Does anyone remember Abbeyholme School,Wavertree?
When i was a child in the early 1950's my cousin went to a school in Church Road Wavertree which was on the corner of Hunters Lane/Church Road next to the Liverpool School For The Blind.I remember it well(and still have an old school tie) but cannot find any trace of its existence-it has simply dissappeared off the radar.Possibly it was a small private school but there still ought to be records somewhere.Can anyone shed any light?
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1968 The Abbeyholme Preparatory School adjacent to Wavertree School closed
, and was purchased by the Trustees. It unfortunately required demolition but
became the site of the School's adventure playground and mobility area.
Was brought by the school for the blind.
Abbeyholme School Wavertree
Thank you 'Intrigued' for shedding some light on Abbeyholme School.I seem to remember it as being a Georgian house(early Victorian possibly?) whose frontage was partly covered in ivy.As viewed from Church Road through the trees which bordered its small crescent shaped carriage drive it took on a particular mystique to a small boy with a fertile imagination well sourced in Just William and Sexton Blake novels.
Any more memories and possibly photos please!
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I was a pupil at Abbeyholme between 1963 and 65 and have very fond memories of the school. The headmaster and owner was a Mr Veltcamp he ran the school with his wife who was also the cook, their son Case was also a teacher at the school where he taught amongst other things PE, the entrance was through a curved walled driveway and we used to leave our bikes under the science labs, ther yard was more like a large garden than the traditional school yard and had trees at the bottom. we went to Holland on a school trip in my second year, a big event in the early 60's to a hostel in a village named Beekbergen, (the Veltcamps were Dutch),We had a Geography teacher by the name of Mr Cumberlidge a real user of the cane but a brilliant teacher and a prolific author of Geography books, one of which I still have along with a school tie and a scarf, in the orange and green of the Dutch flag colours.I hope this has stirred a few memories and it would be great if anybody could add anything to it.
Regards to all Abbeyholmers.
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Abbeyholme High School??? – I remember it very well with the fondest of memories. My name is Graham Maddrell and I and I was known in my schooldays - and for years after - as Maddie.
I originally went to a school at the bottom of Smithdown Place which was called Angers House – it closed after six months (the building is still there on the corner of Heathfield Road ) and my parents found another school for me to go to - this was Abbeyholme - it was then called a High School.
I was around 5 at the time and this would have been somewhere around 1957 -1958 – I transferred over with another small Liverpool urchin named Alec Whittaker who I was mates with for many years.
At the time Alec lived in Toxteth towards the bottom of Parliament Street (if I recall it correctly) and lived in Liverpool 7 in a ‘play street’ at 18 Cambridge Street - the house is where the car park now is behind the Sidney Jones Library on the University of Liverpool campus.
Picture below of class at Angers House circa around 1956 - that's me on left of the front row and Alex Whittaker on the right - what a pair of cuties!!!
At Abbeyholme I was straight into the very junior classes and there were quite a number of boys – and some girls. I can distinctly remenber the small room where all of us youngsters played and were taught - I was a dab hand at making wax crocodiles in a sand box!
The building in which Abbeyholme was sited was a large sprawling house with many large rooms - it’s frontage faced onto Church Road had a half curved drive in front and a large door which only the invited used - certainly not us wee sproggs - and a garden in front with large trees.
We always entered via the side pathway to the left of the building - looking at it from Church Road - towards the chemical lab and the first floor art room - this was a reasonably new building to the location. From there we walked a few more yards just left around the corner and into the large playing rough hard soil/gravel ground - after a few years Kees Velkamp became a God-like person when he installed two five-a-side sized goalposts on it.
Every break saw mob like crowds kicking a ball around in a frenzy of action - if we weren’t playing King-io (??). There were small trees on either side and at the bottom, over a small ridge, was a fairly natural if roughly overgown area of grass. At Christmas time we would even have an Abbeyholme Carol Service at a church nearby in Hunters Lane - and some us were chosen -much against our will to do a reading from the Bible!!
I stayed at Abbeyholme until it finally closed in the mid sixties – it was a heartbreaking situation after being at the school for so long and then to be cast adrift to new pastures - but not as happy - which was Morrison (Rose Lane) and then Quarrybank.
