St Josephs Norn Hill

School memories
and photos.

Blog

Mike
I'm Mike. I went to St Josephs. When I grew up I started making websites and making one for my old school seemed an obvious thing to do. Recently I decided on a redesign. I think it's better than the old version but it's far from perfect. Let me know if you have anything to say. I've stopped using Wordpress so just email me if you have any comments and I'll add them in below this one.
Denise Donnelly
I am Denise Wingate nee Donnelly and I am sitting 2nd from the right on the ground (on the 4th of the 1957 school photos). I started school at 4 years and originally went to the school attached to the Holy Ghost Church in 1954. At some point we were transferred to St Josephs Convent. The elderly teachers sitting each side of the Nuns were sisters Misses Fitzsimmons? The back row of boys include 5th from right -Christopher ?, 12th from right – David ? (Note from Mike: It is David Galico) and about the 1960 photo Row 3, 2nd left is Maureen Walsh. It was a wonderful school.
Debbie Sweetman
Now Debbie Reavell. My brother Dominic Sweetman is in the 1963 photo also in (1960 photo). My older brother, Simon was one of the founder pupils when the school started at the Holy Ghost. I went there too for a while, and then to Norn Hill. I went to the High School in 1958/9?. There were 6 of us who went to St. Josephs. I have a little photo of the centenary of Mother Mary Aikenhead - some of us were got up as nuns and one boy as a bishop. …
Adrian Donnelly
Adrian Donnelly: I was at this school for a few years. My family moved into the AWRE houses in Oakridge in 1953. We walked to school along a wired fence path from Sutton Road to Shooters Way. On one side was Charles Chute and the other was a corn field. I am in the school photo with my brother and sister. I can remember the tennis court where we played and the sports day, with an obstacle course race, a sack race,a slow bicycle race and the egg and spoon race. Miss McNulty was our “hot” teacher, and I also remember Miss Fitzmorris with her ruler on the knuckles to keep us in check. I still see Pat Hennessy, Kevin Larden, Adrian Long. Gerald and Mick Hauman, and Martin and Charlie Butt. I have a school report as a memory.
Kate Chiconi
Kate Chiconi: I attended St Bernard’s school from 1965 to 1969, when my family moved from Silchester to near Newbury. I have a photo of myself on my first day of school, wearing the school uniform and a slightly nervous expression! I remember teachers Mrs Church, Mrs Shellabear, Sr Mary Margaret and Sr Mary Domitilla. I’m still in touch with Mary Mullen, who attended in the late ’50s, when it was still St Josephs; our mothers were friends. My younger sister Natalie also attended for a year, 1968-69. Kate Chiconi, Queensland, Australia.
Trina Maher (now Farmer)
Trina Maher: I was pleasantly surprised to come across the website of St Joseph's convent and especially the 1957 photograph. I am stood in the row behind the nuns, going from the centre towards the right , I am the first girl in the dark pinafore dress (stood next to a group of people in white shirts). I went on to the upper class at the Holy Ghost church. My name was Trina Maher and now Farmer. I was great friends with the Rutter girls, Gilliam Lovell (who has sadly passed away) and Gilliam Boarding who married an ex boyfriend of mine. Would love to hear from anyone who remembers me.
Stephanie
Stephanie: I believe I started at St Joseph's in 1960/61 and stayed through the transition to St Bernard's. After that I left to go to St Joseph's in Reading. I recognise lots of names in the list. There were four of us at St Joseph's. Me (Stephanie), Tony, Rachel and Felicity. My mum still has this photo but it does bring back lots of happy memories.
Sr Gabriel Dolores
Sr Gabriel: I was Principal and Teacher at St Joseph’s School, Norn Hill from April 1961 to July 1964. I had just one school photograph of 1963 and a host of lovely memories. Recently, through the kindness and skill of Sr Florence ( Patrick Mary in Basingstoke days), I have seen a great amount of names and photographs. It was sheer joy! When all this material is put on paper I look forward, with pleasure,to matching names and faces as much as possible. In the meantime, my prayers, best wishes and love to you all and to your families everywhere.
Sister Patrick Mary
Sister Patrick Mary has been in touch (now Sr Florence Haines) She taught at Norn Hill from September 1963 to July 1964 when the Sisters of charity left Basingstoke. At that time she says Sr Gabriel Dolores was the principal and Sr Alban was also on the staff. She remembers the Appleby family, John Fletcher, John Brimicombe, Shirley Spencer, Geoffrey Plummer and others I'm sure. Also great to hear, she says that Sr Gabriel Dolores is alive and well and living in Kilkenny, Ireland. and a mention of a possible photo from summer 1964. Watch this space.
