Having 'focused' on the work of the School in its present location for the past eleven years, and in its previous setting at Goldings
for thirty years what a mass of 'photographic negatives' there is stored in my 'cameratic' head.
My knowledge of the work prior to 1939 is restricted to photographs I have seen of the original workshop at Stepney. The
production area seemed very large and pictured were a host of 'printers' devils' (trainees) looking very industrious indeed. The
presses were powered from overhead shafting and one particular photograph was sufficiently good to enable one to read the date
1905 on posters hung up to dry. What an opportunity the Doctor presented to those youngsters at the turn of the century; at that
time to become a printing apprentice a young man had to have a parent willing to pay the printer to train him.
My first sight of Barnardo boys was in 1922 when I watched some two hundred of them marching through Hertford, headed by
their own brass band, to take up residence at Goldings, a 100-acre estate on the outskirts of the town, after forsaking the workshop
at Stepney. They were not all printers of course - there were carpenters, engineers, boot-makers, painters and decorators, sheet-metal
workers, and gardeners. An added bonus was the excitement of seeing The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) pass through
the town to officially open the William Baker Technical School, as that branch of Dr Barnardo's Homes was named. In later years
it was my pleasure to visit the School to play cricket and soccer and Goldings had a reputation for producing excellent players.
In 1938, as a youngster of 22,1 ambitiously applied to join the staff of the printing department as an instructor and was taken on.
Thus began a most happy and rewarding forty-one years during which time I worked with a very dedicated and stable staff and
made contact with thousands of young men who passed through the School and hundreds of them who chose to become printers.
In those early days there were no apprenticeships. Young men left the School at the age of 18 to become 'improvers' in industry
and a proportion of the leavers were exploited as cheap labour. Mr Bill Millar, a most charming and kind Canadian, was appointed
Head of the Printing Department in 1939 and it was he, together with the Trade Unions and the Master Printers' Federation, who
initiated the apprenticeship scheme shortly after the Second World War. An agreement was drawn up allowing thirty apprenticeships
within the department. Coupled with this, training and education standards were enhanced as City & Guilds of London Institute
examinations became the accepted measurement of the apprentices' abilities.
Equipment also had to match that maintaining in industry and Barnardo's has been very conscious of its responsibility to ensure that
those in training always have the modern equipment necessary to train to the standard of skill required by the industry.

Education, training, and equipment are in themselves not sufficient. There has to be staff eager to motivate the young apprentices
and apprentices keen to learn and to produce. So often in industry, because of their commitment to production, craftsmen have little
time to devote to apprentice training, and although the advent of the Training Boards has influenced some improvement to that
situation, the education and training offered at the School must give its apprentices advantages denied to apprentices in industry.
The Print Shop at Stepney - 1890
Since the inception of the apprenticeship scheme 100 per cent success in City & Guilds examinations has been the target and over
the past thirty years an apprentice leaving the School without a qualification has been a rarity. In 1979 the 100 per cent pass rate was
attained yet again with all papers being marked with credit or distinction; one apprentice also achieved a pass in Part I of a
management qualification.
The School has always been fortunate in the composition of its Management Committee, until recently usually representative of
Unions and Master Printer organisations. For me, the comfort of having Laurence Viney as Chairman for so many years, and latterly
Roy Hodgson, his successor, to advise the Barnardo Council on the School's behalf, was immeasurable. Each worked tremendously
hard, each having a threatened close-down to face. They must both feel a sense of real achievement in the School's present vitality
and industry. Now, of course, the Management Committee embraces members of the Printing and Packaging Industry Training
Board and Miss Mary Joynson and Mr Keith Manley also give great support.
The installation recently of photo-composition equipment; a high-speed two-colour printing press; the provision of a new department
for film and paper make-up; the recruitment of apprentices to bring the number up to establishment; and increasing awareness of the
School's achievements and job opportunities by industry and social service departments, all contribute to the School's successful future.
Now to develop a few of those negatives.
A Monday in October 1938, when I entered the Linotype room and met Ernie and George, my first two trainees. They threw question
after question at me during that first day to see if I knew my job. At the end of the day I was accepted.
Picture: Apprentice and instructor. Apprentice asks the instructor if he has a headache. Instructor answers 'No'. Apprentice taps him
on the head with a mallet and says 'You will have now'.
The annual satisfaction of inviting apprentices into the office to give them news of City & Guilds results and to watch the expression
of delight when told they had passed - probably the first academic success of a lifetime.
The young man of 21 in tears at the thought of leaving to enter industry, desperately afraid of the 'outside world'. He is now a works
The heartfelt regret of us all when Bill Millar, the boss, died.
The depression and joy of 1966 when closure, apparently so final, was averted.
Print from the same negative in 1978.
Now enlarge the Goldings motto: 'Finis Coronat Opus' - The End Crowns the Work.
RON STACKWOOD Former Principal

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 62. 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.

The Print Shop, Goldings, from 1936-50.

Page Compiled January 2008

All images and text copyright to Goldings Old Boys reunion members

This really began what I like to think of as the great partnership between Mr Ron Stackwood and myself. We planned the school at
Mead Lane, and watched the building progress until we moved in one year later. We considered that we had planned with great
precision and flexibility for future development, and now eleven years later we have proved our reasoning. Despite the great
upheaval over the last nine months, with the old traditional printing and preparation methods being superseded by the modern
computerised typesetting, paper and film make-up room in place of setting frames and type racks; high-speed single and two-colour
lithographic printing machines in place of the more cumbersome letterpress presses, the areas allocated for the old are adequate for
the new. Also, of course, we have undergone major changes with our instructor staff, with five replacements owing to retirements,
as well as a new 'skipper'. I think it speaks well of the stable foundation laid by our contemporaries, that the change-over has been
accomplished with a minimum of disruption, and that our new instructors have been able to take over an environment of such a high
standard achieved by dedication by their predecessors. The happy instructor/ apprentice relationship is something that I have always
been proud to be a part of, and I trust that it will continue. Without exception, every visitor that has entered our premises makes the
point about the friendly atmosphere that exists.
I do not know how much longer I shall be in harness with the BSP, but during my twenty-eight years to date I feel that I have made
quite a contribution to the continuance of the teaching of this great craft, 'Printing', within the Barnardo organisation and in return
have gained many great and valued friends. What more can one ask from twenty-eight years' labour? Our turnover of staff must
have been the lowest in the country, and the apprentices, with few exceptions, have become better citizens as well as first-class
tradesmen through staying the course with us.
Let me close my reminiscence by repeating an extract from one of my editorials from a Goldonian: 'This school is rather like the
distributor of a car; while it is working correctly everything is all right, but if faulty it is very soon noticed'.
Although the school does not publish a magazine, I hope that it will continue to carry out the old school's motto:
Finis Coronal Opus - The End Crowns the Work.

From the 1950s to 1969 The Goldings Print Shop to
the new Barnardo School of Printing Mead Lane

The Print shop at Stepney 1890


Looking back at the Barnardo School of Printing