'My memories of Goldings'
The motto in the recreation hall When the great scorer comes to write against your name, he will not write how you won or lost, but
how you played the game.
Some Old Boys may remember a few names of masters. Governor The Rev Suckling, name changed to MacDonald, Mr Jenkins,
Mr Godfrey, Mr Jones, Mr Morris, Mr Potter, Mr Grear, sports masters; Mr Maslin and Mr Hemmings, Officer; Mr Handle,
Mr Shaler, Mr Housden, Mr Wolf, boot workshop; Mr Walker, Electric.
I am sure the Dr spiritually saw the end product of Boys' lives, given a chance? because there were many failures, I for one and
another lad always seemed down and dejected, his name did not help him Ticker. A loner among nearly three hundred boys. If you
saw two boys with their arms around him, befriending him, you could be sure he had received a food parcel from home.
Myself turned out of Clapham Home Bell Band said to be too big for a Boys' Band, arrived at Goldings failed in the electrical
workshop and was then sent to the boot and shoe workshop. I worked in a shoe shop in Notting Hill Gate, success at last.
Torrent of memories
AFTER reading E. D. Rollins article, I just had to write. It brought back a torrent of memories. I was at Goldings from 1937 for two
years, which I now know was the best thing that ever happened to me.
The article recalled Mr Patch, the gym master, a real character. I participated in his boxing exercises. The gym was also used then
for evening classes where all the trades studied theory of the trades.
I went into the tinsmith's shop, where we learned what is now sheet metal work. Mr De Boeck, who taught us, had a paralysed hand,
but he could do more with the one hand than most could do with two. We learned to make tin and copper kettles and copper coffee
sets (which we sold on a stall at Barkingside on Founder's Day each year). We made buckets, milk buckets, milk churns, camp
boilers and dustpans. We had a forge and primus stoves and Saturday morning was spent polishing anvils, hammers and other tools.
Most of the things we made then would be collector's items today; especially the crocodile metal trunks made for boys who were
One day a man came from the De Haviland factors,- at Hatfield and, after examining work done, selected four boys, three from
woodwork and me from tinsmith's, to work at De Havilands. I can only remember one of them, Albert Moss. I left Goldings with a
set of hand tools which I still use regularly today.
Others I remember at Goldings are the wonderful governor, the Rev F. C. MacDonald; he always tried to make us look to the future,
and his church services were always suited to the young. Mr White in the engineers' shop was die controller of a very large steam
driven engine. He had a shock of hair equal to his name, and his engine shop was always immaculately clean. I remember the
bootmakers - they made all the boots and shoes for Barnardo's; the cabinet makers (where I first wanted to go) who made church
furniture and the carpenters, wheelwrights and printers, including Mr Perkins.
The things I remember most though were the complete beauty of the estate and the firm kindness I got from all there. I and my
family will always be thankful that I went to Goldings.
Arthur George Deamer Goldings, 1937-39
Goldings in bloom-end of an era
HOW many times have we heard that old saying: 'Never visit the old places, you will be disappointed.' Well, we still do it. After 50
odd years, Goldings revisited was sad for me. Gone are the 200 boys, masters and staff. They were the very breath of the place. As I
approached it from the drive, my thoughts ran back to the days I walked from Goldings to Hertford and back with hardly a Saturday
missed. Then as I walked over the bridge, with its balusters and view through the trees, the old building beckoned me, knowing its
last days had arrived. Having reached the building, I found the heart of the house in decay. Of course it will regenerate again, but
never the same as it was in the years I spent there when it was in bloom and we felt as one.
Victor Hunt Goldings, 1941-43 Victor back at Goldings 1998
The 'Flu Epidemic
Not long after the beginning of the Spring Term 1959, about ten boys were suddenly "laid up" in Sick Bay with influenza. Not long
afterwards more boys went sick. Soon there were so many that the Headmaster gave permission for the Somerset first bay to be
opened as an extension to the Sick Bay. Still more boys came in and soon the whole of the Somerset floor was full as well as the
For the orderlies it was a very hard time when all Somerset was full, running to and fro with bowls of water for the boys to wash in,
making the beds and sweeping and polishing the floors. Nurse Underwood from the Sick Bay was on duty all the time, except for an
hour or two in the afternoon when a master took over. Like Nurse Underwood, Sister Offord was on duty all the time in Sick Bay.
A week or two later the numbers began to dwindle as more and more boys went convalescent and they were able to close the small
Somerset bay so that only the two big Somerset bays were left. Some nurses from the County Red Cross came to help us out, and we
were very grateful for their help. Also we were very grateful for the help given by Mrs. Nunn, Mrs, Stackwood, Mrs, Maslin and all
other members of staff and their wives.