I was not the most prolific of pupils in all my time at Abbeyholme – in fact I’d say I was fairly useless (though my school reports seemed to indicate I was okay). Mind you it was not helped by the fact that me eyes had started to deteriorate and my short sightedness became more profound so that I really could not see what was written the blackboard most of the time.
Hence, one year I received a massive 0/100 in my Maths exam - rewarded by being slung across a desk and given a bare-handed pounding over my back by Mr Cumberland (or Cumberlidge??) - not too politically correct these days me thinks. I actually managed to steam open my school report and change the figure to more acceptable if not too impressive 30 and handed it to my nearly proud parents - shameful eh!
These were the days before many of the accepted health checks regularly carried out at schools - especially eye sight checks - were introduced. The only thing I can recall was a walk along Church Road to have a monstrous jab with a BSG needle.
The most important thing for me was sports and playing footy - and grudgingly cricket in the Summer. One of the other teachers we had was the mercurial Miss McClelland - very old fashioned and not adverse to a quick rap across the knuckles with a ruler. To be honest all these years late I wouldn't have had it any other way.
For the footy, we used to change in the basement changing rooms and the unlucky ones had to grab a set of goalposts - no crossbars - and walk down Fir Lane to The Mystery and set up the pitch. The sports were then handled by Kees Velkamp - the young son of the headmaster the formidable, cigar smoking Mr Velkamp.
Kees was a great person, loved his footy, thought he was Bill Shankly, but encouraged all of us year after year to play the game - he was passionate about it - and for a few weeks we even trained. Kees even arranged for a visit to the school by Ron Yeats, Ian St John and Peter Thompson - all heroes of ours and now so was Kees for this miracle visit.
I always recall after many years of playing in the old, heavy canvas styled school shirts - which never fitted , Kees arranged for new lightweight strips to be made in the Abbeyholme colours - green and yellow for seniors (still have my shirt and I am still very proud of it) and red and black (??) halves for junior teams.
We were very impressed by looking like a proper footy team even if we were not the best - in fact I think it took us many years to actually win a game (under 15’s) - possible 2-1 against SFX. We were rewarded as winning heroes with bottles of the newly arrived Coca Cola from the tuck shop - which was based through an open e=window at the art block. I managed to play for most of the teams over the years as a ball winning left back - eventually progressing from the under-15’s to the first XI celebrating my debut with a cracking goal - sorry that should have read...own goal against Olive Mount.
I even managed a name check in the Liverpool Echo Football Pink one Saturday as Man of the Match in a game played at Jericho Lane - well, small boy of the match!
There were four house groups – Scott (yellow), Raleigh (Red), Columbus (Blue) and Hawk (Green) – I was in Scott, although it was always thought that Hawk collared the most talented and brainiest sports children etc, and were the most successful, followed by Raleigh, then Scott, and poor souls, bless them..... Columbus being the most dodgy!!!
Back to the school....in the morning we would assemble, after a shrill blast of a whistle, in single lines in front of the back building, and then trudge from left to right around a small fenced off inclined garden area and into the assembly hall. I failed my 11 plus though some thought on purpose so I wouldn't be moved to another school and not play as much footy. Sorry Kees but I was just hopeless!!!
Simple truth was I WAS absolutely hopeless, and I really didn’t mind toot much as all I wanted to do was play footy and become the next Gerry Byrne. With my poor eyesight it was obviously written in the stars - not that I could read it - that I would never be invited to join the brain drain, but the old mince pies were still good enough for me to make slide tackles and leg breaking tackles.
Some of the names of the people I was at school with have regrettably now faded, however, some still seem very familiar - Graham Simm, the twinny brothers – Derek and (??) Hawkins, Neil Cain - the only person I have ever had a punch up in with in my life but we were still best mates, Harold ‘Micky’ Mullins - a good centre forward, Frank Robotham - good left winger and soon went into become one of the leading lights in the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, Kieron ‘Irish’ Dunne - classy left half, Leigh Wheeler – who was related to the old Liverpool footballer Johnny Wheeler, Ivor Morris and his elder brother Geoff - lived in Childwall, Noel Winterbottom – who parents had a tailors shop at Penny Lane, Peter Heptonstall - great goalie, and Peter Chadwick - flame haired forward, Snowy White, whose hair colour perhaps revealed the secret of his nickname, Ernie Lewis - and sister Kathy - from Lark Lane, and Robert Binks. Sorry to all the old pals I have missed out and really should not have - blame it on old age!
