Spirit of Birkenhead Institute

Pupils' and Staff Memories of Birkenhead Institute Grammar School



Welcome to this special web site, which I have set up to include pupils' and teachers' memories of Birkenhead Institute. Owing to space restrictions, it is not possible to include all of your memories on my original site, and since setting up the "Spirit of Birkenhead Institute" site in August 2008, I have received many interesting items form pupils and staff. This site will therefore allow extra space to enable me to add more of your memories as I receive them. I believe it is very important to preserve your memories of the school, and by adding them to the site, they will be available to be viewed by anyone who is interested in finding out about the history of the school in the future. Please note the new contact number for the site from May, 2017 is:

         07522 554855 



This site celebrates the life of a fine Wirral school, the Birkenhead Institute. I have created this site for anyone who remembers the school, especially former staff and pupils, who may be interested in the history of the B.I. The school motto in Latin above means : "The wise man always has riches within himself", and it appears on the school crest, which is reproduced above. As I said above, I believe that it is very important in these changing times to preserve and centralise, via the Internet, the memory of the Birkenhead Institute Grammar School. The B.I. opened in 1889, and sadly closed in 1994, after more than a hundred years of service to Wirral scholars. In the main, the B.I. was a Grammar School, and changed its status to High School in the 1970s when it moved from Whetstone Lane to Tollemache Road. The fine old building in Whetstone Lane was demolished in the 1970s, and the land used to house Woodlands School.  The Whetstone Lane buildings and two former Headmasters of the Birkenhead Institute are shown below :-


This site is dedicated to you, the pupils and staff, to include more of your own memories of Birkenhead Institute. I have already received many items which have been added to the original "Spirit of Birkenhead Institute" site. However, I have decided to add more of your memories to this special site, and several items have already been received. For example, former pupil Keith Sedman, (1942 -1949),  has sent in some excellent sporting memories and photographs, which can be seen on the "YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS" page. These include the school cricket and rugby teams, along with Keith's medals which he won in 1949 for his successes in Cross Country. Similarly, there are some more interesting memories of the B.I. from former pupils in the "YOUR MEMORIES" and "YOUR MEMORIES (2)" pages, so please take the time to have a look. There is also a PUPIL PAGE, where you can send in your special items for inclusion, so I very much look forward to receiving more of your contributions!

In particular, former pupil Dean Johnson, (and also Wirral musician), has created a special musical project about the life of Wilfred Owen, and more details can be found in these pages, as well as in the WILFRED OWEN page, where Dean has kindly sent in a marvellous letter from Peter Owen, Wilfred Owen's nephew. Also included is a letter from the Prime Minister, David Cameron, thanking Dean for sending in his "Bullets and Daffodils" narration, and a specially commissioned portrait of Wilfred Owen, which Dean himself has commissioned. There is also a picture on the Wilfred Owen page of the Wilfred Owen display which Dean has created at Birkenhead Central Library, and a link to the Wirral Globe article about Dean's special musical project about Wilfred Owen. Some of the pictures below show the new Wilfred Owen Centre at 34 Argyle Street, Birkenhead,  Dean Johnson with Christopher Timothy, and Dean Johnson with the Mayor of Birkenhead:-

As well as this, there are more items from the early days of the B.I. in the MEMORABILIA page, including a 1949 school photograph, which I am sure you will find of interest! The WHETSTONIAN page looks at the existence of the magazine of the B.I. Junior School.  I have also included a page called WHERE ARE THEY?for any requests for information about former B.I. pupils and staff. If you would like to add a request, please do so via the email address below. Similarly, the WANTED page contains requests for any B.I. memorabilia items which former pupils and staff may require.  Please keep sending in your memories, and I shall ensure that they are added to the site.

First XI Cricket Team, 1965, shown above, with Mr L.T. Malcolm

I am very sad to report the death of Mr L. T. Malcolm, (December 2010), and I have set up a special page dedicated to his memory on this site. Your memories of Mr Malcolm are very welcome, and I shall add them to this special dedication page as they are received. Mr Malcolm was a pupil and a fine teacher at Birkenhead Institute, and was known as "Mr Institute" by many former pupils. His death is a great loss to the school, and his spirit will live on forever in the memories of everyone who knew him.



