St Michael's Catholic College - Leeds

Bunkers, shelters and other buildings
John Ramsden
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue 15 Dec, 2015 4:32 pm

Re: St Michael's Catholic College - Leeds

Postby John Ramsden » Sun 20 Dec, 2015 5:13 pm

Re previous mention of Miss Veitch, she was my French teacher and I thought she was French.
Maggie Hall taught us English. One day she said we were all a slack lot and should pull our socks up. One lad, called Holmes, who did not see what was coming, did and was ordered to get 3 ferrulas or tollies, as we called them.
Our other female teacher was Miss Creek who taught us Latin. If your work was not satisfactory, she would write on the bottom, ad inf. ( ad infinitum) which meant go to detention every night until I tell you to stop.
John Ramsden
John Ramsden
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue 15 Dec, 2015 4:32 pm

Re: St Michael's Catholic College - Leeds

Postby John Ramsden » Sun 20 Dec, 2015 8:32 pm

I've just found these comments from York Road Lad and others about St. Michaels College made in 2011. Sorry I'm a bit late by four years. I like nostalgia it's better than it used to be. Just thinking about the Tolly makes me laugh.
What is a Tolly. It is the nickname given to the official implement of corporal punishment favoured by the Jesuit priests running St. Michaels and its proper name was a ferula, named after the Latin word for ruler, which was ferule. The ferula was an item made of whale bone covered in gutta perka, (raw rubber). It was about twelve inches long and it was shaped like the sole and heel of a shoe. We were told that it was made by an order of nuns known as the Sisters of Mercy. For acts of indiscipline pupils were ordered to "get three" or "get six" ferulas. The number could go as high as nine or twelve I believe. After being ordered to get three or six ferulas the pupil had 24 hours in which during break time he would walk down a dark black corridor to a black door at the end. You knocked on the door and said to the Jesuit priest on duty, " Please, Father, can I have six ferulas, ordered by Father X". The ferulas were administered on the hand and recorded in a ledger for the teacher ordering the punishment to check later. The trick was to find out which priest was on duty and whether he"laid it on" or not. After receiving the punishment it was necessary to go to the washroom to soak hands in cold water to stop the pain and swelling. Whilst this punishment was for lack of discipline, punishment for poor schoolwork was half an hours detention after school.
John Ramsden.
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue 03 Nov, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: St Michael's Catholic College - Leeds

Postby pjwy » Fri 25 Dec, 2015 4:34 pm

Reading your posts,I wonder which years you were at St.Michael's?
I was also taught French firstly by the feersome Miss Veitch then later by 'Pere' Maxwell and M.Morrin.

My only recollection of Latin though was being 'taught' by one Fr Mc Phillips ( if my memory serves). If you did'nt pay attention in class you could be served a bang on the head with a text book for your trouble!

Fr Corish was another fearsome character.A science teather who must have been eighty,complete with flowing gown which trailed over all the benches,through inkwells an' used to stick chewing gum on his cloack as it swept by. Rotten sods!
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon 26 Oct, 2015 4:47 pm

Re: St Michael's Catholic College - Leeds

Postby Excalibur » Sat 06 Feb, 2016 7:12 pm

Anybody at St Micks in the early to mid 80s?
You may remember Rodney McEnery. He's now a celebrity of sorts...he's a policeman now and is a regular on the Channel 5 police documentary programme, Police Interceptors. They call him Mac. He was a right tearaway at school... I think he found the right career for his skills haha!

Posts: 1
Joined: Thu 20 Jun, 2019 10:06 am

Re: St Michael's Catholic College - Leeds

Postby NG1739 » Thu 20 Jun, 2019 10:09 am

The mention of Miss Veitch brought this to mind.

This short essay was found in the school archives. Miss Henriette F M Veitch had been a teacher at St Michael’s from 1930 - 1936. She left and took up a position of English Governess to the Count and Countess Balinski-Jundzill, residing in North Eastern Poland near to the Russian border. (this area is now in the Ukraine following border changes at the end of WW2). She retuned to the school as teacher in 1940 and was still teaching in 1974. This is copy of an address she gave to St Michael’s pupils in 1939 when some had been evacuated to Gainsborough in Lincolnshire.

