Spirit of Birkenhead Institute

Pupils' and Staff Memories of Birkenhead Institute Grammar School


This page is to enable any requests for B.I. items which former pupils and staff may require.

The first item is a copy of the 1965 Speech Day programme, requested by former pupil Alan Elliott. If you have a copy, could you please scan a copy and send it to the email address below. The front cover of the 1963 Speech Day programme is shown below, with many thanks to Alan Elliott:-


If anyone has any old Visor magazines from the early days of the B.I.,  I will be interested. Please email the site at the above email address.



I have received an email from Debra Blackburn, asking for information about William Ledsom, who was born in 1889, and who might have been a pupil of Birkenhead Institute in its early days.

If anyone has any more information, can you please contact me via the email address:-


Here are more details about William Ledsom, which Debra has very kindly provided.  William was Debra's Great Uncle. If anyone knows any more about William, could you please let me know via the above email address, and I shall pass the information to Debra:-

Thank you very much for your kind e-mail.
I have been making some further enquiries and it appears he was sent to the Birkenhead Institution.  It showed William as a pauper listed with many other very young children.
He was born in 1889 Bidston, Cheshire. His father was Edward Ledsom and his mother would have been Sarah Ledsom.  The 1891 census shows William as 2 yrs old living with both parents at 17 Mona St, Claughton-cum-Grange, Birkenhead.
The 1901 census shows William at 12 yrs of age at the Birkenhead Institution and the father living at 8 Rennalds Court, Birkenhead with just 1 daughter.  It appears William's mother had passed away between these years and I think that is why he may have been admitted to the institution.
Even though I have the parents dates of birth Edward b.1857 (Bidston) and Sara b.1861 (Oxton) I do not have their death dates yet, but one thing I have noticed the family all seemed to have stayed in this area all their lives.  If I find out death dates it would be absolutely lovely to see where they are buried.
I have contacted Wirral Archives to confirm little William was at the Institution but the gentleman didn't take much information from me, but hopefully they may just look at the register for 1901 and he may be on there, they will get back to me within 2 weeks.
I would dearly love to take you up on your offer as you live on Wirral, for any further information you may be able to find on the family.  Little William was just 2 generations away and he did die in March 1968 at Birkenhead at 80 yrs of age.  He would have been my Great Uncle.
Thank you very much for your time and I hope it does not put you out at all.
Kind regards
Debra Blackburn


If anyone can remember Charles Vivian Hales as a teacher at the B.I. in 1932, please let me know so I can advise Bob Hale, who was related to him:-

I wonder if you can tell me whether the Birkenhead Institute would be the same school as was called "Birkenhead Grammar School" by someone in 1932?  The reason is that the above-named Charles Vivian Hales "had graduated with honours at Liverpool University and was teaching at Birkenhead Grammar School" then, according to his father in Cumberland.  His father, called plain Charles Hales, was about to retire after serving 41 years as head of a village school, and was interviewed by the Whitehaven News, when he made that proud statement about his son.

Both are ancestors of mine (despite them being Hales and me Hale) but I know nothing else of the son except that he had married Madeline Mary Peart in 1928.  I am trying to further my researches, and would be grateful for your opinion.

Many thanks
Bob Hale
I am pleased to advise that I have received the following from Pam Harrington, who is in touch with Jenny Cleveland, the daughter of Charles Hales, and I have forwarded this on to Bob Hale. Good to know that my web site has enabled this contact to be made:-
Could you tell Bob Hale that I am at this moment sitting opposite Jenny (Anne) Cleveland who is the daughter of Charles and Madeleine Hales. I have been demonstrating the powers of the Internet and I 'Googled' her father just to see what came up. She'd love to speak to Bob. Jenny lives in Cumbria but is about to move to Dorset.

If Bob would like to respond to this email, we can take it from there!

Kind regards,

Pam Harrington


Here is an email from Patricia Betts about former B.I. pupil Clifford John Rowlands. If anyone remembers Clifford, or has any more information about his time at the Birkenhead Institute, can you please let me know via the email address:-


I am researching the crash of a Wellington bomber in September 1944 near to Althorp Estate, Northamptonshire in which all the crew were killed. This is for a Memorial Book which I hope to publish later this year, via the Harpole Heritage Group. (Harpole is a small village nearest to the crash site)
One of the crew was Clifford John Rowlands who was a former pupil at Birkenhead Institute and is remembered in the Autumn edition 1944 in The Visor. I am hoping to touch upon the personal lives of these men in my book and not make it a formal publication.

I am seeking your local knowledge in the first instance and asking if there was ever a Memorial placed in the Institute to those that gave their lives in the Second World War ?  If so, would it be possible to have a photograph of it showing Clifford Rowlands name please.

Also, do you have a photograph of Birkenhead Institute of that era that I would be suitable for use in my publication ?

Would you know if there are any school records of Clifford in existence for his time at the school ?

Patricia Betts



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