The Music Teacher – A One Woman Play In 4 Parts – Part 4


Well for the following couple of days, the beginning of last week actually, I wondered round in a daze, teaching by remote control.  I don’t remember half the things we covered but I suppose my notes will tell me and I had lost touch with any kind of progress in the tutorials.  I knew there was something fundamentally wrong at the school but I could not work it out, I knew it needed exposing but I did not know how to go about it.  I felt like Kevin and poor Anthony, I felt I had been wronged but I am sure nobody would believe what I had to say and sure as eggs are eggs, I could prove nothing.  I thought I would get wise advice off the only person I felt might believe me, I even thought of bringing this up with Mummy and Daddy but I had a worry that they also might not comprehend and I did not want our relationship to suffer.  No this was a professional problem as much as anything.

I cornered Gordon.  One lunch time I was playing a piece (name the piece and play a bit of it*) and I knew he would come in when he heard the music, he couldn’t resist if he was in the vicinity.  After a few minutes he came in, sat down at a desk, gave me a smile and pretended to be reading The Times, whilst at the same time surreptitiously conducting me with his right index finger behind his journal.  I let his idyll continue for a while and then I suddenly stopped playing and walked over and sat in the next desk. I told him I had something to say and for him not to interrupt until I had finished.  I wasn’t halfway through my expose, when he held his hands up signalling me to stop.  “Enough Miss Kirk, you have no proof, I know you haven’t.  This thing has cropped up before in different ways and has always been shot down.  Whether it is the ravings of a supposedly wronged pupil or even possibly the truth, you are up against a Monsignor here and you are quoting a 13 year old boy and that is a recipe for disaster.  You could harm your whole career if you go forward with this.”

“I have been teaching music at this school since 1921 and I have heard this kind of rumour on and off in all this time.  Monsignor Duggan has been here at the school since the beginning of the war and before that for a few years as well.  He is in an invidious position, up there on the firing line facing every man jack pupil who has a grudge.  Even if it was true and sometimes like yourself I don’t doubt some witnesses, you have to be a 110% sure and you cannot be.  My experience is that wherever you get male teachers and more often than not priests and pupils you will get this type of rumour and for me to investigate that, exposes my whole belief system.  I will start to worry about my own existence and I am not willing to lay bare the whole of my religious beliefs and teachings.  I am willing enough to let sleeping dogs lie.  I often think that there is an element of nature about it, as human beings we are all different in a way and I know the thought of it isn’t nice and I know if there was an element of truth in it, I would rather it not be there but the honest thing is, it is probably there or thereabouts all the time.  It does not seem to do the boys much harm.  With Anthony, I would suggest there were other things at play besides the story you are trying to tell me.  So my advice is to forget about it and in your own small way, like a few of us on the staff, try and make sure the boys avoid these one to one situations.  On the QT I know a couple of masters fear the worst and would rather send a boy to the moon than send him up to the Rector”.

“Look Miss Kirk, I am retiring in a year’s time and I have been watching your progress through this year.  I realise we have put a large amount on you, more than I thought we would at interview and you have sailed through it all without complaining and you have performed admirably.  The boys all love you and to tell you the truth, the old place needs more ladies like you around and less old fuddy duddys like myself.  Any way my job and my department is yours when I walk out this gate, I’ll make sure of that, so please forget what you are thinking.  You might be right and then again you might be wrong.  Concentrate on your career and everything will be fine”.  With that he folded his paper and went out the door.

I was deflated, flatter than a car tyre that had been punctured for miles, I was wobbling on my rims.  Everything I had once held dear was shaken.  Here was a senior master telling me I might be right but that it was an almost natural emotion that is prone to priests and some teachers and that I should forget all about it and try and not let these situations happen and realise that it is not as bad as I am making it out to be.  I could not believe what I was hearing.

A couple of days later I was still mulling over what Gordon had said and wondering what was the best way ahead when he, Mr Frost that is, collared me one evening as I finished.

