men would find a crushing burden. We thank them all, and would assure them here that however little their work may seem to be noticed, we do appreciate their devotion and do not underestimate the contribution they make to the smooth running of the house.

Ladies of the Priory, may you remain, as you have, been now for many years in some cases, not so much emplovees as friends and kind helpers of the Fathers, Brothers and boys whose lives you do so much to enrich.

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Taken from The Pelican - Summer 1961, lent by Mike Byrne

It was with satisfaction that the writer of these lines realised, when compiling his notes, that the number of former students writing to and visiting the Priory increases each year. He feels sure that many readers will be interested to know that a branch of the Association of Former White Father Students has been formed in this country, and has taken root very quickly. Information about it may be had from Anthony Bleasdale, Esq., 56 Cambridge Crescent, Teddington, Middlesex. (R I P)

It is not suprising, perhaps, that many of the former students from whom we have heard this year are preparing to enter the teaching profession, or are already in it. Anthony Innocent, Anthony Bleasdale, and. John Lyden are all at Strawberry Hill Training College, while Chris McGuire, Anthony Shann, and Finbarre Fitzpatrick are teaching in Scotland, Coventry, and Bradford respectively. Michael Goodstadt is studying Psychology at Manchester University, and Eric McCormack is in his final year at Glasgow.

Old boys are well represented in the Armed Forces. Kerry Bagshaw is in the Royal Marines, Nicholas Muller in the Army, Nimmo Scott in the Royal Navy, and Charles McLaren in the R.A.F.

From the worlds of Banking and Industry has come news of Bernard Short and William Seed. Michael Nertney also falls into this latter category, although, as he explained when he visited us recently, his work in the Trade Union Movement is nearer to his heart.

Stephen Shevlin spent a day with us at Whitsun. He is busy in a North London travel agency, and so may be remotely paired with Eric Creaney who emigrated to Australia in December to take up a post in Melbourne with Victorian State Railways.

With Stephen Shevlin at Whitsun came Anthony Carolan who is working with a scaffolding firm. He is living not far from us, at Basingstoke.

Robert Stack is now at the Cardinal Godfrey Technical College; Hector Fowlie is training to become a dentist,: and Pat Gibbons is articled to a Chartered Accountant.

In addition to visits already mentioned there have been others from B Chancellor (a student here in the 1920's) who came twice, bringing his wife and daughters on the second occasion, and from Kerry Bagshaw. Naturally we have seen former Priorians who are now Novices or Scholastics also. The celebrations on the occasion of the return of four recentlyordained ex-Priorians are described elsewhere. A visit from a fifth member of that year, Fr. Michael Fitzgerald, is promised for June 25th.

It has given the community great pleasure to see former students, and to hear from others. It is to be hoped that now all these old boys will be able to keep in touch with one another also through the medium of their own Association. In this way the link between the Priory and those who lived under its roof during the well-nigh fifty years of its existence will be sterngthened, to the advantage and happiness of all.

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Taken from the Jubilee issue of The Pelican - Summer 1962, lent by Mike Byrne

Shortly after Easter, we were more than pleased to entertain the novices at the Priory, among whom were the following Old Priorians:
Pat Shanahan, Patrick Creaney, Alf Harrison, David Airley, Paul Tait and Charles Bingham.

Among other Old Boys progressing towards the priesthood are George Smith and Fiacra Fahy at Totteridge, Antony McCaffrey in Canada, Joe Foley, Tony Visocchi and Richard Calcutt in North Africa.

L. Unsworth (1920) is still in contact with us, and we are glad to receive his friendly letters from Manchester where he is banking.
John Boyd (1940) is Deputy Head of a school in Halifax.
Walter Sutherland (1940) is a solicitor in Edinburgh.
Arthur Chambers ("The Prof.") married a Puerto Rican and is now living in the U.S.A.
George Roman is a Holy Ghost Father, working in West Africa.
Jack Teague (1940) is a successful solicitor in Glasgow.
Andrew Gibb (1940) spent Easter with us. He is prospering with a fish firm and has six children. He lives in London.
Adrian Lance (1950) visited us in the first term. He is still single, lives at home and works for British Railways as a clerk.
John Bowman ("Birdie") called recently with his fiancee. He is working in a London bank.
John Baker (1950) a lawyer in London. Married with a family. He is in charge of the Old Boys' Association.
Brian Geraghty (1950) has now his own business in Newcastle. Married with two children.
G Scott (1950) visited us recently. He is in the Civil Service and was on a course near Winchester. Still single.
James Wallace (1950) is now of course Father Wallace, and is a curate at Daventry in Northampton diocese.
Robert Browne (1950) is a clerk in Glasgow.
Kevin Hynes (1952) is teaching English in France.
Michael McKeown (1955) has left England to join the Rhodesian Police.
Chris and Manus Maguire A report has been received that both the Maguire twins, from Armadale, are married.
Michael Goodstadt (1957) is at Manchester University.

