With some 200 boys whose ages range between 14 and 21 years there are bound to be a few pranks
Going on, "here are just a few"
All old boys will remember the name RONUK. Once a week all the beds in the dormitory were pushed
To one end, and each boy had his own basket, used to keep his personal belongings in these were placed
on top of his bed Some boys had the task of rubbing the Ronuk into the floor boards, others used a
'Bumper ' to create some sort of 'Shine'. The problem was the boy, who in between these two operations
was to distribute the Ronuk. Depending on his temperament and if one those who were rubbing it in was
a friend or foe, a huge "Dollop" was splattered on the dormitory floor no easy task for the rubbing in. It
has been said that even the most angelic of boys cast their first swear word on such occasions. When the
beds were returned to their right places the baskets were placed underneath, but not always in their
right places, and so it could be heard that the second swear word was cast, ! ! !
It is reported that a boy who was a boring show off had his hair plastered with Ronuk after lights out.
(I think he said hair!!!)
One of the most prized possessions was to own a Crystal set. These were made by a member of the outside
staff for a nominal sum ( was it a 1/~) I suppose with 4d a week pocket money it would be about right.
I was lucky to have one, which I shared with the boy in the next bed to mine. The trick was to take one of
the ear pieces off the headphone and give it to him. In those far off days only the BBC could be got by
carefully manoeuvring the cats whisker on the crystal to, get the best reception. Lights out having been
played by the bugler, it was easy to see those who were lucky enough to have a set, out would come a
torch to find a better spot on the crystal. Going to sleep while listening to the dance band music played in
some posh hotel in London, (was it the SAVOY, and was it Henry Hall, or Ambrose ).
Wakening suddenly to the same tune being played over and over again "The Teddy Bears Picnic",
It was the BBC's best tune.
It was past midnight, but we weren't caught!!!!
Reminiscence of those halcyon days.
Mind you, it wasn't always “halcyon”, there were nice boys and there were bully boys,
My own rather meagre physique seemed to attract those much bigger than I, resulting in a few unasked
for intimidations. On one occasion a beefy prefect who in the dormitory demanded to see what comics I
had in my basket was some what taken aback when I dared to refuse, a rather big fist connected with my
jaw was not what I hoped for my defiance. Even today I can still click that part of my jaw. not surprising,
after that I was always left alone. Having been made Prefect toward the end of my stay, once again I found
myself being intimidated in trying to carry out such authority that was expected from a Prefect. This was
from two brothers who I had always thought were good friends, especially as we shared a modicum of
praise for our achievements in sport, both soccer and cricket. But that was part of life at Goldings. One
reason for relating the above incidents is that neither they or myself, could have known what great effect
it was to play in my life once I was 'outside' on my own.
For one thing, although remembering the incidents, I never bore any grudge, I never reported or told
tales. It enabled me to be a judge of character in other people, to stand up for myself, which was at times
necessary, once again because of my apparent meagre physique, but there were a few who got a big
surprise from my reaction, I even surprised myself!
So thanks to those who sought to make a name for themselves at my expense, you made me make a name
I've always whined I could have been to one of the Goldings reunions, especially the Print ones, I read about
them in the Guild Messenger.
I can remember when we used to print the Guild Messenger at Goldings, then it was monthly, now only
twice a year but it enables us to keep in touch with people and happenings in Barnardo's.
In conclusion, I am ever grateful for the time I spent at Goldings, to those who were not happy there and
did not enjoy their time there, well it could not have been between 1933-37, for despite my former
impressions, most of us had a damn good time, we had plenty of fun, plenty of discipline (firm, but fair),
plenty of training for the choice of our trade, and plenty of sport.
I can't resist relating to my guidance from Mr, Cruikshank on the cricket field many years later
here in Australia I had figures of 7 wickets for 38 runs
GOLDINGS-LOOKING BACK AND REMEMBERING
I could have taken a bus ride from Hertford North, but the walk to Goldings would rekindle old memories
of some forty-five years ago. As I walked, I once again saw the marching columns of boys, headed by the
school band playing 'Colonel Bogey' etc, as we marched to the War Memorial in Hertford on
Remembrance Day. On Saturdays groups of boys returning from the 'Film House' where for 3d one could
see the films of the day. Some carrying a bottle of 'Tizer' and a bag of stale biscuits, for a feast in the
dormitory that night.
