Xaverian College Manchester in the Sixties

Do you remember your old school days? Did YOU go to Xaverian College before it turned into a co-ed sixth form college? Do you have experiences that you think no one would believe today as education has changed so much that those dim far off days seem like another world with different ethics, standards and punishments? If so, please drop me a line and we will include them in this blog.

If you would prefer your contribution to remain anonymous, please let me know and I will include it without your name and this will of course remain confidential. Send your memories to: bcweb01@gmail.com

The opinions expressed in this site are purely personal and idiosyncratic. Please forgive any lapse of correctness in a political sense – this blog is written by an old duffer whose trespasses beg forgiveness. Memories can grow dimmer so apologies for any inaccuracies you may find. Please feel free to contact me if you find any obvious errors.

Bernard Hill Dies

One of Xaverian Colleges most famous alumni has died suddenly today (5th May 2024). Most (all?!!) of us are old enough to remember his role in Boys from the Blackstuff although fewer of us, I suspect, knew or remembered that he had gone to our school. If anyone does remember him from their time at Xaverian please get in touch with your memories.

He was also famous for his role as the captain in Titanic as well as his role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Bernard died on Sunday, 5th May 2024 aged 79

Bernard Hill – Guardian Obituary

Bernard Hill pictured in the school photo, 1961, later to achieve major stardom

Xaverian College School Orchestra – by ex-school captain Robert Postlethwaite


Some new faces added to the long neglected photo section (see menu top of this page). There are plenty more to add – a work in progress. More added 23rd September 2023

The Paris Trip 1962 and more nostalgia from ‘Nodge’

Including a hazy scan from the actual trip plus information regarding the now legendary Lucifer And The Medlockbeats!

The Paris Trip

More 1961 Students from school Photo

From Norbert ‘Nodge’ Carnegie

The photos just below might raise a smile or might remind you of Ward Hall. They were taken in 1999 when a few of us from ‘O’ Level Year 1963 met in Manchester. (Earlier incarnations of all shown are on the panorama photograph from 1961.) 

Here, from left to right (top photo) are: Tim Gausden, John Tierney, Mike Pennington, Denis Byrne, and Paul Morris. (Sad to relate, Paul died three years ago.)

From left to right (bottom photo) are: Tim Gausden, John Tierney, Mike Pennington, Paul Morris, and me.

Ward Hall looked as impressive as ever. Our walk round the perimeter of the “main” school showed how much has been kept as well as subsequent additions to the buildings we knew so well.

Click photo to enlarge

Old Boys outside Ward Hall – 1999

From Edmund Flood – anybody interested in a reunion?

I only attended one Old Xaverians annual dinner, circa 1989, soon after I returned from working in Paris. I went along with an old friend, Tom Wrynne, whose younger brother, also a Old Xaverian, had helped organize the event. Unfortunately I knew no-one, apart from Tom (who died prematurely in 2007), and never went again. Maybe with more contributors now coming forward, an ‘Old Xaverians from the 60s’ get-together might be possible in the not too distant future.

Is anyone reading this interested? If so, any ideas about venue, date etc ? My preference would be for an out of city venue, with good parking, on a week-day at lunch time. Not having lived in Manchester for many years, my only ‘recent’ experience of the area was an event six years ago at The Alma Lodge, Stockport, on the A6 (direction of Hazel Grove) which may fit the bill.

Please email me direct: Eddie Flood at eddie_flood@hotmail.com

Jim Heys writes from Perth

I recognized myself and a few friends on school photograph number 5. My name is James Heys and I am 4th row up, 8th from the left. My friends were Terry Madden ( 7th from the left ) & Tony Farrell ( 6th from the left ). I used to catch the 101 bus from Wythenshawe to Great Western street, then the 53 bus to Thurloe Street, where I would put my cap on to pass the gate inspection. 

