Memory Lane: Memories of a ‘Pally Ringworm’

memory lane''classmates''palatine school may 1935
memory lane''classmates''palatine school may 1935

COULD you imagine the furore that would have followed a gesture like this one just five short years later?

It was May 1934 and, under the headline Parade Of The Girl Athletes, The Gazette carried a photograph of these young ladies competing in the Palatine Central Girls’ School sports. Blackpool Mayor, Ald G Whittaker, raises his hat as he takes the salute during the march past. But with the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, such a gesture then would have had chilling connotations of Hitler’s Nazi regime.

Still with Palatine, are readers able to help former pupil John Lucas, who is busy writing his memoirs for the benefit of family and friends?

He has come to the chapter on school days, in his case in what used to be Palatine Central Selective School, “but find my ageing memory is not quite what I believed it to be!”.

John, who went to the school in September 1939, the month that marked the start of the Second World War, says: “I do not have a school photograph, which is a pity, as it would have shown the school uniform which, despite clothes rationing, our parents managed to ensure we had, and what a picture it must have been on Speech Day in the Palace Theatre on Bank Hey Street, with the whole school in the-then uniform.”

But he has found the school emblem pasted into a book prize from 1941.

He adds: “I left Blackpool in 1947, when I was called up for National Service, and apart from occasional visits, I had no particular reason for returning, until a day trip in the company of a relative prompted me to show him the old school in Bennett Avenue.

“It had become part of Blackpool Technical College, where I first studied chemistry, and the wartime underground air raid shelter and the outside toilets had been cleared and the playground resurfaced, so no trace remained.”

John wrote to Chris Powell, headteacher of what is now Palatine Community Sports College, St Annes Road – close to where he used to live on Central Drive – to learn things certainly had changed since his time at the old school building.

“The school no longer has the motto ‘Per ardua ad alta’, for one thing, and the school hymn, which we used to sing to open the Speech Day, is not in use. I hope there may be at least one old Pally Ringworm, as we were known to boys in other schools, who can correct, if necessary, the third and fourth lines of the first verse, of which I am not 100 per cent sure.

“There was a rumour that this hymn was written and composed by our music master Mr Hankinson, and if anyone can update me on this, I shall be grateful.

“Our headmaster was Howard A Costigan, and our woodwork master was George Chippendale, who our headmaster said was a direct descendant of the famous furniture maker.”

John can be contacted by email at lucas795@btinternet.com, on (01438) 715161 or at 23 Codicote Road, Welwyn, AL6 9TT.

The Palatine Hymn:

We build our school on Thee, O Lord

To Thee we bring our common need

The noble thought, the kindly word

The selfless act, the helpful deed

With these we pray Thy spirit may

Be present in our school, alway

We change, but Thou art still the same

The same good Master, Teacher, Friend

We change but Lord we bear Thy name

To journey with it to the end

And so we pray Thy spirit may

Be present in our school, alway