Your Memories

We’d love to hear from you – what are you memories of St Ambrose College – from any of its incarnations? Do you remember having lessons in Woodeaves, or were you taught in the everlasting temporary First Year block in the 90s?

Let us know below.

(All comments are moderated before posting)

18 thoughts on “Your Memories

  1. What you call the ” Old College ” was nor even built when I was at St Ambrose. We had classrooms in Woodeaves – including one with an open log fire in the former billiard room – as well as pre-fabs built alongside the old playground. Mass was held in the Brothers’ chapel for both pupils and Hale Barns residents. Where Holy Angels now stands, there were the derelict remains of the 1879 Manor House and its outbuildings, where we often played after school. Between what is the current Prep School and the Church car park ran a narrow, gated track emerging opposite the Bull’s Head with wooded grounds on one side and a barn and a sizeable pond on the other.

    Beyond the Brothers’ sunken rose garden was an overgrown coppice with some residual, ornamental trees and, beyond that, grass tennis courts. Further to the right of the courts was a kitchen garden which provided vegetables for the household. And still further – leading down to Broad Lane – was a large field – which was eventually converted to additional rugby pitches – which originally grew potatoes and other root crops that the boys were sometimes dragooned into harvesting.

    • With great pleasure I have just read Tony o`Neil`s missive. I Was part of the same class as Tony, Indeed had the desk next to him in one of our later years. After school I spent happy times with him at his parents` home in Prospect Drive, Hale Barns
      Unlike myself Tony was a brilliant pupil, flying through every subject . Although I haven`t seen him since our last day at St Ambrose in 1957? I have often wondered how he has gone on in his working life and indeed in his personal life.
      School Life at St Ambose was firm but fair with the odd moment of self inflicted trepidation! Headmaster Brother Phelan`s fearsome disciplinary weapon “the strap”, Standing outside his study before the afternoon session lunch. waiting for your punishment was a stomach retching time You would walk in, lying on his desk in full view would be the STRAP. A fearsome weapon brought straight from medieval prison dungeons. Waiting for 6 of the best outside his study after the lunch break build up the heart rate, The pain lasted much longer!! It was no use complaining to your parents. They were always on the school`s side.I well recall Brother Ring calling us “pregnant ducks” during Rugby training. Mr Glynn our geography teacher gaining our waning attention by the liberal use of the board duster. His aim was usually on the mark! or rapping us over our finger tips with the EDGE of a ruler.
      We all respected tall Brother Ryan who guided us through Chemistry and Physics.
      Brother Ring taught History. My first teacher in 1950 was Elderly Brother Heally. I well recall that first year Pope Pius 12 passed on. Great sadness everywhere .Young Brother Leonard fell for our trick of distracting him asking for explanations of obscure subjects. It took him months to figure out what we were up to. A plump “civilian” lady attempted to teach French. She did not succeed too well. Brother Owen never taught me.
      I played a decent game of Rugby, captaining the school side through the age groups.
      Our Rugby foes included St Joseph`s on the Wirral, fearsome opponents and Terra Nova at Alderley Edge, who wore grey flannel “shorts” Happy days. Only rugby of course in those days with cricket in summer I enjoyed Cross Country.
      When it snowed enough some of us would go to Hale Golf course .We had found a nice long slope, ideal to toboggan on.
      John Shippam, Paul Dunn, Tim Wilson, Peter Curbishly from Sugar lane, Knutsford, Pete Holroyd, I well remember I hope I have their names spelt correctly.
      I hope we might meet up and share a pint, Good health to you all, please get in touch I live near nr Chester best regards to you all.
      David warburton

      .

      • PIus XII died in 1957, just after I have left St. Ambrose to go to De La Salle. You must have been in a different stream since the only people I recognise in your email are the Brothers. Our form master was Brother Allan (Gandhi).

  2. It was interesting to read comments and the article relating to some of period in which I attended St Ambrose in the 50`s. Academically limited would sum up my time ,a big disappointment to my teacher brothers.
    I did attend a number of old boys dinners but sadly never met any classmates as communication of the events to my peers was impeded by lost school records in the tragic fire at the school .
    I often read with sadness of the Brothers and Sisters who taught generations of Catholic children during bygone years having an unhealthy enjoyment of the strap but my personal experience tells me whenever
    I received a taste ,it was deserved .
    I have a class photo which I would love share with you.
    Time has taken it`s toll on names but in the photo were Michael Stoneman.David Platt .
    We went to Lourdes in 1958 .This was my only trip to the shrine ,I keep promising to make the pilgrimage
    again .Next time not sleeping on the perforated luggage rack .
    My elder brothers Michael and John were also educated at S A .