“Miss Kirk, I have been talking to the Rector about my retirement and I have been singing your praises, telling him what a remarkable teacher you are.  He is leaving it up to me to crown my successor, there is of course, responsibilities and salary to iron out but the job is yours if you want it.  So please don’t rock the boat.  Forget about what you told me, go about your duties and everything will sort itself out for the best.”

I thanked him for his canvassing and his generosity but I could see I had options and I needed time to think and we went our separate ways, him to teach and bury himself in his musical world, me to work hard on why I was on this earth.  This last week had been the hardest few days of my life.  It was a lovely early July evening, the school was busy with external and internal exams, there was nobody about, I walked over and sat on a bench on the Master’s Lawn and let the breeze sooth my tortured brow.

As far as I could see I had three options:-

A.)  Try and uncover the evil that was happening – but how?

B.)  Get my head down and forget about the recent events and Anthony’s death and thinking about it, probably Michael’s decline and concentrate on being the best music teacher in the world, or

C.)  Resign, walk away and be rid of the pressures and try and fight this cancer from outside but with obviously limited chances but first find another job

They all had things to recommend and I did realise that if I followed my conscience and Catholic upbringing that Option A was the favourite but then I would be fighting my Church and to a lesser extent my parents.  I did not start to think what damage it would do to them and I really did not want to go there.  Option B was easy, get my head down and do what I was naturally good at but it was going against every fibre of my being but was I being too scrupulous.  Option C, although hard in the short term was the easy option and one I considered for quite a while but it would have been very difficult to achieve especially if I was working in a different place with other duties to perform.

I was at my wits end with no other avenues to go down, I had to decide there was nobody going to do it for me.  In the end and it was only on Wednesday did I decide and against every Christian bone in my body, I went for B.  I was young, ambitious and gifted, I kidded myself that I could look after the boys inside the fold rather than outside it.  I forgot about Kevin and Anthony and Michael and probably lots and lots more, I forgot about Monsignor Duggan and his evil, I thought only of myself and besides, that block of flats near the school playing fields was nearing completion, I had signed my name on the dotted line and my first mortgage payment was shortly due.   Mr Gordon Frost is delighted, Fr Geoffrey Burke and Monsignor Thomas Duggan now smile when we pass.  I wonder how much they know.  I wonder how much of the old adage they admit to.  Hold your friends close but your enemies closer.


(During the last few sentences the same rousing chorus of Faith of Our Father’s is being sung by the senior choir and slowly tails off to the last sentence when it ends in a strangulated climax)

*Denotes instruction for a musical piece of the directors choosing

Monsignor Duggan went on sexually abusing boys for another six years until he retired prematurely with health problems.

Fr Burke took Monsignor Duggan’s place as Rector and was elevated to Monsignor and within a year was made Auxiliary Bishop of Salford until he died in 1990.  Well paid and appointed for his stewardship of an evil man.

Mr Gordon Frost did retire in the Summer of 1961

Miss Julia Kirk became Head of Music that year and remained so until her retirement in July 2003 after 42 years teaching at St Bede’s College.  She never married.  She no longer saw what was going on around her to that day.  What Miss Kirk did not know at the time was that there was several abusers at the school, each taking their piece of the pie.  In the words of Edmund Burke that great Irish statesman and political theorist “it is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph”

Edward, the shy English Master, started at the College in 1957, having been educated there.  He had a long and successful and very popular career at the school before retiring himself at the age of 65 after 44 years teaching.

Mr Frost was right, when you get priests and young boys together you indubitably will get abuse.  It was these thoughts that sometimes bothered Miss Kirk in her following 41 years but eventually like the rest of the staff, one becomes immune eventually.  It is just the generations of boys growing in to men that suffer, growing old, not realising their potential, living wrecked lives and not being able to do a damn thing about it.


