Page Compiled May 2007

All images and text copyright © to Goldings Old Boys reunion members


A recently discovered news paper cutting so kindly given to me by Hertford Museum recording the event of Dr Barnardos
taking over the mansion and land at “Goldings” for the teaching and training of Barnardo boys, in far healthy
surroundings than Stepney. Printed on the 7th of May 1921, there are some words you may find strange today, but no
doubt were in common use of that era, probably more so by Printers, but it does record our beginning.


" Goldings " estate, which, as all Hertford
knows, stands on the outskirts of the town,
is apparently destined to become' one of
the branches of Dr. Barnardo’s Homes.
Speculation has for some time been keen
as to the future of this beautiful mansion,
and local interest will be stirred by the
news that the district is to be closely
identified with one of the finest, most
successful, and most philanthropic!
movements in the United Kingdom.
Fifty-four years ago Dr. Barnardo rescued
his first little street arab from destitution
and misery, and possibly even he failed to
realise what a wonderful work he was
beginning, or how deeply his name would
come to be reverenced in every land that
flies the Union Jack. For that little orphan
was the forerunner of over 91,000 other
children who have entered the Homes
forlorn and destitute, and have passed out
of it to become useful and self-respecting
citizens, playing - their part through the
length and breadth of the Empire. The age
of miracles has not really disappeared.
Here we have, indeed, a record of 91,000
miracles! Could the material from which
these transformations have been wrought
have seemed more unpromising? Few of
these children owed anything at all to
parentage or to early surroundings. Not all
of them, of course, came from a vicious
environment, but with-out exception
their lot had been cast amidst neglect and
suffering and poverty where they knew
nothing of the joy and happiness that
should be childhood's natural heritage.
Left to themselves they would have
inevitably have become idlers and wastrels,
whereas it has been the glory of the
Barnardo Homes that the goodness that is
in our common humanity has had a chance
to show itself, and these 91,000 children
have been turned into sturdy sons and
daughters of England. Only in the rarest
instances have they ever failed to do the
utmost credit to the great Institution that
rescued them or to repay those whose
benevolence has made the continuance
and development of its wonderful
humanitarian mission possible.

So much has been said, of course, only as
a prelude to the story of an interesting
scheme which, if all goes well, will bring
a valuable department of the Barnardo
work to “Goldings” The owner, Capt.
Abel Smith who has shown great interest
in Dr. Barnardos Homes, hearing of their
needs generously offered the property on
most exceptionally favourable terms. He
has stated that nothing could be more
fitting than that the home of his fathers
should be placed at the disposal of these
lads, many of whom, but for the Barnardo
Homes, might have come to grief.
Negotiations were accordingly opened by
the Council of the Homes, but these have
now been carried so far that an appeal for
funds is to be issued to the public, which
in the past has always responded to the
claims of this splendidly managed
Institution with the greatest generosity.
"Goldings" moreover, is to be acquired as
a memorial to one who, second only to the
debt due to the founder himself, had placed
the public under a special sense of
obligation because of the faithful service
he rendered to the Homes during the
fifteen years he held the Honorary
Directorship. We refer to the late Mr.
William Baker. By birth an Irishman, and
one of the moat brilliant academic products
of Trinity College, he came to this country
to win a successful career for himself as a
member of the Chancery Bar. In 1880 he
made Dr. Barnardo's acquaintance - an
acquaintance which rapidly deepened into
an intimate friendship, founded upon a
common interest of both men in work for
the care of destitute children — and in 1887
he identified himself more closely with the
Homes as a member of the Council and of
the Finance Committee.

Lovely Home for Boys and Girls.

So devotedly did he consecrate himself to
the work that when in the year, 1905 his
friend Dr. Barnardo passed away, he was
invited to become his successor, and from
that time until his own death in November,
1920, he gave himself and his remarkable
talents unsparingly to the consolidation
and expansion of that noble effort in child
rescue that radiates in so many, many
directions and forms from the headquarters
at Stepney.
It was a work of course, that demanded
from him the sacrifice of the lucrative legal
practice that he had built up for himself,
and a work to which, moreover, he brought
a singular broadness of vision, a wise and
far-seeing judgment and unceasing energy.

