1. I was in Neath farm from 1980 I have not seen anybody writing online about the place and it would be good to hear from others Who was there in those days . Rib

    • yes i have googled for a long time to see if anyone i knew was about now because although hard it was also a lot of fun like going to the rugby ground to concrete new stand and getting case newcastle brown between us as payment and me driving tracter to get sawdust for farm with 5 or more boys on trailer haha and me with no licance i thought was very amuseing mr kenady asleep in trailer

  2. I was sent there from caernarfon cus I wos to old for brynestyn I came on the bus with rob kinsella and were in aberdare house

  3. Remember ‘Karate’ Evans, the martial arts expert who hypnotised loads of lads and that big dozy bastard from down Swansea who ended up chasing little green men all over the shop. jumping over desks and crawling on the floor in the dirt. I remember Les Parcel and Chang from the Rhondda valleys who were on the farm and Seamus O’Donnell from Beddau way who was a real hard case, some of the staff were scared of him. I was in Peter ‘One Ball’ Flemings carpentry Dept. What was the name of that massive black guy? Everyone called him BooBoo he was a fucking huge beast about 18 plus stones and six foot eight who kicked off and it took five staff to hold him down. I recognise D.A.R. Evans the class teacher and Chesterfield from the gardening Dept in that Staff picture and the bloke who was in the painting and decorating Dept, what was his name? That’s Pete Fleming in the van, was that taken a day out to the beach or up Brecon Beacons Or was it a work party? I was in Carmarthen House with AJ and Dave Gillard and others it will be good if others who were there posted here

    • what year was that benji i remember a coloured boy nevil frances looked like guy of the green mile film ral big bloke strong as ox came just as i left he was in carnmarthen house did flemings wife have glasses?

      • 1980 or 81 if I remember back chris they threw all sorts of nutters into the place there were always tear ups going on Fleming had split up with his wife when I was there he bought a house in Cimla and he borrowed the minibus to move in and a load of us helped him. I never met his wife but we all knew he was knocking off the woman in the sewing room who repaired and altered the work clothes I wondered if she knew what he kept in his desk draw in the carpentry shop dirty bastard haha what year was goldfinch inquiry? I gave a statement to two coppers who were from the anti-terrorist squad what was that all about?

        • that was operation goldfinch two came to me they were murder squad god knows why they used such weird cops for interview cant remmber year health reasons?? but u were there long after me in my day u never messed about unless daft? i was

    • That photo was taken the day we canoed down the river, through the docks and into the sea at Aberavon.

      I remember AJ and Dave Gillard, he was from Bristol.

      The big guy you mentioned was Robert something, I forget his surname, from Cardiff and some of the lads used to jump on his back two or three at a time to wind him up…. He used to run around with them hanging from his arms and neck.

      Les Parcel left the same week that I arrived and Chang left a month or two later.

      I remember Seamus, he is in the picture taken in the minibus wearing the grey shirt holding the plate, he left a few months after I was sent there.

      I am the one pouring water from the white jerrycan to his left.

      • haha we used to canoe in ogmore out into the sea brill times then out on rescue nboat in yacht club in reservoir in margam i remmber gordon v christi stuck upside down after rolling sobbed his eyes out but he was safe??then home in the old grey bus singing the farm school song they give us 30 shillings and take back 29

    • Seamus O’Donnell used to live in Tynant, Beddau and his nick name was Shammy. Although he was a bit of a tearaway, I always got on well with him. This would have been before he was in Neath Farm School

      • Hi Shamy, in one of the photographs in the above article, the one in the Minibus with Peter Fleming (Carpentry) …. the lad wearing the white shorts is you. The one pouring water from the Jerrycan is me 😉

        It was taken at Sandfields beach in Port Talbot when we all went canoeing.

  4. Nice article. I have looked for years for anything online about GFS and if any of the lads who were there had written about it or were in touch. I was there in 1982 until early ’84 and it would be cool if anyone else who was there gets in touch. Jimmy has my email address. Richy

  5. My father was Mr David farm bailiff at GFS and we lived at the Farm Cottage.

    I had a very happy childhood at GFS and later Hillside Centre. I got on well with all the boys who seemed to have a positive experience, considering their backgrounds.
    I do recall being told to stay away from some boys, but the majority were absolutely fine towards me.

    One ex-GFS boy grew up to become a multi-millionaire. He came back to Neath and visited my father to thank him for helping to get him back on the straight and narrow.

    Most of the staff have passed away and all remaining records are sealed for safeguarding reasons.

    Much of the former GFS estate still survives.
    Aberdare House, Carmarthen house and Duffryn House were bulldozed to make way for a new secure centre.
    Beaufort House and the Villas along Groves Road and the entrance off Burnside are now rented properties belonging to NPT Homes.
    The playing fields have been developed for housing.
    The farm building were all demolished, but a new building has been erected by tenants who put horses out on the fields.

    I think I recognise the 4 members of staff having a tea break. From right to left they are:-
    Norman Holified (Painting and Decorating Dept.)
    Noel Williams (classroom teacher)
    Mervyn Chesterfield (Garden Dept.)
    Clive Hopkins (Farm Dept.)

    • Hi Richard. Which ex-staff members are now dead?

      The last I heard about them was during the Goldfinch Inquiry and Howard Davies the Headmaster was still alive then and Terry Samson, Bob Small, ‘Karate’ Evans and Noel Williams were too.

    • Hi Richard, i was in school from 1979 to 1981,new your father,and yourself,you are right about the photo,but don’t forget Mr Burton,gardener Jones,must also say it’s karate Dave Thomas,and not to forget Mrs crow,Mr and Mrs Evans,Mrs Sally Williams,Mrs Holifield,Mrs Burton,and Mrs joshph,Mrs Davis the cooks at Carmarthen house and your mother who worked between both houses and all the other staff.
      I worked on the farm with all the other boy’s doing the hay in summer,cleaning out the pig’s every morning a very good time.
      I could go on for ever hope your keeping well all the best Taff.

  6. Just doing a bit of research for my Grampy who was at the farm school late 1940 early 1950. Walter O’Sullivan age 86 from Cardiff, I still love hearing about his time there and his behaviour Any information would be much appreciated so I can pass it onto him, doesn’t appear to be much information when I google the farm school

    • Hi Tia. You are right there does not seem to be very much information available online about the Farm School, other than what I have found and published on the Outlaw, and the recollections of the lads who were there …. a number of who have commented here as you can see.

  7. Only there a short spell in 1983. Had so much fun doing things I’d never done before. A few things I can remember quite clearly 1 boy had a big pot of tea chucked in his face by one of the other boy. Walking down to the shop to buy tobacco on pocket money day. Working on the farm with the pigs and head butting fights with the little goat in the garden.

  8. I was there 1973 Aberdare house, Mr Jones was the House Master there, Mr Samson next door. Worked in the painting and decorating department with mr Norman Hollifield, the headmaster at that time was mr Lloyd. Howard Davies was deputy head. Mr Burton, building, Mr Thomas Carpentry, mr Chesterfield and mr Jones garden. The Colliers were in Carmathern house and mr C.P. Williams in Beaufort house. Although we would get into trouble there, it was a good place to be and the staff were fantastic.

  9. Looking for any details on Gerald/Gerard Bennett from Birmingham, who would have been at the school mid 50s/early 60s. Can anyone help?

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