John Sansom Goldings 1946 1949 Somerset House
I arrived at Goldings early in 1946 after being boarded out in a little village
called Grundisburgh in Suffolk, many happy years spent chasing rabbits and
enjoying the countryside. I then went to Stepney for a few days, before going to
My first visit to the dinning hall was informative, I closed my eyes during grace
and when I opened them, the two pieces of marge that been on my plate were
gone, first lesson learnt.
After my time as spare boy I joined the Carpenters shop, first with Pop Diss who
wasn't very happy with my pathetic attempts at fitting one piece of timber into
another, I must have been the worst ever. Eventually I moved to the main shop,
he must have been glad to get rid of me, there I met Mr. All, Mr. Tempest, and
Mr. Bishop all very nice people and excellent at their job. Mr. All didn't have a
lot of hair before I went there, he must have lost a lot more trying to teach me,
any way I enjoyed my time with them all.
Sport was No1 with me and Goldings certainly gave you every opportunity to get
involved, also I was lucky to be in Somerset house as our House Captain was
George Valance, a real leader and an excellent all rounder, along with
Wiz Willson Bosky Stewart and many others, we were strong at most sports.
I was fortunate to represent the School at most of them, and have many happy memories
When I look back on these days the names of the masters come back to you, The Rev Corbet was a wonderful man a real
inspiration to us all, Polly White who tried to teach us science, Skipper Culver, who can forget the Army Cadets and
their band, Ron Stackwood, a real gentleman who never seemed to age, Mr. Embledon who taught gardening when I was
there, he was a good cricketer , along with Mr. Tordoff we had many good Masters vs Boys games. Finally the
Headmaster Mr. Wheatley, what a dedicated man and very fair, he also enjoyed his cricket, and like every he did he gave
it his all. When the School of Printing held a reunion I Met the Headmaster again for the last time before he left I said
goodbye and told him it had been nice knowing him, and it certainly had.
When George Valance was made School Captain, I Followed him as House Captain, a very hard act to follow, with his
leading roll in the Army Cadets George was a wise choice, how tragic that he should die so young. One of my other
memories is when Mr. Bilton the night watchman took his summer holiday the prefects had to do his job, and patrol the
building during the night, we had to get the annex boys out of bed, on a regular basis, to stop them bedwetting I think we
spent most of the night frying chips in the kitchen, and taking them to our mates, as well as playing billiards in the
I was pleased to be picked to act as a ball boy at Wimbledon, we spent an enjoyable fortnight, learnt about the game and
players, and the food was very good. I started on no 15 court, one of the last outside courts in those days, but spent most
of my time on no 2 court. My favourite player was Jack Kramer, who won in 1947, in my opinion the best player of his
day. I enjoyed my three years, and have played ever since.
Sid Whitbread[ Mr. Foot ball]
How we enjoyed those trips in the School Van to football matches, he was a nice man and we learnt a lot from him. I met
him again at a reunion at Goldings, he was still the same , and it was nice taking to him again.
I left Goldings in 1949 to do National Service, but didn't fancy the Army so I signed on for 5 years, so I could carry on
learning to be a Carpenter, I needed all the practice I could get. After initial training, during which I was lucky to be a
member of the R. A. F. PT display team at Wembley during the half time interval of the 1949 Cup Final Wolves won 3-1, I
was posted to Weeton in Lancs, near Blackpool, lovely summer weather beside the seaside, the only snag we had to take
trade tests, I managed to pass and was posted to Henlow in Beds.
From there it was RAF Seleter in Singapore it was a wonderful place for sport of all kinds, I spent most of my spare time
training for athletics, and it paid dividends in the last year I was there, I managed to win the R. A. F and Combined
Services 440 yards titles, as the Goldings motto says, the end crowns the work.
I left the R. A. F in 1954 got married to JOAN, the best thing I ever did, and we have spent the rest of our very happy
married life in Hertford. My working life has mostly been spent with the Local Authority, as a carpenter on housing
maintenance until 1977, a short time as Foreman, and then I was transferred to the Building Surveyors in 1978, as an
assistant Building Surveyor. We moved to the Castle in 1985, and I finished my time as a Building Surveyor, in the newly
formed Property Department until 1995 when I retired. I enjoyed my time as a carpenter, and met a lot of very nice
people, also it was nice to move to the other side of the fence, so to speak, and learn from Professional people, who I found
more than willing to help.
Now retired we spend most of our time gardening, we have a medium sized garden at home and we look after two
allotments, its an all the year round job and we are both lucky to be fit enough to do it.
I owe all this to Dr Barnardo's and the older I get the more I realise how they gave me a life I never would have had.