Convent Of The Visitation

A Memory of Bridport

I was born in 1950 and attended the convent as a boarder, leaving in 1958. I travelled by train with my mother from New Street station Birmingham to Paddington station London where the convent nuns met up with us and the other schoolchildren for the journey to Bridport station. We used to have long country walks during the summer and I can remember going to a place covered in long fern vegetation in which we played. The regime at the convent was very strict and the education standard extremely high. French and Latin were taught well before the 11 plus age. I still have a couple of the bills for my upkeep that were sent to my mother. I also have a couple of photo's of myself taken during my time at the Convent. One of them shows my class mates and I in the classroom being taught by Sister Edith I believe. Our clothes had our name and number attached, mine were Cash's name tapes with the number 4. I still have my teddy bear with my name and number attached to his ear! I returned to see the convent in 1982 during a holiday in the area and met Sister Anne. Her first words on seeing me again after many years were 'good god its Alan Yardley'!! I have been told that the convent has since been demolished and houses built on the site.
I have mixed feelings concerning my time at the Convent. Whilst the standard of education was extremely high, I personally experienced treatment that these days could be considered little short of abuse. I suffered nervous problems for many years after leaving the Convent and memories of being caned and forced to eat my own vomit are still with me 50 years later. I can confirm Alan Noon's recollections of not being allowed to go to the toilet. I remember standing in front of a stone sink in an unlit ground floor room washing my underwear with a large bar of soap whilst a nun stood behind me telling me how wicked I was for having soiled myself. I have every respect for some of the nuns who taught me, the young novices were especially kind, some of the older nuns however were little short of sadistic bullies. How brave they must have felt subjecting little children to such abuse.  

A memory shared by Alan Yardley , on May 29th, 2007.

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