45 thoughts on “The Music Teacher – A One Woman Play In 4 Parts – Part 4

  1. Paul,

    Unfortunately, a totally believable story. I’d take it a bit of poetic licence has been used here and there, as Gordon Frost actually went sometime around 1967 (he was still there during my stay (1964/71). He was replaced by Tom Heslop, who had previously been my Latin teacher. More about Tom for another time and place.

    I never even new Miss Julie Kirk existed as a music teacher (did she really?), but then again, from that era there’s still a lot we don’t know about.

    1. Paul,
      Thanks for commenting but read the first para of Part 1. With a play of this nature there has to be a little licence for plot purposes but the story behind it is real and true and the main message of staff philosophy is absolutely true.

  2. You caught the feeling of helpessness that pervaded , we called it acceptance and obedience ; now we know it for passivity . Well done Paul , your determination and fortitude is inspiring !

  3. Paul
    Loved the play, brought back memories, some good,mostly bad. I remember Mr. Frost very well,particularly his high pitched voice. “You will stand with your feet 9 inches apart,your hands behind your back and you WILL sing. I don’t care if Lady Godiva rides her horse into the room you will ignore her and sing”
    I remember doing something wrong one day and when Fr. Grimshaw came to take the register he was told ” I want you to take Lomaax outside and thrash him to within an inch of his life”. Tony took me out into the Main Corridor and strapped the bejabers out of one of the benches and told me to go back to class rubbing my hands as if I’d been strapped. The only time I got away with a punishment

  4. As with much of your writing, I have difficulty separating fact (or fictionally-disguised fact) from speculation. Though I didn’t know Mr Frost well, from what I do recall I find it hard to imagine him being complicit in cover-ups of rape. (Do you perhaps have information about him that you are not revealing?) I could say the same about some of the other lay teachers too, e.g. Mr Ganley, Ron Smith, Bob Lee. These were all people with a mind of their own. (The priests may be a different matter. Many of them were probably thoroughly brainwashed, though as Mike Lomax has just reminded us, they too sometimes showed some independence.)

    However, as a depiction of an environment where it was difficult for anyone to fight against the system, I think you have drawn a fairly accurate picture.

    Direct confrontation of the system would have been difficult – though certainly not impossible if you were determined enough and bloody-minded enough. I don’t recall any teacher confronting it directly (though of course they might have done without us being aware of it). At least one teacher certainly did oppose the system, but he did so in his own way, subtly chipping away at the foundations whenever he saw an opportunity (which was quite often). I am referring to Spike Martin. Direct confrontation wasn’t his style, but he was pretty good at guerilla warfare.

    1. The point is being missed by most commentators. This is a play about real events, as a play it contains truth and also licence. The play does not aim to separate the two, that is up to the courts. The facts of this play are:-
      1. There was massive abuse at St Bede’s by several persons, I have been receiving witness testimony for over three years.
      2. The Diocese of Salford through the Bishop and some of their priests have confirmed that.
      3. The staff must have “Known and condoned” the fact. One member of staff has admitted he would never send a pupil up to Duggan.
      4. Lives were wasted prematurely and with great suffering by many for over 40 years.

      My play is about those four facts, the characters are unimportant.

      Paul Malpas

  5. My comment above is closest to your point 3. I think it is not easy for us to assess just how much each teacher at St Bede’s know about what was going on. I have the greatest difficulty in accepting that at least some teachers (including those I named) could have been complicit in a massive cover up – because I knew those people (some better than others) and it just doesn’t fit with my experiences of them.

    On the other hand, I can well believe that some others among the staff might have known some, or even all, of what was happening and chosen to do nothing about it. A lot of people, not just in the RC church, put self-interest before principles.

  6. Paul,

    I’ve got to agree with the last comment. I can’t believe that the likes of Bob Lee, Bill Heaton, Jasper Shaw, Gerry Robinson, Ron Smith,Vinny Ganley, Spike Martin and several other teachers up to 1966 too numerous to mention knew what was going on and did nothing. As for the teachers who were priests, that may be a different story, as TD had the power to make or break them, and frequently did.