On Sunday morning, September 17th, we were waiting for the priest to come and say mass at 10 o’clock; a carriage had been sent the 8 miles for him and his luggage; he was a refugee coming to stay with us. However, shortly after 9 o’clock we heard a motor-bike and the priest arrived.
He just said, “The Russians are coming. They declared war this morning, and are marching into Poland.”
At this time I was serenely completing the diary of my year in Poland.
I went out to say good morning to the priest and was met with the words, “The Bolshevists are coming, we must fly!”
Then followed almost a panic. Many of our things were already packed in various trunks, preparatory to our move into the nearest town, should the German’s oblige us to leave the house, which the could utilise as a hospital as they did in the last war. So we just seized the warmest things the children had, packed one suitcase with a few belongings, mine included and sent for the cars.
During this rush, the priest went to the private chapel in the grounds; everyone gathered there. There was no time to say Mass, but the Father gave us all Holy Communion, even to those who had breakfasted, all the farm people came too.
The two elder children of eight and sever years had already made their first Holy Communion, but Astrid is only five and Christopher only three, and the priest said he would give the girl Holy Communion but the boy was too young. He turned to give us the absolution, then held up the host.. The baby boy was kneeling and looking up so intently, then to everyone’s surprise, the priest gave him the sacred Host. His mother went up to the child and said, “You have just received Little Jesus into your heart and now you must love him.”
The little boy lifted up his hands in an embrace and crossed them on his breast.. It was a beautiful first communion.
The priest explained later that the child seemed so attentive and looked so longingly that he could not refuse him. I myself am sure that he understood, at least in part, because I have heard him ask when will he be old enough to receive Jesus in his heart like his brother and sister.
After this touching incident, the rush and bustle was thrust on us once more. On coming from the chapel we found the Countess’s family - father, mother, sisters and grandmother - had arrived with some of their servants in two cars. They lived about six miles from the Russian Border, and received the news that the arm was only five miles away., so they had come to tell us.
We also had sufficient petrol for two cars.. At last all was ready, the carriage piled with luggage set off before us and the other cars moved off. Unfortunately, the car in which I was with the children and their mother, refused to start.
While waiting in the avenue for the repairs, we heard nine German bombers approaching. I grabbed two small hands and ran down among the trees to cover. We were just heaving a sigh of relief and uttering a thanksgiving prayer when there was a sickening report and explosion, followed closely by a second. Two bombs had been dropped over the village; simply wanton destruction as this is only a hamlet of perhaps a hundred wooden houses. What damage was done we do not know, as luckily the car was repaired and we at last left home.
We travelled quickly on the high road for some distance, then had to go by side tracks, our object being to reach the bridge over the river Niemen before it was blown up by either the Germans or the Russians. the priest on his motorbike acted as an outrider, often going to those behind to tell them the way.
We stopped only for five minutes, about two o’clock p.m., to eat some biscuits and take a mouthful of cognac to keep us going - our first food of the day..
We travelled steadily along the roads of loose sand a grass, sometimes through the forest until seven o’clock in the evening. Then came another trouble.. The Chevrolet, larger and better car, ran out of petrol. It was impossible to buy any more, so we put all the children and the Count’s father into the second car, and they went on to the nearest town about 12 miles away.
Then we exchanged the Chevrolet for two horses and a peasants cart of wood, with iron bound wheels, which jogged unmercifully on the cobbled roads.
we arrived in complete darkness at the town where the others were awaiting us about 10.30 p.m.
A large army store provided us with 1 1/2 gallons of petrol, which meant we could reach the frontier.
After a short rest the five children, two mothers and a chauffeur, left for Orany, the frontier town about 22 miles away. we left sometime later in the cart, hoping to cover some of the distance before the car returned to pick us up. We rode until 1.30 a.m., when we stopped at a wayside farm to buy hay for the horses. Here the car returned to us and we packed in;the Polish lady, the Count, his father, the refugee and I, plus the luggage.
At Orany we stayed for a couple of hours until daylight would warn us that the Customs' Officials would be about. The actual frontier was 2 1/2 miles from the town, a well built wooden bridge over the river marking the boundary between Poland and Lithuania. We arrived at this spot at six o’clock on Monday morning, - a raw, cold mist chilling us to the bone. Here we walked about to keep warm; the cars had to moved into little gateways in front of the houses in case an enemy plane came over and spotted the queue. Several cars had arrived before us, and by 11 o’clock there were 14 car loads of people waiting to cross the frontier.
The officials would not give us permission to enter Lithuania; we had passports but no visas, and we might as well have tried to move the Atlas Mountains as plead with them for a pass over the frontier.
Of course they were only doing their duty. And the telephoned to Kuanas (Lithuanian capital) to ask for permission. All that day we waited, hoping to be allowed over the bridge. At first the news was reassuring; the Kuanas officials only wanted a confirmation of the Russian invasion.They told us that as soon as they heard that the Russian Army was 12 miles away they would let us pass.. Later came news that only when the Reds reached Orany could we pass over, then, last of they must hear the first shots before they would allow us through. So the day went on; our hopes were raised one moment, to be disappointed the next. During the day we made friends with all our companions in distress.