Among those who left the Priory in recent years, we have news of the following:
Graham Hoxley is assistant manager in a Supermarket in Fareham.
Kerry Bagshaw is in the Marines and at present stationed in Portsmouth.
Edwin Cherrey has applied for the Metropolitan Police.
Gerry Short is active in the Old Boys' Association. He is still in Birmingham.
Alan Mair is in the Civil Service in Lincoln.
John McLaverty is an engineering apprentice in Portsmouth.
Liam. McDermott applied to join the Merchant Navy.
John Boyle is an apprentice electrician.
F Smith is at school in Edinburgh.
Michael Mearns is in London, working for LEP Transport.
James O'Toole is in Rhodesia.
Antony Shann hopes to enter a Teachers' Training College this year.
Finbarre Fitzpatrick is due to enter Leeds University this year.
Eric McCormack and Desmond Boyle are both at Glasgow University.
James Bingham is still at school and plans to enter the University soon.
Gordon Rutledge is still travelling in Smith's clocks.

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by Antony Baggott (Form IV)
Taken from The Pelican - Summer 1961, lent by Mike Byrne

The part of the Priory which is inhabited by the Fathers is almost one hundred years old, and is unhappily the home of rats as well as of Fathers. After various encounters revealed that they had moved in in formidable numbers, experts were called in and succeeded in getting rid of them, although the extermination of rats is accompanied by a very offensive smell which troubled us for some weeks.

One drawback of an old house is that rats like it; another is that in the process of time it becomes dilapidated. The chimneys in particular were in a very parlous condition. A strong wind would infallibly have brought them crashing down on the venerable heads beneath. I think the Fathers were getting worried lest they should wake up one morning to find a large section of roof caved in and one of the brethren missing. Whatever the motive, the local builders were summoned to remove the tottering chimneys. This entailed putting up scaffolding for each chimney in turn, and the job took some time, for when the Priory chimneys were erected they were evidently designed to cope with the smoke from really well-stoked fires. The amount of brick rubble left when the chimneys had gone would have built a largish modern house. The, boys set to and sorted out the whole bricks, while the broken fragments were dispatched to a neighbouring farm.

During the Christmas term, an old wooden store-room behind the kitchen was taken down. It had at one time been painted red, but this attractive hue had long since faded into a muddy colourlessness. The hut was in truth an eyesore which could no longer be tolerated. It had attracted the assorted lumber of forty years, and the task of sorting this out before the attack was launched on the hut itself was a formidable one. The rubbish was destroyed and anything of value transferred to another place. Then with much heaving and battering the walls were brought low, and on the site a bunker for the kitchen fuel was built. The adjoining area was sown with grass-seed and should soon be quite a pleasant little lawn, surrounded with flower-beds. Besides these removals, there were others even more striking, for many of the trees which used to grace our drives were cut down.

The story began two or three months ago when a man from the Forestry Commission (we assumed) turned up one fine morning and began measuring and marking the trees which were to go. About a week later two men with axes and mechanical saws arrived and set to work. It took them well over a week altogether to cut down all the trees. The trunks and larger branches were taken away, and we burned all the odd branches and foliage that remained. The many fire-blackened spots bear mute witness to the many bonfires which were built, some of them kept burning for two or three days. Now the property looks much more tidy, and we are waiting for a new batch of saplings to plant.

It has not however been all demolition this year, for much constructive work has been done. The bricks saved from the chimneys have been used to border the lawns and the flowerbeds. In one place, concrete posts have been placed at equal intervals between the bricks, in the hope that the next lorry to run over the edge of the lawns will come off second best. Both posts and bricks look very elegant in their coating of white paint.

The Priory then has changed this year, as it does every year, and the changes have been for the good. The work has all been done in a willing spirit of co-operation which exceeds anything I have ever known in a house.

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by Gerard Gordon, Chris Wallbank (Form II).
Taken from The Pelican - Summer 1961, lent by Mike Byrne

Some weeks before the 1st of February, 1961, preperations began at the college to celebrate the Silver Jubilee. Started by Father Walsh (now Bishop of Aberdeen) in 1936, the College had been put to several uses, Junior Seminary, House of Philosophy and even Novitiate and part Scholasticate, not to mention House of Propaganda.

It was fitting, therefore now that it has again returned to its original purpose as a Junior Seminary to celebrate the Jubilee with all solemnity and for this Father Provincial suggested the first Ordination of a Priest in our college Chapel. Father Gerard Wynne, who had begun his studies for the Priesthood as a small boy at St Columba's was chosen, and came from North Africa for this wonderful event. No wonder then that the Altar Servers and Schola had to start practising so early.

