CONTRIBUTION BY DAVE CONNOLLY 1960/1965
I joined the illustrious membership of the pupils of Holy Joe’s in 1960 from the newly opened Holy Family Primary School in Warbreck. I hadn’t passed my 11+ but passed the entrance exam and I won a scholarship to follow in the footsteps of my older brother Frank, who had just left.
I have read the other memoirs with fond memories and can relate to most of them. Bros O’Carroll (Joe Bung was his nickname – I think) was head. Brother O'Brien (OB) was really the sub monster from outer space, who was here to eliminate as many boys as he could with his malicious methods of beating up as many of us as possible – good grief what would the authorities do to him now. I can remember on one occasion that he was late into our class. If you remember in the old school the floors were very highly polished and as you walked down the corridors the classrooms lead off except for the last one where the corridor went straight into the classroom. On this occasion, one of my fellow “students” who sat in the front desk was turned around talking to someone behind him and of course OB charged in like a bull, ran straight to this lad, spun him around and cracked him across the face. What happened next was almost in slow motion. This lad slowly stood up and he just happened to be well over 6ft and was also built like a brick s--- house and I am sure you will remember OB was not the tallest person. The lad slow proceeded to lift OB by his cassock and propelled him backwards down the corridor and at a very high speed on the polished floor. The amazing thing was that OB came back into the room an proceeded to teach as if nothing happened – we were all sat mouth open waiting for an almighty outburst.
As others have said, I was dragged into the lunchtime choir was a real pain but I remember when the school was entered into a choir contest at a school in Manchester and by some miracle, we won. The fact that we were entered in the Boys Grammar School section and St Joseph’s was the only entrant in that section may have helped.
As someone else mentioned, OB got into his bonnet that he wanted a recording of his success so he elected a fellow pupil, I think his name was Walker, who’s parents has a lot of fancy tape recording equipment, to organize recording the choir. The tape was taken to a record company who converted this to vinyl records, a 10” LP and of course everyone had to buy a copy – It was terrible. (click here to hear the choir)
My father unfortunately was an invalid after an accident on the building site where he worked, so this meant I had to have a part time job to get pocket money. Most of the time, I delivered newspapers. So this meant I had to get out of school as fast as possible, as I lived in Cleveleys. On one occasion I was detailed into the cross country team and this meant I would be late home. The course was a lap of Stanley Park. In panic, in case I lost my job, I ran like fury only to be told that I had an excellent time and was now in the team permanently. You should have seen the crap time I had the next week. I was never in the team again.
I hated rugby and did everything in my power to get out of it but on occasions one wasn’t so lucky. Cricket to me was like watching paint dry and athletics seemed like to hard work.
Les Charles was ok but the teacher who we all liked was 'Tash'. I can’t remember his proper name. I will always remember one year he took us for English Literature. We were supposed to do Shakespeare and on the first class of the New Year he commented that no one looked excited about it. He then asked if we would like to study something more interesting, which of course we all said yes – we read Cruel Sea that term which had to be kept inside our Shakespeare book in case another teacher should come into the classroom.
Dinners at the school were terrible, Old Ma Cokely was in charge (excuse my spelling), and she used to love the use of iodine on her hands if she had a cut. On Fridays when arriving at school at 8.30am, you could smell the greasy chips being cooked for lunch. As soon as I talked my parents into getting me lunchtime pass out, I used to go to the chippy at Devonshire Square. The back room café used to be packed with boys, a plate of chips between 3 and a 10 packet of fags.
I suppose I did ok at Joe’s Jail House but not for the lads who sent the request the now defunct Radio Luxemburg signing it 'from the boarders at Joe’s Jail House Blackpool'. Unfortunately, some were expelled, as it was heard by a teacher.
I am sure there are many other stories I could relate, but I leave those for others to tell.
|Back to memories page.|