What about the girls? - there were the Cornforth's – whose parents owned a florist Shop in the High Street in Wavertree, Gail McKenzie, Julie Jones – and her brother. That’s all I can recall as we were more interested in footy that girls in those days.
School dinners were a pleasure - queue up at lunchtime and we headed downstairs - opposite the sport changing rooms - to the multi tabled room - Mrs Velkamp did the school dinners magnificent roasties, shepherds pie to die for and rice pudding (with great skins), and custard with inch thick skin - we all queued up again to ask politely, “Please Miss can I please have have some seconds.”
She was often helped out by the two sisters and the Velkamp’s owned two massive St Bernard dogs - often seen on the playground.
Even all these years later every time I pass the now flattened site of Abbeyholme I always think about the effect it had in my life and how I turned out - not such a bad guy - I would have loved to have caught up with Kees and told him about my career in local government - unfortunately not as an overpaid footy star - worse luck!!! - and I would certainly love to meet some of the guys I spent my early years with to see what paths they have taken and how life has treated them - well I sincerely hope!
Cheers Abbeyholme - thanks for the great start in life.
Last edited by Maddie; 12-25-2010 at 08:26 PM.
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Hi Maddie, welcome to Yo! Great reminiscences!
Abbeyholme High School
Hi Maddie I'm Ted Beattie I was at Abbeyholme from 1955 to 59 and I totally agree with all of your fond memories. I have nothing but the happiest memories and was heart broken when I finally had to leave. In fact I have kept in touch with Kees over all of these years and would dearly love to hear from some of my old classmates from my own years at the school.
Originally Posted by wsteve55
Best wishes and thanks for those wonderful reminiscenses
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I came across a photograph of a building between the School for the Blind and Hunters Lane, but called Scholfield Home For Girls:
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Abbeyholme High School
[QUOTE=Maddie;314503]Abbeyholme High School??? I was around 5 at the time and this would have been somewhere around 1957 -1958 – I transferred over with another small Liverpool urchin named Alec Whittaker who I was mates with for many years.
Hi Maddie, Thank you for your posting, which brought back many memories of Abbeyholme School. We must have been in the same class because I remember Alec Whittaker, Graham Simm and Ivor Morris, but your recollections are certainly much clearer than mine !
My name is Timothy Chaple and I attended Abbeyholme from 1957 to 1961. At that time, I was lucky enough to pass my 11 plus and moved down the road to the Bluecoat.
I too have a copy of a school report that I have attached below:
This report was signed by Miss McClelland herself ! Unfortunately, the original report was longer than A4 so the bottom got cut off.
During that time at Abbeyholme, my best friends in school were Paul Hatton and Martin Randle. I am still in touch with Martin, but have no contact details for Paul.
I also remember the BCG injection……. the “test” consisted of five needles in a circle that penetrated your fore-arm simultaneously. If that didn’t turn bright red after a week then you would be given the “actual” BCG injection, however I believe that the stories about the needle being six inches long were somewhat exaggerated !
Thanks for your posting.
Hi Ted- I'm Eric Long, and I was in your form and remember you clearly, as one of the more studious boys! Just reading the above posts brings back the warmest memories of the best times of my life. I did have some email contact with Brian Duxbury, whom you may remember, during my (as yet unsuccessful) attempt to get hold of a school photo from my time at Abbeyhome (that was from 1954 to 1959). In fact if you, or anyone else reading this is able to help, I will be most grateful. I hope you have had, and are continuing to have, a good life. My, how the names come flooding back- Mr Downham, Mr Das, Miss Crown, Mr Stokes....... and more. I also remember most of the other boys' names, eg Hardy, Hack, Webster, Davies, Hamilton, Oberg, Jackson, Ross, Clivery, Davidson, Edwards, etc. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
my name is michael stewart and i attended the school.i have a 1957 whole of senior school photo dated 1957.
