St John's Catholic Parish

St John's RC Church Ivy St Burnley

Down Memory Lane

As St John's Infant School, Ivy St closes its doors this month (July 2010) before moving to the new Thames Avenue site, parishioners and ex-pupils were asked to write down their memories of school life at St John's. Also the old school was open for all to visit for the last time and many were happy to share their memories. . 

If you would like to send us your story. Email us here. 

Photos of the open day. 

Oral stories.

The following stories were told on the open day. 

Joyce Mills now Stanworth  (1945) told of a man in uniform walking into Sr Mary Francis's 'baby class'. Sr Mary Francis looked round the class and said "... and whose daddy is this?" The children looked at each other in bewilderment and then Sister turned to Joyce and said  "Joyce Mills, this is your daddy" . Joyce was amazed as this daddy in uniform, fresh back from the war, picked her up and carried her home.  

Frank Mcnamara (1952) remembers going to the Irish themed fancy dress party. His sister dressed in her First Communion dress and he dressed in his oldest clothes. He then had a great time covering himself in soot. The pair went as "The bride who won the Irish sweep". When asked if he won he said there was not much chance of winning as Billy Gaskell had gone as St Patrick!

Veronica Summers (now Gonzalez) 1963 and Carole Woodvine  (now Moulton ) 1965 met up again on the open day and  talked of the games they used to play in the yard. They remembered especially making slides in the snow in the yard whilst holding onto the railings... unfortunately the caretaker, Mr Carbury was always there ready to spoil the fun and throw cinders down. They also remembered a girl called  Ann Padden who was skipping in the yard. Everyone had gathered round as they were all counting she was doing so many skips. The 'twinders' had to change , without interrupting the skips,  as their arms were so tired. When the bell went even the teachers came out to watch until at last Ann was out.  

Jane Abbott (now Richmond) 1964 told of queuing up outside Sr Mary Philomena's room (now the office) in order to have injections. As Jane was always the first because of her name, Sister would hold her hand to make her feel better.  Once she took  in a little felt mouse and she left it on sister's desk. Sister laughed and said "Your daddy did exactly the same but it was a real mouse!" 

Gary Sagar 1966 recalled how he was the 'bell boy' and at each playtime and dinner time he had to run round the school to ring the bell, standing in the same place on the corridors everyday. He also remembered how Mr Mercer would get the children to lick the stamps as he hated the taste.  He said that Mr Mercer told them he would only lick stamps when they made them whisky flavoured.

Karen Smith (1971) talked about the move of the junior school  up to Thames Avenue. All the children were told to take in an empty bag. Karen's mum insisted she take a 'sturdy' bag. The bags were then filled up with  small items of school equipment and the school walked in procession up to the new site. Karen said it was amazing how heavy a 'sturdy' bag full of crayons could feel by the time they got there. 

Steve Walmsley (1981)  was just amazed by his return to St John's.  He works as a teaching assistant in Siddal moor High School nr Manchester. He is hoping to study further and become a teacher and he said  " ... and it all started here at St John's".  

William Melvin (1982) talked of baking in school with Peter White's mum who had come in specially to make buns. He had fond memories of Mrs Marsland and Mrs Casey. He was amazed how the school smelled exactly the same.  


Written Stories

Click on each name to read 

 Agnes Boyle's story   (now Hirst ) 1935 


Eileen Flynn's story   (now Hartley) 1945  


Eileen Gaskell's story  (now Bailey) 1945     


David Stott's Story 1963 


Christopher Whittle's story 1965