Back in Time
Our school has enjoyed a long history spanning over one hundred years. It has always been called Saint Anne's but it hasn't always been on its present site.
Saint Anne's Catholic School, Alcester Street
Earliest records date back to 1870 for the Boy's School and 1864 for the Girl's School where the manager of the school was a Reverend Dowling and the Head Mistress was Elizabeth Stocker. At that time there were 170 girls on roll divided into four classes. Our school didn't become a mixed Junior and Infant school until October 1946.
Our current school site has an interesting past too. As early as 1859 Saint Anne's Convent stood on Lowe Street where nuns from the order of Sisters of Mercy lived. Many of the nuns, who originated from all over England and Ireland, were teachers who taught in the Saint Anne's Boys and Girls schools.
An entry in the school Log Book written by the Headmaster of the time, Mr Short, refers to a visit on Friday 6 May 1955 to the school by Mr Robinson of Her Majesty Inspectors. Mr Robinson had received the Ministry copy of the plans for the new school and wanted to inspect the site. Mr Short writes:
We spent half an hour walking round and across the site in heavy rain and got soaked from the knees down. At the present time the site is used for salvaged materials and is no beauty spot.
So this land which was no beauty spot is the site where our school stands now and has done since 1957.
Sister Mary Joseph
One person who remembers the school in its early days is Sister Mary Joseph who taught at Saint Anne's from 1958. She remembers Mr Robinson the HMI and she recalls that he was very interested in Saint Anne's and its children.
Saint Anne's Catholic School, Alcester Street
In 1958 there were over 600 children between the ages of 5 and 11 attending the school, 200 based in Allcott Street, 80 children in two classes next to the church and 320 in our current school.
She remembers that the children were very good at sport and the girls were the South Birmingham Champions at Skittle Ball and Rounders and the boys were a force to be reckoned with on the football field. Sister Mary Joseph speaks with warmth as she recalls times gone by and says:
I enjoyed every day when I came to work at Saint Anne's. The children were lovely, well behaved and worked hard. I have very happy memories, it was very special. I loved the children and would do anything for them.
We today are privileged to know Sister Mary Joseph and enjoy her company and her teaching expertise since her return to the parish three years ago.
Photographs are reproduced with the kind permission of Birmingham Libraries and Archives.
Below are extracts taken from Log Books the Headteacher of the day was required to keep. The information gives us an insight in to some of the events in days gone by and some of the priorities of the day.
- 5 March 1915
The children were dismissed at 9.30am as there was no coal to light the fires.
- 1 July 1918
School closed at midday an account of epidemic of influenza.
- 26 April 1923
School closed for marriage of Duke of York.
- 31 August 1939
Notice received today to prepare for evacuation tomorrow morning. So far, 45 children are due to evacuate and 79 have refused to join the party.
- 27 August 1940
15 children present this morning after an air raid lasting 10pm to 4am.
- 30 August 1940
Air raid every night this week.
- 31 August 1941
Saint Anne's Church has been repaired after the bombings and was reopened today. The children sang at the High Mass as most of the original choir are on Active Service.
- 2 July 1943
School closed all day. Annual school outing to Lickey Hills.
- 2 February 1944
Head Teacher has installed wireless apparatus in his classroom and experiment is going on with a view to choice of programmes to be followed.
- 20 March 1944
Visited by school nurse for cleanliness inspection. Many children were found with a few nits and a further five were excluded with vermin by the special nurse who attended.
- 11 September 1944
Mr Short became the new Headteacher of Saint Anne's.
- 19 September 1944
Children chose four saints for patrons of house groups: Saint Joseph, Saint Peter, Saint Anthony and Saint Francis.
- 27 April 1945
Punch and Judy Show and exhibition of conjuring.
- 11 May 1945
School closed Tuesday and Wednesday for VE celebrations.
- 7 November 1945
School closed due to royal visit to Birmingham.
- 20 December 1945
Christmas party very successful. Fed 200 children with £12-10 worth of cakes, etc.
- 22 May 1953
Coronation mugs received today.