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Abram C of E School   Views: 2334
Photo: Frank Orrell   Item #: 29370  

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  Pupils of Abram St. John's Primary School on Warrington Road play in the snow on Wednesday 23rd of January 1985. Picture in my latest book "Just One More" Volume 2.  

 [<< Back] 32 user comment(s) below:-  [Leave a comment]

Comments by Alex, 21st May 2017  
Perfect just perfect. Frank this is great.

Comments by Broady, 21st May 2017  
That certainly brings back memories. My first day at school there over 60 years ago.

Comments by Gareth Cheetham, 21st May 2017  
What a great picture. I went to this school from 1974 to 1980, by which time we had actually moved to the new school on Simpkin Street. I'm not sure what this photo actually shows in terms of the children, as like I say the new school had been opened 6 or 7 years by 1985. Perhaps it was used as a nursery oor similar, I really can't remember. The main building, or the 'juniors' has clearly been demolished here,and ofvcourse the whole site is now houses. Seems a million years ago, but some great teachers and great memories. Mr Christopher was the head, the formidable Miss Banks the deputy head. I also remember Miss Button (later Mrs Aspinall), Mrs Hampson, Mrs Holden, Mrs Banton, Mrs Edwards, Miss Dawson, Mrs Wooding, Mr Dear, and some names that escape mr. Thanks again for a great picture

Comments by Philip Gormley., 21st May 2017  
It's 'a wonder' how a child gives no complaint and displays hardly any shivering when snow is all around. The girl shown here, at bottom-left, has the mien of having returned from Bluebell-picking. Doughty and Golden Days for sure.

Comments by GeorgeB, 21st May 2017  
Congratulations on posting such an appealing photo, it just has that certain "something" that draws you in (and not a transport vehicle in sight!)

Comments by irene roberts, 21st May 2017  
My son Jamie, born 1976, started here in 1981, when there was only the old "infants'" building left, and my daughter Ashley started in 1985. I am so thankful they both got to attend this lovely old school for their year in the "babies' class", (as we used to say before it became "reception"), before going along to the modern new school on Simpkin Street. Jamie's children now attend St. Andrew's in Springfield and I love picking them up two days a week from another "old" schoolyard. There is something about an old school that is lacking in a modern one.

Comments by cliff, 21st May 2017  
it seems only half the school i went to in abram

Comments by Philip Gormley., 22nd May 2017  
C'mon Irene, you know precisely what appeal the old schools and their interiors have in comparison to modern schools. It's 'that lived-in feeling', isn't it. A well-used armchair and the interior of a grand old marque are just two other examples that have that same appeal - I'm sure there must be many more. Regards.

Comments by Paul Lange, 22nd May 2017  pwlange.uk@blueyonder.co.uk 
The infants section of the school, 3 classrooms if I remember correctly.

Comments by Ed, 23rd May 2017  
Frank you have breathed life back into wigan world with these photographs,you are taking the smell oil and diesel off these photos of wagons,thanks once again.

Comments by David Hurst, 24th May 2017  dj.hurst@btinternet.com 
This brings back many happy memories. I started this school in 1955. Teachers names at that time were Miss Sharrat and Miss Gaskell in the Infants. I think that there was another lady teacher also but her name escapes me. In the Junior School the teachers were Miss Ollerton, Mrs Meadows, Miss Fairclough, Mr Christopher and Mr Bridge. The Head Master was Mr Almond who retired during my time there and was succeeded by Mr Bridge.

Comments by Broady, 24th May 2017  
The missing teacher could have been Mrs. Kenyon. I left in 1961 and Mr. Christopher wasn't there. Mr. Howarth taught the last class.

Comments by Eric R, 25th May 2017  ericr241@apl.com 
I "started " at St John's in 1946, and remained until 1953. I believe that we used to refer to the building in the picture as "the big school" The square outline to the front of the building is more or less where the "infants" section of the school stood. The door visible in the photo led into a fairly dark passageway between in my time Mr Howarth's and Mr Bridge's classrooms, and headmaster Mr Almond's office, which was on the left of the passageway. There was a much larger entrance out of sight on the far side of the building which led directly into the cloakroom, with its rows of metal coat hooks, and to the lower two classrooms. There has been an addition to the centre of the building between what was the square headmaster's office and the one chimney extension out from the main building. This was a small square area, giving access to the coke store and heating boiler There was a few yards of space between the "big school and the "infants building, On the upper wall of the infants building there was a carved stone commemorative plaque, naming the school, and year of the opening, which I believe was 1887. There was further wording on the plaque, but I am unable to recollect what it was.

