St Mary's School

Presentation of Coronation mugs 1953

By Dennis Parrett

I remember 1952 when the Head, Mr G H Cooper, came into Class 1 and told us that the King had died and we were to go home for the rest of the day as a mark of respect. Our Teacher was Miss M J Wilkins. The following year Everest was conquered and Queen Elizabeth II was crowned. I remember that some neighbours in Hereford Street invited us in to watch the Coronation on a very small black and white television. They must have been the only ones in the street to have a set. Their son also had a motor bike. I remember getting very bored with all the ceremony and ended up playing outside. I do not remember a street party at all.

Photo:The picture is taken in the playground of St Mary's School and the Coronation mugs are being handed out by, I believe, School Governors. I only recognise me, the second boy in the line just about to get a mug, which I still have today.

The picture is taken in the playground of St Mary's School and the Coronation mugs are being handed out by, I believe, School Governors. I only recognise me, the second boy in the line just about to get a mug, which I still have today.

From the private collection of Dennis Parrett

This page was added on 20/02/2007.
Comments about this page

I used to go to this school,about 1953/4 untill I went up into Queen's Park school. Mr Cooper was there,(St. Marys) as head teacher. When my son went there, Mr Gardener was the head by then. One teacher Miss/Mrs Gale was my favourite teacher. She was the one who insisted I learnt to spell BEAUTIFUL properly, as I used to use the word so much in my English lessons. Oh what lovely days they were at that school, and in that time, 50s/60.

By Carol (27/01/2008)

Hi Carol. I left in July 1955 to go to Varndean so you must have been a year older than me. I did spend two years in the same year group so you and I may have been in the same class for a time, in 1953/54. I do not recall Miss Gale but Mr Gardener was my last teacher, for two years in fact, with Mr Cooper as the Head. It is sad that nobody seems to have any photographs of the old school building, or indeed any class photographs.  Best wishes.

By Dennis Parrett (28/01/2008)

I went to St. Mary's in the early/mid 1960s. I think the following teachers were there: Miss Golding taught year one, year 2, I had Mr. Cooper (the Head), then Miss Salter year 3 and finally Mr Gardner. When Mr Cooper left I believe Mr McDonald became the head. After, I went to Queen's Park 1966-72. I remember the bottling plant at the bottom of the street. Sad if there are no pictures of the school. My brother who followed me through both schools still lives in Brighton as does Dad.

By Andy Holborn (14/02/2008)

Hi Carol. Do you remember my sister, Pearl Atkins? She must have been at the school when you were there and also went to Queens Park seniors. What was your maiden name?

By Harry Atkins (30/03/2008)

I knew Pearl Atkins who was in the same year as me at St Mary's. I also knew her brother but not as Harry. The teachers I remember were Mr Cooper (head), Miss Grace, Mr De Bourne, Miss Waby, Mr Smith and Miss Wilkins. If you arrived at school early you could be picked to be a dinner monitor,which meant you could serve the dinners and eat with the dinner ladies (larger portions).

By Bob Dainty (11/05/2008)

Hi Bob, you must have been a couple of years older than me. You have reminded me of Mr Smith although he left just before I went into the top class and was eventually replaced by a Mr Gardiner. I think Miss Grace may actually have been Miss Pace. I remember your brother Bill as he played in our football team which I was captain of. We were not very successful especially against the larger schools but I remember Bill used to be quite a good winger, he was small but quite fast. Best wishes, Dennis

By Dennis Parrett (14/05/2008)

Hi Dennis The Mr Smith who was our top class teacher at St Mary's was very foreward thinking. He would teach us in a very practical way. I remember one day a pupil accused another pupil of stealing her eraser. So Mr Smith arranged a mock trial in the afternoon. He was the judge and pupils were appointed as prosecutors and defence lawyers. A jury was also appointed. At the age of 10 we were taught how a court worked in this country. We also were taught how to debate subjects one afternoon was dedicated to debating fox hunting. He made the lesson of civics most enjoyable.

By Bob Dainty (03/06/2008)

Hi Bob, I remember you well! You used to live in Freshfield Road, next to the Bowles'. The Marchants used to lived in Coal Brook Road, just round the corner. Remember Tony Bowles? He became a boxer. He lives in Bevendean near me. Pearl and me used to come round and play with you and your brother, you always had a runny nose! I remember when you were older, but didn't see much of you. You and your brother were mean dart players, you beat me in the News of the World knock outs in the Northern. I used to play for The Reeve, which is no more.

