62 thoughts on “St Marys RC School

  1. I was born in 1944 and went to St.Mary’s Catholic school between 1948 and 1949 then taken to Ireland and returned for two years between 1953 and 1955. I remember Sister Veronica then later Mr Smith who was kind and gave me special attention teaching me elementary trigonometry and logarithms and encouraged me to write. I passed the 11+ and went to St. Mary’s College in Middlesbrough where I did well. I certainly remember the long trek to the dinner hall in Portrack where I found the meals delicious and filling because my family was very poor and food there basically beans on toast and chips from the chippie. We lived on Derby Street. I doubt anyone would remember me. I had a friend Vincent Jones but that was about it. I remember well Father Callaghan who wrote me a recommendation letter for a lab job at I.C.I. when I was 17 which I still have. People may remember my sister Patricia far better who is 15 months younger than I. We were called by relatives Irish twins. She married Billy Taylor and has had an awesome career taking care of abused and neglected children. She still lives in Norton We’ve been in frequent contact with each other all these years even though I migrated to America when I was 23. There’s not a week goes by without a long email from Patricia (Pat), and one back from me. We are still very close. I’m very proud of her and the work she has done, and still does, caring for children who are neglected and worse. I live in Copperhill, Tennessee, and have published two memoirs (Survival and Arrival, on Amazon) and have vivid memories of the school and Mr. Smith preparing me for the 11+, and those delicious dinners. A beginning to a good life. Never knew how impoverished we were. There were so many kind people who helped us on our way.

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  2. Hi my name is Janice Close I went to St Mary’s and lived in Stockton. I wonder if any one remembers me I now live in Aberdeenshire.

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    • Hi Sorry I don’t recall you Janice but my best friend was Ann close who lived in Tilery, any relation? My name is Pauline Charlton was McKenzie .

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  3. My name is Duncan Macaulay and I think I went to this school sometime after 1960 but only for a short while. I was passed an address as 14 Major Street but I see from Google maps that there is currently a dead end to Major Street before number 14. The names Far Billy and Mrs. Rees were included with the address I was given, although I am not sure who they are. I definitely remember the school for some reason, especially where that white garage door currently is. I was later sent to Winney Banks school.

    My mom was Rosemary (Hamilton) Macaulay daughter of parents John William Hamilton and Marjorie Annie Hamilton who lived in Stockton, presumably my mom lived with her parents or close by and this is why I attended this school.

    Any one remember anything about some of these details?

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    • I was there from 1953-1959 and remember the names Spayne, Conner, Johnstone, Groom, Nichols and amongst the girls Mary O’ Keefe, Rosemary Thyne, Winter, possibly Valerie Mockler. Do any of these ring a bell ?

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    • Hi Margaret it’s a few years since you posted & I’ve just read it. I do have a school photo 1953, my sister Margaret Nicholson is on it, she would have been about eleven years old at that time. Hope you get this message. Pat

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  4. Oh memories! Helen my sister and myself, have mixed emotions about St Marys`s school. Sister Veronica I remember was not very kind and could be very handy with the cane. Sister Mary and Sister Catherine were lovely. Also remember we had to bend over and kiss Archbishop shine`s ring while lying in coffin in the aisle of St Marys church – some shock for a six year old… That was in early 50`s. Do any of you pupils in that era remember that? I still do, the ring was purple. My mum went up to the school to complain and rightly so. Best wishes all Zena Doyle.

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  5. Yes Billy Nugent, it’s me and I remember you well, you were my best friend. We lived in Langley Street for about a year when I was five or six, and then we moved to Ellicott Street in Parkfield – don’t know why, because Langley Street seemed a perfectly good street to live in to me! I don’t remember us playing dens under our kitchen table, but I do remember going to your house quite often. One Christmas morning I remember you and your dad building an enormous crane from the meccano set you’d just got for Christmas. I emigrated to Canada in 1966 and I’ve been here off and on ever since, I still visit Teesside from time to time. If you want to reminisce further you can get my email address from Picture Stockton and we can chat!

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  6. I went to st Mary’s infants and junior school from 1947 to 1953 the girls where upstairs and the boys down stairs. In 1953 I went to St Bedes until 1957, part lay teachers and part brothers.

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      • I don’t think it is Derek, otherwise he is getting posh in his old age with an initial in the middle of his name, if us Gashouse Lads didn’t call him Billy it was always Nugget, he was one of the many Gashouse hard lads.

