The Merrick and Evans Family

William Merrick was one of the founding parishioners of St Luke's and later became one of the St Luke school's Foundation Managers (Board of Governors).  He was born 13 March 1871 in Liverpool, Married 29 Oct 1901 to Gertrude Walker at the Sacred Heart, Liverpool. 
They had 7 childen. John Joseph (22 Sep 1902), James Walker (8 Mar 1905) were both born in Liverpool. Joseph (24 July 1907), William (14 July 1909), Francis Xavier (1 Apr 1912), Mary Walker (27 Sep 1914), Thomas (8 July 2017) were born in Pendleton in the parish of St James after the family had moved to 18 Elleray Road, Irlams o’th Height in 1905. William Merrick was appointed headmaster of St James Boys School, a post he held until his retirement in 1936. He was President of the Salford Teachers Association in 1915 and was on the Executive of the NUT.
As the family grew up and moved on, the Marricks moved to 14, Birch Avenue, Irlams o'th' Height and this where they lived with their son Thomas. William Merrick became a Salford Councillor and was one of the Foundation Managers of the new St Luke School in 1938 where his daughter, Mary, was also appointed one of the teachers when the school opened. He died 3 Oct 1941.
William Merrick (top hat) in Whit walks with St James school
In World War II, Francis Xavier (Frank) joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 44 (Rhodesia) Sqdn and became Flight Lieutenant, piloting Avro Lancaster (type I, serial ME743 and code EM-G). They took off from Dunholme Lodge, at 22.57 on 27th Jun 1944 on a night raid on the Marquise V1 bomb site in France. Their Lancaster Bomber was shot down by a night fighter over Mimoyecques on the return crashing into the sea with the loss of all the crewThe 44 Squadron suffered the third highest overall casualties of RAF Bomber Command

Clifford Haudel (Cliff) Evans was born 14 July 1913 in Resolven, Wales. He was a Welsh professional rugby league footballer of the 1930s and 1940s. He played at representative level for Wales, and at club level for Salford (1934), and Leeds (1936-41), as a centre, stand-off/five-eighth, or scrum-half/halfback. Evans was one of the players who successfully toured in France with Salford in 1934, during which the Salford team earned the name "Les Diables Rouges"

Cliff lived with his father Alfred at 9 Eastfield, Irlams o'th' Height. The Evans and Merricks lived just a few streets from each other. Cliff married Mary Merrick at St Luke's at the beginning of 1940. Both were to lose their fathers the following year. William Merrick died 3rd October 1941. Alfred J Evans who worked as a cinema fireman died around the same time aged 57. Mary Evans resigned from her position as teacher at the end of the 42-43 school year. 

After the war, Cliff briefly became a teacher at St Luke's school, possibly in late 1945 or 46. Cliff Evans resigned as teacher at the end of 1948. The School Managers received his resignation "with regret". 

Cliff Evans staged a few theatrical productions with the children and the Evans family were very involved in music and theatre in the parish.



Cliff then took up a position as team coach at Swinton before moving to St. Helens and finally Salford from where he retired in December 1973.


Cliff's wife was active in the church choir and directed the choir who sang beautifully during the new church's opening ceremony on 25 February 1969. 

The new Jardine pipe organ, specially designed for the church, gave us a grandeur of sound never before heard at St Luke's

Mrs Evans gets a mention again in October 1972 when she organised the music for a folk mass with the choir.

The couple's daughters attended Adelphi House school up the the mid 70's after which the family moved away from the area

Cliff Evans died July 1982 in Devizes, Wiltshire and Mary died February 1990 in Swindon.


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Parish History Group

If you would like to help research the history of the Parish or have any stories or photos then please get in touch. or speak to Paul Ashton, Stephanie McDonough or Pat Murray

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  • Photos of our Assistant Priests/Curates
  • Photos and stories of the Charter Players
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    • Fr J Leo McGinnell
    • James O'Garr  (1891-1979)
    • Billy Brady Sr
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