St Michael's School

Main entrance c. 1970

By Pauline Maryan

St Michael's School main entrance c. 1970
Stevenage Museum PP235
This page was added on 10/01/2011.

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  • I remember we were the first pupils to attend this new school in about 1968 I was in Moore house had some great times there I remember some people from my form Paul nunn David mcloughlin gerrard simmonds paddy Clark Paul Allen mark cox Bernard abra I think I left about 73/74

    By Norman leslie (23/02/2024)
  • It wa,s aagreet schol.I learnd so mucc bout mahts and propar grammor and speling and shite.

    By Regan (17/10/2023)
  • I’ve been reading some of the posts left on this site with great interest.

    I too was at St Michael’s from when it opened in the late 1960s. I was in Moore house.

    The summary left by David McLaughlin was an excellent account of the awful years spent at this school.

    The name of the geography teacher whom David could not recall, was I believe, Mr GARDINER.

    One of the classmates omitted was DAVID PARKER.

    In addition to Bragg and Williams in the Art Department, was BRIDGET RAWNSLEY.

    Also, can anyone recall the eccentric drama teacher Nick P. . . .(?) who fell whilst mountain climbing, and was as a result , paralysed? After the accident, a new lesson was formed called ‘Man Alive’. It covered three periods on a Friday afternoon, whereby a group of us were given the task of cleaning and decorating his flat to a standard that it could be returned to the council. ‘Everything’ in the flat had previously been painted black with splashes of bright colours daubed randomly throughout. CHILD LABOUR springs to mind. . . .!

    As mentioned by others, bullying was rife, by both pupils and teachers alike.

    Mr [name redacted. Ed.] would now be known as a narcissist. I am unsure which he ‘enjoyed’ using the most, his cane or his slipper?

    Unfortunately this school was thrust upon me, due to it being a Roman Catholic school. However, in hindsight, perhaps my parents should have chosen Letchworth Grammar School instead. . .

    Fortunately, due to how my birthday fell, I was able to leave the school at age 15.

    This was when my life journey began. I went on to complete a Motor Mechanic Apprenticeship which has served me well throughout my lifetime (despite!).

    By LEO ANTONACI (28/03/2023)
  • I was there Rigby house 70-76
    Remember all those names from Nick Dyson post of 03/04/21 plus DeLuca, Smyth, O’Farrell & Gill.

    By David Clark (14/03/2023)
  • I was there from 80-84, it wasn’t a great place for me. I agree with the negative comments above, however my class had a brilliant English teacher, Mr Hazlewood gave me a interest in writing and years later I did a media production degree. The art teacher Mr Murrel was brilliant, he’d put on a tape of Ricky Lee Jones’ Chuck E’s in Love while we painted or drew and left us alone. Does anyone remember Mrs Turnbull?

    By marc liguori (21/02/2023)
  • I was there from 69-75. In Moore house. I can almost remember our whole roll call. Missing three names. Abra, Acton, Allen, Antonacci, Booth, Cannon, Clark, Cox, Cousins, Griffen, Hanson, Holstrum, Leslie, Lomas, McLaughlin, Murray, Pendle, Spicer, Spooner, Terzeon, Tillbrook, Vigor, Walsh

    Paul Pendle — you were my best mate in the third year but then someone told you to stop being my friend for whatever reason in the 4th. I was a bit sad about that. This was a terrible school with incredibly bad, lazy disillusioned teachers who had been moved from the grammar school in Hitchin and coudnt handle the London overspill clientele.
    Boris, Soapy, Cook and Forbes were hopeless. The exceptions were Dan Walsh who inspitred my love of of literature – a true gent, a man of learning as well as, later on, Heston who knew his stuff also.
    The Geography teacher was also decent, but I cant remember his name.

    The first HM was sacked for disagreeing with Vatican 2, replaced by Turnbull who wasnt bad but had no idea what a good teacher looked like. Nash was a meek replacement for him when he left towards the end of my time there. Meehan the Greek teacher got into a very public fight with some villain called Perks, after which I seem to remember both disappeared from the scene. Murrel and Dalton enjoyed themeselves on the train home each day. Both were cynical characters .Callum and Willmott thought the PE curriculm in 1968 was picking stones off the football field, but were creative with gymnastics and judo in th curriculum. The Scotsman Ross had no clue, while art teachers Bragg and William were flower power men of their time. These teachers would all likely be dead by now, so you cant speak ill of the, but teaching was not really for them.