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        • I assume your talking about me William John Nugent (Billy) and as you say Nuggent and yes the gas work kids Langley street. But we where not hard. St Bede’s was a poor place to be educated and not when your called Billy in run by Irish Catholic brother I reminded them of the hated King Billy if they wanted to stick someone I was a prime candidate. Other than that I have fond memory’s of the School I learned I could overcome and difficulty if I tried Bill Nugent

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  7. I went to St Mary`s from 1950 to 1955 then onto St Richard`s till 1957 then left to live down south.
    I did not like the school, as I found some of the staff which weren’t very nice so I was pleased to leave. I`m in my late 60`s now. Zena Rowden was my name.

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  8. If there is anyone who visits this site from my time at St Mary’s and would like to make contact PLEASE DO. The last person I had contact with was Maureen Manners in the late 1990’s when we met in Middlesbrough during my lunch break. I remember most of the girls in the above photo and have just spent a VERY ENJOYABLE day with Kay Naylor (nee Allinson). We met for the first time in over 40 years and it was amazing!(my maiden name was JONES).

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  9. I keep in touch with some school girl friends and we think it will be 50 years in January 2013 that the new school in Fairfield opened , we were in third year then, it is now Our Lady & St Bedes.
    Sister Mary was the Head over the two schools.

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  10. Althugh this picture is later than when I was at St Marys, from 1947 to 1952, my Head teacher was Sister Veronica in those days, and she had noticed that somebody on the roof playground was spitting to people in the street below (boys), this was of course me. The teacher sent me to be punished by her, but because she knew my mother she just told me not to be naughty in future and she gave me a Holy picture. I do remember the playground very well though we played netball there and our goal was a skittle. I recently went back to the school and it is still there but apparenyly it is now a community centre.

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  11. That must of been a long trek from the St.Mary’s School to the dinner hall. I used to work for John Russells, (now Tecaz) many years ago and the building next to the main warehouse was a over-flow non-food goods warehouse. I did wonder what it’s purpose must of been at one time, that someone said it had connections with the church, due to a cross on the outside above the main doors. Yes, I also seen the former Harkers canteen. Once, I was tidying up the outside of the building (school hall) and came across what looked like outside toilets and probably still there, down the side alley.

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  12. I attended St. Marys until 1959. The dinner hall was in Portrack in a small building which is still there next to the Tecaz bathroom shop. We had to walk there no matter what the weather along the ‘Black Path’ passing the plot that Lighthowlers horse was kept. Health and safety probably wouldn’t allow children to walk along such rough terrain nowadays. Many years later I worked at Harkers and they had the very building as their canteen. I see that the old girls school is being converted into flats.

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  13. How nice to here fom Maureen Manners the terms we would use for our street games, ‘itchy bay’, we would chalk it on the pavement and slide a tin to the numbers we needed great memories.

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  14. I had a great time at school with friends, Catherine Cook and Margaret Hassett. We used to walk to Portrack for our dinners in a prefab hut. We used to play buttons on the roof at playtime and itchy bay with a tin lid.

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    • Maureen I know it is long time since you left a messgage on facebook but I have recently joined and would love to hear from you. Do you kow where Ky Allinson is nowadays? Hope all is well with you and yours. BERNADETTE JONES (nee Whitaker)

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  15. I went to St Marys school but left in December 1959 to move to Jarrow. I remember Sister Mary & Sister Cecelia who was the domestic science teacher, also Mrs Coxan. My cousins, also called Sparks, went to the same school. I’d love to hear from anybody who went to the school the same time as me.

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    • Hello Margaret I went to St Mary’s at that time .I left in 1960 I knew a few Margaret’s but I’m afraid the surnames are a blank ,I was taught by Mrs Coxon a lovely lady . My name is Pauline Charlton Nee Mckenzie .

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  16. Joan Little, yes I do have a sister called Petrone (we called her Nonie then) along with 5 other sisters and 4 brothers! We lived on Norton Rd on the corner of Larkhall Sq opposite the Brown Jug pub. Petrone now lives in Cropston near Leicester. I’ll let her know you asked after her. If you want to get in touch with her Pictures Stockton have my email address and I can send her email address to you.

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    • Peter Chisholm – I remember you and your large family well. Just passed your house last week and memories came tumbling back of your Mam and Dad, too. She had a slight limp as I recall. Didn’t you serve on the altar? I went to St Mary’s in 1960, Mrs Tompkinson’s class, Junior 3.

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      • Paul Southgate – just spotted your post Paul. Yes I did serve on the altar at St Mary’s. I also went to Ushaw with you! Two classes behind you. I remember you and your family very well. Our old house along with The Brown Jug has been flattened now. Would love to hear from you again, Picture Stockton have my email details.

