The time arrives, when you have reached a certain age, when you want to look at the past and see if you can make any sense of it all. Was it part of a carefully conceived plan, designed to ensure you had just enough good and bad experiences to keep you on ‘the straight path’? Was it just a random collection of events, any one of which could have been totally different dependent on a single flap of a butterfly’s wings?
I recently listened to a conversation on the radio where a well known psychologist was adamant that everything that composed a person’s personality and circumstances was based purely on ‘nurture’ while another guest who was an expert regarding DNA and genes, put forward the view that there was a genetic component, although admittedly a small one. This was dismissed by the psychologist who ultimately ended up sounding like a catholic priest from the 15th century or a spokesman for daesh, so intolerant was he of his fellow guest’s point of view.
However, if the psychologist is right (or even if his is only a partial view which later knowledge will supersede), surely there is some value in examining the events that happened years ago to see how they might have influenced one’s later life.
I often think about incidents that took place at Xaverian College in the 1960s, and St Anne’s Prep School in the 1950s. The intensity with which I can recall them indicates to me the importance they have exerted over the years. But as my father and his brother both attended Xaverian maybe there is a genetic component too…
FriendsReunited is now closed and it looks like all that history is lost forever. I am hoping this site may eventually act as a repository for past pupils from their old grammar school days to capture the experience and history of the place before we all turn to dust.
This site is about my experiences at Xaverian College, Victoria Park in the Sixties, as well as St Anne’s Preparatory School, Fallowfield which was also run by the Xaverian Brothers and acted as a feeder school for the grammar school. I hope it is an affectionate look but I will try and be as accurate as I can.
Although I left in 1965 with two ‘O’ Levels, too ashamed to collect myself, I think many of the experiences I had rather than the academic achievements I missed, have stood me in good stead over the years. I have now retired (if looking after grandchildren could ever be called ‘retired’) after careers in printing followed by Further Education which I left after several years as a software developer.
I hope to give a flavour of the education system in the Fifties and Sixties as well as some of the events which influenced my life over the following years. Oh, and I hope it occasionally makes you smile.
Robert Cummings – St Anne’s Prep – 1957-59, Xaverian College 1959-65
Xaverian College Manchester was, until the 1970s, a grant maintained grammar school. It had been one since it first moved to Victoria Park in 1903. This site is devoted to the grammar school history and has no connection with the present college, housed in the same premises. Xaverian changed to a very successful mixed Sixth Form College and continues to prosper.
The site aims to preserve the character and events of its previous incarnation with an emphasis on the Sixties as there are still (one hopes) many of the former pupils still alive, retired with time on their hands enough to search the site out!
If you have any memories of that time, in any capacity, please register and then share your views and experiences on the forum.
Firstly, my credentials. I went to Xaverian College, Victoria Park from 1960 to 1965 when I left with a total of two O levels (Eng Lang and Geography for those with a morbid curiosity). My father had also trod the same path roughly between 1925 and 1931. He always told me he had left with his School Certificate but as he left to become an apprentice compositor (as did I) I can’t imagine he did a whole lot better than I did.
My father had an elder brother who was my namesake – Robert Cummings – who made the leap from solid working class background to English teacher in a grammar school near Hull, thus demonstrating that social mobility did exist before the Second World War. Oh, and he fought in that against the Japanese in Burma. The only Xaverian story about him that I remember my father telling me was that he had been a prefect who had seen my father, his brother, jump up and pull at a tree branch on the way to school. He reported my father who was caned by the redoubtable Brother Martin as a result. There was still an element of resentment sixty years later. According to my father’s account, Brother Martin had a selection of canes, each with a different thickness and chose an appropriate one based on what criteria I know not. He must have been quite clever as he won the prize medal displayed below.
The engraving reads: ‘Pro Scholae Fidelitate’ R.G Cummings. Translated by Google, this appears as: ‘For Schools Fidelity’. What does that mean? I have no idea unless ‘well done for grassing your brother!