    1. As a lay Catholic teacher in Manchester you were almost at the top of the tree in the 1950s and 60s if you succeeded in getting a post at Bede’s. If you left Bede’s with no good reports you were often lucky to get a job. Look at Des Pastore who left under a cloud in 1956, he finished up a few rungs down the ladder before he secured a job at St Columba’s. All the lay staff were aware of this and even more so if you were a classics teacher. These laymen were scared stiff of the push, even if they did put on a brave face. One of the teachers you mentioned told me that once.
      Duggan ruled with a rod of iron and he was in the main hated for it. Some sent pupils up to Duggan for the very same reason that some did not.

  7. The only classics teacher I mentioned was Ron Smith. He was an honourable man. And he wasn’t a wimp. I can imagine that he might perhaps not have wanted to rock the boat without good reason, as classics jobs probably weren’t all that easy to find, I can imagine that he might not have wished to act on the basis of vague rumours that he wasn’t in a position to substantiate, but I am 100% sure that if had had solid evidence that TD was raping boys left, right and centre then he would not have stood idly by. Much the same applies to the other people I mentioned.

    1. I am not being mischevous but I refuse to play guessing games on such a serious subject. Let the play and the points it raises stand for themselves. Its the abuse and its results are what matters here.

  8. OK, I agree completely that what really happened is all that matters. But if you write a semi-fictional work that includes the names of real people known to your readership, you shouldn’t be surprised if people read into it more than you may have intended.

    1. Perhaps you are right Linda and I did think about it. I wanted readers who did experience Bede’s to register their thoughts on the subject discussed. To those who did not experience, names did not matter. However for the few Bedians who have commented so far the names have become a form of titillation rather than a registration of thought on the subject. I apologise for that legerdemain but at least our conversations might clear the readers minds, providing they read the comments first, which I doubt.

  9. (a)I got the impression that “Frostie”was on OUR side. He seemed tohave a cynical detatched view of the whole hideous regime and his quirky “system”,apalling jokes and “Goodbye,Mr Chips” uniform were his way of dealing with it.
    (b) Iloathed the “reading of the marks” ritual.Luckily as an asthmatic I managed to wrangle “partly absent” most years!!
    (c)Can anybody tell me why the main building (Alex road)was only half completed? Did some Catholic spiv builder go bankrupt? As Frostie would have told us via his Aesthetics class it had an “unresolved duality”!!!!

  10. The main building was originally built as a public aquarium for the city of Manchester. It was opened in 1874 but proved not to be commercially viable. Presumably that means that they ran out of money to build the second half. It was bought by the diocese in 1877, and presumably they decided that they had no need (and perhaps also no money) to complete it.

  11. Sorry to be pedantic but the Aquarium was the gym/Academic Hall during my incarceration. The building I refer to is the one facing the park on Alexandra Road South-of red brick with Terra-cotta detail. It has the main entrance to one side. The wall facing towards Manchester is just blank brickwork.Methinks they ran out of cash but intended to complete it when funds allowed.As good old Frostie would know it is a good example of “Italianate” victorian (cf. Pevsner’s guide).

  12. Nice to have an architectural lecture, I once saw a picture of the building on Alexandra Road South, with the comment below “it lacks symmetry”. I don’t think you needed to be Norman Foster to work that one out, the plain brickwork on one end of the building was a bit of a give-away, wasn’t it?

    Getting back to the nitty-gritty, the power that TD appears to have had meant he was the Bedian equivalent of the Gauleiter – a comparison with the Third Reich, or even in his case, the Fourth Reich, would not go amiss. Omnipotent was his middle name, those that chose to cross him were swiftly despatched to the abyss of oblivion.

