Our Lady’s opened in 1964 and set a lead in comprehensive education. Ten days before it was due to take its first 600 pupils the new school held a ‘family day’.
About 2,000 crowded its halls and corridors to see Archbishop Igino Cardinale, Apostolic Delegate to Great Britain – the Pope's representative in this country – perform the solemn blessing of the school.
There was pageantry and modernity; the ancient ceremonies of a dedication and an impromptu inspection by fathers and mothers, sons and daughters of what Archbishop Cardinal described as "the jewel of the many jewels of the diocese”. It was also a diocesan occasion for it brought clergy and laity from many parts of the North-West to see the first comprehensive school in the diocese.
In place of honour at the entrance was the gold-crowned marble statue, carved in Florence, of the Mother and Child with the child holding a book as a symbol of learning.
The Archbishop said that this was his first contact with this busy centre of English life, so rich with Christian antiquities and where there were so many loyal Catholic subjects of the Queen, making their contribution to the general good. "The new school," he said, "bore eloquent testimony to the apostolic zeal of the Bishop of Lancaster and the priests and laity of the diocese. "Catholic schools," said the Archbishop, "strive to perform a useful task not only for the good of the individual but for all of society at a time when materialism and secularism, spreading at an ever-increasing rhythm, threaten to sap the very foundations of the Christian civilisation."