St Silas CE_1969

Attended by Richard STARKEY (Ringo Starr), Ron Wycherley (Billy Fury) and Tony Hetherington was a pupil at St Silas from January 1952 to July 1958, and at the Institute from September 1958 to July 1963. He has told me about the photo on the left (dated 1969):

“It shows the old building, which from memory I think included an 1872 foundation stone.  The window at bottom centre of the picture is the head teacher's study.  When I was there, that was a Miss Collins, and I believe she was succeeded by one of the teachers, a Mr Lanceley.” 

The houses in the lower right part of the picture are in St Silas Street.  Although the school's address is High Park Street, I don't think there is an entrance there.  There certainly wasn't in my day.

“The photograph was taken from the older pupils' playground, which was previously the site of St Silas Church, to which the school was attached (literally as well as spiritually).  The church suffered some war damage and although it was still in use after the war, it was in poor condition. 

I remember a few weeks after I started at St Silas, we were listening to a schools programme one morning on BBC radio (you know the sort of thing - 'be a tree, stand up slowly, wave your arms like branches....') when the piano music suddenly stopped and a solemn voice announced: 'The King is dead.'   We were all sent home and told to return that afternoon for a hastily arranged special service at the church next door.  Five years old, I borrowed my father's black tie, several sizes too big for me.

In the mid-1950s the church was closed and parish was merged with neighbouring St Philemon's.  The church building was demolished and the site became the school's upper playground, from where the 1969 picture was taken.  Now, of course, the school building has gone as well,  and new buildings have appeared, blocking off the turning from High Park Street into St Silas Street.”

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