Spirit of Birkenhead Institute

The Visor: Magazine of the Birkenhead Institute, Wirral


 Keeping the Spirit of Birkenhead Institute alive!


Welcome to my Birkenhead Institute site "The Visor", dedicated to the school's magazine. I would like to thank Dave Forshaw, (Birkenhead Institute pupil 1956 - 1963), and also Dave Jones, (Mr D.S.W. Jones), former pupil and teacher at the Birkenhead Institute, for providing me with the excellent copies of The Visor used on this site. I would also like to thank all of the former pupils of Birkenhead Institute who have sent in various photographs and items from the school, which have helped to make this site an interesting glance at how Birkenhead Institute used to be before its closure in 1994. It should also be mentioned that "The Visor" was not the first B.I. school magazine, as there had been a Junior School magazine from circa 1927 called "The Whetstonian", which was amalgamated into the Visor in 1928:-

I have decided to create a separate site for the Visor, because there is a large amount of material which, owing to space restrictions, can only be contained within a separate area from the main "Spirit of Birkenhead Institute" site. Most items on this site are therefore courtesy of "The Visor", along with some interesting photographs from the early days of Birkenhead Institute. The information is quite rare, and I believe it is important to preserve and make this available to former pupils and staff who may be interested in seeing some of the school's history. The first Visor magazine was produced by the Birkenhead Institute in 1929, and was an excellent publication, with many regular features, photographs and articles.

Please note the new number to contact the site from May, 2017 is:

                    07522 554855 

The first Visor I have included is a "Golden Jubilee" edition for the Old Instonians, covering 1935 - 1936 and 1985 - 1986. The front cover was gold, unlike the normal Visor which was red. The 1889 - 1959 special 70 year history edition of The Visor is also featured on the 1959 page of this site. The original Birkenhead Institute site in Whetstone Lane is included in this 1959 page, showing "Brooklands".  All pages and items from the site are shown in the Gallery, so if you wish to see a page more clearly, please go to the Gallery Page and click on any image to view it in full size.

The Varia page is included to cover various news items. It was an original Visor feature, so I have decided to include it again here. There is an interesting item on this page about the Ingleborough Road Playing Fields, and also an article about the history of The Visor.  Similarly, I have included, in true Visor tradition, a Salvete page to welcome new visitors to the site. (The Visor magazine used the Latin words Salvete to welcome new pupils, and Valete to say goodbye to those leaving the school.)

Along with items from the Visor, I have included some interesting photographs and items sent in by former pupils, and I have included these on the relevant year pages of the site. Please have a look at these items, which show a rare glimpse of how the Birkenhead Institute was during those years. For example, at the bottom of this page is an excellent photograph of a Birkenhead Institute classroom from 1958! There are also complete school photographs, (Roll-up style of photograph), for the years 1949 and 1951, which are in excellent condition. These can be seen on the relevant year pages. Here are two pictures from the 1950s, kindly sent in by former pupil Richard Hill:-


John Baker, a former Birkenhead Institute pupil, has also kindly sent to me copies of the 1943 and 1946 school photographs, which I have included on this site in the appropriate pages. These are really clear and well-preserved, and provide an excellent reminder of how the pupils and staff were in those years.

Martin Campbell-Kelly, former pupil, has sent in an excellent classroom photograph from 1958, which shows one of the old classrooms at Whetstone Lane. It can be seen below and also in the 1958 page, and it is an excellent reminder of how the old school used to be inside. Martin has also provided me with a copy of the 1964 Visor, which I have included on this site.  Many thanks to Martin for these excellent items.

The Tempus Fugit page includes the 1989 Centenary Dinner Programmes to mark 100 years of Birkenhead Institute, along with a marvellous drawing of the back of the Birkenhead Institute building in Whetstone Lane by Hal Darlington from 1967. There is also a good colour photograph of the gates at Ingleborough Road playing fields, which I took in 1999.



I have created two dedicated web site purely for Pupils' and Staff memories of Birkenhead Institute. These two sites have been set up to ensure that there is sufficient space available for future additions of your memories, photographs, and school memorabilia. They also include information about the Whetsonian, the magazine of the Birkenhead Institute Junior School. Many interesting items have already been added. The sites can be found at:-  



I hope that you will find the site of interest, and I shall include more material as time permits. If you have any other items from The Visor, or memories from the school, I shall be pleased to add them to the site. For recently added items to the site, please see the LATEST ADDITIONS page. On this page, I have also included information and pictures relating to former pupil Dean Johnson, who is working on a special music project "Bullets and Daffodils",  dedicated to Wilfred Owen. 

The email address for this site is:


I have also created a site for the early history of Birkenhead Institute. It is called "Whetsonian", after the first B.I. school magazine. The site can be seen at:


Please also see the new BIOB site, where former pupil Keith Dutton has added several full copies of "The Visor", which can be viewed on screen. The BIOB site can be found at:-  http://www.biob.co.uk


The purpose of this site is to complement the original Spirit of Birkenhead Institute site, in order to display some of the more detailed items from the Visor, which I believe provide a fascinating view of life at the Birkenhead Institute during the 1940s through to the 1960s. I hope that pupils and staff of the school will find these items a special reminder of their days at the Birkenhead Institute. If you have any comments about the material shown in this site, please add them to the Visitors' Book in the categories shown above. The contact details for the site are shown below. Thank you for visiting my Birkenhead Institute site!



(Birkenhead Institute Grammar School Pupil, 1960 - 1967)



                                  The  "Spirit of Birkenhead Institute" Web Site can be found at:-





The main site,  "Spirit of Birkenhead Institute" Web Site can be found at:- 



The William Connacher Web Site, (The first Headmaster of Birkenhead Institute), can be found at:-



Link to the Birkenhead Institute Web Directory Site:





 Thank you for your visit, and please keep looking for future additions to the site!




With Many Thanks

Special thanks to Dave Forshaw, (B.I. 1956 - 1963), for donating to me the Birkenhead Institute Visors for this site, which are very much appreciated. Similarly, special thanks also go to Dave Jones, former pupil and teacher at the Birkenhead Institute, for providing me with some earlier copies of the Visor, which are invaluable in setting up this special site. The Visors are from the period covering the 1940s to 1960s, and provide a very good insight into the Birkenhead Institute during this time. Also, many thanks to all former pupils and staff who have sent in information and photographs relating to the Birkenhead Institute, which have helped to make this site interesting and relevant. Special thanks also must go to former pupil Dean Johnson, who is working on a special music project about Wilfred Owen. Dean is a Wirral musician, and he has very kindly sent in some interesting items for the site, which can be seen on the Latest Additions page.



            ATKIN                      STITT                       TATE               WESTMINSTER




If you wish to send a text or voicemail for the site, please see below:-


For voice mails and text messages to the site, the contact number is as follows:-

           07522  554855





Former B.I. pupil Dean Johnson's special music project featuring Wilfred Owen is shown in his poster below. Many thanks to Dean for providing this information:-

Elizabeth Lee: A Dedication

This Web Site is dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth Lee, Aunt of former BI pupil Christopher Lee, whose family ran the successful Tailors and Gentlemans' Outfitters Hope and Lee at 88, Grange Road, Birkenhead.