As 1 turned into the drive, I noticed the absence of the sign which read William Baker Technical School;
it had been replaced by a black-and-white sign stating it was now being used by Hertfordshire County
Council for educational purposes. Walking over the two bridges down the main drive, I looked to the left
where the swimming pool used to be, now it is an overgrown stretch of water. I wonder who can remember
Mr Jenkins, a warm-hearted and genial man, always willing to listen and give advice. I took a photo of the
house where he lived (just below the old gym) but could see no sign of habitation. Walking up past the gym,
where physical fitness (plus, for those who were caught doing what they hadn't ought to, a place for
endurance of physical fitness) was given under the watchful eye of the one and only Mr Patch. Outwardly
it hadn't changed, but inside it appeared to have been partitioned off for various activities educational.
New buildings had been put up on the left of the gym, but I walked on up to where the workshops still
stand. The old clock was still there (but long since showing the correct time). Mr Millar - who remembers
the driver of the lorry who took boys to the hospital at Woodford Bridge, and brought back supplies? His
house adjacent to the old clock was still there. The engineering shop, with its big drive wheel; alas, I
couldn't see it through windows that had been painted over. 1 was informed it was still there. The iron
stairway to the 'Snobs' or shoemaking repair shop was overgrown with shrubbery.
Walking round to the other side I saw the old printing shops. Here time stood still, as I reflected back over
the years; this then was where it ail began for me as a compositor. How many comps can I remember? The
Guertin brothers, Barkas (also the school goalkeeper) and many others whose faces I can recall but names
escape me. The teachers too, Mr WooIIer the head, Mr East, Mr Riley, and was it Mr Amos the reader.
In the machine room was Mr Penny, the Purkiss brothers. The only way down to the machine room was
by a winding stairway; who else can remember carrying a 'forme' down, and who else was caught by
asking for a tin of striped ink for a two-colour job, and indeed for a 'long weight'?
And so up to the house, looking up at the windows where as a boy in Aberdeen House. I gazed out across
the lawns and parade ground. The dining hail, and the ablutions, the cook house, all outwardly the same,
but now forbidden territory. I tried to think of names, Rev McDonald the Headmaster, Mr Culver,
Mr 'Tooty' Jones (would I have thought then, that his daughter, Iris./ would one day be my sister-in-law).
Mr Cruikshank the sports master, but apart from Mr Maslin my memory fails to put other names to pen.
The old staff dining room is now used as offices, I glanced up to where the role of honour board giving the
names of cricket teams once hung, but that too was gone. I wonder how many old boys can recall Mr
Mac-Donald's son (Derek?) a cricketer himself, asking us to help him with pick and shovel, to cut away the
bank and make more room for the boundary. The cricket pitch is still there, much improved and used by
employees of H.C.C.
Briefly, the old band hut and recreation hut are still there, but used for other things. Was it Mr Marchant
who was the band master then? The parade ground is now a car park, another car park is situated up the
steps leading to where the football pitches were and I believe still are used. The old sick bay is now used
for social activities. The garden section where our own vegetables were grown (and 'scrumping' used to
take place) is now a nursery of trees and shrubs, used to supply schools and parks for the council.
My camera clicked, as I reminded myself that Australia was too far away to imagine that 1 would ever be
able to see the old school again. Pictures would be a nostalgic reminder of those days gone by. I retraced
my steps back to Hertford, this time along the pathway beside the canal, via Port Vale, and the long walk
didn't seem to matter, I had seen what 1 thought I would never see again. If any old boys of that era can
fill in the empty spaces, It should make interesting reading.
Goldings had its own Chapel. On Sunday we. would march behind the Which might have been playing
Colonel Bogey. It was a stirring march" our feet keeping in step with the beat of the drum. Our voices,
muted kept in tune with the band as we sang the words "What did the goalie say when the ball went in
the net". The answer is known only to those who sing, the tuna I. Mr. Patch the Gym master always
marched along the side of the column to keep us in line and in order.
'Patchy" was an ex physical training officer from World War 1. Under his care and tuition we learnt
the noble art of boxing to defend ourselves, also to keep us fit in the Gym on the various apparatus.
Any dismeaners were dealt with by “PD” (Punishment Drill) up to 1hr, doing push ups, wall bar
exercises Knees-up' -etc. No boy who wss unable to do the exercises was forced to do so, but no one tried
to hoodwink 'Patchy". His Gym Sqaud was recognised as the best in the country, travelling far and wide,
raising much money for. Barnardo's. I had the willpower but lacked the physic to be a member.
