Carlton Approved School
Near Turvey Bedfordshire
Forum you can make a post please scroll down page : )

For all the staff and boys who were there in the early 1960s

Carlton Approved School                                                                                                                The Swimming Pool Carlton Approved School

Carlton Approved School Carlton Nr Turvey

Carlton Approved School Located near Turvey and Harrold Bedfordshire now demolished as far as I know.
I visited the location round 1996 when a lot of the buildings as I remembered them had gone.
The hall, kitchens and engineering blocks remained, as did the cricket pavilion and the masters homes.

It was a very strange feeling walking free with my wife around the location where I had been detained under her Majesties pleasure as they say for 12 months in 1961 as a 15 year old.

Strangely enough I felt sad that it was all being pulled down, at the time of my incarceration my release date could not come soon enough, but now all I could think of was the kind masters who did there best for us and the young men who I spent my time there with.

Dave T the head boy, Ron C, James who always had tobacco to sell, John and Stumpy my friend, on the short side : ) but interested in radio & electronics as I was.

Carlton Approved School Near Turvey Bedfordshire

If you were a resident or master at Carlton at that time please post memories using the form Click Here.

I would suggest only first names for residents, but leave that up to you.

Others may have different views on the matter so best to use only first names please when referring to others : )


Hallo Paddy, Thank you for posting on the Carlton Forum, lovely to hear from you : )

I remember your last name and recall you were as mentioned one of the first. Dave Thirkle not sure of spelling being no 1, I was I think 43 Allen Nunneley: )

 It was a good place as you say, when I tell people I would not have missed it for the world, they give me odd looks :

It seams like yesterday as us older folks say, 78 now

I hope you are keeping well and have had a good life so far, with lots more to come.

My picture is on the page top, now white hair and a beard. I live with my wife Alanna in Cornwall.

With your permission I will post any reply on the forum.

I never ran away from Carlton, but did from Saint Christopher's remand home in Enfield.

It was a cold and foggy night in shorts and sandals. I was soon returned to the home and given some tea, how kind they were.

It is strange to say, that it was much safer in Carlton than in a lot of Schools now : )

May God Bless you and you family Allen and Alanna.


I was there 1960-1962,I went there after the riots. And my number was number 4. I was the fourth one in the school when it restarted,I was in the red house,Mr Pratt. I,and three others ran away one night. We got caught in London and sent back to Carlton and we got put into a new building department,working under Mr jones.thatís where I learnt my brick-laying. All the staff were good,and another time,because we wasnít allowed leave for escaping,we had to go to Yaurmouth camping,with Mr Harnold and Mr Hetworth.and that was one big laugh. We had a lot of laughs,including one when we made Mr banks crash the lorry on the way to wasnít hard being there,but it was a laugh.and I met some good boys. A couple I remember is Viv P,Little Cooper,Bobby y and loads more. I would like to hear from other people who were in there at that time.Anyone from that time,please email.


Good morning Sandra from a sunny Cornwall : )
I only check the site now and again as being there in 1960 the posts have slowed way down I am 78
I do not know of the Oxendon house name nor have I heard it mentioned before.
I remember some of the boys getting on well with local girls when we went to church in Turvy on a Sunday.
We were very well treated at Carlton, home sickness being the only down side.
I remember it as if it was yesterday with happy thoughts. : )
May God Bless you Sandra and thank you for posting. Allen and Alanna


forgot to add my email address for the reply .. lol


hi i might be going nuts, but in the early 70's i used to always be in Robinson pool, and the school used to bring the boys to the pool once or twice a week and me and my friend used to meet them there, in particular Ricky Sutcliffe and Chris Barnes,, but i was having a conversation with someone about those years and i am sure it was called Oxendon house at that time.. is that correct ? there is no record of it ever being called that , so now think i have had a senile moment lol i do know it changed at some point before it closed, anyway great memories fun times, me and my friend were taken to the school after swimming one afternoon by staff for a visit on the school bus and bought back to Bedford a few hours later, it was intriguing .. i remember that day like yesterday and it was almost 50 years ago