The teacher of the reception class was Mrs Smith when I started there. Mrs Gaskell was the head of the infants section of the school. David certainly as an excellent memory for the names of the teachers, I remember those he names who were there in my time at the school. I also have a recollection of a Mrs Churchward in the big school? I have occasionally picked out a name or two on Wigan World from those school days, what a great idea this website is.

Comments by Broady, 26th May 2017  
That is without a doubt the Infants School. The "Big School you refer to has gone. You can see the outline of the building on the left hand side of the photo.

Comments by Eric R, 27th May 2017  ericr241@aol.com 
Broady - many thanks for answering my comment. I think that my reply to yours of 26 May 17., may have failed - so I will re-send.
The building shown in the photograph - be assured that his was the original Junior School - the "Big School." The absent building was the Infants School. Where the children are standing was approximately the location of the school yard boundary wall. The school yard boundary wall to the immediate right of the photograph - out of shot, was the location of the large wooden double gates from the unsurfaced lane, through which the deliveries of school milk and dinner arrived. Mr Howarth's classroom held the senior class of the school, and was located on the right gable end of the building with the three large windows. Mr Bridge's classroom was the next one down, which on Sundays held the St John's Sunday School, presided over by Mr Dennis??(sorry his surname escapes me.) Rev'd Downthwaite controlled the Sunday School, and he also presided on occasion on Thursday morning School Prayers. Thursday was "his day".

Immediately on the opposite side of Lea Lane, stood the original scout hut. On the area behind stood the Abram Pre-Fab estate, I believe that it was known as "the cardboard city." When the first rows of block-work of the "permanent" houses here being built, it was a great game to chase each other around the outline foundations, until the builders turned up, then it was time to run for it.

Perhaps confirmation of my comments can be found in Frank Orrell's book. There surely must be some pupils of this period still around Abram. Suggest Aubrey - he comes up occasionally. Please appreciate that I have not been around Abram since approx 1964. I doubt that I would recognise the place now.

I believe my last attempt to answer Broady failed. If received - please disregard.

The houses at the top right hand of the photo - I recollect a typical Warrington Road terrace built circa 1890 - 1910. There was a short lane at the right hand side of the terrace end, almost immediately opposite the small school entrance, and quite near Warrington Road. There stood a blacksmith and farriers workshop. We used to go there to watch the horses being shod during dinner break. The building on he top left of the photo - I recollect terraced houses on the opposite side of Lea Lane. (I think that is the correct spelling?) The Lea lane entrance to the school was in that corner. There used to be a ornamental cast iron gents walk-in convenience just to the right of the school gate.

Comments by Broady, 27th May 2017  
All I have spoken to regarding this picture are of the same opinion as myself. Hopefully Aubrey will tune in and answer. I have put it on the Abram web site to seek opinions.

Comments by Eric R, 27th May 2017  ericr241@aol.com 
Broady - I have read your last. Aubrey should confirm - he was there at the same time as myself. Also, is Mary SAYER still on line? I have not seen anything from her for some
time. If you look at the picture I posted last year on the same page of the school football team for 1952-53, you will see the crack in the wall behind the posers. Perhaps subsidence was the cause of the problem. Perhaps some of the boys are still in the area. Ernie Burrows had a brother- Billy- is he still around the place. Would be interested in Frankl ORRELL'S book. Best Regards, Eric R.

Comments by David Hurst, 28th May 2017  
This photograph is taken from the school gates at the Warrington Road/Lee Lane side. The houses to the rear of the Infants School are on Vicarage Road and the building in distance to the left is Abram Library. The large wooden gates to which Eric refers are just to the left but out of the shot.
The Scout hut that I remember was on Park Lane at the entrance to Fisher Avenue where the prefabricated houses were built.

Comments by Gareth Cheetham, 28th May 2017  
To be clear, this photo is taken from roughly where the entrance gate at the corner of Warrington Road and Lee Lane met.Warrington road runs towards Platt Bridge to the left, and Lee Lane up towards the park on the right. The building shown is definitely the infants block, and the houses on the right stand in the same road as the library which can be seen on the left. When I was at the school in the seventies, this building held the first 3 infant years classrooms, a small toilets area, a small common area/cloakroom, and the staff room which took up the left hand side of the building as we look at it. Between the building and the boundary wall ran a 'tunnel' shed where stuff like unused furniture, PE equipment, and the large tub of sawdust for when children were sick was stored. The larger 'juniors'block is definitely the one that has gone.

