THE history of Holly Mount, from taking in wounded soldiers during the First World War, housing child evacuees in the Second World War, through to teaching the community's primary school children, has been put together in a new book by a Tottington author.

Michael Conroy, of Hilltop Drive, has meticulously combed through hundreds of photographs and more than 1,000 names of people, places and events all connected to Holly Mount to create a 268-page book entitled The Holly Mount Story.

The book has taken 12 months to complete with help from residents providing the stories behind the events and the photographs which document the parish's history, including six members of Michael's family who all attended Holly Mount Primary School.

Holly Mount was built in the 1860s as a College for Young Gentlemen but was forced to close in 1885. It reopened in 1888 as a Convent and Poor School with the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary from Belgium. Over the last century, the site has also been occupied by an orphanage and retirement home and is still home to a graveyard for the nuns who left the school 15 years ago.

Michael, who also penned A Parish History of St. Hilda's Tottington, had help from as far as the Channel Islands, Vancouver and Belguim as he tracked down former school pupils and evacuees from Jersey and Alderney who arrived during the Second World War.

Michael said: "I've always had an interest in knowing who the people were buried in the graveyard and their stories and knew there was a lot of history when I was compiling the history of St Hilda's, but there were a few surprises I was not aware of such as the nuns caring for wounded soldiers in 1914 and then taking in evacuees for the Second World War. It was a whole new area that people outside Greenmount may not be aware of."

For a copy of The Holly Mount Story, priced at £15, contact Father O'Donoghue at St Hilda's Presbytery, Turton Road, Tottington, BL8 4AW. It is also available from Holly Mount Primary School.