Towards evening, the telephoning having availed nothing, the officials allowed us to park all the cars on the bridge in two queues in case the Reds should arrive during the night. It poured with rain and it knows how to rain in Poland! The officials gave us the use of their small hut on the Lithuanian side; we took the children in, gave then a little milk and dry bread brought by some kind Polish peasant, then tried to arrange them for sleep. In this room was a bench like one you may see in any public park or garden. I sat on one end of this with Christopher on my knee, his head resting on my arm; on his lap lay his sisters head, then Margaret lay on her, and Joseph on Margaret, almost like sardines in a tin. They were all so tired that they slept in this position until 10 o’clock in the evening. We then .arranged the two girls on table, a lady and her husband were asleep under the table, the priest in one corner, the floor strewn with sleeping men, so much so that one couldn’t open the door. One Gentleman of noble birth slept with head and shoulders in a cupboard off the room and his feet behind the stove; he was well over six feet. I was relieved at 11 p.m. and went to the car to try and rest, but in a sitting posture with two lumps of ice instead of feet, a wind blowing from somewhere, and occasional drops of water hitting one’s face from a lead in the roof, sleep did not come easily. By two o'clock I decided that I preferred the stuffy heat of the customs hut to the damp and draughts of the Car, and went back to the children.
Day dawned about six o’clock, and by seven o’clock everyone was up and washed. Oh yes, we went down to the river with sponge-bag and towel, then brought up a bucket of water to wash the children. A dear old peasant woman brought us hot tea, coffee, bread, butter, and jam. It must have emptied her larder, as there were about forty people there. We had some
food of our own, but not much. During the morning more telephoning was done. Officials came down from the Lithuanian town of Orany - names and particulars were taken—things looked brighter-—they collected our passports and took away our arms——many of us had revolvers and guns. Again my host telephoned to Kaunas, giving names of our party, and at three o’clock news came through that twelve people had been permitted to cross the frontier. Who were the twelve? How did it happen? The Countess’s father had at one time been Minister of Agriculture for Poland, and the Polish Consul, remembering his name, vouched for his integrity and allowed his family to pass. We had to leave behind the servants, the Polish governess, and chauffeurs, but we crossed the bridge and reached Lithuanian Oranv at 5 p.m., having spent almost 36 hours of desperate anxiety at the frontier. From this town we were sent out into the country. A doctor and his wife received us into their house and put us up at the sanatorium which the doctor supervised.
During the three days there we tried to get news through to Kaunas begging permission for the other Poles at the frontier to be allowed to cross. One gentlemen in our party was allowed to go to Kauna acting as chauffeur to a business man for two hours. The only advance this gentleman made was to send a telegram to England asking for money and British
visas. My friends went down to the bridge, taking food to those still awaiting a visa on both days. They were not allowed to see them on the second day. On Thursday September 2lst, the Bolshevists arrived at the Polish frontier and forced all those waiting there to go back to Poland. Among them was the priest who had come with us.
Our stay at Siesikai was very quiet and we became rather impatient as affairs did not move very quickly towards their goal, i.e., reaching England. The British visas were granted almost at once, but the greatest difficulty was experienced in obtaining transit visas for Norway, Sweden and Latvia.
We left our kind friends on Tuesday, October 17th, one month after fleeing from the Russians. Travelling 22 miles by horses to the nearest railway station, we took the to train to Riga, the Latvian capital. The following day we embarked on the 700 tons steamer ‘Njiord,’ the last Swedish ship from Riga, and 26 hours later we sailed up the fiords to Stockholm.
At length we heard of a route through Oslo; we decided to go this way although it meant postponing the Voyage until October 31st.
On October 29th we travelled by the night train to Oslo, where we stayed until Tuesday afternoon. At three o’clock that day we sailed from Oslo. For six hours we sailed down the fiords, then as night came on we coasted the Norwegian shore, keeping always in territorial waters, until nine o’clock the next morning. About 12 noon a plane.flew overhead; it proved to be a British Patrol plane. Another gave us a fright about three p.m., when it circled twice over the ship before flying off. The second night on board we were not allowed to undress, but lay in our bunks wondering if we would ever get through. Several times I asked the little girl in my cabin why she did not sleep. Her reply was: ‘I’m too busy saying my prayers.” She is only eight.
On Thursday morning we saw the Scottish coast through a misty rain. The clouds were low, true English weather greeted us, but we were safe. We docked at eleven that morning at Newcastle and during the afternoon we caught the train to London. I left my friends at York and
came on to Leeds, so reaching my home after seven anxious weeks. All the way, however, we were treated with extreme kindness. It was good to learn that there is so much kindness and charity in the world, and may I here thank the Fathers and boys of St. Michael’s for their prayers, which helped us so much on our way.
Stanton Minimus
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu 20 Jun, 2019 10:26 pm

