ST AUGUSTINE'S PARISH
ST AUGUSTINES 1953 - 1954
We thank Mrs Hankin for providing this webpage with two photographs featuring pupils of St Augustine's School in 1953 - 1954.
ST AUGUSTINE'S PANTOMIMES
Our thanks go to Ted McElhinney for providing this webpage with three programmes from the 1950s featuring pupils from St Augustine's School who took part in the pantomimes Cinderella, Mother Goose and Babes In The Wood. We would be pleased to hear from readers who may remember these productions and who may have additional information and or photographs.
ST AUGUSTINE'S TEACHERS 1952
Our thanks go to Sister Winefride for providing this issue of the Scottie Press with a photo, which pictures Teachers at St Augustine's School. The photo was taken in 1952 and shows (back-row) Miss Blanchard, Miss Bridget, Mr Harrington, Mr Bennett, Mr McNulty, Miss Swift. Pictured on the front-row are Miss Topping, Miss Kenny, Miss Oliver, Mr Baker, Mrs Mount, Mrs Smith and Miss Brooks. We welcome hearing from readers who may have memories of the photo and or school in the 1950s.
ST AUGUSTINE'S SCHOOLBOY PHOTOS
Our thanks go to Sue for providing the Scottie Press with a photo, which pictures 3 Football Teams from St Augustine's School (Great Howard Street). Also pictured are teachers, Mr Harrington, Mr Bennett and Mr Baker.
Sue also provides the web page with a photo picturing school pupils in 1953 and a photo taken in 1994, which shows the boys entrance to the school.
St. Augustines Parish
Our thanks go to Joe Daly for providing a selection of photos for inclusion on this webpage.
Just wanted to share some very fond personal and family memories of this great parish. Having been born and raised in this parish until leaving for Hopwood Gardens in 1953, I suppose I enjoyed the best hardest times of my life surrounded by so many high's and low's that it made me acutely aware of the fact that this was a big world and also a tough one.
We talk about the good times as being part of yesterday, and they certainly were. With none of the amenities of today we made our own playtime, you used your brain in numbers of ways that seemed effortless then and a reward was always on the end. We failed only to try again and succeed; we played together, fought each other but always offered a solution if a problem arose, even if it was detrimental at the time. So many creative people have come from this generation that it is of no surprise, brain stimulation may have never been part of our vocabulary but unbeknown to us that was what we did day to day, even if it was to find a way how to get some peanuts from Bibby's or some sugar from Tate's or molasses from Silcock's.
I was born in January 1943, most of the houses in Regent Street had been raised from the pounding the dock area took throughout the war, this area was to be my own footy training ground later. My recollections of St.Augustines go back to nursery times, sleeping on a canvas bed in the afternoon. Later learning my ABC and boring everybody who would listen to me recite it. Teachers giving out Gold and Silver stars to those who did good work. Always trying to be as good as Angela Platt as she hit the Gold time after time. Making paper cut out decorations for Christmas so the class would be a bit more cheerful. Wright's biscuit company, giving us a cake, jelly and some biscuits for our school Christmas party. To this day I wonder if they were dog biscuits as they made those in great numbers.
Father McEvoy's jubilee and all the streets decorated with buntings and tinsel everywhere. Making those buntings at home with the family out of crepe paper or any paper you could get.
Cutting up all the old rags into strips no more than six inches by one so mum could make a rug with the old sack cloth backing. These are what you did as a family, listen to the radio on special nights with my dad when the boxing was on, Don Cockel getting battered by Marciano, Sugar Ray and Randolph Turpin all great fights. Making friends with your worst enemy so you could see the Blackpool vs. Bolton cup final on his TV because we never had one.
My father, Barnie, was a docker like all of my uncles. Every now and then my sister Sally and I would have to go to the clearing house to pick up his wages, that was a sight as times were not the best for dockers and a full week's work was never guaranteed. Long days and sometimes, for overtime, even longer nights. No fork lift trucks or conveyor belts, just back breaking labor sapping at every mans strength. Yes they did enjoy the Guinness boats when they came in, professional barrel tappers that's what they called the most popular men in that field. Casualties were common, fingers lost or maybe a limb, for my father it was the top of a finger. Put a wrap on it and go back to work, plenty of men waiting in the wings trying to feed hungry families.
PARISH OF ST AUGUSTINE'S
It will be a great shame and unforgivable if photographic documentation of the former St Augustine's Parish does not amount to more than the few photographs we have provided for this webpage. The aim of this webpage is to present the reader with a picture of how St Augustine's Parish came about and to hopefully record aspects of its 148 year history. The information printed on this webpage comes from a booklet written by Jim Fitzsimons (St Augustine's - A Brief History). which is featured on the Scottie Press website's projects webpage. We hope that the information printed will encourage former St Augustine's parishioners to provide the webpage with photographs and memories that can secure a more comprehensive documentation of parish of St Augustine's.