•The sloping parade ground was the perfect slide in the winter, two or three buckets of water poured
from the top quickly froze over. A constant movement of boys jostled to see who could go fastest, a
veritable line of youthful exuberance. Of course there were spills,! can't remember;
no broken bones, only broken egos. In the morning the House that was on parade in that area had
difficulty standing up, I cannot remember if we had, to stop making the slide, or whether sand; was used
As could be expected there were all types of boys. Bullys, Smart Alecs, Showoffs, Goody Goods and of
course those who would help the timid ones For many, as it was for myself, it was the making of a man,
so that when we went out' into the outside world we were capable to look after ourselves both in a
physical and trade wise sense. In those days there was Union, acceptance only for those on the 'outside,
not for Barnardo boys. Thanks to our training we got our jobs on the merit of our skills.
The motto or the logo for the School Was, FINIS CORONAT OPUS which I believe was translated to
mean THE END CROWNS THE Work ,
So be it
"Finis Coronat Opus"
Thus reads the inscription on the Logo of "The Goldonian", the onetime magazine of The William Baker
Technical School, Goldings. The Latin translation, THE END CROWNS THE WORK, appropriately
signifies the sad news that The Guild Messenger" will no longer be printed at the Print Training Scheme in
Hertford. Does this mean the end of "The Guild Messenger"? If so, will this ever be printed?
By now, the Print School in Mead Lane, Hertford, will have closed. (I apologise for the time lapse, but
Australia is too far away to expect that I would receive my Winter 1990 edition before it closed.) In 1981, I
paid a visit to the School. Mr Bill CHARLTON presented me with a copy of "The Goldonian" (Spring 1964),
in which I had praised the training given by the Masters, which had resulted in my achieving some success
in the newspaper that had sponsored my immigration to Inverell, N.S.W., Australia. In October 1963, I was
appointed Advertising and Promotions Manager of "The Inverell Times".
In the Summer 1981 edition of "The Guild Messenger", I expressed my feelings on revisiting the old school.
I will not risk boring the reader by repeating myself. This is not intended to be a nostalgic trip down memory
lane, recalling fife in general at Goldings - just a reminder.to the elite band of printers who alone will know
what terminology is referred to. as used in those far-off davs.
It was during the years 1934-7 that I trained as a Compositor, under the watchful eyes of Masters whose
patience, skills and discipline produced worthy tradesmen, able to compete with the best 'outside. Who can
recall Mr WOLLEN, Mr RILEY, Mr EAST, Mr AMOS, and down those tricky stairs (carrying a forme) to
the Machine room, where Mr PENNY, the PURKISS brothers, and names that time has stolen from me,
listened with resigned looks when we asked for a tin of striped ink for a two-colour job. Ask any "Old Boy
Printer" what recollections come to mind when the following terminology is referred to in forming a picture
of the Comp. room, some fifty-five years ago. The row of "Frames" holding type cases filled with type with
such names as Spartan, Wren, Cheltenham, De Vinne, etc., in sizes from 6 pt to 48 pt. Beyond the Frames
were the "Stones" on which the type, having been made-up and tied with page cord, were slid from a galley
to be locked up in a "Chase" using Hempel or wood Quoins with a key or ebony shooter, then planed down
with mallet and planer.
No Comp. worthy of the name would deny that at some time, he had "Pied" a job, or indeed dropped a case
of type - or was I alone in admitting to such folly? It took me a whole week to put each and every single letter,
punctuation mark, etc., back in its rightful place. It was a hard way to learn my cases, but I never forgot
them, and was my face
On completion of training, and before leaving for a job 'outside', each boy was given two "Setting sticks"
and a box of brass setting rules. These were individually numbered; whether or not being the number
representing Comps who had left, I do not know, but mine was 53. I kept using mine until no longer needed,
with the advent 01 new technology. I still have them as a nostalgic reminder of those Goldings days, but lest
they get rusty, had them chrome-plated. I could go on and on, like remembering the big sink where we
brushed and cleaned the type with lysol, and opposite was the Reader's "Box" where Mr AMOS read the
proofs of our work with justifiable criticism or praise. He would no doubt have plenty of criticism, were he
to read what I have written, but I make no apologies for expressing my thoughts as they tried to remember
back over fifty years. Names have been forgotten, punctuation marks have been misplaced; grammatically
speaking, it leaves much to be desired - in fact, it would be simpler to type the good old-fashioned E. & O.E.
The newer generation may not understand the terminology used, but then this was not intended for them.
To all those who may still have ink in their veins, you will understand what I have been trying to say, and
forgive an old Comp. for making a terrible mess of it. Although I have been retired for seven years (just
turned 72 years), I am still referred to as 'Charles the Printer', a fitting epitaph, which I hope will not need
to be inscribed just yet. Adieu."