Re: Teachers who reawaken Memories

Postby Stanton Minimus » Thu 20 Jun, 2019 10:56 pm

York Road Lad wrote:
Thu 18 Aug, 2011 2:54 am
Which teachers are your memories/nightmares made of?Norbert, Bridget Burdekin, 'Fat Bri' Nilen, 'Archibald/Harry' Ramsden, 'Smiler' Marshall, 'Maggie' Hall, Miss Veitch, Fr 'Larry' Edwards, 'Pop/Popeye' Morrin, 'Big Bill', Ned 'The Chimney' Phillips, Tony Roper, Terry Duffy, 'KD' Morris or, perhaps, 'Monty' Blundell.
Maggie Hall was my form tutor in 1B. Miss Veitch (a formidable woman) taught us French with an iron discipline. Pop Morrin's approach was far more relaxed. 'Big Bill' I think was Mr Brook - an understated man with a quiet sense of humour. Terry Duffy could be unpredictable and vindictive, as could Brendan Chinnery.
On the more positive side I had a very high regard for Fr Paul Edwards who was a deeply civilising influence on the school and who, when he became Deputy Head was, I think, responsible for the abolition of corporal punishment and the feared 'Tolle Office'.
The Jesuits tended to be assigned to teach subjects other than those of their choosing - part I suppose of their tendency to 'mortify' not just the flesh, but also the intellect. I was taught maths in 3B by a delightful and gentle man who was almost innumerate but who, I later learned, was an outstanding theologian.
Stanton Minimus
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu 20 Jun, 2019 10:26 pm


