For one reason or another. the early part of my education ,starting in 1941, took place close to where we lived at Red Cross Street – a Church of England School; but when I was eleven, and had to go to a senior school, I chose to go St Joseph’s, a Catholic Boys School, in Steelhouse Lane.
During the next two years, seen, by the visiting priests from both – St Patricks and St Peters and Paul, as a new convert to the faith, I was offered by them, a more than liberal share of religious education.
I soon became a choirboy and altar server at St Patrick’s Church , where Father Rooney, was Parish Priest,but also on occasion, served on the alter at St Peter and Paul’s, with Father Kavanaugh.
It was during this period in time that I would visit Giffard House, the most fascinating building I had entered to date.
A junior priest at the church Father Connefry, was to take me on a course of religious studies. I’ll never forget the first time I knocked on the oak front door, and on entering into the large hall, I saw this huge staircase that seemed to go up and up, and disappear into the roof .
Later, Father Connefry would show me all over this ancient house and at the top of the stairs, was this large attic room, where there were stored items of all descriptions from the past, including antique pictures , old firearms and fascinating objects of all types of memorabilia.
But the one place I would later visit and never forget, was below the Church itself, to enter a tunnel and gaze through the glass partition into the crypt ,where the remains of John Milner, The Catholic Archbishop lay.
The magnificent Giffard House Staircase first seen by me in 1949.
Below the old cellar head.