A TRIBUTE TO GOLDINGS
How well I still remember Goldings during the years 1933 to 1937.
The school captain in 1933 was Gwynn, and vice-captain, Levy, "Peanut" to most of us. These two were young men of dignity
and personality; chosen for their integrity by The Reverend F. C. Macdonald, the "Governor" to all and sundry.
Goldings had a strong football team, composed of masters and boys. Mr. Batell (Pompey) and his colleague Mr. Whitbread
were the main stars.
Many matches could be credited to these two, not forgetting Peanut Levy, the very agile goalkeeper, Yearwood, a stalwart
not only on the football field but on the track as well.
There were seven houses in those days, Aberdeen (my house), Mount Stephen, McCall, Cairns, Somerset, Kinnaird, and
House competitions were really keen and Mr. Cruickshanks is remembered by most Old Boys for his coaching and
organizing abilities on the sports field. He turned out many a stylish batsman and googly bowler. The swimming galas were
held in the river and even the dirty water never deterred the keen swimmers from creating records from time to time.
What Old Boy doesn't remember the band hut where during the dark winter evenings we sat around the walls reading our
favourite comics and the familiar routine of going around shouting "comic to swop". Our favourite comics were,
"The Wizard", "Hotspur", and "Champion".
In this hut was the prefects' room, where one could hear "It was on the beach at Bali Bali" or "Balalaika" squeaking out
from an aged gramophone.
As soon as any appreciable frost came there appeared a slide extending from the dining hall down the length of the
playground to the hut, and after shop hours or evening classes, we would be belting furiously down the slide at all angles, on
our haunches, on one leg, or as a team trying to knock the others away to the side. Those winter evenings never seemed too
long, we always found plenty to do.
On Saturday afternoons one would see an exodus from Goldings to Hertford and it was certain that most boys would be
going to the "Flea Pit" to watch their favourite cowboy on the screen, Bot Steel or Tom Mix. The long walk back to Goldings
was always fortified by a pennyworth of broken biscuits or a bottle of pop.
Saturday evening was picture night, and often during the showing of the old silent films "Laurel and Hardy" or
"The Keystone Cops", one could hear, between laughter, the munch of boys eating apples, invariably scrumped from
Titmus Orchard. How many Old Boys remember the Joe Patch Saturday afternoon "wet shirt", the penalty for chancing an
assault on the orchard?
Throughout industry there are hundreds of Goldonians —Printers, Carpenters, Boot makers, gardeners, Motor body
builders, and electricians who owe their present craft and jobs to the methodical instruction of the dedicated shop masters,
who were also in many cases housemasters, combining two jobs in one. We owe an awful lot to the shop masters over the
The Band and Gymnastic Squad
Those of us who were either in the band or gymnastic squad could write volumes about the numerous engagements we had
and the shows we put on for the public and Barnardo's. I was in the band under, first, Mr. Marchant, a grand old man with
a jovial and understanding way, and later Mr. Young, a young ex-military type.
We practised at all times and in the evenings we had the audience of the other lads listening to. us practising rousing marches
like "Blaze Away", "Sussex by the Sea", or "Plaisir D'Amour" for a gymnastic and band engagement.
Out of the many engagements we had, the most popular one was Barnardo's "Founder's Day" where we played with other
Barnardo bands before The Duke and Duchess of York, Princess Margaret, and Princess Elizabeth (now our Queen). What
a momentous day this was. The displays by gymnastic squads of Goldings, R. C. N. S., W. N. T. S., Kingston Bag Pipers, the
displays by The Village Girls, and the shop exhibitions by Goldings, set out around The Village green. This was Barnardo's
at its best, where they showed the public the results of their dedicated task, the fruitfulness of their works.
The Albert and Central Halls were also favourite engagements and we loved the excitement of the journey through London,
seeing the lights and people loitering around.
We remember the late nights too; arriving back at Goldings around 2 o'clock in the morning from some engagement, with
our uniform pockets filled with cakes and fruit for our pals. We always enjoyed long engagements which meant a long trip
and a late night. I remember the first thing we asked on being told about a forthcoming engagement was "how far is it?".
The gym squad and the band worked so well together and Mr. Patch, the energetic gym master, could always turn out a 100
per cent, show that gave great credit to Barnardo's.
The Holiday Camp
As we Old Boys know, the pre-Dymchurch camp craze was the making of walking canes. The carpenters and wheelwrights
had their share of business and great pride was taken to design an attractive cane for use during the three weeks' holiday at
We had a wonderful time there and remember the keen football matches against the other schools camped there. Romance
played quite a prominent part at Dymchurch and many a boy came away with some souvenir, a locket, or a lace hand
kerchief, and the promise that next year they would meet again to renew their romance. Each house took pride in the
morning inspections by Mr. Patch and the housemasters; it was well turned out and would do credit to any regiment.
The band always led the School to morning and evening services, playing rousing marches and giving this occasion an air of
dignity and grace. I never took the church seriously, although it was good and necessary for me, and in later years stood me
in good stead. I can still remember the stained glass windows above the altar and the picture of the soldier and sailor looking
upward; this always intrigued and fascinated me, and during the "Governor's" sermon I would often be looking at this
window instead of listening to him.
During my time I attended a funeral service which moved me a great deal and to, this day I can still remember the hymn we
sang, it was "Jesu, Lover of my Soul", perhaps this is the reason why I have always preferred this hymn above most others.
I became the bugler in later years and played "Lights Out" and "Reveille" each night and morning.
Now, if 1 were there, I would play the final "Lights Out" to the houses that were:
Somerset, Aberdeen, Mount Stephen, Kinnaird, Buxton, Cairns, and McCall.
But Goldings will always live on in the hearts and minds of all those who passed through it's walls and found hope and a
future before them.
I end with an appropriate motto from my old regiment: "Deep rooted in a glorious past its name continues to bring
forth fresh leaves of fame."
J. N. G.