    By the time I’d left (’71), the kudos of Bedes was rapidly going down hill, accelerated by the mass exodus of teachers, especially the priests. If you’d seen a staff photo in 1966 and one even five years later, the staff turnaround was there for all to see. I remember seeing a picture of staff in 1976 (I’d long gone 5 years ago by then) and out of around 30 staff, I didn’t recognise half of them, very few had been there 10 years or more. Obviously the grass for many was greener outside the Hallowed Sanctum.

    1. Paul,
      I think you have hit some kind of a nail on its head. By the middle sixties the Salford Diocese realised that it had bred some kind of a septic scar on the face of Manchester with its mismanagement of the school under Duggan. Academically the school was failing. The only way out was remove the clerics and start to erase the stain of abuse. It only partially succeeded and it took nearly twenty more years to achieve. There are not many living staff from that middle/late sixties era left alive. It would be interesting to get their take on that time.

  13. Brian, the original Manchester aquarium was indeed the red-brick building with terra-cotta detail facing Alexandra Park. Its history is as I outlined above. I presume, though I am not 100% certain, that the failure to complete it was related in some way to the commercial difficulties of the original aquarium. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that the gym/Academic hall was a later addition made after the diocese had purchased the original building.

    Incidentally, the Manchester aquarium was, when opened, the largest aquarium in the world that was not actually at the sea. This was the Manchester that said “Let’s be a port even though the sea is 30 miles away”. I wonder what happened to that “can-do” attitude.

    The reason behind Manchester deciding that it wanted an aquarium was the growing interest in natural history in Britain during that period. That, in turn, ultimately has its roots in religious and cultural factors in the 18th century (but as you probably listened to enough boring history lessons while at school I’ll spare you the details.)

  14. Sorry-still maintain that the Academic Hall was the ex-aquarium.If you look at the decoration on the Porch and frontage you see Saint Bede and various scholars, lawyers(!!!) etc. Also the marble floor has several Bedian motifs. I always thought it an apt monument to the mis-placed overweening pride of those who saw Bedes as some sort of pukka “public school”. Chopped off in all its pomp-like our “Tommy”!! Mr Frost would have known…..

    1. So that everybody is aware and to try and get back to the point which my mate Brian so successfully manages to divert people from, the Manchester Aquarium was in the now Academic Hall. The Vaughan building was an add on by the Diocese and was never completed and it became and still is a half-hearted attempt at grandiosity so successfully managed by the Diocese for the last 133 years.

  15. Paul,

    They still haven’t finished Barcelona Cathedral after God knows how many centuries, Bede’s unfinished building of 133 years is a more drop in the ocean in comparison….

  16. The editor’s decision is FINAL and I rest my case.I think the Academic Hall contained some “queer fish” in its time-and one horrible shark.

  17. Brian,

    The editor is correct, as are you. Who says so – Bedes own web-site. The defence rests its case.

  18. Are there some crossed wires here? The building I am talking about is the obvious “big” one that is obviously only half (or a little more than half) complete. It’s the one with the imposing doorway near its right edge, and with the word “salve” on the mosaic floor as you enter through that door. The same one as the music room, the rector’s office, etc. were in. Have a look at
    which discusses the history of aquariums in mid-Victorian times. They seem clearly to be referring to that building since they state that it was 150 feet long. Unfortunately, they do not include a picture, but if you do a google search on the three words aquarium manchester alexandria and then go to images, the first three images are clearly of that building.

    Looking at one of those images now, I would guess that the statues above the doorway could easily have been added later. They don’t fit very well. They are in the wrong kind of stone to blend with the rest of the building, and I doubt that the original architect would have been that insensitive. The other “Bedian” details could also have been added later.

    Has any expert on the local history of Manchester ever looked into this properly?

  19. Just found an old (1875) extract from the journal Nature. The description there of the Manchester aquarium does indeed fit the gym plus what became the Lady Corridor and the library. Looks as though Google’s images are misleading.

