A B.B.C. News Article 20th June 2016
In pictures: Barnardo's ball boys remembered.
Images from the archive of Barnardo's capture Wimbledon ball boys preparing for the tennis tournament.
Golding’s school, 1956 BARNARDO'S

National News Articles

This year, the charity Barnardo’s is commemorating its 150th
anniversary and 70 years since its partnership with Wimbledon,
when, between 1946 and 1966, it provided all the ball boys for
the tournament.

Images in the Barnardo's archive show the ball boys at Golding’s
school in Hertfordshire before the championships in 1956. The
charity was established by Thomas Barnardo to care for destitute
boys, opening its first care home, in Stepney Causeway, in 1870.
Barnardo later opened the Girls' Village Home, in Barkingside.

At Golding’s school, the boys learnt how to operate at various
points around the tennis court. Barnardo’s chief executive Javed
Khan said: "Being ‘ball boys’ for 20 years was an opportunity
for some Barnardo’s students to be part of something truly special
inspirational, and as we mark our 150th anniversary, it’s
to recognise the positive impact both Wimbledon and the support
from our charity has had on their lives."

"From Barnardo’s beginnings to the present day, we continue to
provide care, support and training to hundreds of thousands of
children, young people and families every year," added Mr Khan.
Retrieving balls from the net and then making their way off court
as quickly as possible to allow play to resume.

They were also trained how to deliver the tennis ball to the
player about to serve.

In 1956, it was just boys, with girls having to wait until 1977
before they were introduced at Wimbledon.

Those long hot British summers meant that the boys were also
called on to serve the player's barley water.

For the 1957 final, the boys lined up to meet the Duchess of Kent.

A highlight was the chance to meet the stars of the time. Here,
the boys are seen with US players John and Beverley Fleitz.
The previous year, in 1955, Mrs Fleitz lost the women's singles
final to Louise Brough.

A Daily Telegraph News Article 20th June 2016 • 8:04PM
Wimbledon: Why the 'Barnado's Ball Boys' will never forget. By David White

The chance to be a ball boy at Wimbledon, feeding balls for the world’s best tennis players and being at the centre of one of the world’s
most famous sporting events, would be exciting for any youngster. But for one generation it provided a particularly unforgettable experience.
From 1946 to 1966, Wimbledon’s ball boys (girls were introduced in 1977) were in the care of the charity, Dr Barnardo’s, and the contrast
between their home lives and the glamour of the tournament could not have been greater.
As boys, they attended the William Baker Technical School, known as Goldings, a residential school run by Barnardo’s in
Hertfordshire - making the two and-a-half hour journey by coaches to the grounds for each day of the tournament, having been woken
by the school’s customary bugle call at six o’clock in the morning.

Barnardo Ball Boys training at Golding Herts in 1958

25th June 1958: Ball boys on the centre court during the Wimbledon

This month, some former Barnardo’s ball-boys were reunited at the Wimbledon grounds, to relive their memories of their time spent courtside.
“Smelling the grass and walking onto the outside courts after all these years makes me feel young again,” says Peter Knight, who was
selected as a ball boy at 16, and took part in the 1946 and 1947 tournaments.
“Life at the school was austere by today’s standards,” says Peter, now 86, a retired engineer and grandfather of three. “Discipline was tight,
but everyone was encouraged to try their hardest – we saw Wimbledon as a challenge and didn’t want to let the school down.
“None of us had been to a tournament – now we were suddenly rubbing shoulders with tennis stars and eating strawberries and cream.”
It was in stark contrast to an early life largely brought up by his grandmother along with three brothers - his mother, who worked as a
live-in housekeeper, couldn’t look after them. After being evacuated from west London to the country in 1940, he went into the care of
Dr Barnardo’s – now simply called Barnardo’s.

