Join us as we take a trip down Memory Lane………

Do you have a memory to share? Click here and we will add it to the page.

If you would like to comment on any of the memories shared please click here and we will include it on the page.

Old School – Shared by Peter Connor
© Malcolm H. Haigh – ‘ Historical Snapshots of Batley and Birstall’

Agnes Kelly and Annie Kelly the May Queen and attendant from May 1921 (100 years ago this May!!)
Ann Hardcastle Buckley

St Mary’s UCM Children’s party about 1952. Mrs Colleran (in hat) was always the leader of the entertainment. I can still remember her teaching us to sing “Bluebells are Blue Bells”. I taught it to my grandchildren last year.
I hope someone can help to fill in all the names.
Best to all,
Mary Farrell

For list of names please click here.
If you can help fill in any of the names please email the number and name here.

Christmas 1903 – Here the old crib can be seen.
Peter Connor

More recent history……..
Peter Connor

From opposite ends of the world………

Memento Plate, 1907

There are 2 known copies of this plate, the first one in New Zealand with the Elders Family, the second in California with the Farrell Family.

The Farrell plate was received at school by Mary’s dad, Jimmy Lyons, in 1907. It measures eight inches in diameter.
Mary Farrell

This plate was hung on our wall in Batley for years. It  pre- dates the time when Joe’s father Willie or his mother Hilda Kilbride would have been pupils at St Mary’s School.
We thought that it might have been given to Joe’s uncle , another Joseph Elders, who was killed as a very young lad when he was at work at Lady Ann Mills Soothill, but there is no one left to confirm this.
I know that there there used to be another plate like this in the Staffroom at St Mary’s School, (but sadly that one was chipped ) and that Mary Farrell nee Lyons treasures one in California.
They were made by Adams of Tunstall and are a beautiful memento of the school outing in 1907.
It would be good to know if the School Records show a list of recipients and if there is a report on where it was that the children were taken on that summer day so long ago.
Mary Elders.  
Tauranga, New Zealand.

Memento plate 1907
My mam got the plate when at she was at school. Mam gave us the plate when Cath and I got marred in 1953. Mam could not remember were the outing went to . Over the years  the plate went with us.
Its on my kitchen wall it reminds of Mam and Cath.
Geoff Camponi

Batley of yester-year : All these buildings have gone now but it might bring back some memories. The photograph was taken by Brian towards the end of the 1950s from the back window of the house we moved into when we got married in 1955. Wellington Court now covers the site of the foundry shown in the foreground, showing the streets from East St to the Library in the background. This was very much one of the Irish areas then and many of us visited our grandparents there if we didn’t actually live there ourselves. My grandmother lived in Peel St not far from the Co-op. Peel St was a cul-de-sac so the co-op straddled two streets with an entrance from both sides thus connecting with East St and making a short cut to the town centre.
Sheila Asquith

Our Wedding Day – It’s amazing what you come across in your old photo albums.  This is a picture of Sylvia and me as we left St Mary’s after our wedding on July 28 1965.
Peter Connor

First Communion, 1950
Back row: Judith Ogden, Maureen Jones, Mary McNamara
Front Row: Mary Wilson, Sheila Gavaghan, Mary Lyons
Mary Farrell

May Procession 1963  –  May Queen 

On the day of the procession all the children assembled in the school hall with the nuns and teachers and we made our way through church and walked up Upton Street and around the streets of Cross Bank, where the school and playing fields are today.

Many of the houses would have statues of Our Lady and flowers in the widows or outside of the house. Crowds of people gathered on the streets to watch the procession go by.
We then made our way into the school playground for prayers, hymns and Benediction, I crowned the statue of Our Lady when the hymn “O Mary We Crown Thee” was sung. The cushion bearer was Ann Cahill and the ex May Queen was Kathleen Small.

My train bearers were Maureen Keelan (my younger sister), Jane Hemingway, Susan Lewis, Linda Ward, Ann Finn, Jacqueline Firth, Maria Brennan and Diane Maguire.

Margaret Keelan (Gierula)
I’ve found a couple more pictures from my early days at St Mary’s. The ‘formal ‘one is of our class in 1948.  it would be nice to know if anyone can remember their names.  I can recall a few of them but I lost touch with St Mary’s when I went to St Bede’s in 1950.
The school play dates, I think,to 1949.  We were all in Miss Colleran’s class when we took to the stage in the Parochial Hall.  The prince, who won my hand in marriage, was Joe Hill but he is missing from the picture.
Peter Connor
St Mary’s First Holy Communion 15th July 1957

Here is my First Holy Communion certificate and my group classmates 15 July 1957. As you can see there is a great crowd of us – we were part of the Baby Boomers after the Second World  War and we would be in our last year in the Infants School and aged 7 years old. We would have two streams in the year with up to 40 in each class – you sat at your desk facing the blackboard and didn’t move around!

After the photo in the  rain we then went down to the hall for our breakfast after several hours of fasting which had been prepared by The Mothers Union (UCM). The hall  would be filled with long tables and noisy happy chatter from seventy 7 year olds.

The Mothers Union here in St Marys started up 71 years ago – how do I know that? Well I was the first baby girl born in November to a member followed by Stephen Farrar in December as the first baby boy – both Mum (Mary Keelan) and Stephen’s Mum (Agnes Farrar) both received five shillings and baby matinee jacket! Happy days.

Pat Batchelor (Keelan)

On Saturday September 21st 1929, after years of fundraising efforts, the church of St Mary of the Angels was ready for consecration.  The ceremony was carried out by Bishop Cowgill the culmination of which was a Solemn High Mass at which the school children provided the Gregorian Chant.
The following day the Bishop returned to celebrate a Pontifical High Mass at which he used vestments that he had bought in Rome in 1914.  The sermon was preached by Fr McBride’s own parish priest from Ireland who preached again at the Solemn Benediction held in the evening.  It was at this service that our handsome monstrance, the gift of an anonymous parishioner was used for the first time.

At a quiet moment during the celebrations the Bishop found time for a private prayer, which was when this picture was taken.

Recently Peter O’Connor shared a wonderful picture of the Pentecost (Whitsun) Day Parade which took place in Batley in 1936. The woman in front of the photo of the Whit Walk is his mother, Mary Hunt as she was then.