  20. As you made the point Paul the whole object of your play was to revisit the Bede’s of the pedophile Duggan and a music teacher’s re-action to the situation.
    Then someone steered the comments to trivia about the wretched building. My comment on that building is that it represented EVIL of the worst kind that happened inside those red brick walls. EVIL in the form of Duggan and a number of others.

    I believe many of the other teachers and priests knew exactly what was going on, and had been going on since the 1940’s. But in the climate of the time just looked the other way to keep their jobs and pensions. Remember the power of Duggan and the church. Cross Duggan and they would never work again, at least in the catholic world.

    I went to Bede’s in September 1950 and was a victim of Duggan before Christmas that year. After a nightmarish three years of abuse by Duggan I became one of those “disappeared boys” that vanished from the school overnight around Christmas 1953.
    Just two years ago this week I received an email telling me to look up Duggan on Google. This I did and came across Paul’s Blog. I contacted Paul and joined a large band of ex-Bedians who suffered the same fate as me, in lesser or far worse situations. Sadly, we are all still awaiting justice.

    Let’s get back to the important subject and sod the building!

  21. Thank you Linda!Information much appreciated. Apologies to all other bloggers for starting another detour from the main thread.

  22. Ken Horne has a serious point. The wheels are now coming off for the Catholic Church, evil is slowly being exposed.

    I regard myself as being very lucky to have missed TD’s excesses. I was a naive 11 year old in 1964, when I left in 1971 Bedes had done an excellent cover-up job, all the students affected by TD had left either earlier during my stay, or before I even arrived. I had no inkling whatever of what had gone on previously.

    When people like Ken put the record straight, people should take note and listen. There’s very little you can say to sympathise with them, let’s hope a full admission of what went on during those dark days will be exposed. I’m not holding my breath for the Catholic Church or Bedes to come clean….so let’s bring on the lawyers

  23. My experience was identical to that of Paul (Taylor), which is not surprising as we were exact contemporaries. Nothing I saw, heard or experienced while at St Bede’s gave me the slightest reason to believe, or even to suspect, that things might not have been right. That was why I was a bit sceptical when I first came across Paul’s (Malpas) blog.

    The best way, indeed probably the only way, to uncover what really happened is for people like Ken to speak out – clearly and unambiguously. Fortunately, the forthcoming court case should achieve some real progress along those lines.

    I’m sure everyone is now well aware that what the catholic hierarchy says can not be taken at face value. (Just think Cardinal O’Brien, for a recent example.) So it should be easier now than 50 years ago to get some sort of justice. Unfortunately, it will be a matter of too little and too late for many of those affected.

  24. They finally voted in a thrusting,dynamic,young whippersnapper of 76 then!Who said they couldnt “modernize? Pity O’Brien wasnt elected papa BEFORE he ‘fessed up!

  25. Brian, I would love to follow up on your comment. But if I do, we’ll probably both get a bollocking from Paul M for digressing again from the main thread.

    I’m glad he wasn’t my teacher at school. Can you imagine: ‘You two, write out 100 times “I must not digress from the topic of this blog”.’

  26. Brian and Linda, at least you’ve got off the frigging red bricks at last.

    Paul’s Blog is too important to wonder off track.

    I’ll give you the same given punishment in 1950 for talking during lunch in the old shed.

    500 lines each ‘I shall not talk during the lunch time period’.

    Believe it or not some boys actually wrote out the 500 lines just to see the cretinous priest throw them all a a big bin without even checking whether anything was actually written of the papers.

    Many others, like me, just did not show up for the regular pig swill which was on offer in those days.

    God help the poor boys who got free lunch tickets because their families could not afford the couple schillings a week. The priests would hold up the red ticket of the boy in question and tell the world something like ‘oh look! this boy getting a FREE LUNCH’ at the top of his voice.

    Over 60 years later I still hate those baskets with a passion.