    You remember the names of the class well. Abra, Booth, Clark and Lomas were hostile characters while Holstrom, Spicer and Spooner were thoroughly decent. Antonacci was hard to fight at judo because of his solid calves, but he was a likeable clown. Vigors got bullied mercilessly simply because his name was Colman and was somewhat effete. He even played up to his nickname of Susan in a rather sickening way.

    As time went on the school became a zoo, badly lead, badly managed and neglected. Looking back, Holt was probably a basket case, Laversuch (Soapy) and Boris (Moore) clinically depressed while Fr Andrew probably wondered daily what he was doing there.

    By David McLaughlin (05/12/2022)
  • I tripped over this site and am surprised to see names I recall (Kevin Towers – John’s brother?).

    When relaying my experience at St Micks to my wife, she finds it hard to believe it was so feral. But it was, and this site reminds me just how ghastly it was. As an incubator for bad behaviour it amplified pupils’ worst traits, especially bullying. On a happier note I occasionally see Paul Biggs and did bump into Gary Dempsey maybe 15-20 years ago. Sadly I’ve lost touch with Alan Neate. Anyway, I got my degree and masters in spite of my secondary education, rather than because of it (but I was also a bit of an a*se, too). I’d like to hear from any of my contemporaries, and hope life has been kind to you.

    By Noel Inge (22/09/2022)
  • 1969-1974, Stone House, Fr. Bugs O’Leary

    Batchelor, Burns, Crawley, Crossley, Fedenczuk, Brennan, Eason, McCormack, Joyce, Taylor, Lawlor, Lenahan, O’Neil, Hart, McLintock, Litten et alia.

    As always, some good, some OK and some just plain evil. First couple of years were OK, but teaching standards were remarkably low. Good for craft and sports but generally below par. Went onto day release at MHCoFE: treated like a human and an adult!

    Left SM without anything to shout about, but made a good career from nothing a fresh start.

    Best Wishes to all Michaelians

    By GERARD CONNOLLY (22/09/2022)
  • I was in More 71-76 and then to Stevenage College.

    Acton Askew Barker Cahill Dempsey Donofrio Gill Hegarty Inge Laverty McCarthy Neate O’Donoghue O’Mahoney Picci Sarno Smith Wadsworth

    The school was nowhere near as good as the schools my own 3 children went to but we did not choose them because they were RC. My parents were happy for me to leave at 16.

    Now Hegarty QC and Recorder of the Crown Court

    By Kevin hegarty (02/06/2022)
  • I started in ‘86 and my year was the last of St. Michael’s before it amalgamated with St. Angela’s and became JHN. Have very good memories of St.Michael’s. Fights with Nobel and Bedwell down the bottom of the school field, freezing cold cross country with Mr. Williams and Mr. Haywood (or Mr. Gaywood as we called him) and having to walk all the way down Martins Way to St. Angela’s for Home Economics and then back of course! Teachers I really remember were Mr. Tosh (history I think) Mr. Murrell (classics) Mr. Archdeacon (English) Mr. Wright (music) Mr. Ash (R.E) Mr. O’ Brian (R.E as well?) Mr. Haywood (P.E) Mr. Camilleri (Maths) Mr. Culkin (art) Ahhhh those were the days, shame it seemed to go downhill in many respects at JHN. I feel like it turned into an exam factory where results and school league tables were more important than anything else.

    By Anony Mouse (25/03/2022)
  • I attended 1969 to 1974 and I have to say they were the worst five years of my life, when I left in 74 it was like being released from Borstal. That’s school did two things for me, made me want to stop learning and gave me a lifelong hatred of religion. I don’t think there was a day went by where I wasn’t bullied in someway and I don’t just mean from fellow pupils some of the teachers were worse than the bullies. They were so strict and repressed there it was an awful place, I came across this site because I was trying to find out what happened to the deputy head called Mr Holt, he made such an impression on me and I don’t mean in a nice way, his favourite saying was go to my office boy where I will slipper you. When I started at that school my favourite subject was maths and I was quite good at it by the time I left there i was useless thanks to the teaching methods of my form master Mr Cammalleri, his method of teaching you was to belittle you and embarrass you in front of the whole class in the end I took to sitting at the back and saying nothing. After I left I went to college and did a telecommunications course I got a job as a BT engineer and funnily enough a week before they knocked that place down I was given the job of going in and recovering all the telephone equipment I went to my classroom and I smashed the hell out of it and other places in there that had bad memories it gave me some kind of closure and when they knocked it down I cheered.