The 'flu epidemic as it affected Goldings was so important that it was even reported on the front page of a local newspaper.
"What a most memorable occasion at St. Paul's «1 Cathedral; I thought it to be one of the most U moving scenes it has been my joy
to witness for a long while. I sat there watching for Old Boys I knew at Goldings and was fortunate in meeting just two or three. No
one will know the thrill I had sitting amongst so many Old Boys and Girls. "I enjoyed every moment of my stay in Barnardo's; my
earliest recollections are of walking through Stepney Causeway as a tiny boy, carrying and dragging the big blue and white striped
bag with all my precious belongings and going to my first foster parents. At 14 I went to Goldings to learn a trade and I well
remember arriving there at tea time feeling very hungry and the Master asked us if there was anything we wanted—up shot my hand
saying 'Can I have some more to eat?' and from all directions particles of food were given me by the boys and readily I got the
nickname 'Oliver Twist'! I soon settled down and joined in all the games, etc., became a member of the Band, joined the Matron's
leatherwork class, and was given a choice of trades of which I chose carpentry. I became so interested I used to stay behind in the
workshop when others had finished. I was so terribly sad to leave there. Old Boys who used to visit the school used to tell us of the
'great big world' outside, but my world was at Goldings—a wonderful place. Everyone from the Governor down to the office cleaner
was sheer kindness itself. I was that happy I wanted to be in everything. I left in 1930 and believe me the going was hard. I worked
hard, sometimes 120 hours a week to keep a job, but kept it I did for the sake of the kindness shown me in the Homes. The care and
attention of your staff has got me where I am now. I worked up from being a carpenter and joiner to Foreman carpenter, then General
Foreman to Manager in the firm I am now and where I have been 26 years this year. In fact in recent years I have had the joy of
estimating and carrying out works building of various sizes for the Homes at Stepney and Woodford.
"Thank you all once again a million times for getting me where I am now."
From: L. V. (Goldings) 1930
The memory of the Boys' Garden City which remains with me most was the kindness shown to me by Miss Rogers, the Matron
of Union Jack Cottage. She was truly an angel on earth, with a sympathetic ear for all our troubles, an explanation for our problems,
or a whack across the backside for a misdeed.
Two special friends stand out in particular, they were Dennis (Nemo) Barber and Ronald Ivermee.
Eventually came the War and we were sent to Norfolk and later to Leek in Staffs. From there 3 I left school, and Miss Rogers
(bless her) returned to Stepney. Our next move was to Bayfordbury "T I Hall where I teamed up with a Desmond Carter to
work in the kitchen, and then on to Goldings (Mount Stephen House) also making a renewed acquaintance with Dennis Barber,
Tom and Duncan Baxter, John and Cyril Kendrick, and finally meeting a very special chum Helmut Kolsen, who was one of the
group of German boys. I often wonder where they all are now.
On joining the engineering shop, I can well remember Mr. Walker giving us a test of turning a piece of metal on a lathe to so many
thousandths of an inch. I managed to do this spot on, but thinking it didn't shine so good, I used the emery tape. I stood there with a
big grin on my face, which was soon wiped off by Mr. Walker after he had found that my diligent polishing had taken off a couple of
thousandths of an inch.
On the sporting side of life I played cricket and football for my house and for the school's cricket eleven, under Mr. Jim Maslin.
I am now married with a family of two boys, and one girl who is 18 years old, and the boys ages are 13 and 16.
It gives me the greatest of pleasure that after many years of struggling we have a car, and this, of course, brings far away places much
nearer, although living in Lancashire. I am still a long way from the actual Home I was in, and also from the socials and re-unions
which I keep seeing in the GUILD MESSENGER.
Perhaps in the near future I'll bring the whole family along to look around the Homes.
From H. B. (Goldings) 1943
I often wonder about Sid Whitbread and, Henry Long, school captain of about 1936. He was good at almost all sport and both he and
Sid Whitbread played in the school football and cricket teams. I think Sid Whitbread was assistant to Jeff Cruickshank, the sports
master of that time. I learnt a lot about cricket from him. He and his wife had a son about 1936 and we nicknamed him Bouncer,
maybe because his father was a fast bowler. The other stop." of great interest was 'It's a small world', by Mike Justice, where he
mentioned the tool box and tools. I still have mine and some of the tools. The box, 61 years old, is still in its original grey paint.
I. C. Goldings, 1936-38
When I was 14 years old I went to Goldings, Somerset House, where I trained under Mr de' Boeck in the tinsmith shop. It was at the
time we shifted the tinsmith shop to a new location, possibly in 1937. I remember Mr Jones and Mr 'Brushy' Barnes, Mr Whittaker,
Mr MacDonald and his two dogs, Mr Joe Patch, Mr Jenkins, unfortunately I inherited his nickname, I'm not game to say what it was,
but many will remember on reading this, I'm sure.
