Sheffield House is 125 years old now in 2015.
Sheffield House was my home when I joined the school in those days the colour of our house tie that we had to wear on all days Monday to Saturday was a deep blood red. On Sundays we all wore our school ties in the school colours Oxford and Cambridge blue diagonal stripes.
In that September of 1957 when I joined Mr. & Mrs. David and Audrey Gooding,were the house parents at Sheffield during my first term. In all of the houses boys slept in dormitories usually with up to twelve boys per dorm. The five most senior boys usually in their last year at school if they were not a school prefects or monitor they became a house prefect and would assist the house parents. I arrived at Sheffield and was greeted by the Gooding’s. The only other thing I remember from my first day was that evening after unpacking choosing the bed we wanted in the junior dorm then after evening prayers going up to bed. Five of us were new in Sheffield; two moved up from Plymouth and three of us new to the school. One of boys was crying, missing home his first night away, another boy started to tease him, making him even more embarrassed. I told him to stop it and leave him alone; well the banter degenerated to verbal challenges, so I got off my bed and went over and gave him a right cross on his nose. That gained his attention then half a dozen other boys joined in. In that fracas beds got turned over, pillow fights started, complete and utter mayhem. I recall hearing a door down stairs squeaking violently open, sounded like an air raid siren.
Like a bolt of lightning into the junior dorm came Mr. David Gooding, a well built man who stood about 5’ 10” tall, ex World War II RAF pilot who flew Catalina’s over the Atlantic hunting the U-Boats. On his entrance the mayhem became tranquil calm. Like a Bobby on the beat, Hello, Hello, what’s going on here? What’s all this fuss about, why are you out of bed, how did this start etc. etc ?
As no one else was forth coming so I admitted my part in that fracas. “Come with me, down stairs” he instructed so we went into his study. Bend over touch and hold on to that radiator, I did.... and I was then introduced to Evil Edna, a size 11 carpet slipper. What some of us new boys had failed to grasp was the room directly under our dormitory was the Gooding’s living room. So when the ceiling was bouncing up and down due to beds being turned over he knew a riot was taking place. I was the example he was looking for that night, and I very quickly learnt. But I did win two or three friends on the occasion. Certainly the boys of Sheffield junior dorm knew I was no underdog at the bottom of the pecking order nor to be threatened or pushed around.
That sound of the Sheffield housemasters living-room door squeaking violently open, very clearly registered with me over the next five years as an alarm of imminent danger on future occurrences for some one. Any reader wishing to learn more about Sheffield House you can do so from the articles on this site at:-