Hi Eric, Only just came across your message.Great to hear from you and would love to get in touch Hope we are allowed to give email addresses on here My address is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also find me under my full name on Facebook
You might have forgotten that we do,in fact,go back further than you might think because we were at the Wellesley High School together Anyway it would be great to hear from you or anyone else who remembers me so please do get in touch
Hi Michael, and it was good of you to reply. I would love to have a copy of the photo you have, and I wonder if there is any way this could be arranged. I'm technologically statemented (!) and am unsure how to give a link to my email address, so here it is: email@example.com. Could you get back to me so we can discuss? Many thanks, Eric
Chantelle T Veltkamp
Thank you for posting such fond memories of my Grandfathers school (Abbeyholme), it would have ment alot to him. I have also enjoyed reading the tales of my dad. I had no idea he managed to have three of the top Liverpool football players come and visit the school. He kept that one very quiet.
I would be greatful if everyone could carry on posting their memories and perhaps photos of Abbeyholme school life. It is making for very interesting reading and I feel it is part of my families history and one I can share very proudly with my children.
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Well done everyone, yes, what a great thread this has been to bring so many people who had something to do with the school back together.
Interesting stuff Graham, have enjoyed this thread on Abbeyholme school, it has put yet another piece in the Jigsaw for researching my family tree. I am trying to get clarity on the particular house you mention for Abbeyholme, was it the house inbetween the Blind School and the house on the corner of Hunters Lane & Church road?
Originally Posted by grahamfairfax
Your right in it disappearing off the radar, If it is the house inbetween both above, I cannot understand why it was demolished, surely it was not in such a bad way!
---------- Post added at 10:33 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:24 PM ----------
The Scholfield Home was called 'Greenfield' before the Scholfield sisters took it over and a Mr & Mrs Killick, (nee Scholfield), lived there until 1891 when it was passed over to the Waifs & Strays society, the home was used to train 30 x homeless girls of varying ages in domestic services, e.g. Laundry, Ironing etc, the home was taken over in the late 30's by the scouts I presume until it became 'Abbeyholme School', the girls where re-located to Ormskirk.
I am researching my family tree and it is fascinating story regarding the Scholfield sisters and their father and mother and the Scholfield home, thanks for posting.
Who where the trustees, and why did it require demolition??
Hi Chantelle - it was a pleasure to write about such wonderful memories - in fact I have now caught up with Kees by telephone and that was wonderful beyond all hopes - I am hoping to viist Kees in gthe very near future.
Just before the New Year I had the greatest of pleasures when I finally met up with my former sports master at Abbeyholme High School, Kees Velkamp. It has been near on 45 years since I last met with Kees and then I was just a young rip of a boy who was quite distraught at the thought of leaving the school when it was announced it was closing.
The meet up was arranged through a former ‘Abbeyolmer’ Ted Beattie, who had been at the school earlier than myself and left around about 1958 - so for both of us it was a wonderful few hours to take the opportunity to reminisce about the school, and also to catch up on some forgotten school pal names and to look at Kees’ collection of school notes, including football and cricket records.
Kees and Ted
Kees has not changed much in the missing years - of course, older like all of us but I can still see the young school master which taught me all those years ago - amazingly, I had never realised how young Kees must have been at the time of his schoolmaster days but the years have served him well - still the the same sense of humour which made him so popular to all the boys at Abbeyholme. From our conversations a number of topics were talked about...
Abbeyholme School closed in 1966 - it appears that growth in the power of school inspectors was too much for Mr Veltkamp Senior, and although Mr Cumberlidge - nicknamed Cumbo, but we never dared to even whisper this moniker such was the fear he instilled into us - thought about taking over the school, but it never worked out.
The school was sold to the Liverpool Royal School for the Blind, which had its main building adjacent to the Abbeyholme school site in Church Road - many was the time a wild drive on the yard football pitch from one of the Abbeyholme kids would see the ball fly majestically over the neighbouring wall and the shamed footballer would have to sneak in (or climb over the wall) and get it back - of course, this was out of bounds and punishable but didn’t stop us.