A few days before the great day we started work on clearing up the property and then finished up by thoroughly cleaning the house. All was spick and span for the reception of our visitors.

His Grace the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh performed the actual ceremony, making the number of White Fathers that he had ordained 150. Father Provincial, too, we are glad to say was present, together with Monsignori, Canons, Priests from Scotland, and some White Fathers including Father Howell and Father Marchant, two former Superiors of the College. No need to mention that Father Provincial himself spent many years here as Superior.

The Ceremony went off well indeed. How pleased the parents of the young priest must have been, and how happy! There were so many guests. Where did put them all? Several of the boys were on Ceremonies, of course, the Schola were perched on a sort of stage, and about thirty or more of us, although crushed in three small benches, were right at the front and had a perfect view. The rest were in the Infirmary. None of us, however, missed anything of the Ordination and our thoughts were that we hoped our turn would come soon.

One hundred and fifty visitors had lunch in our refectoryincluding the kitchen staff-and we were relegated to our gymnasium for our meals that day. It was a pity, but it could never have been managed otherwise. Father Wynne gave Benediction that afternoon at which Brother Casimir made his final Oath in front of Father Provincial. This was another moving ceremony, But the day was coming to a close and we thanked God for such a lovely way uf celebrating the College Silver Jubilee. May it give many Priests.

Surely, someone has some photos of this event?

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by Seamus Watters (Form IV).
Taken from The Pelican - Summer 1961, lent by Mike Byrne

Four mornings a week, after the second class there takes place a rush for the dormitories. This exodus from classrooms to dormitories is not in truth for a much-needed liedown, but to prepare for physical exercise. It was Father Fowles who brought about the re-birth of P.T.

The reason for the rush is not necessarily that we are anxious to start exercising our muscles; we hurry because the rule is that we have fifteen minutes of P.T. from the moment when the last person appears in the quadrangle.

When these exercises began shortly after Christmas, we had great difficulty in accustoming ourselves to the various exercises. Multiple groans and mutterings issued from the scantily clad figures as we tried to force our reluctant limbs into the required contortions, after the example of Father Fowles, who appeared to manage it with all the ease in the world.

After several rather painful weeks however we got used to it, and it is now much easier. We do our P.T. outside whenever the weather permits; if it is too wet we go into the gymnasium. We know now, however we may have felt at first, that these physical exercises do us a great deal of good, and we feel their beneficial effects especially when playing football or basketball. I don't know about sound minds, but I am sure we all have sound bodies.

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THE WIND OF CHANGE: The Priory Feels the Draught
by Andrew Coyle (Form V).
Taken from The Pelican - Summer 1961, lent by Mike Byrne

A person returning to the Priory now after an absence of four or five years would find it in many ways a changed place. The spirit of cheerful cordiality which we believe has always characterised it is indeed unchanged, but many of the familiar landmarks have gone.

The inside of the house has been painted from top to bottom in colours ranging from pink to maroon, from sky blue to jasmine yellow. All the ivy has been removed from the walls, which now present a rather stark aspect; the farm has gone, and recently most of the trees were removed from the drives.

These are material changes; more significant perhaps are the changes which have taken place in the lives of Priorians. The modern view among Church leaders appears to be that seminarists should get out as much as possible, and see for themselves what conditions are like "in the world . . . " In accordance with this policy, Priorians are now given a far greater measure of freedom, and opportunities have been provided of making outside contacts.

On holidays we are now allowed to go to the local towns far more than formerly. The swimming-baths, the ice-rink, and occasionally the cinemas have seen much of the Priory boys over the last couple of years. This has meant that Galley Down is visited by slightly fewer boys than was once the case, but it must be said that it retains its popularity wih the majoriy of the boys.

Another change which has come about recently is the supply of daily newspapers. When this revolutionary step was first taken, the Sixth Form received the "Daily Telegraph" and "Punch"; later, the Fifth Form was allowed to share these luxuries, and last term the concession was extended to the whole school. No doubt it is the pages of sport which are most eagerly scanned, but nevertheless there is no doubt that we are all far better informed now on world affairs than we were when we lived ina newsless vacuum.

Another important change which has taken place during the last year was the installation of a television set, kindly given by a generous old boy of the house. There was some difficulty however in placing it in such a manner that it could be seen in comfort by the whole school, and a projection type of machine was procuredJor the boys' use. Viewing is fairly strictly rationed during term-time, and the only two regular features are "Panorama" on Monday night, and "The Valiant Years" on Saturdays. Lighter entertainment however is not entirely ruled out, and "Waggon Train" is a firm favourite.

These innovations have certainly brought us into closer contact with the world outside our own four walls, and if there was ever a "prison outlook" among Priorians, it has certainly gone now.

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