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  17. I loved this school, loved playing on the roof top. What I didn’t like was when we had to go to the loo as this was on the roof, all them stairs to climb. Peter Chisholm, do you have a sister called Nonie or Petrona and did you live at Tilery with a lot of brother’s and sisters. I was a school friend of hers – my name then was Joan McNally.

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    • Joan, are you by any chance a daughter of Tommy McNally? The late Tommy was my cousin. His father, Tom McNally, was the brother of my late father, Laurence McNally. I also went to St. Mary’s Girls’ School from about 1955 – Sister Mary being our headmistress.

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  18. I was born in 1959 and attended St Mary’s from about four and a half. I can recall with a little notalgic fondness my time at St Mary’s. I remember that my first school teacher was Miss Johnson. When the school was closing I took a picture of Miss Johnson with her dolly mixture tin which she had for thirty years on her desk. If you were good she would give you a dolly mixture. I can recall using a slate to do some of the maths and practice writing. I also remeber that the school had no dinner hall (till later on) which meant that we used to have to get a bus to somewhere in Portack? Eventually, the schoool knocked two downstairs class rooms into one to make a dinner hall. Does anyone remember slopping out to feed the pigs. I’m sure they liked the left over lumpy semolina and the rice pudding with rose hip syrup. Mr English was the headmaster. Mrs English his wife was also a teacher at the school. I have a pic of them both somehwere. I remember that Mr English used to take us for science on occasions. Mrs Macdermot used to take us for science as well. I can recall how she tried to test the temperture of boiling water with a wall thermometer and blew it up. I can remember playing rounders and basket ball on the school roof, it was hilarious as the ball always went over the wall. Only the chosen few were allowed to retrieve the ball from somwhere near to the Spotted Cow public house. By the way, does anyone remember that the Spotted Cow used to have a sweet counter?.. in those days you could get eight black jacks, or fruit salads for a penny.

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  19. I do remember Catherine, I also was a friend of Shirley and Maureen Archer. We had a lots of good times at St Marys School and also at Robinsons being Father Xmas’ helpers I seem to recall. I would love to hear from you again.

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  20. I attended St Marys School from 1950 to 1960, my name is now Charlton but my maiden name was Mckenzie – does any one remember me? These are the girls I do remember from back then, Cathrine Easby, Anne Close, Brenda Nelson Franes Genery and Barbara Johnson to name a few.
    I also remember the name Humble as we used to live in Buxton Street.

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    • I remember you Pauline McKenzie! I went to St Mary’s Infants but left when I was five or six to go to the Open Air School, then I went to St Cuthbert’s after. I remember that even at that young age I had a thing for you! Barbara Johnson was my cousin; she worked as a croupier at Tito’s in the 60s, but I don’t know what happened to her after that.

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      • Did you live in Langley street in Stockton? I was told that you went to canada. If you are the Jimmy McCurly then we used to play dens under your mothers dining table. Billy nugent.

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      • Hello Jim ,sorry I don’t recall you at all but I do remember Barbara she was in my class through all of my senior years , she was so pretty I can see her face even now she reminded me of Elizabeth Taylor .

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        • Jodie: sorry to notice that you mention your aunt in the past tense. If it’s the same one, Barbara Johnson, actually my second cousin who I didn’t know that well, was an exceptionally good looking girl who came, I believe, from Portrack.

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  21. I knew Catherine Cook in picture and have lost contact I was always with Catherine when working at M. Robinson& Sons She was my bridesmaid at St. Patricks” Th”by.My Aunt was housekeeper to Dr. Macormack at St. Mary”s Miss Oneill. My maiden name Robson

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  22. I did live in Princess Street then moved to Midbourne Rd, Eastbourne Estate. Does anyone else remember me – I”m Eddy Mcgee”s sister. I can vaguely remember you Pat. Do you remember the Grants? Lilly Wade who I first sat next to at school? Pat Tuck? Only a very few stick in your mind.

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  23. I remember a Kathleen MeGee from St Mary”s who did live in Princess Street, so you must be the same person. Do you remember me? I was Pat Quinn then and we lived in the Castle & Anchor in Church Road.

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      • It’s taken me a while to reply, but I’ve only just spotted your message today. I do remember you well, in fact I have a picture of the class of 1954 and you must be on it along with over 30 others . Marjorie Thompson holding the slate with the date on. I’d love to hear from you.

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  24. Under 11″s went downstairs infants, over 11″s seniors went upstairs where the playground was. The school wasn”t a mixed school, it was girls only between 1943-1953 when I was there. I remember Miss Valalery, Sister Mary, Mrs O”Neil as the teachers. There were no male teachers. The disipline were terrible, we got the cane which was inhumane. It smelt of plasticine. The headteachers name was Sister Veronica. The infants playground was downstairs, with small childrens toilets outside. In the playground there was a little door where we used to march to church which was next door (St Marys RC church), the older childrens playgound was upstairs on the roof as the picture shows. It was very windy, cold and we hardly had any clothes on as we were poor. If I looked out of the bars on the roof i could see my street (Princess Street). We sat two at a desk and had about 48 in each class and there were about 5 or 6 classes. I don”t have any photos – I wish I did though. My brother went to the boys school which was around the corner.