1962 photo
Nuala James (Tuxford) thinks number 4 on 1962 photo might be Phillipa Billington. Nuala says... She was certainly at the school at that time and is older than Deborah. Also a puzzle - Gizelle had a younger sister there but I can't make her out in picture. The only other thing I can think of is that their surname was Polish and they lived in May Street. Ethel Riley had a younger sister Carmel in my group at the Holy Ghost - can't see her either. Maybe they just missed the photo call.
Nesta Hanson replies... The photo was taken the summer before I left and Phillipa Billington was older than me so presumably she would have already left the school and would not therefore be in the photo. Also Gizella's sister was older than her, her name was Anna and she would also have left before this photo was taken.
Bernie (Berenice) Rennie (nee Ross) says "No. 4 on the 1962 photo from Nuala is definitely not Philippa - Phil towered over all of us at 6 feet! I think it may well be Ethel Reilly but can't be certain."
1960-outing class-mates-3.
Talking about ClassMates3 photo. On Horse from rear Deborah Billington, Mary Etheridge, Sheila Rutter (girl on front of horse not known) Girl looking up at horse Nuala Tuxford. Next girl looking forward is Christine Hookings. Next two girls Madelaine Butt and Pamela Oliver
Nuala says "This photo must have been in July 1960 because in the following Sept I was due to cross to the senior girls at the Holy Ghost. Several of us were invited on a school outing - on a get to know basis. We all went by coach to a girls boarding school - I think it was Winchester way - for a netball match followed by tea and a tour of the school including girls rooms. The other school won the match and whilst staff were friendly the other girls weren't! The photos are taken in the school grounds and it is me looking up at the girls on the wooden horse."
Janet Collins ( Oliver )
Janet Collins ( Oliver ) has identified her sister on the 1960 photo, as well as Christine Ayton, Celia’s sister. She says that Jaqueline was the missing first name of Jaqueline Rutter and finally that Hutchinson was the surname of Dorothy the Maltese girl mentioned in a previous post. Thanks a lot to Janet and others for the recent help in identifying people.
Bernie Ross
Bernie (Berenice) Rennie (nee Ross) has provided a few more details. She says Anna and Gizella's surname was Kemeter and they were Hungarian. Also the following went to the Convent of the Holy Ghost: Maureen Ray, Dorothy (Dot) Hutchins (Maltese), Georgina ? (Canadian?), Jill ? and Elizabeth Burman. For Norn Hill there was also a Mandy Herbert as well as the Jackie and Sarah we already have. She also mentions Anthony Dasczweitz. Some information on life after school: Philippa Billington went on to Winchester College of Art, as did Celia Ayton and Gizella Kemeter. Philippa later became a model for Vogue. Debbie Billington tragically died, with her fiance, in a plane crash many years ago aged about 22. Mary Hennessey died from cancer some years ago. She says that Christine Hookings has been mis-identified as Sandra Rivett on the 60/61 photo.
Helena Digby
Helena Digby: when I attended St Bernard's in 1970. I started in Mrs Gibbons Kindergarten Class and then went up to Mrs Church's Transition Class until the school closed. My brother Paul was two years ahead and my cousin Esther Camenzind four years above me. When the school closed quite a few of the pupils went onto Hilsea College...as did Mrs Gibbons and Mrs Church for a while. I remeber Sister Mary John as the Headmistress and Mrs Lewendon as the school secretary.
Anne Mitchell
Anne Mitchell: My maiden name is Hennessy (sister to Mary, Patrick & James, 3 of my 6 siblings) & I attended St Josephs in 1963 & I am child 145 in that year photo , my friend Francesca Harrison is child 135 (sister of Roland Harrison) My sister Mary appears in the 1962 photo, top row, fifth from the left. There is a comment on your website saying Mary died of cancer, sadly this is true, she died in February 1995. Her married name was Allen & she lived in Burgess Road, just across from the original convent school, which was in the Holy Ghost, in the Presbytery building, where the Sisters of Charity then lived. My late Father, Dick Hennessy, helped the Nuns (Sisters of Charity), cutting wood for the fires in the Bolton Lodge house & generally helping out when they needed it. I can't be certain but am pretty sure that child 143 (1963 photo) is John Bennett and child 123 is his younger brother Martin Bennett (deceased) (Note from Mike: Don't think that is Martin. Martin was younger than John)
It was all such a long time ago, but some of my memories are so clear, Miss McNulty handing out Maltesers, that wonderful staircase, gazing out the huge sash windows out into the lovely gardens and magnificent trees........... I went on to St Annes with Francesca & Roland & both John & Martin, Martin was in my year, I met up again with John & Martin at QMC & we became quite good friends whilst at 6th form.  I lost touch with Martin & John, sadly Martin died about 10 years ago (maybe more?) Martin was a lovely person & its very sad.