Comments by Eric R., 28th May 2017  ericr241@aol.com 
Broady, David, Gareth - Gentlemen - I hold my hands up - you are right. I have magnified and I can see the commemorative plaque I previously referred to. This is the dark circle on the pointed gable at the left hand side of the picture, not immediately obvious. I have also compared the photograph of the building with a photo I have here, and now have no doubt about the location of the house rooftops beyond the wall. A pleasure to have been in contact with you, and apologies to Mr Orrell for any doubts raised. I look forward to purchasing his book.

Eric R

Comments by Broady, 28th May 2017  
Dave Hurst, You are correct. Tommy Dearden lived opposite the school double gates. I think they only opened on walking days. I think Mr. Southern used to stoke the boilers when I went to Abram school.

Comments by Gareth Cheetham, 28th May 2017  
David Hurst - You are right, the Scout hut that I know of was indeed in Fisher Avenue just off Park Lane, which is the other end of Abram, going up to the old Maypole Colliery. It still is the Scout hut as far as I know, but was previously a sanitorium for T.B. patients. I don't know if there were any previous Scout huts in Abram, but the one I'm talking about was the home of 1st Abram (Crankwood) as they were called.

Comments by Broady, 28th May 2017  
Eric R, Easy mistake as you have been away from Abram so long. The thread has brought back many memories for quite a few people. In the post the Scout hut is mentioned and I wondered if it was ever on the Rec at the back of the morgue?? I think the hut was the old clinic at one time but I remember going in there for a Beetle drive. The clinic relocated to the old police station opposite the Buck.

Comments by Eric R, 28th May 2017  ericr241@aol.com 
Broady - I remember the name of Tommy Dearden, and that he lived opposite the school double gates in what was a terrace of older houses. After all this time I could not put a face to him. I think for the first time I now realise that the two school blocks were almost identical in design. The scout hut in Park Lane must have been built after I left. I do not recollect that the wooden hut I referred to was still standing when I left St John's If anyone remembers Graham LOWE, he was a member of the Abram Scouts in the period I am talking about. No doubt he could help. As regards the present(?)(Crankwood) part of the troop's title - just a thought- I remember that Clr John Mannion of Crankwood, had quite a lot to do with the formation of a Sea Scout Troop, and a number of boys from Crankwood were members. Clr Mannion became well known at De Haans when they took on the Maypole site for development into their processing plant, but when I was around the area, the Maypole was still the Maypole, and Park Lane was generally fields. I remember the original Abram Police Station. Correct me if I am wrong, but I can picture a converted shop with the windows painted blue. This was situated on Warrington Road on the opposite side of the road and close to St John's Church. The newly built police office and houses were situated down the lane (as it was then)leading to the Rec., off the right hand bend, opposite the churchyard, and just before the Council Offices.

Pleased to read that Frank Orrell's photograph has stirred up some memories, all thanks to him and Wigan World. I look forward to having the book

Eric R.

Comments by Jack Potter, 14th June 2017  thepotters30@btinternet.com 
I lived all my early schooldays seeing this building opposite us at 150 Warrington Road then later at nearby 153 which was the end one, (School St ). I could stay in the house and wait to hear the bell sounding before dashing across. The photo brings back to me one of my first memories, thank you Mr Orrell . In 1939, aged 5 my first day at Abram school, workmen laying concrete in the schoolyard and I had to literally walk the plank over it to reach the doorstep. Welcomed by the infants headteacher named Mrs Cooke who loved everyone of us. Then after came the war years and the changes’s that had to be made teaching us with all the strains and shortages. Into the “Big” school we went. 1st nice Mrs Ollerton, 2nd the not very nice Miss Parr. Hard times indeed, nuckles wrapped, Mr Almond’s big cane, a short respite with Mr Howarth (John Bill) what a lovely man, and “Little Alice” ?, I remember taught the girls.
Back to the photo. The end classroom to the left also doubled up as the school dinners room. School dinners?. What an exciting day when the little grey delivery van came through the big wooden doors. What a disappointment they turned out to be. Well there was a war on. No, but rationing was.