    By antony waterman (15/03/2022)
  • Keen to hear from anyone who attended St Michael’s around 1972-78. If still around, not in prison or worse, perhaps a possible meet-up for a drink in Stevenage or London?

    Kevin Towers

    By Kevin Towers (08/03/2022)
  • Attended 72-77’ – teacher who made biggest impression Mr Lee.
    Interesting reading other comments, appears I’m not the only one who left to start higher education/work and had very little contact with old school mates.

    A reason may remember the coaches lined up for pupils coming from Biggleswade, Letchworth, Arlesey, Stotfold, Clifton, Hitchin etc. resulting in many of my classmates not being around to hang out with in Stevenage after school or at weekends. So bonds that tied during your time there disappeared quite quickly after leaving!

    Still, like most a mixture of happy and sad times – the BIG fight (well lots of posing & shouting ..’come on then’) with Bedwell school (now Marriotts) comes to mind as really funny looking back on it!

    By G (13/02/2022)
  • I attended 1971 and left in 1977. One O level. The memories are strong and hearing the name Tosh brings back memories. But would not have changed 1 day. Great mates and real shame we didn’t all keep in touch. The one thing I realised is that qualifications mean nothing. Have built successful career in sales in IT.

    By Gary Dempsey (15/12/2021)
  • Mr Tosh.
    Died September 10th 2021 – Aged 86.
    Parkinson’s disease.

    A harsh and strict Irishman.
    Operated under a bullying and repressive atmosphere! Witnessed him strike a child once!!

    Used to yell, “The Imployee will sack yee!” during his tedious and boring history lessons.

    Not missed..

    By ‘82 - ‘87 Stevenage Pupil (05/12/2021)
  • Mr Barry Nash – Headmaster.
    A decent and fair man.
    Died February 6th 2021 – Aged 84

    By ‘82 - ‘87 Stevenage Pupil (05/12/2021)
  • Attended St Michael’s 1972-77 then went back for part of 1978. 31 years in NHS and still there…think I still remember the register: Beasley, Biggs, Brennan, Canty, Clarke (think his Dad was murdered in gang-related killing), Colman, Cripps, Dunn, Ffinch, Gareghty, Green, Hedley, Harnett, Keeble, Keeble (brothers), Kelleman,, Lawrence, Matthews, Murray, O’Sullivan, Perry, Pinney, Randall, Regan, Savage, Sherwood, Thompson, Towers, Vooght, Walker…

    Left with 1 O level, came back to do a few more and later did loads more and eventually, lots of higher education.

    I literally ended up being caned on a daily basis, far cry from my life these days in West London! Would love to know what happened to anyone from that era?!

    By Kevin Towers (08/08/2021)
  • When I was at the school in the 1970s we had 2 resident priests one was Fr Andrews he did mass most times and took us for R. E. the school had amazing sports fields and sports facilities we had a lovely technical block where we made things from plastics by injection moulding fibreglass the great would work in and metalworking facilities also I think it was a very well designed School when I started their Mr Turnbull was the head Mr Nash the deputy who then became the head when Turnbull left

    By Kevin Pocock (03/08/2021)
  • The building in front of the class block was the chapel. Mass was celebrated twice a week at break time whilst I was there between 1977 and 1984. Local priests from Stevenage and Hitchin mainly did this. There were also numerous year masses at certain times of the year in the main hall. The school office is immediately to the left of the front door and also the Head and Deputy Heads’ offices and the sick room! Just out of shot on the left was the caretaker’s bungalow. Many boys travelled in on free coaches from Letchworth and surrounding towns. There were sometimes “incidents” on the coaches that led to reconstructions of the seating layout in the hall to work out who was involved! Rows would gradually be dismissed until only the culprits remained. I never got to see what happened to them, but I think I can guess! Only happy memories for me.