Grace Burke
Grace Burke (now Webber) was at the school in the late 60s/early 70s and she has sent a fantastic cutting from the Basingstoke Gazette dated 3rd July 1970 Grace says "There are a lot of names in the cutting which may jog memories and if I make reasonable assumptions, re, part sharing and the groups of birds...me!..imps, sugar plums and fairies then I think the whole school was involved, so there were around 170 pupils then. The cutting appeared in The Basingstoke Gazette on July 3rd 1970. I am the the one at the far right of the picture and I remember this...how sad is that! I was a bird. My name at the time was Grace Burke and I was 8 years 2 months old. I started at the school Easter 1967, just before my 5th birthday and left when we moved out of the area in July 1971. In addition my brother was also at the school for a couple of terms, Jan 1971 until July 1971. His name is David H.J. Burke. Unfortunately due to my tender years I dont have any other names and am not in touch with any of my fellow pupils. I do however remember these little snippets, which I think indicate that the property was undergoing some work at the time.
  • I hid some money in a pile of sand and couldn't find it again!!
  • There was a roped of area by the main building with a notice saying "Care, Falling Slates"....I remember it because I thought it said Care, Falling Snakes!!!.. I was little!
" The cast list taken from the article is as follows:
  • Sister Mary John
  • Mrs V Murphy (piano)
  • Bridget Burden (Hansel)
  • Kathleen Gorman (Gretel)
  • Sally Anne Deane (pedlar)
  • Pippa Wyville (pedlar)
  • Clare O'Boyle (witch)
  • Susan Fogg (step mother/angel)
  • Brendan Hickey (father)
  • Mary Johnson (fairy queen)
  • Graham Reason (prince)
  • Gillian Brimcombe (?)
  • Susanne ? (?)
  • Julie Purdue (tap dancing)
  • Fiona Murphy (Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy)
Paul Stowell
After some discussion by others about Stowell brothers on 1960 photo Paul Stowell says, ...It is my younger brother Peter Stowell. I am 4 years older and was by that time at Charles Chute.
Steve Evans
Steve Evans lived in Old Basing and says that many children went from there to St Josephs. He has supplied more names for the 1957 photo. (Himself and Sisters Sian and Alison plus Jeremy Thornhill. Also himself and sister on Nesta's new photos)
Father Tom Grufferty
Heard at last from Father Tom Grufferty. Not good news though. He has no additional information or contacts. Bad news from Ordnance Survey who have refused me permission to put a photocopy of a 1960s map of the school on the website. Have found a lot of background information out about the Sisters of Charity. I have put some links under Teachers and have sent off some emails to try and see if they know anything about the school. I have received a reply from the Sisters in Australia giving me a UK contact address which I am following up.
Newspapers
I thought there might be some good articles in old copies of local newspapers. We used to get the Hants and Berks Gazette when I attended the school. I contacted Basingstoke library who said copies were available on microfilm but they are not for loan. As I am based in Liverpool its difficult for me to get there. Anyone fancy browsing through old newspapers in the hope of finding interesting articles? -
Peggy Raynebird
I received the School Motto and some of the school song from Nesta Hanson. She also remembers the Peggy Raynebird school of Ballet, coming in to teach ballet. I discovered more about Peggy Raynebird at the Hilsea school website
Holy Ghost
I contacted the Holy Ghost church to see what they have on the school. The secretary sent me a history of the parish booklet which repeated what I already had seen on their website.
Joe Shevlin
Heard from Joe Shevlin who did some work on the history of St Anne's school. Unfortunately he has nothing on St Joseph's
Rosemary Jordy (Sutton)
My name is Rosemary Jordy (Sutton) I attended St Josephs when it first opened. I started school at the Convent, which was at the side of the Holy Ghost church, it then moved to Norn Hill in 1953 when the whole school walked from the Holy Ghost Church to Norn Hill. I have such fond memories of the school, it was more like a big family. I certainly did not want to leave and move to the The Shrubbery Girls School. I left in 1957 but remember a few of my classmates of when I started in Sister Marcellina's class, she was such a wonderful and patient teacher, next class was Sister Rita, then Miss Ryan and then Sister Agnes. I have been looking for old classmates, but as yet none seem to have logged on.