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  25. I am looking for a photo of Barbara Riley who went to St Mary”s Girls School on Bishopton Road West from 1968 to 1972. Does anyone out there who went to this school have a photo of her? She died when she was 18 of Leukemia and I want to give the photo to her brother as he does not have one. Their parents both died when they were young and they lived with different Aunts and Uncles. I knew Barbara when we were kids. This photo that Maureen has posted here is really good because she has listed the names of everyone in the picture. Very helpful if you are looking for someone. Hope someone can help.

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    • Hi Margaret. I remember Barbara well, she was in the year above me. A talented athlete and a lovely girl. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photographs of her, only my year groups. Sister Mary was head, sister Jean was the music teacher, sister Joan for typing, and sister Agnes for English literature. Barbara was always cheerful, even when she was really ill. I still think about her. I hope someone sees your request and you get a photograph. Pat Thomas nee (woods)

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  26. Hi, I am in the processs of writing a book about my Mother”s life and as she attend this school I wondered if anyone could help me. If you can answer any of the following questions it would be great to hear from you 1 How large was the school numerically. Was it always a mixed school? 2 Can you remember any of the teachers names and did any of them funny characters or frightening characters 3 What was the discipline like? ie How were children punished? 4 What was the school hall like? 5 Can you remember any distinctive smells 6 What were the school diners like? What was the most popular meal and what was the most disliked? 7 What was the name of the Headmaster and what was he like? 8 Any memorable incidents whist you were there? 9 What was the playground like 10 Can you remember the names of any of the Sisters 11 how many Pupils did you have in each class and describe the classrooms 12 If you have any photo”s of the school I would love to see them on the site And finally My My Mother was called Maureen Humble and had three sisters called Thelma, Ann and Christine. She later married Tony Crossen and had a daughter called Lynn. If you know any of these people it would be good to hear from you. Many thanks, Baz Gascoyne

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  27. My Mam, and her sisters went to this school. I wonder if anyone knew her or her family. Her name was Maureen Humble and her sisters were called Ann, Thelma and Christine. I am in the process of writing a book about her life so any information would really be helpful. She married a gentlemen called Tony Crossen and had a daughter called Lynn. I was born approx 7yrs later at no 7 wrekenton place I think. Unfortunately, my Mam had an affair so when I popped out that was the end of her marriage to Tony Crossen. I hope to hear from some of you and find more out my Mothere”s family and her life in Stockton. Many thanks, Baz Gascoyne

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  28. To Joseph Thompson. The school was indeed attached to St Mary”s RC Church. The church fronted onto Norton Road and the schools were on Major Street. In between the schools was the church presbytery. On the ground floor of the school was the Infant Mixed school. Above the Infants was the St Mary”s Senior Girls school (girls only – the boys went to St Bede”s). The junior achool was in a separate building behind and was also a mixed school. When I was at the St Mary”s infants the head of the infants was Sister Agnes, head of juniors Mr Tomkinson and head of the senior girls was Sister Mary.

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  29. Could anyone answer the following questions about the school: 1. Was the school attached to St Mary”s RC church on Norton Road? 2. Was the school mixed or girls only?

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  30. The roof top playground at St Mary”s RC School has been referred to many times, so I thought I would send in this informal picture that was taken on this roof top playground in the summer of 1955 – the metal railings and wall can be seen in the background. This playground was used every day and of course, there was always a Teacher on duty to chastise any girl who attempted to climb up on to the wall, holding on to the railings – an occurrence which was rare, to my knowledge. Although this picture is not of such good quality regarding sharpness, I can remember most of the names of the people – apologies for any that I may get wrong, or for any names not spelled correctly. Starting with the Teacher top left (who”s name, unfortunately, I cannot recall at this moment) we have Pat Sloan, Sister Mary (Head Mistress) Jean Eales, (?), Doreen McCurley, Maureen Archer. Next row – Pat Fox, Margaret Hassett, Catherine Kelly (I think), Catherine Close, Kathleen Whelan, Freda Johnson, Eileen Henry. Next row – Joan Bell, Theresa McWilliams, (?), Theresa Prior, Audrey Clancy. Bottom row – Anne McGuiness, Maureen Williamson, Bernadette Jones and Catherine Cook.

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