All these qualities William Baker possessed
to an uncommon degree. No fewer than
30,000 children were admitted during the
years he held office, and he was
instrumental in completing several new
institutions were the big Barnardo family
could be cared for notably the Watts Naval
Training School in Norfolk, The Russell -
Cotes Nautical School in Dorset, the Boys'
Garden City at Woodford Bridge, and the
extension of the Girls Village Home at
Barkingside to the latter communities in
the County of Essex. Side by side with these
labours of love he saw that the financial
position of the entire work was placed on
the surest foundations, and that the
administration should be, as undoubtedly
it is, a model of efficient and progressive
management. Under Rear - Admiral Sir
Harry H. Stileman, who has been chosen
by the Association as Mr. Baker's successor
in the Directorship after many years of
valuable work as Admiral Superintendent
of the Watts Naval School at Elmham, the
Barnardo Homes will assuredly enter
upon still another period of bountiful
activity in the cause of the children, and the
progress of the Work will be very greatly
facilitated when the Council acquire
possession of "Goldings."

The "William Baker Commemoration Fund,"
which has been opened for this purpose,
aims at raising the sum of £50.000 and
contributions from Hertfordshire
sympathisers should be sent to Admiral
Stileman at Dr. Barnardo's Homes, Stepney,
London, E. No memorial to Mr. Baker, it is
certain, could be more suitable in form, or
more consistent with his own policy that,
so far as it is practical, the boys should be
placed and educated amidst bracing and
pleasant surroundings, where their bodies
can be invigorated in the open-air, and
their minds freshened by contact with the
beauties of nature, and their imagination
refined and stimulated by the brightening
influence of the countryside. Situated 200
feet above sea level, this new home will
satisfy all that could be desired in the way

of charming situation and healthy
surroundings, and in every other respect it
is admirably suited for the purposes for
which it is about to be employed. The
mansion itself will be used as the Home,
the stables will be transformed into well
equipped workshops, while the fifty acres
of undulating land will provide ample
playing grounds. " Goldings," as the other
residents in the district will recall, was
entirely rebuilt in the Tudor style about
half-a-century ago on a site almost identical
with that on which an old historic baronial
hall formerly stood, and the tastefulness of
its architectural design and the richness of
its internal decoration are remarkable even
in a County which boasts many of the most
" stately homes of England." The paneling
alone are of exceptional beauty.
The Park in the summer months, and
in deed at any time of the year, is a feast of
loveliness, while the lake makes the
landscape all the more picturesque. Over
the entrance doorway there appears
an unusual inscription.
" None come too early nor stay too late"
it reads, and it is characteristic of the warm
-hearted generosity of the late Mr. Smith,
the well-known banker, who at one time
resided there, and whose family are the
present owners of "Goldings."

Should the appeal be successful, it is
proposed to transfer to the mansion the
Boys' Technical Instruction Centre now
located at the congested Bamardo head -
quarters in Stepney Causeway. Some 300
lads will be maintained there during the
time they are being instructed in a number
of useful trades, amongst which will those
of Blacksmiths, Wheelwrights, Bootmaking,
Carpentering, Tinsmiths, Tailoring, Printing,
Engineering, and Painting and Decorating.
For all these trades Barnardo Boys have
always had an unusual aptitude and they
are not only reliable young workmen but
they have a real enthusiasm for their tasks,
and are cultivated in all the of gifts
thoroughness. The intention is that the
stables, which are particularly large shall
be adapted as up-to-date workshop and the
instruction will be the very best that can be
provided. No branch of the Barnardo
Institutions, indeed, will able to do a more
valuable or a more practical work, for it is
one that will put a trade the hands of these
lads and send them out into the world
strong, Robust, and self-reliant citizens.
Numbers of them will settle overseas, and
in this connexion, it maybe recalled that
the Dominions Authorities are continually
asking for more and more of these hardy
young emigrants particularly Canada, from
which during the war many thousands
returned to the Motherland to serve in the

New owners of Goldings