Welcome to the St Michael’s College, Hitchin website.
St Michael’s College was a Catholic school for boys, which was administered by priests from two religious orders; the Edmundians from 1903 to 1925 and from 1925 to 1968 by the Assumptionists. The school in Hitchin closed in 1968, and moved to Stevenage.
The school was located in Grove Road on the site that is now occupied by the police station. It was founded by a Fr. Prevel from the Society of St Edmund in 1903. His order was persecuted in France and decided to settle in Hitchin. The Edmundian Society employed four priests to instruct five pupils after buying a house on the site and St Michael’s School (later renamed College) was completed in 1906, with a new wing then built in 1919. But by 1925 the Edmundian Fathers found themselves in dire financial straits caused in no small part by their ambitious plans.
Priests from the Order of Augustinians of the Assumption gained control of the college and the parish church, and this also marked the end of the Edmundian Fathers in the UK. The priests wore long black habits, and around their waists they wore a leather belt which fell almost to their feet – which was a convenient means of applying discipline to pupils when the priest felt it was needed. In the inter-war years, the school gained popularity among the increasing number of Catholics in the area and the school housed a number of boarding pupils. Days were long – 7am starts, and 9am evening prayers were a must, before bed at 9.15pm – yet the school was a victim of its own success. As the number of pupils requiring catholic grammar school education continued to rise after the Second World War, new premises were needed. Due to space constraints expanding on the Grove Road site was not an option. However, the growth of Stevenage new town during the 1960s led to the school being relocated there experiencing a subsequent amalgamation with St Angela’s School for Girls to become the John Henry Newman School of today.
This site contains the material from the original fsnet site (now closed) run by Colin O’Leary (SMC 1950 – 57) until his death in 2002, then by Simon Curtis (SMC 1967 – 1972), together with pictures from Friends Reunited (also now closed) and a huge amount of archive material collected by Michael (Chas) McCartney and others of the Old Michaelean Association. In particular, historical whole school panoramics and the Michaelean magazines have been scanned in and are available on this site.
For those interested in the stats, this site is 2.9 GB in size, has 127 pages, and contains 885 pictures and documents (PDFs). In addition, there is a blog with the latest updates – see Archives at the top right on each page.
This site also allows for comments to be made, and any suggestions will be gratefully received. Also, there are gaps in the panoramics and Michaelean magazines. I would be grateful to receive any of these or any other relevant material to put on the site.