Irene Milburn




(L to R) Marion, Irene, Agnes & Frances with their parents Fred & Theresa


Irene Douglass formerly Milburn
Born in 1922

Aunty to Christine, Michael and Sheila Wash – all past pupils of St Georges


Lived in Milton St, Hull Rd



Used to walk to school along Lawrence St, through Walmgate Bar and up Margaret St. Trams were running then.

Monday and Thursday were market days and it was frightening to walk through them all. The cattle were driven to and from Murton.

Mr Milburn was a policeman who worked in Clifford St. He often used to walk with them to school and all the 'Irish drovers', many of them he knew as part of his job(!!), used to doff their caps and say 'Morning, Sir'. Mr Milburn later went on to be Chief Constable of York. Another ancestor was the famous sculptor George Walker Milburn. Mike Wash produced a brief history of him which can be read here.

Teachers were Sr Catherine - head mistress, Sr Magdalen, Miss Coyle. Miss (Polly) Pearson taught the 11 year olds. She 'got' a lot of the children through by use of the cane and terrifying them. She had a high success rate in the 11 plus. Frank Marshall in her class was caned every day!

Dennis White was in her class and was once caned for going to communion after swallowing some toothpaste!

They did concerts at the Rialto including St Patrick's day concerts. She was once an elf and had her hair curled using curling tongs that were put in the fire to heat up. Sr Catherine went mad with her as she could not get her hat on for all the curls!

The processions used to be to the church from the Poor Clares convent. 100’s of folk turned out to watch.

Used to go to the sweet shop in Margaret St which she thinks was called Boyntons. Crows butchers was just through Walmgate Bar and she used to get a 'penny duck' which was a savoury rissole.

Used to play hopscotch, marbles, skipping with 4 or 5 in the rope at once. Sang in the choir. Canon O'Connell was priest. Albert Bardy used to leave her penny chews in her desk! Kenneth Buckle had a shop in George St.

Irene once got caned. She won a box/chest and in it was a thimble. Irene put it on the wrong finger and was caned!

Every day started with prayers, church was a big part of the school life and church and school were one really.

Lessons were the three R’s, Irene really like English but not maths very much.

Miss Coyle had two plaits which were wound round like ear muffs over her ears and Irene wondered how she could hear.

Irene mostly liked school but was very scared of 'Polly' Pearson and always did all the work she had to.

In the afternoon they had a rest period where they put their heads down on the desk and rested.

The niece of 'Titus' Oates (of Scott's Antarctic expedition fame) was in her class.

Paddy Nacey, in her class, became a “bullock walloper” at the cattle market. Other names she remembers: Denis White was a very good and quiet boy at school, Rosaleen Allum her best friend who lived on Hull Rd, Joan Lambert, Mary Wilson, Frank Marshall, Tommy Golden, ??? Bryne, Nora Durkin from Heslington Rd.

There was a fish and chip shop opened near the church on a corner . . . she was allowed to buy some chips for lunch by her mother. All 4 sisters had their hair cut at a barbers in Lawrence St . . . straight fringe and bob . . . very basic. If they had a bit of pocket money they would buy some penny chews. Used to buy a rabbit for the pot for a shilling at Walmgate Bar on the way home from school.

She was once in the playground with Sr Catherine and they looked up and saw the R101 airship (Probably the R100 which flew over York 16th Dec 1929 having left Howden where it was constructed - TR).


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