MEMORIES OF ST SYLVESTER'S

Can you identify any faces on these 2 photos picturing St Sylvester's Male Choir and a St Sylvester's Football Team. At the time the photograph was taken the St Sylvester's Male Choir had performed 314 concerts for charities going back to 1915.

St Sylvester's Male Choir

St Sylvesters Football Team


Saint Sylvester's School

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St Sylvester's School was built at the top of Ashfield Street. The school opened in 1874 as a direct result of the Education Act of 1870. Attendance was poor. This improved with the abolishment of school fees, and research into the reasons for the truancy. In 1900 the school was enlarged at the cost of 2,300.

In December 1911 a plot was acquired at the corner of Silvester Street and Latimer Street at a cost of 1250. A new building was constructed at a cost of 6.000 it was completed in 1914 and opened on the 9th August 1915. Archbishop Whiteside opened the school and bestowed his blessing.

The first headmaster was Mr Cox, 1875 to 1902 followed by J.P Calaghan who came to the school in 1898 as a member of the teaching staff. He left for two years, when he returned as headmaster till he retired in 1939 having completed 41 years service at St Sylvester's 36 as headmaster.

Joseph Coglan one of the greatest men ever to walk the streets of Scotland Road became head in 1941 after being invalided out of the R, A, F. A better man never lived. He died in 1953 after a long protracted illness. Mr. Frank Sheridan, known as Dickey to all Silvestrians took over from Joe. St Sylvesters was blessed with the best Heads and Staff that God could provide. They gave their all for their down trod pupils. During an interim period after the retirement of J.P and the installation of Joe Mr. C Owens acted as head. He later became the head of the junior school based in the old Ashfield C.of E. School. Mr.Thomas Minahan was the longest serving member of staff. He taught at St Sylvester's from 1911 till his death in 1954 apart from a spell in the 1914-18 war when he was gassed. He was an accomplished artist and pianist. St Sylvester's boys and masters choir constantly performed to an audience of wounded service men. Concerts where held by the choir in school halls, military hospitals, and convalescent homes, maintaining the morale of the injured soldiers. St George's Hall was a venue after the 1914 -18. A St Patrick's Day performance was given at the Grafton. The BBC Broadcast many live concerts performed by the choir from 1920 to 1935 one concert went out on the BBC Empire Service. The girls choir also gave concerts and recitals. The school was also renowned for its ability at swimming and won all the cups it competed for in 1900 and in 1901. In 1920 the school went on to win twelve first and sixteen second prizes at a gala. It went on to win the squadron championship. St Sylvesters where always in the forefront when it came to playing football the Catholic Schools Cup was won in the years, 1905, 1922, 1947, &1948. The Daily Dispatch Trophy was won on more than one occasion. They had many lads who represented the City at football Gerry Tansey, John Broderick, Billy Woods, all in the one year 1948, Gerry also represented Lancashire and signed professional for Everton, Johnny signed for Liverpool. John Morrisey played for the City, represented Merseyside and was capped by England. David Watson played for Liverpool, Norwich, Everton, and managed Tranmere. Johnny Turtle played professionally for Portsmouth. Shallcross played as a professional for Southend. Tosh Moore who coached the St Sylvesters School football teams, also coached successful Liverpool Boys football teams, he was the forerunner to Ron Saunders also a Headmaster at West Derby Comp, in the setting up of Liverpool Football Clubs Youth Policy. After the 1914-18war an ex pupil Luke Hogan was elected as a city councilor, Davie Logan was also elected to represent South Scotland Ward. Luke Hogan later became Liverpool's first Catholic Lord Mayor.

St. Sylvester's Church

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The church of Saint Sylvesters first mass was said in April 1875 in a large old shed in Silvester Street. The influx of the Irish Roman Catholics led to a necessity for a church to be established in the area. Funds where raised from various sources to buy the site on which the shed stood. A Gothic style church of red brick was later built on the site and the first mass was said there on the 2nd September 1889, dedicated by the Bishop of the archdiocese's Bernard O'Reily to Pope Sylvester the1st who was Bishop of Rome in the years from 31A,D. The infant and junior school adjoining the church was gutted in the May Blitz of 1941. The church survived with a little damage from an incendiary bomb landing on the roof. At the entrance to the church a bell tower stands, a shrine to the Sacred Heart is situated in the foyer set back on the right side. The High Alter of breath taking beauty can not be missed as you enter the main church up the central aisle. The Italian marble Alter rails where erected by the congregation in memory of those in the parish who gave their lives in the Great War and to Father Swarbrick, parish priest from 1897 to 1924. On entering at the extreme left of the church is the Alter to our Lady, under the choir gallery with its organ. A huge pulpit stands at the end of the central aisle to the left of the high altar. Two side altars take their place to the left and to the right of the High Alter. Arched stone pillars support the central timber panelled roof and the high windows above the side roofs. On a frieze above the pillars below the windows angels are painted in beautiful pastel blues and gold. The right sidewalks are occupied with the confessionals. The Stations of the Cross adorn the left and right sidewalks. Statues of the Saints are interspersed.


No Trees

No Trees In Scotland Road

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St Sylvester's Prefects 1948


I am currently writing a book, which will probably be called 'No Trees in Scotland Road'.

For research material I am trying to get details on Wallasey, Egremont, Liscard and Seacombe buildings together with Ambrose Place and Furlong Street, known as 'The Vatican'.

I was born in Aintree Street and went to St Sylvester's School from 1939 to 1948. I played in the school football team and I was selected to play for the Liverpool School Boys in 1948. I was also the Captain of Liverpool Catholic School Boys in 1948.

After school I was employed as an apprentice decorator up until I went into the Army - serving in the Suez Canal area.

