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St James School Orange Hill Rd Burnt Oak

A Memory of Burnt Oak

My memory of the area is based on my secondary school days here at the St James Catholic School, I think it was in Orange Hill Rd? I lived in Wembley during the war years and started school at St Josephs Primary in Wembley Hill. In 1951 at age 11, I started at St James in Burnt Oak.
I remember I had to catch 3 buses, not sure about the first one but I know that the 140 and the 52 busses were involved. I remember the large brick wall at the front of the school and the entrance way. Memories of the shopping area like Toni's ice cream shop and Rosins bakers, also the Gaumont, later to become a bingo hall.
Probably my biggest memory is of Sister Catherine, the head of school, it was a convent school run by Dominican nuns who stood no nonsense at all! Sister Catherine ,or "Kate"as she was known, was a formidable figure feared by everyone!! She was apparently a very clever woman and consulted by Cabinet ministers and the like.
I remember the time when James Hanratty was accused of murder, he was an ex pupil at the school, and "KATE"announced it at a morning assembly, you could hear several pins drop! She was not happy!!
I was at the school until 1955 and would love to hear from anyone who was there at the same time.
Brian Telfer, now living in Queensland, Australia.

A memory shared by Brian Telfer , on Sep 8th, 2008.

Comments & feedback

Tue Oct 7th 2014, at 9:03 pm

tomaloney8 commented:

Sun May 1st 2016, at 3:39 pm

chelsea2peterhocking306 commented:

Hello Brian,I think I remember you although you where a year above me.Do you remember George O'Leary and Matthew Quinn? I used to live in Greenford and you had a friend who lived in the same street as me. I now live in Cornwall.Regards Peter Hocking.

Mon Oct 24th 2016, at 4:05 pm

John West commented:

I was a pupil at St. James School, Edgware and previously of the notorious St. Thomas School in Marsh Lane, Stanmore. I was overjoyed to see that both buildings had been razed to the ground and replaced by housing. How I detested both these institutions; I wrote to the Headmistress saying that St. James' School was the most God-forsaken place that I had ever been in. She replied saying that the new school in Colindale was much better.

Sister Catherine was gaga and enjoyed strapping boys at every opportunity. I got out as soon as I could to go to Art College. I became a Quaker, as I so detested the way that Catholics treated their children.

It was the Essoldo cinema by the Coop store that went over to bingo. The Gaumont became an Odeon and was demolished to make way for a freezer food shop. The Ritz in Station Road survived the longest and was only demolished because Canon Cinemas had sold the freehold. It was a very popular cinema and could be open now if it were owned by cinema people.
My time at St. James was one of the worst times of my life. It was frightening, cruel, sadistic, dirty and insanitary...
Art School hippies were much nicer.

Mon Nov 14th 2016, at 9:51 am

johnclifford1937 commented:

Mon Nov 14th 2016, at 9:52 am

johnclifford1937 commented:

Sun Apr 9th 2017, at 7:35 am

baronfvescia commented:

Sun Apr 9th 2017, at 7:43 am

baronfvescia commented:

Well whatever they say is true but I doubt whether anyone complained as to the amount of a levels and o levels they received.A good thrashing never hurt anyone especially when it came from a four foot bombshell you know who you are smiling as you punished me with a piano pedal and enjoying every moment with that wonderful smile on your face.No wonder I was naughty all the time in an attempt to make this a weekly experience enjoyed by all.

Wed Apr 26th 2017, at 2:47 am

devarose commented:

I was strapped a few times by Kate. She could sure hit hard! Strapped the Catholicism out of me for sure! I started in 67 and immigrated in 1970 to Australia. It was great to get away from it. My memories were of sheer terror and loneliness. The kids around me were a pack of mad bullies too, I suspect due to the terror regime we had.

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