    By Jonathan Boylett (22/05/2021)
  • I was here 1970-76 Rigby. Besch, Ellis, King, Connaughton, Burnside, Woolridge, Burke, Mullen, West, Sole, Landers, Greasby, Thurstance.

    By Nicholas Dyson (03/04/2021)
  • I was there from 69-75. In Moore house. I can almost remember our whole roll call. Missing three names. Abra, Acton, Allen, Antonacci, Booth, Cannon, Clark, Cox, Cousins, Griffen, Hanson, Holstrum, Leslie, Lomas, McLaughlin, Murray, Pendle, Spicer, Spooner, Terzeon, Tillbrook, Vigor, Walsh

    By Paul Pendle (13/02/2021)
  • I was here between 1977 and 1982. Really mixed experience at this school, some I would like to forget. I would like to say Hi to Rob Glenday who has commented on this page. Hope life has treated you well since you moved to OZ. You can catch up with me through linkedin, it have sent a connect request so you can message if you want to.

    By John Campbell-Buckley (11/12/2020)
  • My parents sent me to this boys Roman Catholic school in the 70’s
    The worst 5 years of my life. Spent more time running away and skiving than in school.
    Left with zero qualifications.
    Now nearly 60 i did well. Ran my own design consultancy in Covent Garden but that school can [Redacted. Ed.]

    By Paul Phillips (21/11/2020)
  • I had a good time there I left in 81 have fond memories of the place

    By Richard Archer (20/08/2020)
  • The unhappiest five years of my life in that awful place.

    By Andy Hutchinson (04/07/2020)
  • That brings back memories. The dining hall is on the right

    By Margaret (16/04/2020)
  • I went to this school from 1975 – 1982 and have some fond memories from that time. Some great teachers too.

    By Mark Emerson (04/02/2020)
  • I was there from 1975-1982. Some good times and some bad. The school was improving in that time. Some really good teachers. Served me well. I achieved three university degrees, and I have worked for the NHS for 32 years.

    By Michael (11/12/2019)
  • Had some great times and made some good friends, shame the old school has gone.

    By Bill Porter (02/12/2019)
  • Trying to think of something humane or sensitive to say about my unfortunate time here but sorry I fail. I attended 80 to 85. It was a [Redacted. Ed]-hole and I have zero friends from my time here which says it all and the only friends I managed to retain when I left for a few years were simply because they were into drugs. I should never have been sent here but sadly my parents were ignorant and mistakenly believed it was good school.

    By Neal (23/09/2019)
  • I started this school in 1968 and left in 1973
    Whatever happened to my mate David Parker?

    By Leo Antonaci (03/03/2019)
  • I started September 1980 and hated it. Was bullied and picked on. Despite being told I would amount to nothing by a certain year master I run a successful computer repair business and live in somerset

    By T (01/02/2019)
  • Would [like] to touch base with students who attended the school between 1977-1980

    By Rob Glenday (16/01/2019)
  • I attended the school between 1977-1980 before my family moved to Australia. Lots of great memories

    By Rob Glenday (16/01/2019)
  • Conrad, hello there. It’s been a while…. hope your well.

    By Dominic (17/12/2018)
  • I was there 79-86. Great times. Remember last two entries. Clive and Dominic. Hello!

    By Conrad (11/11/2018)
  • I was at St Michael’s from 71-76, generally very happy memories, the school was unusual as it was built as a co ed school but the Sisters wanted segregated education and the council had to build St Angela’s in the town for the girls. It was fairly new when I joined and it was sad to see it demolished in the early 80’s for housing.

    By Tim Goss (15/03/2018)
  • Was a [redacted Ed.] school, glad it’s been demolished

    By Tim (07/02/2018)
  • Omg! I am sitting in my house in Melbourne Australia reminiscing about my short time spent at a great school. I left St Michael’s in 1975 with my parent to migrate to Australia and I can’t help feeling a bit sad I never ever kept in touch with my class mates. Definitely along time ago but filled with awesome memories.
    Kind regards Richard James Luff ps if any of my class mates read this message pls feel free to contact me on Facebook

    By Richard Luff (27/08/2017)
  • Wow!!! Brings back memories. I was there 79-83. Seems like a lifetime ago now.

    By Dominic Neale (07/07/2017)
  • I started the school in 1979 and it looked just the same as in this photo.

    By Clive Bacon (18/05/2017)