Bereft of school children the now vacant school stayed empty for a while but was raided on two or three occasions by proverbial thieves in the night, except these proverbial thieves in the night also had a proverbial white van and took upon themselves to steal the lead from the roof and then on a return visit completed the job in good style by stealing copper from the building. Apparently in those days it was far too expensive to repair so the decision taken to demolish the building - at a mind boggling cost of £1,500. From the Royal School of the Blind 214th Annual Report (History):
1968 The Abbeyholme Preparatory School adjacent to Wavertree School closed and was purchased by the Trustees. It unfortunately required demolition but
became the site of the School's adventure playground and mobility area.
1973 An adjoining property, Clifton House, was purchased and converted initially to become a nursery unit but later the Secondary School on the expansion of
Going back even further, during WWII the Abbeyholme building and grounds were used as a naval training centre by the Royal Navy - after the war when the navy left two large lifeboats used for training were found and later repatriated after two years by the navy at a later date. Originally, Abbeyholme was known as Westwood High School and was located in Lance Lane - it was a mixed school in which Mr Veltkamp Senior worked in - at during this time he had applied to the Home Office to become a head master.
One of the great quirks about the Lance Lane based school was that the great Liverpool Football Club legend, goalkeeper Cyril Sidlow (1942-1958) took some PE training sessions - this is the modern equivalent of Pepe Reina having a part time position as a gym teacher in a school.
When an amicable split happened, Mrs Steel (headmistress) took the girls to Windsor High School, which was the large building in Penny Lane, and Mr Veltkamp Senior took the boys to the new Abbeyholme High School in Church Road. Now for a private school Abbeyholme was very popular and by the fees of the day relatively inexpensive, this was mainly in part to Mr Veltkamp Senior taking on retired teachers.
When Mr Veltkamp Senior bought the building in Church Road from Liverpool based property agents, Sykes Waterhouse - this would be around 1948-1949 - it was originally known as Schofield House and was used in days gone by as a girls home - this home was formerly established at the private residence of a Mrs Killick and her sisters, the Misses Schofield, with the dedication and formal opening being carried out by the Bishop of Liverpool in May 1897. When the sisters moved away in 1906, they decided to donate their old house to the Waifs and Strays' Society for use as a children's home.
see image of former Abbeyhome location following demolition and landscaping
Names such as Dickie Downham - who actually caught Kees smoking twice when he was a pupil at the school - downright rebellious Mr Veltkamp Junior!! - Jack Stokes (sports master), Mr McCoy, Miss Muir, Val Bennett, and Phil Jackman. Apparently in the pre-Beatles days Jack Stokes became a hero to the school kids when, at a carol concert at Trinity Hall (the hall opposite the church across the road with the mounting steps) he produced a trumpet and began playing - very impressive.
These and many other names formed the history of Abbeyholme, with such things as outings - yes they were outings in those days - to places such as Chester Zoo, Denbigh Castle, Rydel Hall, Lake District - such outings were so exciting and innocent for post war children in those days. Sadly Mr Veltkamp Senior passed away in 1972 at the ridiculously young age of 66 - very sad.
I mentioned in a previous post about the football and cricket which went on at the school - outside of Kees teaching of Geometrical and Engineering Drawing - yes that’s right Geometrical and Engineering Drawing!! - the sports were his passion and some of the records about our matches in both sports and the results are highlighted in some photos taken during my visit to see him.
He recalled a cricket match against Holt School when Abbeyholme won and Holt complained that we had been playing a non- school person by the name of Geoff Parker - nonsense, he was just very gifted cricketer. One of the images shows a youthful Seven-A -Side team in 1965 which made the semi finals of a school competition - the names of the very nearly champions? Well for posterity here we go -
back row: Graham Simm, Tony Sumner, Keiren Dunne, Tony Martin
front row: Morrison, Peter Heptonstall, David Edwards, Frank Robotham, Steve Butler
Brilliant lads and well done!
In other images you see some of the written football and cricket records kept by Kees, some cuttings and even older newsletter covers etc, a picture of the old assembly hall - all stored lovingly away and a wonderful collection which I hope will help restore some memories of times gone by for all the boys - I am sure you will recognise some of the names. I also took a picture of Kees Veltkamp and Ted Beattie, and although photography is a passion with me this is one of simplest but most pleasing images I have ever taken and as I stated when I started this piece a great, great pleasure
see images of sports records as attachments
If anyone can add to this it would be appreciated so we can continue to build up the history of this great school - Abbeyholme.
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