By Harry Atkins "Hyman" (16/06/2008)

Hello Harry. Yes I used to live in Freshfield Road. I don't remember beating you at darts in the Northern. I only ever played darts in the Star in The East and that was in 1968/69. My brother Bill was the dart player. He played all over the place. Nice to hear from you. I have read many of your anecdotes.

By Bob Dainty (17/07/2008)

Nice to hear from you, Bob. Where are you living now?

By Harry Atkins (21/07/2008)

Although not an old boy of St Mary's, the name of Mr Gardener brought back memories as he was my handicraft teacher at St Margaret's School for two years before leaving to go to St Mary's. I can always remember him as being very strict but very fair.

By John Wignall (04/11/2008)

I went to St Mary's School in 1963. The headmaster was Mr Cooper, other teachers were Mr Gardiner, Miss Golding, Mrs Salter and Mrs Hoyle, the caretaker was Mr Huggett. The school was opposite the Fyfees banana factory in Mount Street. I played football for the school.  I can remember people in my class who were Alan Pattison, Doug Mitchell, Graham Jones, Chris Buss, Ted Gillam, Glen Botterill, Keith Conniford, Elaine Ducharme, Susan Foster, Andrea Warner, Jane Andrews, Shirley Divine who went to live in Texas, USA, to name but a few.

By Paul Tennant (07/04/2009)

My main memory of St Mary's is the cold outside toilets! Mr McDonald became head while I was there. People in my class were Karen Lucas, Laura Devlin, Babette Surcoff. I remember being the witch in Sleeping Beauty and Mrs Salter making an amazing 'glass coffin'!

By Susan Andrew (05/05/2009)

I was in the same class as Elaine Ducharme, Glenn Botterill, Susan Foster and Shirley Divine. Elaine was my best friend and Glenn was a close friend for years after. I clearly remember being scared to death because someone told me a tarantula had escaped from the banana factory. I can still recite all those times tables that Mr.Gardener made us learn!

By Jane Andrew (10/05/2009)
I remember the times tables too. I can still recite them all. I taught my own children the same way. I also remember the outside toilets - very cold in winter. Does anyone remember Miss Gale/Dwen (I can't remember which surname it was now)? She lived down in Grafton Street in a bedsit/flat. I know this because I used to call for her and we would walk up to the school together. She was a very pretty woman. She did get married eventually.
By Kaz (20/07/2009)

I think Miss Gale became Mrs Salter when she married. She was very trendy at the time and was really good with art and craft lessons. I remember making an impressive marionette puppet in her class with a wax face. I wanted to make a witch so she helped me to shape the nose. Funny the things that stick in your mind!

By Jane Andrew (15/08/2009)

Mrs Salter's maiden name was Miss Miles. I remember her reading 'The Hobbit' to us at the end of the day and I always struggled to stay awake as she had a soft voice!

By Susan Andrew (18/10/2009)

I met up with Jane Andrew and she told me about this site. She's been a good friend all these years. I remember Elaine Durcharm (as i used to pronounce it), Alan Patterson, Shirley Divine, Paul(Tennant), Mr Gardner..and thats about it. Although somethings tugging at my memory now. I was always in a world of my own! Yes it wasn't a bad old school. As someone says, Mr Gardner was strict but fair. I felt the lash of the leather strap on the hand a few times but I was due it probably. Yes happy memories of marbles and British Bulldog in the playground, messing about in the park after school. The banana and bottle families. Singing in the choir! Stephen Lambert. The names just come to me. We were best friends and he lived along Eastern Road (all knocked down now I think) Well Ive nearly written a book here. Hope life's being kind to you all. God Bless

By glenn botterill (28/10/2009)

Re- time tables, I remember Miss Paice in class 3, teaching us the alphabet backwards to a little musical rhyme and I can still say it in less than five seconds at the age of 70. Her birthday was the same as mine, and when I was in her class, she bought me a small birthday cake.