    Best wishes to all especially to my classmates

    • Hello Peter
      I remember you and like you only a few class mates. I left in 1959 and I no longer have any school photographs taken during my time there.
      I lived in Baguley and cycled to school daily.
      Class mates I remember:-
      Russell Johnson, Lewis brothers, Peter Motler ,Noel Hodson and Alan Regan.
      .Brothers Casey (Joe Tub head when I joined), Ring, Ryan, Healey, “Gandi” the old brother who taught the first year.Brother Phelan came later.
      I did leave a similar comment in September 2014,
      I am retired and now live in Dorset.

    • I attended St Ambrose in Hale Barns just after the School moved from Dunham Road, Bowdon in 1946, at age 7. I left in 1950 for De la Salle.
      As mentioned by others the classrooms were in the old house “Woodeaves”. Brother Dowling was Headmaster.
      Some of the older boys were involved in the cutting down of trees around the fields to make them suitable for rugby and cricket, and to provide fuel for the wood fires in the classrooms. I remember the Hardiman brothers Michael and John. I think one was older and the other just a little younger than I.
      Contemporaries were Paul Crisp, Dennis Huff, Peter Knight, Mike Moss, Mike Etherington, Peter Smart, David Cockrane, David and Michael Swinton, Peter Jennings.
      Joe Ravening, onetime chairman of the OBs was also a friend outside school in the 8th Altrincham (St Vincents) Scouts. Overall there must have been about 140 pupils.
      In 1968 my career took me away from Altrincham to Bristol and I now live in Wiltshire.

  3. Reading others’ recollections of their time at St Ambrose, jogs the memory, quite powerfully! I started in Bro Owen’s form, in 1964. Mrs Kinsey-perfume-scented and gown wearing lady,taught me a love of English grammar, whilst Mr Hibbert inspired a love for woodwork ( and the mysteries of hot bone glue, melted in a kettle), and allowed me to join the school sailing club.We had a wooden Enterprise, sanded down each winter in the classroom, which we sailed on Tatton Mere.
    In my first year, and before my voice broke, Mr Dennison (Music), (reluctantly), allowed me to join the school choir. Demanding, certainly, but he also taught me an appreciation of classical music, which remains. His favourites (musical: not pupils) were Peer Gynt, Elgar (Nimrod), and Bach. Both he, and I, hated my recorder “skills”
    Cross country running, under the eagle eye of an ex R.N. PE instructor, who really understood how to inflict pain (outstretched arms holding a medicine ball, or hanging off the suspended rings in the gym, until muscle fatigue kicked-in), was always preceded by a pump inspection, to make sure they were truly white.Not sure of the rationale behind this, as 2 miles on, after negotiating the muddy banks of the Bollin valley, everything was brown.
    Bro Ryan was my (very tolerant) form master in the 3rd and 4th years, and a David Burton in the 5th. Even more tolerant.
    My nemesis was Mr Quinn (Jnr), who taught Latin. His critique of my abilities, over 5 years, was scathing, to say the least. He also wielded a mean strap.Regularly.
    Mr Fleming tried to teach me the joy of history, but as we started off with Neanderthal Man, at the age of 11, my interest was never really galvanised. I think I missed out, as a result.
    I am only in touch (we are professional colleagues), with one other pupil: Paul Wear, who left after his second year.but who started at the same time.

  4. I remember Peter Hardiman, I was in the same year, leaving in 1959.
    Brothers I remember were headmasters Casey (Joe Tub) and Brother Phelan.
    Teachers- Bro Ryan was my favourite but I remember in the first year an old brother whose name escapes me who we called Gandy. I do remember a lady trying to teach French and failing miserably.( I failed as well). Also I remember a male lay teacher who tried to teach English. He was a tweed jacketed leather elbow patched type who patrolled up and down during lessons. We used to squirt in on the back of his jacket when he passed. I was involved with placing his chair on the very edge of the raised platform so he fell off.
    My academic achievements were not great as a result.
    I remember Peter Motler who travelled from Middleton, Manchester each day, Russell Johnson and the Lewis brothers of the ice cream company of the same name. Another boy Doug ? cycled to school each day from Heaton Moor near Stockport. I cycled back with him part way and then turned off for Baguley.