The home journey had to be timed so when the 53 slowed down approaching the traffic lights at Great Western Street, I would jump off ( or be pushed ) from the open platform at the back of the bus in order to catch the 101 which was due at my stop any minute. I wasn’t very good at gymnastics in school but I nearly managed to pull off a few somersaults on a number of occasions in this situation.

Fortunately I survived and, although I didn’t pass any GCE,s, the quality education at Xaverian has been a great asset.

The teachers I mostly remember are:

Mr. Price – who taught history and was good at throwing text books after checking the previous night’s homework.

Mr. Eaton – who taught maths and sent you to Bro. Cyril if you didn’t learn your ‘teerems’ as he called them in his Irish accent. Crouching behind the person in front of you didn’t help you from being called to the blackboard.

Mr. Crotty  – the geography teacher who couldn’t control the class, which was a shame because he was a good man. 

Mr. Connolly – I think was our English language teacher 

I reside in Perth, Western Australia and have been here since 1989. 

Regards, James Heys 

(Anyone remember Jim Heys? Please get in touch: bcweb01@gmail.com )

One of Xaverian College’s most well known alumnus must surely by Martin Hannett. In the 1961 photograph he bears little resemblance to the world famous record producer and partner in Tony Wilson’s Factory Records. He was always interested in the current music scene and me and Fred Wilson once took part in a rehearsal in some church hall or similar building in Miles Platting where Fred was electrocuted when plugging his guitar into Martin’s amp. Fortunately, it wasn’t fatal. We sometimes saw him in the Twisted Wheel Club in Manchester where we would see acts such as John Lee Hooker and T-Bone Walker before it moved premises and became a Soul venue.

Martin Hannett – Wikipedia

Martin Hannett

Teachers at Xaverian College – 1961 – Click Here

Were YOU at Xavs in 1961?

If you were, the chances are you are on the splendid school photograph acquired by James Kedian from Tony Knowles the present principal. Please look at the page, tell me which image and your position and I will create a rogues’ gallery of the survivors. The youngest will be 71 or 72 so I am not expecting that many, but who knows?

To view any of the photos just click the image to enlarge. To see ALL the photos we have so far, Click Here.

Click here to see the 1961 school photographs

June at Xaverian College in the Sixties

The end of May and beginning of June was the dreaded time at Xavs when ‘O’ levels were taking place in the gymnasium. I remember it felt as hot as the inside of my father’s greenhouse – not the best atmosphere for trying to conjure up the odd sentence from Henry IV Part One in the absence of having any idea what the play was about.

Occasionally one of the more sensitive boys would end up vomiting, the excitement proving just too much. I was reminiscing with Fred Wilson the other day on one of our annual catch-ups. I really liked French and had no problem remembering vocabulary. However, because I was painfully self conscious, the idea of speaking the language was a nightmare. There was an oral examination which meant we had to engage in French conversation with a complete stranger. This was one of the most embarrassing episodes I can ever recall and I am beginning to feel hot round the neck area as I think about it. My French conversation consisted of ‘Oui’, ‘Non’ and precious little else. The bespectacled middle aged spinster who had to endure this travesty let out a couple of ‘tut’s’ and I knew I was sunk.

Who was the ‘Cool Kid’ in your class?

I think there was always one student who stood out from the crowd in most classes. I remember one – I am fairly sure he went to the Prep School as well as Xaverian. His name was John Scott. Mr McAvoy (who took us for French) came in one afternoon and start to tell us what a wonderful innings he had seen Scott play and what a future he could have as a batsman. I always wondered whether Scottie lapped it up or found it embarrassing. Probably the latter – otherwise he wouldn’t have remained the cool kid. I don’t really like that Americanism – class hero seems much more British.  He was also a good footballer and did okay academically.

Does anyone know what happened to John Scott?

‘Brother Cyril’s blank, fish-eyed stare at me whenever our paths crossed said it all really’
Terry Wain

Read Terry’s brilliant memories. The above quote has to be the perfect Brother Cyril pen sketch.