By Harry Atkins (17/01/2010)

Glen. I vaguely remember you coming to our house in Eastern Rd. Steve is my older brother and you are correct in saying that our old house is now demolished. The council put a compulsory purchase order on the whole street and we moved to Craven Vale. I've put my brother on to this site now and, like me, I'm sure he will enjoy all the happy memories it brings. I too went to St Mary's and remember some of the pupils and teachers mentioned, I can also remember having a crush on Mrs Salter. Happy days indeed.

By Phil Lambert (19/05/2010)

Hello all. I must have been at St. Mary's for just a year or so, as we moved to Whitehawk about 1956 and I was born in 1947. I lived at 9, Freshfield Road opposite the Bowles and the Daintys. I had a terrible bus accident outside their houses. So then I was in hospital for over a year, I guess that confused my memories. I know I did the first year at St. Marys. and my teacher was really kind to me. I live in the States now. Our past sure doesn't dictate our future - anyone remember me? I have been looking for Gwenny Marchant for years. LindaBB@Gmail.com

By Linda Batchelor-Ballew Nee Andrews (19/09/2010)

Hello Linda I do not remember you very well but I do remember your accident outside our house. I remember your family very well, I was in the boy scouts with your brother David and recall while sharing a tent with him on a camping trip he had to inject himself to counter his diabetes. I also remember with sadness your sister Pam getting killed by a post office van in Patcham. I think she was 16. I have very happy memomories of your Dad ( Andy)- what a character he was. He was doing things in the early 1950s that at the time was unique. He would take a couple of us in his van out to country villages and leave sacks for the people to put old items of clothing in. We would then collect them in a day or two. Your dad would give us a few pence but we enjoyed the day out so much that we would have done it for nothing. What he did then is common place now except now the collections go to charity and not to the local rag & bone merchant. Do you remember your dad making rustic furniture out of the off cuts from the wovenwood fencing company and setting it out outside your house for sale to the passing public. I know that he was registered partialy blind but he still managed to drive that old green van with the oval windows in the rear. I also remember one Saturday he was going to watch Brighton play football at the Goldstone Ground in Hove but because he was only a learner driver he had to be accompanied by an adult licence holder. So he asked me to go with him. I was only 15 at the time, so he put a pile of cushions on the passenger seat to make me look bigger. He would then set out. He would drive to the nearest bus stop where he would ask if anyone wanted a lift to the match. If any man said yes I was transfered to the back of the van and the man from the bus stop took my place- your Dad never asked if he had a licence or not. I might be able to put you in touch with Gwen Marchant as I could get a message to her through her brother John or I could ask him for her address and Email it to you.Can you tell me about your brother Dave?

By Robert James Dainty (10/11/2010)

Hello Linda, Jonny rang me to give me a message from Bobby. It was a real suprise to hear from you, reading this page brings back so many memories of living in Coalbrook Road. I would like to know how your family are and what you are doing in America. Do you have any children or grandchildren? I have three children and five grandchildren. I still live in Brighton in Hollingbury with my husband and my eldest daughter Tracy. Do you remember any of the other Marchants? Keep in touch, best wishes

By Gwen Bolingbroke/Marchant (14/11/2010)

Hi Gwen, if you give me your email address, I will send you a photo with Billy and Albert in it. Regards Bluey.

By Harry Atkins (28/11/2010)

John here - nice to hear from you Bluey. I still remember our plumbing days together and the football with Swanborough FC. Keep in touch - I still live in Hollingbury. Kindest regards Jonny Bolly (still married to my prison guard).

By John Bolingbroke (05/12/2010)

Hi Gwen, I just checked in and to my amazement there you are - and Bobby too with his memories. You can email me direct at LindaBB at Gmail dot com. I married twice and the second time to an American. I have three children, 7 grandchildren and 1 great grand daughter. My son is here with his children and my girls are in Eastbourne and Shoreham by Sea. I always think of you as Gwenny, it was what we called you - my sister used to play with Carol - and I seem to remember a brother you had called Johnny?