Postby Stanton Minimus » Thu 20 Jun, 2019 11:18 pm

Glax wrote:
Tue 23 Aug, 2011 5:20 pm
York Road Lad asked for comments on several of the teachers at St Michael`s College, Leeds. I was there in the 1950s when the Jesuits were in charge and it was a boys only school.Standards were high and aspirational, and the education was good enough to get pupils accepted at universities such as Oxford.One of the teachers mentioned, Miss Veitch, was I think a Polish lady of a quiet and studious disposition and very effective in class.On our first day in her class, in the second or third form, she opened with the announcement: “You may call me Madame Jasniewska or Miss Veitch, the choice is yours.”You may guess which title was chosen by nobody at all.Mr Morrin was a good teacher of French, and he had many Gallic mannerisms because I think he was at least half French himself.I believe he had a glass eye but we were not so insensitive as to call him “Popeye”.Maggie Hall was a very pleasant teacher who unwittingly prompted a lot of sneaky laughter on one occasion when it was her turn to organise the milk.In those days we younger pupils each had a free gill of milk and a drinking straw to promote health.This day a sixthformer was loitering unseen outside the school office while nearby Miss Hall was arranging a double line of kids along the bottom corridor.This lad later swore he heard Miss Hall, a lady with an ample figure, calling out: “All right boys, line up for your milk, two abreast!”Other teachers come to mind, most of them superb examples of caring tutors, and none of them ever dull. Toiling up the 99 steps on the way to St John`s Road was the start of a sharp learning curve throughout the day..On other threads I`ve read unfavourable comments about St Michael`s. In my day it was a place where we had a good education, a lot of fun and friendships that went far beyond school. It was a college I was and am glad and proud to have attended.Glax
Like 'Glax' my bother Michael was also there in the early fifties and retains the highest regard for the education he received there. My experience eight years later was very different. We have often discussed our different 'realities' and this my brother attributes to the outstanding leadership of the then Head Fr 'Dickie' Doyle - a classicist - under whose auspices St Michael's achieved some outstanding academic success. My brother was one of six in his year who got scholarships to Oxford - not a common feat then from a state school. For me it was a place of dread - though it must be said that I was a dull and extraordinary lazy child. However, there were two modes to 'survival' - academic excellence - as personified in my year by (the extremely modest and engaging) Paul Cavadino - or sporting excellence pursued by John Regan and I (though John went on to train as a teacher and became an outstanding Head of a number of English schools abroad). Strangely, dull, rebellious and academically lazy as I was in my school years, a love of learning fell upon me in my adult life and now I even remember Latin with fondness.
Looking back, I particularly disapprove of the 'streaming' that saw the B and C forms allocated the weakest teachers and a sense of lesser value. Only now do I also see that this streaming tended (though with exceptions) implicitly to reflect social stratification - with people from 'poorer' backgrounds and council estates more likely to find themselves in the B & C streams with the A form dominated by boys from middle, or aspiring middle class homes.
Stanton Minimus
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu 20 Jun, 2019 10:26 pm

Re: St Michael's Catholic College - Leeds

Postby Stanton Minimus » Thu 20 Jun, 2019 11:33 pm

Pete of ebor wrote:
Sat 11 Apr, 2015 10:02 am
In reply to the post about famous old boys, the only other one I know of was Francis Matthews who did the voice of Captain Scarlet among many other things.
Another deservedly famous Alumnus was my eldest brother's contemporary the highly gifted and lugubrious Jake Thackray - a singer and song writer of wit and wisdom who was a regular on TV in the seventies - inter alia, the nightly Braden Beat. A disciple of the wonderful French singer/songwriter George Brassens (who worked with and was esteemed by Piaf, Mathieu and a host of other Cabaret artists of the post war years). Jake is still fondly remembered in the Chat Noir - a bar dedicated to the memory of Brassens, in the delightful town of Sete )not far from Montpellier) where I was fortunate enough to live for some years. If you have never encountered the idiosyncratic genius of Jake he can be found on YouTube. Though his life which is chronicled there ended unhappily his songs of the Yorkshire countryside (where, despite his claims he was not 'bread and buttered' - he grew up not far off Armley Road which is a world away from the Dales which he celebrates) and his dry wit live on Ad Majórem Dei Glóriam - as he would have wished.

