I arrived at Ward Hall in 1960. Another large converted house, it doubled as the refectory at lunch time for the whole college. My teachers included Bro Finbar (French), Mr Crotty (Geography) and Mr Dewhurst (English). Those of us who had migrated from the Prep School found the new intake of 11 plus boys to be a bit of a mixed bunch. Some were well mannered as we were, having attended other Prep Schools from other areas of Manchester. Others were from areas such as Wythenshawe and Glossop and didn’t have the same social skills that had been drummed into us at St. Anne’s. One or two ‘didn’t fit in’ and disappeared within a few months. I can remember one boy called Price from Glossop who had an issue with authority, something that didn’t go down well with Brother Cyril who had followed us from the Prep to Xavs as headmaster of the senior school. I was sorry to see Price go because cricket was my number one interest at that time and he could hit a ball like no one else. Having said that, when he first tried out for the school team he was out for a duck – very sad.
Brother Finbar (Edward Mannion in real life) was a rum cove. He was the only brother (apart from Brother Bernadine who taught no one, but drove the tractor and lawn mower a great deal) who didn’t wear trousers under his cassock. He also took great delight in tickling boys round the upper thigh area which made one or two of the other more worldly boys very suspicious of his motives. I was extremely naïve and trusting at the time and never gave it much thought. However, he used to edit the School Magazine – The Xaverian – which I made contributions to – articles about ‘The Planets in our Solar System’ as I remember. I copied these word for word out of an old annual I had at home so no marks for originality but 10/10 for plagiarism. I remember the following year when our class had gone across to the main college site Brother Finbar coming into our classroom and telling us that he would no longer be editing The Xaverian. When we asked why he replied ‘You will understand when you get older’. We never saw him again. According to the Xaverian Brothers archives he was ‘dispensed’ in 1962.
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Bro Finbar was dispensed with after the 1962 Junior trip to Paris where his behaviour was reported by some of the boys on their return to their parents.