I helped to dig the new swimming pool out, because our pool used to be the nearby river. I also helped to dig the air-raid shelters at the
entrance to the top fields. Obviously I could go on about my experiences at Goldings. When it was time for me to leave I was found a
situation in Cricklewood, London, by this time the Second World War had begun and London was being bombed something terrible.
I changed my job for reasons of bettering myself, however, on going to work one morning I arrived to see that my factory wasn't
there anymore (due to Mr Hitler on one of his raids again).
L. E. J.
'GOLDINGS REVISITED 42 YEARS ON'
As we all began to arrive for the Print School and Goldings Reunion, we were told that the County Council who now have the School
for offices, had given permission to visit the grounds later in the morning.
At last the time came to board the mini-bus taken along by Bill Charlton, an Old Boy himself and now at the Print School.
Down through the streets of Hertford we spoke of the times we had marched behind the school band. There were Old Boys from
down through the years, in fact, one Old Boy arrived at Goldings when it first opened in 1921.
Soon we had arrived at the school gates and memories came flooding back. On over the bridge that I first crossed in the late thirties
and and left by the same route in 1940. Moving on we found the swimming pool had been filled in. Hadn't I as a small boy, after
only a few weeks at the school, helped to remove the soil and take it away on a hand cart; before that a stretch of river was our pool.
We moved on up the hill, arriving at the Top Field. Nothing much had changed here. Further along the road, the Sick Bay, now
closed and looking a sorry state, and we all looked at each other and asked why? Then on to where the kitchens had been and the
doors which every new arrival passed through into the unknown.
Now we arrived at the Parade Ground, now a car park for the Council workers and the 'Rec' now looking no more than a shack.
We then made our exit out towards Waterford and we all took one peep back at the old place with a touch of sadness. After all, down
through the years this had been our School and our Home and it seemed such a waste to see it no longer used for the purpose it was
As one Old Boy remarked: 'I wonder what our Founder or William Baker would say if they could see it now'. Indeed, that would be
A. W. (Formerly Wisener)
Mending shoes at Goldings in the 1940s
A reason for living
Well, here I am! If it had not been for my shoe repair training at Goldings, I doubt whether I would have done so well in society; shoe
repairing to me gives me a reason for living; it has been my whole life. Some of my happiest days at Goldings were in the
gymnasium, the swimming pool and on the sports field, and I will always be indebted to the staff at Goldings for teaching me to swim.
If I could have my life over again I would have taken up athletics in general, and gone in for it in a big way.
A TRUNK FOR ALL SEASONS
At one time, standard issue for almost all children leaving Barnardo's care was a distinctive tin trunk. They were made at Goldings,
and the design was so successful that some were also sold commercially. Goldings Old Boy now 86, remembers how the trunks
TAKING training in carpentry and joinery, I made or helped make a number of trunks.
We started by cutting from planks the required pieces to be assembled as a box-and
proceeded to piece together and seal the joints by glue - a strange smelling concoction
made from horses hooves. which was always kept simmering on the gas ring and applied
The trunks would be in complete box form with the lid produced by skilfully sawing
right round the box. holding it carefully on the sawing machine platform. Two sections
were produced, the box and the lid.
Both had to be carefully trimmed to make a fine fit — no bumps or holes. A small
smoothing plane was used for this job using a sharp, finely-set blade. Any careless or
rough treatment might result in the whole trunk being scrapped. It took much practice to maintain a sufficient standard of
workmanship here. Afterwards a wood preservative was brushed on the whitewood.
The lid was fitted by a long narrow brass hinge placed into a groove the depths of the thickness of the metal, say 1/16 inch.
A mortice lock also had to be fitted, then an oval spring clip fitted to the outside of the lid - one each, a few inches from the end its
purpose being to keep the lid slim without actually locking it.
Now came the all important metal crocodile skin covering placed on the top sides and ends of the trunk. this gave it the accessory
outfit necessary for touring, travel or whatever, and all took place in the tinsmith shop by tacking wooden strips equally spaced on
the top and sides giving it a robust professional finish. Four wheels were let into the bottom of each corner of the trunk and, with
flexible handles fitted in the middle of each end, it could be lifted, pulled, pushed, up-ended or whatever, however heavy it might
become. The finished trunk was now ready for the anxious girl or boy awaiting its arrival. Alternatively, it might go as part of an
older to one at the top London stores such as Harrods. Raymond, who came to Stepney Causeway aged eight. was always a bit of a
loner until he moved to Somerset House. Goldings in 1927. There at last you began to feel you were part of something he says
I have endeavoured to write as I remember those very happy days at Goldings. My period of stay being four years 1928-32. Those
days the procedure was Reveille by the bugle boy, standing on the first-floor landing at 6.30 am. After breakfast we then paraded on
the parade ground and the Governor, The Rev F. C. McDonald, at that period of time took the parade. On dismissal we then
proceeded to our respective trade teaching sections which were printing, carpentry, cabinet making, shoe making, engineering, smith
and forge, wheelwrights, gardening, and tin smiths. The hours of teaching daily 9 am-12.30 pm return at 13.30 pm-4 pm plus two
nights of two hours per week evening class trades.