By Linda Batchelor-Ballew nee Andrews (18/12/2010)

Hi Bobby, Hi Bob, My brother Dave passed last year on my grandson's birthday. he was suffering from heart problems due to his diabetes. I still cannot believe he is gone. I only saw him once a year when I went home, but nothing is like your brother - I always adored him. He called me puddin' head, when I was young, i would give anything to hear him say that one more time. I lost Pammie when she was 19 - what you do not remember is that she was killed on my birthday - she was going to Frank Pocock's mum's house to get my present hidden there and he used to phone her at the phone box near there. The phone just rang and rang, it was sad, but he got over it quick he was married in two months. We were shocked. But them I guess life moves on quicker for some. I used to go up the race hill with the scouts - do you remember that? My brother Eddie is still with us and lives in Lancing, Leeta my sister nearest me lives in Queens Park Drive. Babs (Dorothy) the eldest is a widow now and lost her son to brain cancer two months before David died. That was the last time I saw David, he said to me "Keep strong," we wondered who would go next - of course we were talking about me as I have Stage IV breast cancer - but it was my lovely big bruvver and I am still here. Strange how life works out.

By Linda Batchelor-Ballew nee Andrews (19/12/2010)

Hi John Bolly. the two funniest things about you is when you wrote on " someones wall," Jimmy one eye loves Billy one foot". And at that football tournament, when you were in that caravan, with a mike, and when you saw, me. coming, started calling me obscene names, and I didn't know where the voice was coming from. Then we met and got p----ed on lager and missed most of the games. I live in Bevendean. Happy days!

By Harry Atkins (21/12/2010)

Hi, I was at St Mary's in 1960 in a class with Susan Andrews and Karen Lucas and was talking to a friend of mine about a scar on my right knee caused by a boy in our class playing at being an aeroplane after we had had a visit from some people from New Zealand who had bought us some shiny red apples. Any guilty party out there wanting to own up? I lived in Eastern Road, no 26 next to the bombed house, opposite the Reeve public house.

By Dorothy Tunley (31/03/2011)

I was at St Mary's from 1960 to 1964 and also remember the visit from the man from New Zealand with the shiny red apples but don't remember the accident that damaged your knee, Dorothy. I have my own scar on my knee from the time I fell over in the playground and managed to crack my head on the climbing frame. I also lived in Eastern Road (no 54) and my mum ran the grocery shop at no 46. (might have the numbers round the wrong way). We moved to Walpole Terrace around 1963 and I remember Mrs Salter lived in the same road and Elaine Ducharme lived nearby in Canning Street. Other names that come to mind are Katie Bacon (her dad was the vicar), Peter Lambert, Linda Stevens, Karen and John Lucas, Susan ? who lived in Hendon Street, Linda ? (who lived in Woodingdean) Andrea Warner who was in the class that left in 1963 is my cousin. My younger sister was Yvonne and my brother was Brian. I realy, really wish we had class/school photos from that time. I have no photos at all from those years. This is a great site.

By Janet Woodger nee Sellars (14/03/2012)

Linda Batchelor! I remember you. We used to play kissing the boys to see who could do the longest! Should I admit that on a public site? Didn't you live in Devonshire Place for a while?

By Jane Andrew (14/12/2012)

Hi went to St. Mary's around 1957; my teacher was Mr Gardner in later years but also remeber Miss Bull and Mr Hughes the caretaker who lived in Queens Park Road. In my class were Christine Ince, Barbara Kelly, Alan can't remeber surname, lived off Lennox Street and Paul Butcher. I loved the memories, now live in Cyprus but would love to hear from anyone.

By Carol Vardy nee Brown (13/10/2013)

Hello all, I attended St Mary's from 1960-64, I lived in Hereford Street. I can remember Linda Gillam (my childhood sweetheart), Stephen/Martin Field, Paul Briggs - and do I remember Mr Gardiner. 

By Steve Humphrey (05/08/2015)

I was at St Mary's school from September 1955 until July 1959. Headteacher was Mr Cooper and the teachers I had were: Mrs Mulcahy, Mr deBaughan, Mrs Hoile and Mr Gardener. Other teachers were Mrs Gale and Miss Golding who had worked with both my parents in the MOD offices. Later I became organist at St Mary's church and conducted the choir at the school centenary service in the church. Whilst I was a pupil at St Mary's, All Souls' school closed and was joined with ours. My own history of All Souls' church, with lots of photos, will be published in the coming months as this Easter will be the 50th anniversary of the closure of that church. St Mary's church is now more active and involved in the local community than it has ever been and they have superb exhibitions of local community and history photos and memorabilia.

By Malcolm Kemp (04/03/2017)

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