The last Mass at St Augustine's Church, Great Howard Street, took place in the Summer of 1976. The church was completely full with its past and current parishioners paying their respects. After this the former busting streets so full of life slowly decayed, the sounds of schoolchildren at play no more to be heard. The courts, street houses and shops were demolished and here and there small workshops sprang up, some in the former school. Even the partly demolished church was for a time used as a builders warehouse. Finally almost to the day 148 years after the first Mass was celebrated, the church was completely demolished in the Autumn of 1997.
The formation of the Parish of St Augustine's was made at a meeting of parishioners in St Mary's Highfield Street schoolroom on 12th October 1948. The subject was to raise a memorial to the memory of the Benedictine monks who had died in the area with typhoid fever in 1847. One year later on 9th September 1849 the church of St Augustine's was opened. Great Howard Street was chosen as the site of the new church because it was estimated that in this area a huge number of Irish immigrants had made their home in the already overcrowded streets and courts. It was estimated that in 1848 some 16,000 people lived in the 20 streets of the future parish of St Augustine's. Because of this huge population St Augustine's church was so overcrowded that the doors were left open enabling the congregation to hear Mass whilst standing in Great Howard street.
The first St Augustine's school was built in Little Howard Street and opened in 1866. It comprised of classrooms in a big cellar under what was later the parish hall but little is known about the original school and conditions of education. In 1896 a new school was built and when opened it had 916 pupils. The school comprised of three sections; infants on the ground floor, girls on the next floor, with boys situated on the top floor. The school was situated between Stone Street and Upper William Street and a child of five would start their school days by entering the gates in Upper William Street. Their stay in the infants would normally last until they were seven years old. They would then ascend the many steps into what was called the "big boys" or "big girls". There could be 40 or more pupils in a class and the main emphasis of teaching was the three R's. There was also and always a positive bearing by the church in the school.
In the early 1920s and 1930s the population of the parish still numbered over 3,000 and life was still harsh for most families in the parish. Most of the people of St Augustine's parish lived in cellar-house streets off Great Howard Street. The streets consisted mainly of court-houses and warehouses. If a family were fortunate to live in a terraced house they had the advantage of having a water tap and toilet which was a luxury compared to their immediate court-house neighbours.
St Augustine's was very self contained, perhaps like an Irish village on the map of Liverpool. Families living in the parish were normally close friends and would express their pride in being an Augustian. Very poor or deprived families were often helped with the necessities of life. Older couples whose grown up families had married and now lived elsewhere would often allow children from neighbouring large families to sleep in the empty bedrooms.
The worry about each family was thrown mainly on the shoulders of the mother, although the daughters if old enough eased her burden in everyday matters, such as cleaning, washing and preparing meals. Many were the journeys made by most mothers as they trudged up to the cheaper shopping areas such as Great Homer Street, Paddy's Market or the Cazenue Street Market looking for bargains. In time the original small cellar shops were replaced with shops situated mainly on Great Howard Street and as befitting hard times there was the inevitable Pawn Shop run by Sam Bernard and his able assistant Percy Sexton. Towards the end of the 1920s Mr Malones Fish & Chip shop was in business and Bob Smethurst's Barbers Shop always seemed to be busy. There was a well run Cocoa-Rooms owned by the Mitchells which was kept busy especially at dinner times by warehousemen and carters. Casey's vegetable shop served farm and dairy products and fresh milk was purchased at Hartley's or from Mr Beardswood a street milk man who used his pint measure dipped into a large churn. Mr Beardswood also sold eggs as he journeyed from street to street pushing his cart and shouting "Milko, Milko". Other shops in the area included Traynors, Kings, Clydes, Morans, Spencers, Bannons, Smiths, Cains, Taylors and Lunts. There was also a constant stream of hawkers who would be selling fresh fish and every kind of fruit and veg. A very well known personality was Dolly Hickey who came from Saltney Street.
It was a significant fact that for a long time this highly populated area of the city did not have a doctor. The nearest Doctors where located in Athol Street and St Paul's Square. Prior to the Welfare State, Doctors were paid immediately for their service but some at times gave their services free when realising the financial circumstances of a patient. In the parish there were also a few of what were known as herbalist shops selling cough cures, rubbing bottles, snuff and health drinks. Bottles of cod-liver oil that were detested by most children were also on sale. It was not until the 1930s that a proper chemists shop was opened.
Many men and youths would spend their evenings at the CYMS club rooms which were situated over the parish hall in Little Howard Street. There they could have use of three full sized billiard tables and in time St Augustine's produced a championship team. The parish was very proud to witness this team when they were paraded around the parish in an open horse-drawn cart.