LOOKING BACK TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS
It was Monday, 16th June 1952 when I first entered the portals of the Barnardo Printing Department, housed within the confines of
Goldings and part of a very efficient and remarkable trade school establishment offering seven trades to some two hundred plus boys
within an age range of 13 to 21 years; 17 to 21 years being the prerogative of the printing apprentices.
I was to take over from a very experienced teacher of typography - compositors' work - and be responsible for the practical training
and City & Guilds theoretical syllabus up to Final standard.
Having obtained my own qualifications the technical demands were no problem and successes were achieved the next year with four
passes at Intermediate stage and two Finals - Messrs Mott and Smith, or was it Pegg? Obviously the groundwork for these successes
had been laid by my predecessor, Mr Riley, but it was certainly a great morale booster for my first year in the technical teaching
It very soon became apparent that the real test of my character would be my ability to handle these young trainee printers, with more
than their share of personal and domestic problems, and I soon learned that if one 'grasped the nettle' straight away, and provided
your apprentices' confidence could be gained, you were 'home and dry' and had loyal young friends for life. After twenty-eight years
I am confident that I have between two and three hundred young friends around the world!
1 had only been 'inside' a few weeks when one of the senior compositors approached me to inquire if I would be the general convener
if they started a Goldings Old Boys' Football Club. Still being 'wet behind the ears' I readily agreed, and it turned out to be one of the
best decisions I ever made. The club was formed and in September 1953 played their first match and won 6—2. This was in the
Hertford and District Junior League. The club went from strength to strength and we had annual dinners up until the closure of
Goldings in 1967.
My next step towards total involvement within the William Baker Technical School, as we were then known, was to be invited by
the headmaster, Mr R. F. Wheatley, to take over the editorship of the school magazine, The Goldonian. This really was a challenge,
but nothing ventured ... so I agreed, and again this brought me many friends among the boys, and naturally the printers were never
last in submitting their articles, photographs, poems, sports and house notes, etc. This job I kept until the closure in 1967.
Incidentally, the first editor was a Mr J. Dempster, and the first issue was 1st March 1927, so the school magazine had a life of forty
Another non-printing chore which came my way was to be school projectionist, and every Thursday evening during the winter
months showing Warner Brothers full-length specials. The programme for the year was selected by a panel of boys guided by me
and approved by the head. Again I retained this duty until the closure. My worst moment? One November evening when I left the
projection room with the projector running smoothly, so that I could get some air and watch the film more comfortably until the dots
came up denoting the end of the reel was imminent, only to find that the film had run through on to the floor instead of the receiving
reel. Hours later and with several helping hands the film was restored to its reel.
Thirteen years ago this big family complex sadly came to an end, and a very small, specialised family emerged, the Barnardo School
of Printing, but still housed at Goldings. Who deserted them on 22nd December 1967? Yes, yours truly, who had decided to take up
an appointment as Tutor Youth Officer at our local college of further education. What happened on Sunday, 24th December? I
fractured the cartilage in my left knee, and I was only cleaning my car! I should have known that 1 would be punished. However,
I worked, in great pain, for one month, gave my notice, went in to hospital for the operation and after eight weeks was accepted back
into the fold of BSP on 8th April 1968.