THE WILLIAM BAKER TECHNICAL SCHOOL, known locally as Goldings, was situated in the beautiful countryside close
by the small village of Waterford, in Hertfordshire, and opened in 1922 as part of the Dr Barnardo’s Homes organization.
The school was “home” to many boys whose family life had had a less than fortunate start, and who, for a variety of reasons,
were “taken into care” within the Barnardo family, before being sent to the William Baker Technical School to be trade-trained
for a role in the wider community.
In addition to protective care and normal school lessons, the young boys were given practical training in their chosen trade, these
included: printing; painting and decorating; boot and shoe repair; carpentry; metalwork; and also gardening.
The experience gained from this in-depth trade training, provided many young Goldonians with a useful start in life, particularly
when the time came to leave the shelter and protective care of Dr Barnardo’s Homes and venture into the world outside.
The only trade training department that remained in operation after closure of the training
school in 1967 was the Printing Department, which moved to Hertford. The boys – still
instructed by the skilled and experienced staff – continued the production of printed products
for the Barnardo organization.
As previously mentioned, the boys’ training was carried out by a dedicated team of instructors
– who were skilled and knowledgeable at their own particular craft. Many of these staff members,
in 1968, became founder members of the Barnardo School of Printing Bowls Club, better known in the locality as BSP Bowls Club.
Among those founder members – a few are listed below – were some of the most widely respected and still highly regarded
staff members, such as:
Ron Stackwood, Trevor Powell, Jim Taylor, Phil Davey, Frank Stephenson, Jimmy James.
There were other staff members who had an active connection during the early years of the club, but those individuals mentioned
above were chiefly instrumental in the formation, and management, of BSP Bowls Club.
During the summer of 1968, the newly-formed BSP Bowls Club entered the East Herts Bowls League – the playing venue being
the bowls facility at Hartham Common, Hertford – the bowls club has had varying degrees of success in the EHBL over the
course of almost 45 consecutive seasons.
No record of the club’s history, however brief, would be complete without mention of the singular efforts of Jimmy James,
who was the club captain for much of the club’s existence, as well as holding influential committee posts with the East Herts
Bowls League. He is fondly remembered by many bowls players from all the EHBL’s member clubs.
It is through Jimmy’s contribution as a player and captain, that BSP Bowls Club’s
reputation as a competitive, but always friendly, bowls club. However, it is to the great credit of
The present club members that this enviable legacy still continues through to the present day,
and hopefully will remain well into the future.
From the early years, BSP Bowls Club had a few ex-Barnardo boys (Goldings Old Boys) among
its playing members – although its continued existence is due also to a loyal group of skilful
bowls players, who despite having no direct connection with Dr Barnardo’s Homes – have been
long-standing loyal supporters of BSP BC, many acting as committee members, organizing and
managing the administrative affairs of the club.
In 2009, the BSP Bowls Club entered a team in the Welwyn & Hatfield Bowls League, using the splendid facilities at the King
George Playing Fields, Welwyn Garden City, as its new home venue, but for reasons of economy, played the 2012 bowls season
at Datchworth Bowls Club, which while proving to be a success, this arrangement was not without its own particular difficulties.
Latterly, the club has been extremely lucky to have skilled lady bowls players as members, who are eligible to play in the mixed
WHBL, and have made a significant contribution toward the club’s competitive success over recent bowls seasons.
It is a considerable achievement that the club has maintained a presence in the East Herts Bowls
League for many years, surviving a few relegations, but often bouncing back to continue playing
in the top division, despite having only a small, but loyal, membership to select from.
Success has, however, in recent seasons, come quite often to the club in the Welwyn Hatfield
Bowls League, with BSP Bowls Club winning Division 1 in consecutive seasons (2010 and 2011),
as well as having representation on the league’s Finals Day in mid-September.
The club has also won the President’s Cup and the Memorial Trophy, both of which are WHBL team
competitions, the proceeds from which have benefited many worthy local charities.