Peter Knight today on Wimbledon centre court

Peter has fond – and not so fond – memories of the players he met at Wimbledon. “Jaroslav Drobny [the Czech former World No.1] hit a
ball straight at my head which I caught after raising my hands to protect my face. He told me off in no uncertain terms, shouting that by
getting in the way of the ball, I’d lost him a crucial point.
“Dorothy Bundy [the American former world No 6] was my favourite player. She gave me her racket as a present, after a practice partner failed
to show and she asked me to knock balls to her for half an hour while she returned them using different strokes.”
Peter can’t recall receiving any payment for a fortnight’s work on the courts (today’s ball boys and girls receive expenses), but says he and his
peers found ways round this.
“We’d buy photos of star players for three old pennies, get them signed and sell them on for a shilling,” he says. “It was an early lesson in
entrepreneurship useful in later life.”
Performing on court in front of thousands of spectators, and under the eagle eyes of top players and umpires sounds a daunting challenge,
but the Barnardo’s boys approached it with confidence.
“Goldings prepared us for challenges,” says Peter. “We were taught a trade – mine was in metal-working – and I later joined British Airways
as an engineer, working on all the big jets including Concorde.”
Barry Hyland, 71, who was in Barnardo’s care from age five and a ball boy from 1958 to 1962, also remembers selection for Wimbledon
as being fairly casual.
“We had to be fit and agile, able to catch and throw balls, and also have the ability to stand perfectly still on court during play to avoid
distracting the competitors – but training took place over just a couple of weeks,” he recalls.
Today Wimbledon’s ball boys and girls, who are selected from local south London schools, undergo a gruelling selection process with
written tests on the rules of tennis, and five months of training.
“Enthusiasm and self-discipline counted for a lot – and was an important aspect of the approach to life taught to us at Goldings,” recalls Barry.
“The only advice given was to be polite to players, stay alert and do our best – and this proved enough. It was an unexpected delight to
be at Wimbledon and we gave it everything we had.”
He says the experience was a great confidence-builder.
“I had no worries about performing at Wimbledon and succeeding there helped me believe I could succeed at my trade.”
Barry, married with two children and four grandchildren, did an apprenticeship in carpentry after leaving school and had a successful
career working with wood.
While the excitement and novelty of tournaments made time pass quickly, Barry recalls long days. “We’d arrive at the grounds at noon and
wouldn’t be back at school until midnight or even later,” he says.

Barry Hyland, 71, from Sudbury in Suffolk
an old Wimbledon ball boy from Barnardos

Barnardo Ball boys being inspected before play

1966 - Ball Boys Train for Wimbledon: Every year about 70 boys
from Dr. Barnardo's act as ball boys at Wimbledon tennis

Clive Gillingham, 76, who was at three tournaments from 1955, remembers his ball boy “uniform” of long grey flannel trousers and heavy
cotton shirt with black canvas plimsolls.
“They were part of our ‘best’ school clothes: but we really felt the heat on court when the sun was out,” says Clive, who was living with a
foster family until he joined Goldings aged 14.
Barnardo’s boys were taught to “always look your best” – and Clive reveals how this was done for Wimbledon. “Every night, creases were
smoothed from our trousers, which were placed between lengths of plywood with our mattress on top. It worked every time.”
Today’s ball boys and girls are dressed by American designer, Ralph Lauren, with the uniform including fashionable polo shirts and smart caps.
As for coping with the pressure of being on court watched by thousands, Clive says: “We just slipped naturally into it – the concentration
required meant we didn’t hear the noise of spectators and were instantly ‘in the zone’, to use a modern term.
“And the players used to look out for us – Lew Hoad, then the world number one, gave us bottles of cold Robinson’s Barley Water at the
end of one long match.”As for coping with the pressure of being on court watched by thousands, Clive says: “We just slipped naturally into
it – the concentration required meant we didn’t hear the noise of spectators and were instantly ‘in the zone’, to use a modern term.
“And the players used to look out for us – Lew Hoad, then the world number one, gave us bottles of cold Robinson’s Barley Water at the
end of one long match.”


All images and text copyright © to Goldings Old Boys Reunion Members

Page Compiled June 2016


This is to remind everyone that William Baker Technical School where Wimbledon Ball Boys from 1946-66.
The images below show the boys in training at Goldings.