  27. Ken, some things had got better by my time (and not just Duggan). I don’t even recall there being any free lunch tickets, so presumably it was all handled more discreetly. And though the lunchtime food wasn’t great, it did sometimes rise above the pigswill level. (I still refuse to eat any kind of milk pudding though, as a result of rice pudding and the like at St Bede’s lunches – and I’m not usually fussy about food.)

    This business of putting down kids just because they were poor has a bad history in catholic schools. I remember my father telling me about it. He was born in 1928, his family went through a bad time financially during the depression (for reasons that would take too long to explain here), and he had the same experience with free lunches. Presumably the changing zeitgeist had rendered that sort of thing a lot less acceptable by the second half of the 1960s, and even the RC church is not immune from attitudes in society generally.

  28. Just to lighten the mood for a moment, I remember taking a music test under Frosty around 1957. One boy asked if he could use a pencil as he didn’t have a pen. Frosty’s reply, almost verbatim, was: “For all I care, boy, you can use a stick of rhubarb or a sweaty sock, you silly arse!”

  29. About my last comment on Frosty. I suspect that the ‘a’ word he used was actually I slightly posh, and definitely not Mancunian, pronunciation of ‘ass’.

  30. Yes, one of the delights of Frostie when he got narked was the ass/arse (deliberate ?) pronunciation. I recall that he sometimes referred to Duggan as “it”. For example” It has been on the blower about the singing at Mass (Maaas)….”
    Anybody remember “E.Moses Lorn” and “J.J.Wiffensox”?

  31. If you Google Gordon Frost and the word ‘Logic’, you will find a pamphlet on sale for £27, written by the manic genius himself, on this subject. It dates from 1958, anyone idea what happened to the man when he left Bedes around 1967?

    I seem to remember he was replaced by Tom Heslop, but at the time I was there (64/71)we had no music lessons in the 4th/5th years (67/69)so I’m not exactly sure who the Music teacher was during that time. I know when we did Music as part of General Studies, Tom was the teacher then. Later he turned up when I moved to Whitefield in 1984 when I used to see him, complete with violin case, doing the short walk from his home on Heywood Road Prestwich to St Peter’s (now St Monica’s), Heaton Park. I always liked Tom, I regarded him as a good guy. But then, that’s only my opinion…

  32. I’ll have another go at this, remembering the southern intonation in GF’s voice:-

    GF – What’s that lad’s name over there?

    Ron Smith – Basford?

    GF – Nah, his nayme!

    Oh, well, as Frankie Howerd used to say, please yourself…

  33. Paul,
    I attended St Bede’s in the early 1960’s and experienced the behaviour of Tommy Duggan. If there is any way I may assist with your efforts to bring justice to those who became recipients of abuse from Duggan and those around him please let me know.
    I find the levity with which some treat these issues disturbing and perhaps indicative of wider, psychological injury…
    It is clear that the church will not be the source of justice and that there is a need for a full and public inquiry.
    I feel fortunate that I emerged unscathed, there will be many whose lives were irreparably damaged. I hope that others reading this will feel able to speak out. Let us give support to those who have a right to justice and some peace in their lives.

  34. To: John Toomey

    Amen to that, hopefully at some point justice will be done. It’s the least that would be acceptable. In the meantime, I rather fear the only way to hurt these people is in their pockets, by suing them for all their worth.

    This might then result in the College and Church finally coming clean about what really happened. Unfortunately their main fear is that by doing so, they’ll be subject to more legal action, so I’m afraid they’re not going to give up information willingly.

  35. Just read the Malpas play/comments & although I personally can’t confirm any sexual abuse details I vividly remember the Bedian culture of corporal punishment & ignominious infliction. Starting in Sept.53 I was a “round peg in a square hole” being one of those minority pupils that qualified by means of the entrance exam. I must say it was the most unhappiest period of my life. Though my parents sent me there with the best of intentions,the classical academic emphasis is not ideal for a practical mechanical career.

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