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Iwas At St Johns Open Air School From Around 1956/59 - a Memory of Woodford Bridge.

Anyone who was there during that period, what are your memories of the Nuns, such as Sister Mathews, Peters, Cabrini and Gabriel also can anyone remember the name of the Master?


A memory shared by Bernard Wilson on Sep 6th, 2012.
Send Bernard Wilson a message.

 Comments & Feedback

Thu Jun 11th 2020, at 4:52 pm
brianlowdell commented:
I think one of the most exciting memories I have was back in 1961/62. A friend of the convent, a Mr Wilkinson used to show us one of the epic films of the time every couple of weeks or so. Somehow he was involved with the Tottenham Hotspur's football team. And after the won the FA cup (on my birthday May 5th 1962) he brought the whole of the FA cup winning side to the school and played against our school team. And I'm proud to say I played against all those stars.
Oh yes and they only beat us 3 - 1
Thu Jun 11th 2020, at 4:43 pm
brianlowdell commented:
I was at SJOAS from about 1957-1962. Remember two masters. One as already mentioned Mr Gilmartin and the other Mr Murray. The general maintenance man around the school was Jim. He also used to cut our hair. I remember the nuns mentioned plus a sister MariStella. Mother superior when I started was a sister Cabrini. Ring back more memories?
Sat Mar 28th 2020, at 8:33 am
jamescoyne29 commented:
Michael berry good footballer even better swimmer he came from Shrewsbury as I remember
Sat Mar 28th 2020, at 8:28 am
jamescoyne29 commented:
I was at St. John’s 1957-61 I have great memories of the school an they were the best days of my life had hardly any problems was looked after well. Yes they were strict and I think I am a better person for it. Mr Gil Martin very strict and mr judge very very strange didn’t like the man at all.gilmartin yeah I liked him and think he liked me too cos when myself and terry Thomson visited in 1974 I knocked on hid door and he recognised and remembered me we had a reall chinwag.my best friends were terry Thomson,Micky Howsam and best friend Arthur crucksainks and we are still in touch to this day.i did all the sports that were on offer football table tennis basket ball I even painted the markings on the basket ball surface with mr gilmartin.i could go on and on the memories are still with me great great times.James Coyne
Sat Jan 21st 2017, at 10:04 am
littlehaggis commented:
Bernard,
If you go to the site 'St. Johns Open Air School 1950s - Message Boards - Ancestry', you will find about seven pages of comments regarding 'St John's'. Most are positive, lots of names and anecdotes.
Regards, Chris Francis.
Tue Jan 17th 2017, at 11:01 am
littlehaggis commented:
G'day Bernard.

Thanks to you for your reply. I was thinking about my time there and realised it must have been 1957, which was when my nephew was born.
It is good to know that you knew Pat Malloy. He was in a different room to me, as was Charles Milnes. I don't suppose you have any idea what became of them?
It is funny that I personnally had no problems with Mr Gilmartin. Frankly, he always srtuck me as looking somewhat bored. I remember the queues of boys awaiting 'inspection' after our bath's. He would lean on the end-wall in the bath-house sink units, arm on the wall, head resting on arm, a doleful look at each boy followed by a almost imperceptible nod saw us on our way to our dorm's. Feast days were great, lots of jellies and other goodies. Not sure about the 'education' side , as all I remember is learning about cocoa beans, and copying the compulsory letters 'home'. The woods were another joy. Once in there, it was like another world. Oh for those halcyon days of long ago....
Mon Jan 16th 2017, at 2:55 pm
Bernard Wilson commented:
"Hi, I was more or less oppsite to "Paddy" Malloy in the dorm.Like you say Judge had the finger dig and Gilmartin "on the way to the refectory" would give his knuckles around the head if you spoke. I knocked around with a few different lad's Raymond Chard,Micheal Berry and Dave Collin's lot's of names have gone from my memory with the passing of time. Most people I've been in contact with all have good memories of Sister Mathews and you're spot on with yor assesment of St John's Cheers Bernie
Mon Jan 16th 2017, at 11:55 am
littlehaggis commented:
Hi Bernard.
I was at St John's around 57-8. The name of the two masters were Mr Gilmartin & Judge. Mr Gilmartin was ok, but one learnt to avoid Judge like the plague! I had two friends there; Patrick Malloy, who had leg braces and Charles Milnes who had asthma.
The nuns were a strange lot, not adverse to strict discipline, especially with us 'prodestants', but could also be very kind and good fun (hard to tell them apart in their 'habits').
For me, I had a lot more freedom there then at home, though I only realised that later in life. St John's was a life-line for many boys, so, it was a great shame to read of its' passing. Perhaps todays kids would have benefitted? Who knows.
Mon Jan 16th 2017, at 11:54 am
littlehaggis commented:
Hi Bernard.
I was at St John's around 57-8. The name of the two masters were Mr Gilmartin & Judge. Mr Gilmartin was ok, but one learnt to avoid Judge like the plague! I had two friends there; Patrick Malloy, who had leg braces and Charles Milnes who had asthma.
The nuns were a strange lot, not adverse to strict discipline, especially with us 'prodestants', but could also be very kind and good fun (hard to tell them apart in their 'habits').
For me, I had a lot more freedom there then at home, though I only realised that later in life. St John's was a life-line for many boys, so, it was a great shame to read of its' passing. Perhaps todays kids would have benefitted? Who knows.
Tue Mar 10th 2015, at 10:47 am
royfallows commented:
I was sent to the school at the age of about 5, in an effort to treat my asthma. After 60 years my memories are a bit vague and I can recall no names. We slept in large dormatories and the nuns were very strict. Food was poor and I remember being told that if I wanted a birthday cake someone would have to send one. Us little ones were warned about Teddy Boys. We went out one Saturday and I bought some bubble gum from a nearby shop and got it in my hair. The nuns put me in the bath and scrubbed me - the smell of Lifeboy soap and the boys singing 'Yellow Rose of Texas' will stay with me forever!

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