From Gruel to Gourmet: The Story of Fegan's Homes for Boys in Stony Stratford
Daily life at Fegan's Home for Boys by Syd Sharp

The History of the Building
The Life and Times of Mr. Fegan
Daily life at Fegan's Homes
Christmas for Fegan's Boys
Life on the training farm, Goudhurst
Moving On - life for the boys after Fegan's
Fegan's Boys - where are they now?
Contacting Fegan's Homes
Useful Links
Syd Sharp is an ex-Fegan boy who was sent to the Home at the age of 12. Upon contact with him, he was able to contribute a large amount of material for this website, as well as giving us an insight into the day to day life within the Home.
Former Fegans boy Syd Sharp was born 1932 and joined the Fegans Homes For Boys in Stony Stratford, during1944. He had lived with his aunt and her son at Chalk Farm, near Camden, North London. It was at the height of the German bombing campaign on the capital that they moved to Bounds Green, North London, where Syd attended school, finding the staff and pupils friendly. Tottenham Hotspur football club was within easy reach, which suited Syd’s passion for sport. He spent many a Saturday afternoon on the terraces at the club’s White Hart Lane ground, and when football was out of season he indulged in cricket. Life in Bounds Green was a very happy time for Syd.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to last. His uncle returned from Army service overseas and, when his aunt was expecting another baby, it quickly became obvious that there was little room in the house for Syd. He was given the impression that he was being sent to a very nice boarding school which had its own swimming pool, and that, once there, he would be able to return to his aunt’s house during school holidays. In fact, as Syd was soon to learn, this was not the case. The school was in fact an orphanage - and Syd would not have the opportunity to return home for holidays since no school holidays were given.

He missed his friends and school in Bounds Green terribly. After a couple of months at Fegans, a parcel arrived for him from his old friends at Bounds Green, they had a collection for him, and with the proceeds the school mistress purchased three books and sent them to him with individual letters from everyone in the class, it made him even more unhappy, as it brought back memories of his carefree and happy days before life at Fegans. To make matters worse, also within a short while all family contacs diminished, and to overcome his loneliness, and as a mechanism for coping, Syd pretended he had no past life and that the life he was now used to, was the only existence he knew.

It was a hard life in the orphanage and they didn't have much contact with the outside world, but over the years it got a bit better, when they were eventually given a bit more freedom enabling them to go outside the orphanage.

In time, however, Syd managed to adapt to his new life and eventually settled into the routine. Memories of the harsh discipline and regimental routines within the Home never knocked Syd’s spirit, and to this day he looks back on his life as a Fegans Boy with some fondness.

At the age of 14, Syd was transferred to the training farm in Goudhurst, Kent. There the boys were trained in general farming, such as fruits harvesting and the milking of cows. Ploughing was carried out by the horses but older boys could use the tractor given training. It was here that most of the boys were trained in preparation for their eventual transfer to Canada. Syd was not one of them -he considers himself to have been one of the “lucky ones”. To hear Syd talk more about the farm click on for video footage.

He left the farm aged 17 and entered the RAF for two years, (1950 -1952). He then joined the civil service, serving 38 years before retiring to Old Stratford, South Northhants with his wife. He also has a son and daughter living not far away. He maintains good contact with former Fegan Boys all over the world, and finds time to organise re-unions at both the former training farm in Goudhurst (now H.M. Prison) as well as at the site of the Home in Stony Stratford.

Syd Sharp has written a book all about his time in Fegan's Home for Boys which includes his memories of the training farm at Goudhurst. The title is "Black Boots Short Trousers".

Syd Sharp was a Fegan Boy between 1944 and 1949. In this video clip - which shows scenes from the daily routine at the home - he gives us his impression of daily life.