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Thread: Does anyone remember Abbeyholme School,Wavertree?

  1. #1
    Newbie grahamfairfax's Avatar
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    Question 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.

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    Newbie grahamfairfax's Avatar
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    Default 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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    Default Abbeyholme

    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 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. Reason: additions

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