This page will gradually fill up with items sent to me by James Youdale, who started life with the White Fathers
at St Columba's in 1951. Jim has lent us a large collection of unique material which will, in time, feature throughout
our website.

We start with a letter sent out to the parents by Fr Paul Moody, as Father Superior at The Priory (Christmas 1955) :

(source : James Youdale)

The above is just part of the original letter, of course. For your convenience, a re-typed copy of the full text is presented below.

The Priory,
Bishop’s Waltham,
27th December, ’55

Dear Mr/Mrs Youdale,

It has come to my knowledge that some of the Priorians have told their parents that ‘poor Father Superior’ is always worried about the money required to keep the College in existence. And this Christmas in view of that, and also because many parents have written since September to ask precisions about the full maintenance of a student when they were applying for various grants, I have decided to share with you some of the facts about our financial situation.

It is true first of all that The White Fathers’ Society is listed as a charitable institution and that therefore our income is free of income-tax. It is also a fact that in consequence we cannot ask ‘fees’ properly so-called. The full board indicated in the Prospectus is as you know £35 per term, which is always the sum to be stated to authorities who deal with the above-mentioned grants.

When I show concern to boys about money matters it is usually on the occasion of some destruction or loss of property, equipment etc., that we or anyone in our position would find it hard to replace. But examining our financial condition with an eye to the prospects of development in the coming year I came across certain details that surprised me and will I think interest you.

The estimated expenditure in our next financial year is in the region of £4,700, of which our farm can reasonably be expected to provide some £300. If all the parents were able to send us the maintenance sums foreseen when their sons entered as candidates, their contributions would give us £1,700. It is understandable that in these difficult times some of them cannot do so as their circumstances have changed for the worse. When they cannot do so we rely on St Joseph to supply deficiency. It is also fortunate that some parents find it possible to send more than they foresaw as possible, and the present income to The Priory from that source is about £1,199 annually.

That means that from other sources The Priory has to receive about £3,000. Most of that money comes from gifts made to the Province through the activities of the propagandists. However from the common fund for the maintenance of the ten houses in the Province the College can only get its bare maintenance; other house, for instance the new Irish house, need so much.
Our aim is to give the students here all the facilities they would have in any other secondary school. At present we are concentrating on bringing our book-store up-to-date material, and making provision for the adequate training of the students in General Science. Hence the small additional charge of 8s on some of the account sheets sent to you . . . . . and hence most of ‘Father Superior’s worry’.

We shall be doing all we can to help St Joseph provide the money we need. It may mean continual little functions like raffles, concerts etc. If we do seem to be reminding you too often of our needs please be patient with us. Our aim is not our own comfort, or even our peace of mind in these tiresome matters, but simply the better education of your sons. May Our Blessed Lord bless the efforts you make to help your sons achieve their holy ambitions, and may he make it easier for us to give your boys the best we can.

Every good wish and blessing for 1956, asking your prayers,
Yours very sincerely,

Paul F. Moody WF

Below is a typical account sent to parents at the end of each term :

And if these fees seem to be staggeringly low, take a look at the bill
below that Mrs Youdale paid for three nights at The Railway Hotel
when she visited her son Jim at St Columba's :

"It's all relative" I hear you say !

(source: Mike Ellis)

The Railway Inn today — has it changed its name ?

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(source : James Youdale)

Above is the programme produced for the Blacklion Christmas panto—probably in 1956.
Taking part were James Lee, Hynes, James O'Toole, James Youdale, Richard Calcutt,
Aylward Shorter, Charles Trivers, Martin Brogan, Philip Harrison, Anthony Whelan,
Brother Gary (?), Anthony O'Gorman (who had a squeeze box), John Doherty, Brendan Shannon,
Michael Gilbert, Sean Surdival, Gerald O'Byrne, John Martin, Anthony Vicocchi, John Lynch,
Hugh Tapping, John Durkin, Michael Singleton, Michael McDonnell, Fiacra Fahy,
John (or James) Conlon, Liam Ludden, John Wade, and Fr O Mahoney.

Please note : I have listed the participants even though they appear on the next part of
the programme (below) because our 'Quick Search' facility would not be able to read it.
(It's scanned, like a photograph) Thus, anyone searching for one of the characters
who took part in this panto would NOW be directed to this page. For the same reason, I urge
all our visitors to the website to try to identify names and faces that are missing.


Below is the inside and back page of the programme. Over 50 years later (!) the originals
are extremely faint and this is the best that could be done to make them readable.

(With thanks to our Forensic department)

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