Each trainee had the average workout of three hours per week in the gym, boxing and use of wall beams, vaulting horse, etc, and
trained for fetes and the Royal Albert Hall annual gym displays. The School had a very good band on military lines. Each Sunday
parade inspection taken by the Governor; then from the parade ground the march following the band round the drive past the
workshops and the tennis court up to the church for morning service. At the entrance door at a small distance there are four trees in a
square formation; these I remember as very small those many years ago. At the base of these trees, we would place our musical
instruments before entering church. After the service we would line up outside and return to the parade ground and then be dismissed.
Off the parade ground the long hut now much forlorn was the recreation hut. At the left end room we had a billiards table for the use
of the house prefects. The other end of the hut was our band practice room.
There were approximately 40 boys to each dormitory and in the dining hall the entire school sat down on 18 long tables for meals.
Grace was said verbally before and after meals aloud, the master of the day standing on the rostrum at the entrance of the hall.
The top fields as were called high off the forecourt had ' n - six football pitches for inter-dorm games. The lower field base £ of tennis
court was cricket and field sports, generally all taken very seriously, for in the serving hall of the building the board emblazoned in
gold leaf was the annual house champions and j dorm achievements. We were very proud if our name was / amongst the
B A H
I was reading about the late His Royal Highness, Duke of Windsor, it certainly brought back memories because I was at the William
Baker Technical School at that time. I was learning the printing trade and there were two masters in the machine room, Mr. Whelan
and Mr. Jarvis (my instructor). I was in Cairns (a corporal) and got 4d. extra a week, out of which I paid Id. for the use (I think) of a
I got the princely sum of 2s. odd a week; I know a farthing out of each penny we received was put away for when we left Dr. Barnardo's
to earn our living. I don't know how much the farthings came to, but a stepsister, whom I had never seen, but heard from, was getting
married so I bought her a wedding gift with the money. Of course those times were hard and food was not plentiful, and sometimes one
didn't fancy it and then sold it to another boy for a stiva (Id.) ready money, or a duce (2d.) Friday — pay day. Sometimes it was a job
getting what was owed !
When the then Prince of WaLes came to Goldings all the tables were laid and the saltcellars had the feathers of the Prince of Wales's
emblem indented in the salt.
At that time some of us had made sort of dugouts which we went into at various times. I know I had a parcel sent to me near Christmas
and I can't remember where or how I made it, but I had a jelly with cakes, etc., and my mates and I sat in the dugout and put the jelly
near something warm and so we had to drink it! If I remember rightly, the Prince of Wales looked in the dugout and I thought a
photograph was taken of him bending his head to go inside. Such a lot of memories come flooding back.
I wonder how many of the real Old Goldonians are around today who were at Goldings when the Prince of Wales was presented with
the gifts. One thing I know, sometimes things seemed tough and we did not always like what we had to do, but the Homes made men
and women of most of us. We were brought up to respect older people, to be kind and thoughtful to others and to believe in God.
WHEN I CAME TO GOLDINGS
When I first entered the grounds of Goldings I had already many ideas of what the school would look like. I was surprised. When I
first saw it in the distance it looked rather like a castle on a hill.
I saw many boys walking through the grounds and felt shy and awkward and a little scared with the strangeness of the surroundings.
I soon saw some boys whom I already knew and it wasn't long before my shyness left me and I became one of them.
There was a great difference between Goldings and my previous home both in appearance and organisation. There were fewer boys at
my previous home and when I left I was a senior. Here I was a junior and a very new one at that. I was accustomed to the 'House
system' but there were more boys in the 'Houses' at Goldings. I had to become accustomed to 'Prefects' for we had none at my
It wasn't long before I was asked several questions by the boys. Could I swim or jump, play cricket or football. It was rather
bewildering at first but 1 soon settled down to school routine.
1 have now chosen my trade and will learn it for two or three years before I go out into the world to earn my living. If I had chosen
printing 1 might have remained at Goldings until I had readied the age of twenty one.
When 1 leave I shall look back and feel pleased that I came here to learn my trade, and I shall look back I hope to some very