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St Joseph's and St Bernard's

Norn Hill, Basingstoke

Welcome to St Joseph's and St Bernard's school website. Sadly the school is no more but we have some great memories and lots of photographs. We are trying to put names to faces so we need your help as there are still a lot of don't knows.

Caritas Christi Urgent Nos (The Love of Christ Urges us on)

Trina Maher

Trina Maher (now Farmer) emailed me. She is in the 1957 photo

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 Grassby

Stephanie has been in touch and found herself on the 1963 photo

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, Tony, Rachel and Felicity. My mum still has this photo but it does bring back lots of happy memories.

Sr Gabriel Dolores

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.

Sr Gabriel Dolores

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.

Janet 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.

Helena Digby

Helena Digby says

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.

Jimmy Donohoe

Jimmy Donohoe spotted himself on the 1963 photo (child32)

Anne Hennessy

Anne Mitchell has been in touch.

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 & child 123 is his younger brother Martin Bennett (deceased)

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.

St Bernards Play


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)

Robinson Sisters

Happy New Year! Marian Robinson has found our site and spotted herself in the 1957 photo together with her sister Jenny