... “What Is A Memory?

It is when former emotions to the mind attended by
circumstances of time and place. The memory is
Susceptible of great great improvement by exercise and
becomes torpid with neglect.”

Let me introduce you to a brief history of Goldings, before it was our home, and place of learning… a home
to so many boys who were fortunate to experience such camaraderie and friendship, which is still shared
even today. There have been similar schools, and no doubts still are, but I am sure they will never surpass
these virtues, coupled with the fact we came from all corners of the UK due to circumstance, but then were
moulded into a “Goldings boy”

The name “Goldings”, there is two schools of thought where this name came from. I quote

“Goldings” was probably from the family of John Goulding mentioned in subsidy Rolls in the 13th century.

“Goldings”, probably named after the family of John Goldington recorded there in the early 15th century.

I cannot confirm which is correct, but all I can say it was well before my time. The original house was sited
where our former grass tennis courts were sited, and as pointed out to me by John Hunt the remains of steps
are still visible today. A picture is displayed below dated 1804

Goldings 1804

This picture is a view from the bridge looking to bottom field, no sign yet of Goldings boys, (or is that Woody
and Perrier charging to cross the river, woody’s the one tipping his hat!) Thomas Hall inherited the manor
and set about building a “Gentleman’s residence” about 1720. In 1770 Goldings was sold to Richard Emmott,
Squire Emmott altered the original house considerably, of which John Carrington commented in the late 18th
century (a farmer and local tax collector) described, to his fury that how this fine house was turned into a
“Dogg Kinell”. The house was altered and took on the appearance of yellow brick castellated mansion, with
stables to suit. The stables (print shop) still to this day retain this appearance, but of course are now

We now move on to a family that all Goldings boys and Dr Barnardo’s should be eternally grateful, because
without there vision there would never have been such a school along with Dr. Barnardo’s for us to occupy.

The Smith family, namely Robert and his wife came to occupy Goldings in 1861. They carried out many
extensive alterations to the house, rebuilt the stables and laid out the flower gardens. Due to the fogs from
the nearby river, and the effect they thought it had on their health, along with their growing family decided
to demolish the original house and move to higher ground.

The new house and the flower beds
occupying the site of the original house

Ground Floor Plan

The council of Dr Barnardo having found homes for the Girls at Model Village Barkingside, Essex; the
Babies at Hawkhurst, Kent; Boys eligible and suitable, were sent to Watts Naval Training at Elmham,
Norfolk; and later still, the boys were given every chance at the Boy’s Garden City at Woodford Bridge,
Essex. What to do with the older boys who were now learning a trade? The Council were convinced that
they would do much better given country surroundings and open fields for recreation. At Stepney their only
playground was a stone-paved yard surrounded by the slums of the East End of London. It was decided by
the Council to seek out property suitable, but close to Stepney. Funding and donations were to be named
“William Baker Commemoration Fund” in honour of the recently deceased, who donated 15yrs of his time
and talent to the cause of the children as Director to the homes. At a similar time luckily the estate of
Goldings came on to the market so was happily secured, promising to fulfil the conditions as described above.
The generosity of friends, which so far had provided £40,000 towards this fund, made the purchase possible
by the council. I cannot go much to far into the history of Goldings, without the mention of the Smith family
once again, and throughout the history of Goldings this family did so much for our benefit, and will be many
times referred to for the gifts given to us, which improved our school and our living conditions, of which
little was mentioned, certainly not when I was there!

The New Beginning for Barnardo’s

So now the scene was set for the transfer of the boys from Stepney to Goldings and I quote from Night and
Day June 1922

At long last the ancient Stepney Home which has sheltered so many generations of destitute boys has
Been bereft of it’s inmates. From three hundred to seventy or eighty its population has fallen at one fell

The Departure.

On Wednesday, 19th April, 260 of its lads mustered for the last time in its stony playground. They saluted
the portrait of Dr. Barnardo which had been placed in full view of them, and then with tuck of drum and
following their bandsmen, they marched out at the front gate and
along Commercial Road to Liverpool Street
Station to begin their new lives
in a new environment. The East End turned out in their hundreds to bid them
farewell. There were tears and cheers in abundance. In a couple of hours
they detrained in the quiet old city
of Hertford. At the fine War Memorial there our boys halted to deposit a wreath with the words: "A Tribute
to Hertfords
Glorious Dead from the Township’s newest Citizens, ten thousand of whose Old Boys fought on
Land, by Sea and in the Air, and 700 of whom paid the supreme sacrifice in the Great War".

Farewell to Stepney welcome to Goldings for 260 boys Wednesday 19th of April 1922

War Memorial Parliament Row Hertford 1920s

I’d like to quote you from Mrs. Maslin wife of Mr. Jim Maslin (1922-1965) former Bursar of Goldings

“ My life revolved around Goldings and all that the Home and School meant for over forty years I remember
the day, 19th April 1922, when the two hundred and sixty boys came from Stepney to Hertford by train. They
marched out from the railway station to Goldings, led by the band, my father being the Bandmaster. How
wonderful it was for the boys to see Goldings for the first time with all the fields and trees after the East End
of London where they had only a courtyard in which to play their games! My father, together with a large
number of other members of the staff, transferred from Stepney to Goldings.”

We would like to thank The Able Smith Family for the kind permission to use information diagrams, and pictures in the following pages

Doris Maslin’s memories

Goldings before W. B. T. S.

The Chapel.

A most amazing story

The boy who died in the chimney

The boys who never left Goldings

The New Art Centre

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

Page Compiled 2005

Sick Bay

Interesting facts

Barnardos 1866 to present day

The Smith family were delighted with the house and moved in at Easter 1876, and the old house was
demolished and replaced with a garden on the former site. Robert Smith altered the original road
(Goldings lane as we remember} which was the original road from Waterford to Hertford, because it passed
so close to his old house. At his own expense he had built a new road away from his estate which is now the
present road from Waterford to Hertford, including the bridge by the short cut. This road was opened in
1869 and was just under a mile long. The Hertfordshire Mercury described the new road “a great public

This decision would eventually lead to the school we
all remember. The architect for the new Goldings
would be George Devey whose style for country
houses tended to be rambling, irregular, and with
traces of Dutch and Tudor influence.

The remains of the original mansion still remain exposed
within the grounds, as displayed by the two colour images
When the present day building was complete the area the
first mansion once occupied was developed into a
ornamental garden as displayed to the right. At the time
referred to as The Parterre Garden.
(Flowers and paths are arranged to create a pattern)

The remains of the original wall in evidence behind
the shoulder of Paul Walkeden (Goldings old boy)

Click on plan for larger version

The Aims of The William Baker Technical School

Click on the map for information


The Goldonian School Magazine