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St. John's Approved School

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sally kennedy

Guest
Is there anyone at all - anywhere - who remembers this 'School'? I believe it is now called St.Johns Community School. Its on Gravelly Hill, Erdington. I've looked on Friends Re-united, Been all through Google, and I can't find any record of the place ever having existed. There must be someone out there that was there round about 1959/60. It seems that they made it a co-ed after that, but no previous records. Help!!
I would love to get in touch with some of my old friends from those days. It was run by the Sisters of Charity. Huh!! Some charity that was.
Any donations gratefully received. SALLY
The girls that attended, I have to say, didn't necessarily come from Birmingham. Most of them came from the Manchester, London, Liverpool areas.
 
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Shera

true brummie
hello sally

i worked at st johns childrens home gravelly hill north from 1986 - 2000 so well after you were there. it was (and still is) a home for young people on remand, in trouble with the law and also it did have a secure unit there for the most serious offenders.

i heard it was run by nuns in the past and of course it is next door to st mary and st johns catholic church.

it looks like the national archives have some records of the school pre 1950 but they are not available to be seen yet.
i hope you manage to contact some of your friends. all the best

chris
 

Bob Johnson

master brummie
I too worked at St John's from 1992 - 2005 when the secure unit closed.

Christine Bill I remember your name, can't put a picture to it though.
.

Bob
 
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sally kennedy

Guest
Chris, thanks for your response to my appeal. I really thought that this school was now a secondary school, only because on Friends Reunited there were quite a few people, boys and girls that had attended. But when I was there, it was only girls. And Bill, it would be great if you could find out something for me from the late fifties/sixties. It seems like all the records have been wiped from the face of the earth. So can I assume it isn't run by Nuns anymore? Thanks for your help, both of you. Sally
 
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Bob Johnson

master brummie
The sisters of mercy Liverpool originally ran the school for "naughty" girls.

The nuns handed the school and residential block to Bham Soc Serv around 1978, at the same time a wall was built between the childrens home and St Mary and John's church.

The site consisted of a childrens home, a secure unit, a school and remand unit.

A new secure unit was built on the tennis courts which opened in April 1992.

I think it was in 1997 that the whole site was closed down except for the secure unit.

The old building called Woodsong was demolished.

The childrens home was converted to an eight bed remand centre.

2005 the secure unit was closed and mothballed.
 
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sally kennedy

Guest
Hi Bob, thankyou for all the information you have given me. Very interesting. I wonder what happened to all the records pre-1962. The actually approved 'school' was fenced off with barbed wire when I was there, and there was also a hostel next door, which was open, for the girls who were due to be released and were allowed to go to work (sort of trustees). I worked at the GEC factory in (Aston?) I think. It was down the canal path. I had to work there for 3 months before I could be released.
Thanks again. Sally
 

greenlady

New Member
Hi Bob, thankyou for all the information you have given me. Very interesting. I wonder what happened to all the records pre-1962. The actually approved 'school' was fenced off with barbed wire when I was there, and there was also a hostel next door, which was open, for the girls who were due to be released and were allowed to go to work (sort of trustees). I worked at the GEC factory in (Aston?) I think. It was down the canal path. I had to work there for 3 months before I could be released.
Thanks again. Sally
Hi sally, I have just come across this thread and wondered if you were still interested in findling inormation on the above. Please let me know as I may be able to help
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
Greenlady
As Sally is now marked as "guest", she has presumably left the forum, and probably does not visit it any more
 

pollypops

master brummie
Greenlady if you have any photos of the house the School was in I would be very interested in seeing them.
 

pollypops

master brummie
Thank you for your reply - many years ago the house belonged to someone in my family tree so it would have been lovely to see what it looked like when you were there. Perhaps you could share some of your memories about the building or the general day to day running of the School on here for people who may look in the future.
 

greenlady

New Member
Hi pollypops I will get back to you when I have a bit more time. Incidentally I am 99% sure I knew Sally Kennedy - it's a pity she is no longer online.
 

curlyedna

Brummie babby
Hi all,I would just like to say a thank you Jim for all your help with this site.I was in St johns chs in late 70s early 80s. I remember be taken up the drive and walking in that big front door,if you went left at the door there was a massive walk way with mesh above your head. Then if you went to the left was kitchen and unit called redlands,but if you went right there was adoor to the back of the building and when you go though that door, on the left was pentlands(secure unit 4beds. But just at the side of pentlands there was a door which went some steps,when I asked what the home was before I was told about the nuns and that little room below was where they sent when naughty. On the back wall was marks of days and other writing. It was astore cupboard when st johns was a chs. I remember them gates,and I can't believe they took tennis courts away and pulled down woodsong all for new secure unit. Which is now not in use. Always remember Mr b and Jones. I went back to visit afew times. I have aphoto of the main entrance but haven't aclue how to load to this site. Any help would be grateful,I'm not to good with computers lol. Take care all.
 