P.s. How does one get Frank Orrell’s book?.

Comments by Frank Orrell, 15th June 2017  frankorrell@sky.com 
Hello Jack, I'm glad that the picture brought back happy memories for you. The book that the photograph is in is Volume Two of Just One More. If you are in Wigan you can get it at Rydings news stall in Wigan market hall or the Museum of Wigan Life in Library Street. It is also available on line at www.facebook.com/frankorrellphotography and click on the Shop Now button.

Comments by Eric R, 16th June 2017  ericr241@aol.com 
Jack P. - I received my copy by post via the good offices of the ladies at Museum of Wigan Life, and thoroughly recommend it. Agree with your comments ref Mrs Ollerton, Mr Almond and Mr Howarth.
Eric R.

Comments by Jack Potter, 17th June 2017  
Eric, Thanks for your info. The blacksmiths & farriery you mention belong to Mr Joe Winson’s Crook Farm. Clifford, his son delivered milk around the district on a horse drawn milk float, I helped him harness the horses every day before going to school. Mr Joe Winson was also the blacksmith at the Maypole Pit. The Wigan RL centre Ernie Ashcroft was his apprentice/striker at the pit and he often came to see us. That is when, at the age of thirteen I became a Wigan supporter and I still am.
The field behind the wall you can see in the photo, (now vicarage rd) belong to the farm, I learned to plough on there but hit that wall with the tractor and knocked a few bricks out. To the left of that field, about where the library now stands, was the Ypres Hall “occupied” by Abram Home Guard captained by Mr John Sharratt Snr. The Air-Raid shelter was opposite the vicarage on Lee Lane which later became our school garden.
I remember after the war watching a game of football on Lee Lane park between a combined Bickershaw/Abram side V a German P.O.W side. Burt Truahtman in goal, we never got one past him.
Mr Howarth used to take football on the park, even in the snow he would place his bowler hat on the crossbar to which all the lads threw snowballs at it for fun. Now that WAS a schoolteacher.

Comments by Eric R, 19th June 2017  ericr241@aol.com 
Jack - Thanks for your comments. That confirms the existence of the blacksmith and farriers workshop opposite the school. I recollect the name "WINSON," but I have no recollection of Crook Farm, or The Ypres Hall, who's name and origin are pretty obvious. The only horse drawn milk round that I recollect is that run by John MILLS of Chadwick's Farm, Crankwood Road, which took in as far as Victoria Street, Platt Bridge. (Although the name of PIMBLETT does come to mind.)

There you have it - Bert TRAUTMANN'S debut was Abram Park. At the time Jack is talking about I presume that Bert was resident at Ashton in Makerfield POW Camp and this was immediate post war. Ernie ASHCROFT I well remember. He ranked with the other Wigan top players of the time.

There must be others Abramers who are reading this who could add something to the comments triggered by Frank ORRELL'S
photograph. Perhaps someone has already written down the reminiscences before they fade away.

Eric R.

Comments by Jack Potter, 19th June 2017  
Eric- Crook Farm is still standing 126 Warrington rd. The main building is so wonderfully kept by it’s present owner and must now be getting on for 200 yrs of age, judging by it’s Flemish style brickwork, is this now the oldest house along Warr. rd Abram?.
The newer left side attached was made into our dairy when I was there. The blacksmith/ farriery was in the corner of the garden, with access from the road via a cinder pathway as you say.
My friend, twelve year old Mick Burke lived in the terraced house further along at No;120. Later Mike found fame through climbing some of the worlds highest mountains, and some of the most difficult rescues, he lost his life on Mount Everest whilst working as a cameraman for the BBC TV in 1975. As far as I know his name goes unrecognised as one of Wigan’s famous sons.
Pimbletts had Culcheth Farm which was between the park and Bickershaw lane, remember Billy?. Mrs Mills had a milk round with a horse drawn float from Dover to PB. But WE drove the fastest in the west!!!!!.

Comments by anne bretherton, 17th July 2017  
Mick Burkes family lived on Grasmere Terrace too.Their family and mine both went to Holy Family school.

Comments by Alan cannon, 26th December 2017  
Remember abram I went to Abram school until 1951 and then on on to Ashton school, l to help on winstons. Farm with Clifford and Lillian who did a second milk round. Platt bridge area finishing up at Edwards bakery for the surplus cakes for the pigs. I to saw the Germans play and the legend Bert .t happy memeries

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