With thanks to Scottie Press and the IT Centre at the Vauxhall Neighbourhood Council - I have been able to advise people of my aims regarding the book which will trace a factual fictional character from 1938 up to the present day. I hope to rekindle memories of the area and also keep those memories alive for future generations.

I will ensure that I keep the Scottie Press updated with new news regarding the book and will willingly answer with thanks any or all correspondence sent to me c/o Scottie Press. My home telephone number is 0151 228 1692.

BILLY WOODS.

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St Sylvester's Football Team 1947


No Trees In Scotland Road by Billy Woods.

1 (At the time of the Irish famine this was the place where the Irish peasants starving, sick and emancipated, after their horrific journey across one of the most treacherous stretches of water in the world, the Irish sea, laid down their bundles containing all their worldly possessions, their babes and young upon them. They were going no further.

After disembarking from all manner of vessels, fishing boats, cattle boats, cargo boats, or any old boat that would float, packed like sardines, they had arrived at the port of Liverpool. Here they hoped to find food ,shelter, and work. The means to exist to survive to bring up their families. The authorities intention was to herd the masses of sick, starving, desperate immigrants to the extreme boundaries of north Liverpool, but no this was it. They had gone far enough here they where staying. So began the birth of the infamous, the famous, notorious, world-renowned district in the world. This was Scotland Road.

(The courts where paved with Yorkshire stone flags, the streets cobbled with sets with flag pavements. The court or terraces had iron bollards at the top where they formed a tee with a street. Only hand -carts had access and these had to be twisted and turned to get through the bollards. Fire engines or ambulances could not access the courts, it was far from an ideal situation. The street where much wider than the courts making the houses in the streets much brighter than those in the courts. If one of these houses became vacant it was said you'd need a letter from the "Holy Ghost" the wife would have to sleep with the landlord or a brown envelope would have to be passed over as key money.

3 Scotland Road like most names was shortened, it was Scotty to most people. Scotty was divided into parishes, Holy Cross, St Bridgets, Archbishop Goss, Our Lady's (Elldy) St Sylvesters (Silly) St Albans, St Gerards, St Alphonses, and St Anthonys the parishes where sub divided into areas of streets, like Ashy, Silly, Hooky, Latty, Elldy, etc Toagy lived in a cluster of courts, Nick named the Vatican, to be precise he lived in an elongated court known as Ammy. The court ran from Latty (Latimer Street) at the top end to a walled block end at the bottom. Half way down it formed a tee with Furlong Street (Furly), off which ran another four courts. Liscard Buildings, Egremont Buildings, Seacombe buildings, and Wallasey Buildings. All the courts where cul-de-sacs, at the open end three or four cast iron bollards stopped vehicle entry. Ammy had bollards at the top and middle, the whole area was paved with Yorkshire stone flags with a gutter made of the same material running down the middle to a grid at the bottom .

4 Toagys other play space was the lobby, his mates Crimmy and Swifty would play in each others lobby. When it was raining they would sit on the step watching the rain bounce of the flags, three abreast cuddled together to keep warm. The rain would pore down the broken down spouts along a moulded gutter in the flags into the central gutter. There the rain would gush in a torrent to a small grid at the bottom of the court.

The grid flowed through a square hole in the wall that separated the Rope Works the Purax (a factory that made mattresses and an awful stink) and a service entry at the bottom of Ammy. The grid was often blocked and flooded the bottom of the court. The lads would throw pieces of wood and other things into the lake. They would shout with glee when one made a bigger splash. Toagy would wade in followed by the other lads to retrieve the object that made the splash. In his haste to get there he tripped in the centre gutter and ended face down head under the water. Crimmy ran back to the lobby to shout Toagys Ma "Mrs. Copse Mrs. Copse, Toagys drownin' he fell down the grid." By the time Toag had got to the front door, he had recovered, he was standing with his legs apart in the middle of the flood. He was bedraggled covered in slush that had washed out of the entry into the flood, the filthy water dripping from his hair. "A'm sorry Ma" he spluttered. "A' Sorry Yeh" his mum shouted. " Gerrin A'l kill yeh when Ah gerole of yeh.


Billy Woods has kindly provided an idea for the front cover of his book 'No Trees In Scotland Road'. Billy is still working on the contents of the book and we print below an outline of a humorous extract about 'The Parish'.

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In this instance 'The Parish' that Billy refers to was the government funded humiliating means tested benefit agency of the day. A visit to 'The Parish' was made to two central characters featured in Billy's book. The quest was to seek money to pay the rent and to purchase food. Whilst there a problem developed between an officious clerk and a woman who was partaking of snuff and by doing so gave the clerk a bout of sneezing and difficulty in seeing. An added accidental spillage of the snuff then caused a soiling of his suit. Heated words exchanged between the clerk and woman was over-heard by the Chief Superintendent. as they were called in these establishments. He not wanting to involve himself in anything unsavoury peeked through the door of his office. He saw a very agitated clerk, red faced, eyes watering and looking decidedly unwell. Other people already waiting to be attended then began to stoke up the situation until thinking that he had a real problem on his hands the Chief Superintendent proceeded to phone both the Ambulance and Police. The resulting consequences are both hilarious and sad for although Billy's book is fictional in character story line it is based on factual memories of such places as 'The Parish'.

If you would like to find out more about how Billy's book is coming along or if you might have memories of the Scotland Road area you can phone Billy on 0151 547 2783. You can also e.mail Billy - TOAGY@woods72.fsnet.co.uk

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Billy is pictured during conversations about various chapters to be included in his book with successful Liverpool author Freddy O'Connor. Two of Freddy's books feature on 'Books on the Web' and we hope to have news of his new book shortly.


Comments and feedback c/o ronformby@scottiepress.org.uk

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