Goldings Web Photo Gallery
By Frank Cooke
photos from Barnardo's archive

Bayfordbury Mansion
Bayfordbury Park


In 1941 Bayfordbury was leased to Dr Barnardo's Homes for young boys aged 9 to 14 years of age. During World War II the government required owners of large buildings, in particular stately homes, to use their buildings for the war effort. Some became hospitals for the war wounded, others centres of Allied operations, whilst others offered their homes for orphanages. This was this option the then owner William Lewis Clinton Baker took. Dr. Barnardo Homes stayed at Bayfordbury till just after the war. I am unable to find what year Bayfordbury was handed back but from our archive The Rev J. S. Sharples was offered the headship of Bayfordbury but he went to Manchester with his wife and young family. I also note boys talk of a first world war PTI instructor.  Did Edwin 'Joe' Patch split his duties at Goldings and help out at Bayfordbury?  Barnardo's closed the home late 1945 and it remained empty until in 1948 when the John Innes Institute acquired and developed the estate for horticultural research.

Past boarder Harold Taylor sent the photo below with the names he can remember. Are you on the photo. It was taken by one of the Staff called George Ecklestone. The photo was taken at the rear of the hall on the steps outside Raleigh Dormitory so named as there was the ships bell from HMS Raleigh. (was this from HMS Raleigh a Hawkins-class heavy cruiser that was grounded and blown up in July 1928 by a party from HMS Calcutta?)

Harold also told me that a Doodlebug VI landed close to the Hall and blew out a lot of the house windows. We spent many days with blankets as Blackouts.

One old boy who now lives in Melbourne, Australia wrote of his time ay Bayfordbury: This home housed some forty young boys. I remember we slept in the huge dormitory above the main porch with the six pillars which you can see in the photo. My brother and I arrived in 1941 and we stayed until late 1942 which was just over 15 months, these were the happiest period of my time in any of the Dr. Barnardo's homes we were placed. We had to work hard and  if there was any infractions of our work our pocket money was deducted, but we still had our good times.

I remember one time I had a bit of a fever and was confined to bed so I thought I would have a bit of fun by jumping from bed to bed but I only got a far as three beds, then it happened and I fell off the bed and my arm went through the window and I ended up needing four stitches on my inside right wrist, I still have the scar to this day.

One other memory was when six of us did a bunk, one being my older brother so I went with him, needless to say we were caught by the local police later that night near Goldings and spent the night there until the following afternoon when we were returned to Bayfordbury and given a lecture but no punishment which was a surprise.

This Mansion was originally built in 1759 for Sir William Baker, a wealthy merchant of the time, with alterations being made in the early nineteenth century by renowned architect Francis Aldehouse. Sir William Baker purchased Bayfordbury Park from the heiress of Charles Caesar and the family lived at Bayfordbury until 1939. The grounds today are now in English Heritage's Register Of Parks & Gardens of Special Historic Interest (1998) as a Grade II landscaped park. A wide variety of specimen trees adorn the grounds and include 'Cedars of Lebanon' planted in 1765 as nine year old saplings. Also see article on Goldings trees.

In 1948 The John Innes Institute acquired and developed the estate for horticultural research  until 1967 when Bayfordbury was sold  to Hertfordshire County Council, to be used by, what was then, Hatfield College for Technology. Recently Bayfordbury had been the headquarters of Rialto Homes. Today the mansion has been converted into five Town Houses.

Some confusion has grown over the years that Goldings was named after the Bayfordbury William Baker while the name is the same he was English and the William Baker of Goldings was Irish. He had taken over Barnardo's after the death of Thomas Barnardo, for more information of why Goldings was named The William Baker Technical School click here

If you can add any further information please send it in.

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Last updated 02/04/11 03:10 Copyright 2001 / 2010 Goldonian Web all rights reserved - email: Webmaster  Website by Frank Cooke