The Aftermath of a St. Bede’s Education.

Search as I might, I cannot find any reference to Monsignor Thomas Duggan, Rector of St. Bede’s College in Manchester, from the early 1950s until the late 1960s.  As I have said in my blog on 31 March 2010, a blog I dedicated to this ” honourable” man, he seems to have been airbrushed from history.  Google in Monsignor Thomas Duggan and St. Bede’s College or Monsignor Thomas Duggan and the Salford Diocese and you get nothing only the few small pearls that I have written.  I have spent all my research hours in this daily quest for information but can find nothing.  Which probably is not that strange because my research hours are between 5.oo am and 9.00 am and because Tommy was more a man of the night, he possibly only puts in an appearance on the web in the hours of darkness.

Seriously though, this man had ultimate power over 7-800 boys and about 40 or 50 staff for about 20 years at what was known as the premier school for Catholic boys  living in and around Manchester.  There should be something about him.  I cannot be the only one to recognize his magnanimity of spirit, his prowess as an educator or his complete and utter sympathy with the mentally and physically afflicted of the post war years.

It seems there is a darker hand present than even Tommy’s dark hands, massaging his presence out of the present ken.

I have now made it my life’s work to let Thomas’s deeds speak for themselves.  To let the world know of his talents, his doctrine, his philosophy.  To broadcast his honesty and decency to the universe.  Yet I am being hampered.

Judging from the emails I am receiving and by the comments on my blog, there is a massive audience wanting to know more.  Various Old Boys want to know the truth of this venerable Bedian.  So perhaps any of you with inside knowledge could answer me one, two or all of these following questions.  Your testimony will be treated in the strictest confidence and your names will not be revealed unless I have your permission.

1 )  When and where was Thomas Duggan born?

2 )  When and where did he die?

3 )  What exact years did he spend as Rector of St. Bede’s?

4 )  What was his speciality subject?

5 )  Why did he leave St. Bede’s after years of loyal service?

6 )  Were you ever mentally, physically or sexually abused by him and roughly what year?

If you do not want to comment publically on my blog, my email address is

You fellows who have already been in touch, please contact me if you know more and let us see if we can make sense of the nonsense.

To continue with this theme, there are people writing in who are expressing deep personal thoughts about Duggan’s regime.  Asking why, where and what and trying to come to terms with it.  Terms that have lain hidden within our various subconsciousnesses for 50 years or more.  If we speak about it now it will be helpful.  As I told one 70 year old gentleman this morning, it is both necessary, cathartic and therapeutic.  We cannot harm him, he is long since dead and we cannot harm his name because he has not got one, but it could help us. So pull out your keyboards and start rattling away with anything that comes to mind and between us we will hopefully put a wrong right.  For my part when I left school I just erased the whole experience and although never sexually interfered with, and I know boys that were, I was mentally and physically abused by him and his system.  It is only now in the evening of my life (or perhaps it is only the late afternoon) have I the time and need to put things into perspective.

By the way a learned contributor tells me Swine Eyes was laicised, married and took up with non-catholics.  I pity the poor woman and the Protestant children he came on.  To be laicised here in Ireland you have nearly to bugger a cardinal but I suppose over there in North Manchester they take a fairly stringent view on life.  While we are at it what news on him?  Because he seems to have been airbrushed as well.

7 thoughts on “The Aftermath of a St. Bede’s Education.

  1. I remember Duggan; ‘ a proud prelate’ and a nasty bit of work. I’ve looked for information about him on tinernet and drawn a blank. I assume that he has colluded with Satan to eliminate all references about himself from the historical record. Maybe erasure is the best thing; he was a wrong un.
    When i left Bedes in 66 his sulphorous stench still hung in the air. Me and various reprobates removed his portrait from a corridor in Bedes and tore in to pieces which we shared amongst ourselves. Think of it as destroying statues of Stalin.
    He disliked me too much to molest me; he preferred to beat my bare arse!
    Good luck in your efforts to ensure that this Prince amongst men recieves the recognition he deserves.

  2. Dear Paul, I remember you I was an inmate from 1957-64. I remember Duggan “ruled ” by an instillation of a continuous feeling of unease and unpredictacbility. He didnt bother me personally – but I did get the creepy “arm around the Shoulder” and “are you being” pure riff. I was a day-boy and I think he knew my father was a Prison Officer. I am in contact with Pete Hughes who was a boarder- now lives in Vancouver.Will ask him for any recollections. What amazed me about the place was the way it wastes young talent. I just kept my head down. The masters who I admired were- Frostie, Spike, Gleason , Mat Parker. Of the priests Alfie Hinds was barking – but o.k. really. Duggan had a cousin – Bernard who was a curate at mums church- fire and brimstone preacher! Oh well at least I didnt go to the real psycho farm – De La Salle! Best wihes , Brian Lefley.

  3. I entered Bedes from a Seminary in 1953 and in December, the pervert Duggan wrote on my dismissal “the last of many bad reports.” He’s dead now and I would like to hear the Diocese and the present admin of St.Bede’s publicly admit that they allowed a pevert to manage their premier school for over a decade.

    1. Andrew,
      I have been working hard for a year now on this subject and I have had to suffer many humiliations by the Safeguarding Commission but I think we have almost broken its back. It was in the MEN this morning and has now been taken up by the Press Association, The BBC and now Granada. Although the initial reporting was very poor some good will hopefully come of it.

  4. Gradually finding my way around! Yes, the phrase that stuck with my all my life was when Tommy Duggan came up behind me in the main corridor (near where the Manchester Guardian was available) and said ‘Getting a bit big around the beam end, aren’t we Gent?’.
    Sadly I have always found the atmosphere in a catholic school oppressive and dark. I worked in education all my life, and still do. Visiting catholic schools in Exeter and Devon always gave me the shivers. TThat attitude of complete control over people’s lives… I was a part-time chaplain at Dartmoor, Exeter and Channings Wood Prisons for a few years and found the atmosphere there had the same effect on me. I did find Mon. Duggan a cold, brooding, authoritarian man. Funny I went to see him at Langho. I suppose I’ve always been a kind, caring man…
    Obviously reading this has pressed a few buttons for me.
    Kind regards,
    Frank Gent

  5. Dear Paul,
    We were in the same Classics Class!
    We opened the batting for U14 and U15 if you remember. I also kept wicket to your mysterious leg-spin.
    Anyway, being as it is 50 years since I left the School (at 16 -not like you clever people) I decided to google the old boys and got your site.
    Do you still want info re Duggan or has this run its course.
    Best wishes

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