Mr. J. S. Golland
Most long-serving Harrow County schoolmasters, on retiring or leaving the school, would be written up in the following issue of the school magazine, Gaytonian. So it was with all the 'great' Harrow County masters. Jim Golland left Harrow County at the time of the Destruction, in 1975, when the School, already weakened by years of uncertainty, was finally destroyed, in its then present form, by Harrow Council's educational reorganization. There was, apparently, no issue of Gaytonian for 1975, and as a result, no article written about Jim leaving the School. This brief article is an attempt to fill that gap.
Jim Golland joined the English Department of Harrow County in 1954, and immediately plunged into the life of the School. In July 1954 he wrote about the School Dramatic Society, in Gaytonian "The Society is being formed again next term, in preparation for the production of a three-act play in the Spring." Jim had embarked on a career-long association with School Dramatics, demonstrating his obvious enthusiasm for the theatre. He involved himself in the School Artists' and Writers' Club, beginning with an essay on "the Art of Queuemanship" in 1954. In 1955 came the production of "Richard II", with a cast of 70, a major undertaking by any standards. Another huge production, in 1958, was St. Joan, with twenty-one members of staff on Jim Golland's team or in close association with the play.
In 1961, upon the departure of Mr. Yelland, Jim became Head of the English Department. He also became Editor of Gaytonian, and under his leadership the School Magazine flourished and developed into the prize-winning publication of the 1960s. In reading though old Gaytonian magazines one is constantly struck by (a) how good they were and (b) how much was going on in sport, drama, music etc. as well as academic work.
As a teacher, Jim was one of the best. He could really teach and encouraged boys to read, take part and think for themselves. It is perhaps not an accident that so many creative talents, whether writers, entertainers or politicians emerged from his English Department. Fred Bilson once said that if you wanted to find Jim Golland, you just waited in the corridor until he would rush by, always busy. Alternatively, he could be found in Room A2, which was on the left, just after the present School Administrators office (once known as A1 - the room with the floppy doors) as you enter the A corridor. A2 became known as the room in which one of Jim's best known groups of pupils, including Clive Anderson, Francis Matthews, Geoffrey Perkins, Michael Portillo, Nigel Sheinwald and others would hang out.
As well as cheerful enthusiasm, Jim demanded high standards, writing in my 6th Form Report Book, "'A' Level work demands intense study and a detailed knowledge of texts".
Further ventures followed in the early 1970s. As well as the successful establishment of Convergence, the joint Dramatic society of Harrow County Boys and Girls schools, there was the School Reprographic Society and the encouragement of various local archeological projects.
In the last years of Harrow County, reading through issues of Gaytonian, one can see Jim as a keen observer as the team of staff members, that was one of Harrow County's strengths, disintegrates and leaves. He stayed to the end, and then finished his career at Harrow School.
Jim has written that he has always regarded himself as a dyed-in-the wool reactionary; yet many Old Boys think of him as a fermenter of rebellions. Perhaps it was a judgement of fate that saw him end his teaching years at That School on the Hill.
Since his retirement Jim has been characteristically busy, especially with the Pinner Historical Society. He has published a list of books on local history, and contributed to various magazines.
(Sadly, Jim Golland passed away on May 30th 2002)