    • I left St Ambrose in 1960 and assume I was a year younger than you although logic wasn’t a priority there!
      I was a year older than Alan Regan but in a class lower than him! Either he was very clever or I was very thick!
      Probably the latter!

      I remember someone called Reynolds in my year but not sure it was Anthony! Other boys were Bill Gooch, Mick Smythe, Martin O’Brien, John Dare, John Vause and Brendan Cosgrove just to name a few.

      Like everyone else I was frightened to death by Bro Phelan and felt the force of that evil strap on one or two occasions usually for not knowing a theorem!

      I’m still in touch with Alan Regan, Martin O’Brien, Jim O’Brien and Tony Camm. We get together when Alan comes over from Vancouver. They recall a boy cycling from Heaton Moor to school everyday but I think they said it was Noël Hodson! I could be wrong!

      Regards

      Michael Carney

      Northwich

      • The Reynolds you remember could be me Tony Reynolds (see earlier posts). I was at St Ambrose from 1954 to 1959.
        Thanks for reminding me that Gandy was Brother Allen and the unfortunate English teacher was Denis McCarthy.
        I have fond memories despite the discipline but left with only 3 O levels! More intense study followed after I left.
        Tony Reynolds

    • Having read your missive again, Gandy was Brother Allen and I think the English teacher was Denis McCarthy!

      Michael Carney

    • Yes, Gandy was Brother Allen whose class I joined in 1955 for two years before having to go to De La Salle in Pendleton because Cheshire Education Authority refused to accept that St. Ambrose was “efficient” or “valid” (fill in fatuous bureaucratic excuse du jour for requiring an 11-year-old to have to travel 80 minutes each way by train and bus to Salford ).

      So, anyway. Brother Phelan was the HM and I was only strapped once by him (for writing an essay in pencil since I had lost my pen). Brother Owen taught biology and demonstrated feather plucking. Brother Leonard (Lennon?) “You poor unfortunates” taught history. Mr. McCarthy taught Maths.

  5. WOW Indeed
    Reading this brought so many memories flooding back. I recognised all the names and yes, I remember the smell of Mrs Kinsey’s perfume 🙂
    – that and the wood working class room where Mr Hibbert ruled.

    And the Quinn’s, where if you miss behaved in class, got their own back on the rugby pitch!
    – I remember a particular song around at the time
    Manfred Mann – The Mighty Quinn

    So many memories 🙂

  6. started in prep 2 sept.1962 thru to may 1971 fondly known as oscar throughout the whole school by teachers and every friend and foe.recall so many of the names discussed bro.owen healey games monaghan foley the new head then became glesson.who remembers with no affection what so ever the dragon mrs lily biology she took miss davies chemistry she would have been described as fit as boys turned to men but surely benny oregan was the best so many fond memories

  7. I left St Hughs in Timperley 48 years ago to start my first year at St Ambrose in Brother Owens form.Reading the posting above has stirred the memory cells and alot of names mentioned are remembered In particular Mrs Lily a dark haired beauty striding down the corridor with her white coat billowing behind her, she made such an impression on an 11 year old.
    I remember the crosscountry training sessions on a lunch time with the sprint finish from the gate at the bottom of the playing field up to the playground.I also remember the day Sir Matt Busby came to open the first ever football pitch at the school
    I would love to hear from anyone who was at the school at that time it would be good to remember more
    Regards to All

  8. I have fond memories of St Ambrose (1975-1982) and the caring and considerate attitude to me and my love of music.

    I joined the school when JG Smithson was music teacher and Brother Ring headmaster. After JG Smithson retired several unsuitable music teachers were appointed and an eagle-eyed peripatetic brass teacher called Peter Leary (Trombonist with The BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra) spotted that it was unlikely any of the 3 music students entered for O level music that year were likely to pass. He approached Brother Ring who organised external extra tuition for the three of us – and we all passed grade ‘A’ as a result. I went on to study music at York University, became a professional musician and still play to this day.

    If it wasn’t for the dedication of JG Smithson, the attention of Peter Leary or the professionalism of Brother Ring I would not have had the years of musical enjoyment that I have been privileged to experience.

    Fond memories indeed – including the delights of having ‘Billy’ Knight as form master !

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