Stanton Minimus
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu 20 Jun, 2019 10:26 pm


Postby Stanton Minimus » Thu 20 Jun, 2019 11:56 pm

Use ink! wrote:
Wed 17 Apr, 2013 6:42 pm
Fr Hewitt was form master at the time of course; one of the more approachable masters who taught RE. We had Fr Woodhall, very meek, he ran the chess club I think; Mr Western maths, Mr Philips, music - hands stained orange through heavy smoking, Mr Caulfield history (and architecture and wasn't he PE with Mr Atkinson also?) Fr O'Calaghan, Fr Edwards, et al. Mr Lavin too. As for long distance travel, some class mates came in from York, Normanton and south Emsel and would invariably be late for class as the result of a train problem.One Sunday afternoon I cycled past Fr Hand on my tandem in the Broomhill area off Scott Hall Rd whilst he was out calling. The very next day I was sent to stand outside his office for some misdemeanour or other and because we'd seen each other the day previously he let me off!The most unpleasant 'learning' experiences without any doubt were under the auspices of Mr Walsh. He actually broke my elder brother Clive's arm with a cricket bat - someone may remember him appearing in class with a plaster caste. He was 3 years above me. The memory of 'THAT' famous scene outside school with Norbert and a disgruntled pupil is still very strong. The drama had been building all day with the expectation of the anticipated show-down and it didn't disappoint!!Talking of cycling encounters, I passed Norbert as well, tearing round the large lake in Roundhay Park on my bike. He was sitting on a bench with a lady friend and just glared daggers at me as I rode past - the things we remember from our school days. Being such a keen cyclist must be at least one of the contributory factors in my now infamous (ask my family!) non achievement at St Michaels.I remember the little corner shop down st Johns Rd where you could buy just 2 'ciggies' (in a paper bag!)and Jubbly ice lollies of course. Also, on at least one occasion seeing Jimmy Saville's white Rolls outside his mothers home in a terraced house just across from the playground. What a villain he turned out. My 4th form friends and I used to go to the Mecca on Saturday mornings in early to mid 60's but Saville may have moved on by then.
The pupil who knocked down 'Norbert Walsh' was a kid called Hardiman - an outstanding footballer who was in the C form and constantly in trouble - not least for choosing to play for Leeds City Boys despite being ordered to play for the school team. He was expelled - though whether for the attack on Walsh or for refusing to play for the school I never knew. 'Norbert' Walsh was a former pupil who vacillated between over friendliness and rage. When he first taught me in 3B he ended his first (light hearted and chummy - "I used to be one of you") lesson by asking if any of us had progressed to that point without having been ordered ferrulla (or Tollies) - the ritualistic and brutal form of corporal punishment meted out by the Jesuits. When three wholly innocent, blameless and naive souls (there were not many such in the B form) raised their hands he ordered each of them, to their horror and dread, '3' - so they could be fully 'initiated'. A cynical soul, my hand stayed firmly down - though my escape from tollies had been down to my older brother - a Prefect who had to take a turn maintaining the Tollie Office 'Register'. He found the whole business deeply distasteful and fraudulently inserted my name whenever I had been ordered a beating.
Stanton Minimus
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu 20 Jun, 2019 10:26 pm


Postby Stanton Minimus » Fri 21 Jun, 2019 12:07 am

Quisutdeus wrote:
Fri 12 Oct, 2012 12:28 am
A bit of internet research suggests that C.J. Feetenby may be the crossword compiler Corylus. That would make sense.(Sometimes I wonder if I'm mentally ill.)
Chris Feetenby (who went to Oxford at the same time as my brother Michael) had the misfortune on returning to St Michael's as a teacher to teach Physics to 3B and was cruelly and mercilessly mocked though he attempted to treat us far better than the more brutalist masters. 3B could sense weakness and pounced like feral yahoos on the vulnerable. I think he had to take time of as a result of the stress.I still feel guilty that I lacked the courage to do anything other than passively collude with our taunting and torture of him.
I was later taught by another of my brother's Oxford contemporaries, Geof Hargreaves - though by then I was in Lower Sixth and owe to Geof a significant part of my life long love of poetry and of literature in general.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot] and 5 guests