Bob Johnson

master brummie
Hi bob was wondering thé punishment book was this relating to pentlands lornswood rédlands 1980+
I have recently moved house and have the punishment record book in one of the many cardboard boxes used in the house move.

From what I can remember the records show; Sat on bed....two strokes of cane. Disrespectful to staff......one stroke of cane....etc, etc

I don't think it's correct or lawful that I should display any names of staff or children on this site. I will have a read through it again, I don't think there is anything scandalous like children being beaten or hung from the rafters in there.
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
Hi Bob
Its seems that you have had the question answered about whether not it existed so I presume ylou worked there then or not.but the answer
Is yes given by previous people it excisted
But had they not answered I would have told you yes ,as I know of two lads whom was sent there in 1959 and they said it was a rough place and a rough time
They got I know these lads very well since we was kids in fact and I can recall them being sent there
After coming out one of the two brother the older of the two got killed on his motor bike not long coming out of that place
He got killed taking his girl friend home on the back of his motor bike by the cross roads by that pub
His younger brother is still alive older now obvisiuosly with grown up kids and happily. Married
They said it was a wicked place for anybody to be sent there at such an early age these tow lads was from stour street
In those days there was lots of kids being sent za way to these so called approved schools from Aston and Ladywood
And spark brook area its seems it was the inner parts of brum where they all come from
But he's there was cruelitity and abuse from staff there on the subject of some one betting the cane
It wonder how it was dished out by the head ,and no disrespe t to the religion of Nunn's but they had a reputation for being
Hard and harsh with kids but I won't go on about that there's been other place where strictly Nunn's have ruled the pace of corrections
With wicked temperaments there was a situation of another approve school where the head master was brought to book
Where this guy whom I will not name even thou he as passed away like most of these people whom was in these postions
Did use mistreatment and abuse but this guy virtually ran 15 Yards at these young kids with a couple of very fine canes
He lituary marked them black and blue and all colours to there hands and the bottoms and had them bleeding
When this operation took place investigating these home a couple of them was sent to jail for many years
The head master played the old card of mental break down to avoid going to jail he succeeded in doing that and he said I gave them the cane
For dispensary reasons but they never seen the fuel damage he done to these kids he should have been hung yet alone
Let off by the jury there was to many people in these homes as carriers that should have been in there
Still some of these carriers have died unfortunelatly but there are some still out there in hiding as old as they are
But according to the documentary last week on the case last week the main culprit went abroad and found to be dead
So he is off the hook a couple of years back the police went to america to see people whom emigrated in finding them
Still I do not want to go on but I will close now on it but answering your question he's it was there as a hell hole like some one said recently
Astonian,,,,,
 

curlyedna

Brummie babby
Hi bob,I'm in that book!! I would like to know if you know of any contact details for Paul Jones,he used to work on astonishing view. I've called st johns (remand centre) but they have no info on any of the staff that worked there,then. I used to go and visit him in the late 90's. But lost touch over the years,any info would be appreciated. Or even where to start,I've even tryed area6 (social services). Thank you and look forward to your reply. Merry Christmas all ;-).
 

Bob Johnson

master brummie
Hi bob,I'm in that book!! I would like to know if you know of any contact details for Paul Jones,he used to work on astonishing view. I've called st johns (remand centre) but they have no info on any of the staff that worked there,then. I used to go and visit him in the late 90's. But lost touch over the years,any info would be appreciated. Or even where to start,I've even tryed area6 (social services). Thank you and look forward to your reply. Merry Christmas all ;-).
Hello Curlyedna. I do remember Paul Jones. When I started there in 1991, he was the deputy manager in the new secure unit that had recently opened. I think he lived quite local to St John's, but where exactly I don't know.
 

curlyedna

Brummie babby
. I've been looking for yrs and everytime I hit a brick wall. He was always true to his word and honest,I used to visit him when he worked in the new sure unit and they had carpet on the floor,lol. In pentlands (old secure unit) we had wooden flooring and a scrubbing brush,bucket and on your hands and knees job. I don't know where eleas to look,I've call hundreds of p Jones from old phone books off the net,I've spoke to some lovely people and some not so nice,lol. He wasn't one for computers,think it was age ;-). Thank you bob for your help.
 

curlyedna

Brummie babby
Many thanks,oh bob is the store room next to pentlands still there,it was where they sent the naughty nun's. merry Christmas all x
 
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