ATKIN          STITT          TATE      WESTMINSTER

The four original B.I. houses were as above, and the corresponding house colours shown above of majenta, green, red and blue. However, I am reliably informed that after the school moved to Tollemache Road, there were two more houses added, namely COHEN and DAVIESI understand that the colours were yellow and white for Cohen house, and gold and white for Davies house. Former pupil John Lewis has been able to confirm the colours for Cohen house, and still has his old school tie! Any more information about these houses would, however,  be welcome.

Above is a 1987 photograph, kindly sent in by Ernie McDonald

Please note that many of the photographs from this site and the "Spirit of Birkenhead Institute" site can be seen on FLICKR.  Please feel free to have a look at the two Birkenhead Institute Flickr sites at:-





I have also created a separate site to remember the B.I.'s excellent school magazine, "The Visor".

The Visor site includes some interesting items from the school magazine. There are some interesting advertisements from the magazine, as well as news items from across the years, so please take time to have a look to see if you remember them. I have also included some interesting photographs from the relevant years.  I am indebted to Dave Forshaw, (Former pupil),  and also to Dave Jones, (Former pupil and teacher at Birkenhead institute),  for donating to me some excellent copies of The Visor from the 1940s to the 1960s. Gordon Hodgson, (Former pupil), has also kindly provided me with some early copies of Visor magazines, including one from 1945. John Baker, former pupil, has also kindly provided me with the school photographs from 1943 and 1946.  As there is a large amount of material included within these Visors, I decided to include them on a dedicated site for Birkenhead Institute Visors. The site also contains some traditional Visor items such as Varia, (Various news items old and new), and Salvete, (Welcome to new visitors to the site). I also hope to include more pictures and items which pupils send in to me. For example, Hal Darlington has sent in an excellent drawing he made of the Whetstone Lane school in 1967, which can be seen in the Tempus Fugit page, along with a programme of the B.I. Centenary celebrations in 1989.  The Visor site can be found at:-


Owing to the popularity of this site, and the amount of items I have added, I have now created another site for your additional memories, which can be found at:-


I very much look forward to receiving more of your memories, stories, and photographs of Birkenhead Institute shortly, and these will be added to this site and the additional Pupils' and Staff Memories site in the near future.

Above: Philip Ronald-Price in the B.I. 6th Form in 1966 


Your memories will help to keep the spirit of the Birkenhead Institute alive, so please send more in and I shall add them to the site.

Many thanks for looking, and I trust you will enjoy this site.

Philip Ronald-Price

(Birkenhead Institute Grammar School Pupil, 1960 - 1967)




Thank you for visiting this site, which is dedicated to your memories, the pupils and staff, of Birkenhead Institute Grammar School, Wirral.

Above is a photograph of the B.I. Playing Fields entrance,  Ingleborough Road, taken in 1999.


If you would like to contact me, or send information or pictures for inclusion on this site, please write to me at the email address below:





For Voice Mail and Text Messages, the contact number is:


                   07522 554855

Link to the Whetsonian web site, early history of the B.I. :-



Above is a portrait of Wilfred Owen, commissioned by former B.I. pupil and Wirral musician Dean Johnson.


          ABOVE : The B.I. Physics Laboratory, with me in the foreground

Above is a photograph taken during my last couple of years at Birkenhead Institute around 1966/1967. I was studying for my Physics "A" Level.


ABOVE: The Birkenhead Institute entrance hall and corridor, taken around 1959, including former B.I. Headmaster Mr E. G. Webb.

THE B.I. STAFF, 1957/1958

ABOVE : The Staff of Birkenhead Institute, taken outside the Whetstone Lane school buildings, 1957.



 Here is another web site of interest relating to the Ingleborough Road Memorial Playing Fields, courtesy of former B.I. pupil Todd Russell in Australia, and below, a picture of Helen Dodd, who campaigned to keep the playing fields in 2011/2013.