John HUTCHINSON, born 1948, grew up on the Sparrow Hall estate and has many fond memories of the time.
I loved growing up in old Sparrow Hall I lived at No 67 in Little Hursley Road. My mum was a nurse and dad had been a Japanese Prisoner of War. Facing our house at No 64 was St Philomena’s most famous pupil - Gerry BURN of 'Liverpool FC and the 1966 World Cup fame.
June and I have always had a love of social, family and local history. I am one of the original fifty or so members of the Liverpool Family History Society. A great lot of the kids who attended the school came from the streets around Vauxhall Road cir 1935. My family have its roots in the Eldon Street area of Vauxhall Road - I can trace my Hutchinson roots back to the late 1700s coming from the most 'Orange of Orange' place on earth - Armagh. My mum’s lot the ROSSITERs came from Catholic Wexford - but that's another story.
The old school had many class, baseball, cricket and football pictures displayed on the walls for all to see, covering the 40s 50s and 60s. I took pictures of the buildings ( outside) when my boys were little and I'll send them to you. I hold a picture of my first class room made up of two small bungalow buildings, which later were used for teaching the boys woodwork - Mr BENT and Mr ALCROFT who was from Ormskirk. My very first day at school was in one of those rooms and Miss McSHANE was my first teacher. Father POWNALL, Father SNAPE, Father BUTLAND and the great Father Tom BRADLEY MBE were the priests. They came around on Friday evenings for a donation.
A lot of policeman lived on the old Sparrow Hall Estate including Norman FARRELL MBE, who now lives in Formby. He would round up the "saggers" (truants!) and bring them in for summary justice - The Stick. Norman can tell a tail or two. However he never caught me or any of the lads I will later mention. Norman grow up in Elstead Road and served at Higher Lane Police Station, Rice Lane and later Lower Lane. He still talks about the best people in the world - "The Folk From Sparrow Hall".
The area also produced some of the worst in people - well-known criminals and the like. But the old areas around Vauxhall Road had the same type of people. They travelled by ship to and from New York, with gang and criminal links to Polish, Irish and Italian families.
Mr NAYLOR and Mr McEVOY took four of us lads one side and gave us extra teaching for the "15 Plus Examination" that lead us all to pass the examination and entry into the John Hamilton School.
The old school had several brick air-raid shelters which were great places for smoking and meeting the girls. My best mates of almost 60 years - Terry MUNRO (now living in Australia but visiting May 2008) and Con QUINN all had the same teachers from infancy while at the school - Mr HART, Miss REID and Mr zzzzzzzzzzzz JONES ( he was always asleep )
Con's father only died a few months ago and was the 'Oldest Lolly Pop Man in the World'. He was forced to retire after the council realised his age. For years and years he took the kids across the East Lancashire Road near Landford Avenue. Another man still going who came from the old Eldon Street area (62 Hursley Road) is John FLYNN who remembers the bombs dropping around the place, the school being built and the local man building the new church in Sparrow Hall Road .......... I could go on and on .