Thanks for replying Allen. I have no objection to you publishing my letter and there is no need to omit my name or email address as I'd be delighted to hear from any other ex 'trainees'. When I think back to my youth prior to going to Carlton, I definitely benefited from my stay there. Thank you for your starting this site. Regards Tony


Good morning Tony from a sunny Mullion Cove Cornwall, : ) Great to hear from you. Thank you for your email, I left Christmas 1960 so we never met. By the time you were there all the boys I knew would have been released. I had never thought about Mr Flute's cooking, so it must been good, poor Mrs Jones. LOL I did engineering with Mr Le Flurry a very nice man and Mr Elwell was my house master, again a gentleman : ) It all seams like yesterday and a happy memory, may God Bless them all. May I post your message less your last name on the forum, so that others can read it ? I am 74 this year and still go running, I hope you are keeping well and happy. God Bless Allen and Alanna


Hi Allen, Our paths seemed to have crossed as I was a 'pupil' at the same time as you. I was there May '62 until Nov '63. I remember quite a few staff members--- Price,Talbot,McKenzie,Elwell,Facey,Pratt,Bullen,Le Flurry,Banks,Carter,Bustin,Flute,Fletcher,Wademan. I enjoyed Mr Flute's cooking and I remember an incident that occurred when he was on leave. Mrs Jones, wife of another staff member had taken over catering duties. This particular day, her efforts were not up to the usual quality and one boy shouted out, WE WANT FLUTE, then another boy joined in. Then the pack instinct took over and virtually everyone joined in. It was funny but also sad as poor Mrs Jones was reduced to tears. I hope this reaches you, Regards Tony Jenner


Hallo Onkus,

Thank you for posting on the Carlton Forum : )

My name is Allen and I host the forum.

So you are saying that you and your good friends were so happy at Carlton, that you absconded so that you would be caught and kept there longer.

That says a lot for the school and the masters : )

I was not un-happy during my stay in 1961, but 12 months was all I did as I wanted to go home.

Hope you are well and enjoying life.

God Bless Allen


Hi I was at Carlton around 1972/3 I was in blue house I think my house master was mr price or Davis Think the head was talbot Jones I worked on the farm and met a few good lads we was due for release at the same time but we absconded as we had a great time there....I got my bronze silver gold in swimming plus a long distance swimming for a mile...we done cycling...I think the cooks name was flute or fluke... The night watchman would leave us pipe tobacco in the book case if we were good I was there the full 3 years...oh I miss the guys...gus..paddy Dennis Wilfred Trevor capanick


Just found this website about the schools early years.

It has a nice picture of Carlton in 1940, five years before I was born : )

The dormitories to the far left on two floors.

Headmasters house next.

I think the chimney on the single story building next was the boiler room.

The house next to it looks out of place ?

The next building to the right was I think the dinning room ?

Then the Hall ?

Then the wood working workshop ?

I emailed them to ask if I could use the image, but no reply, so hey ho : )

God Bless Allen


Hi The only names I remember are Mr and Mrs Pittendry (if that is spelt right), sadly I am rubbish at remembering names. Home sickness was always a big deal for me, thing was, I only ever got put away for skipping school, I got into more trouble over the years because of running away, I needed transport, food, money and somewhere to sleep, often making use of empty caravans at the coast, I actually got quite good at running away. Sadly the system got fed up with me causing them so much of a headache that they put me in borstal, ultimately all for skipping school. It would be unheard of today. I loved working on the farm though, it taught me the stuff I liked, nature, wildlife, animal care, tractor driving and we were outside all of the time too. Iím now just turned 60, it doesnít seem that long ago though even though it was 47 odd years ago now. How times have changed. Thanks for your reply, Iíd actually be interested to see what, if any, the site looks like now. All the best Steve


Hallo Steve Thank you for posting on the Carlton Forum : )

I remember the farmers as my morning  job was cleaning the wash room, the farmers were a messy lot LOL.

Alanna has just reminded me that by the time of your stay in Carlton I was married with two children : ).

Yes home sickness was a hard thing to bear, the only time I ran away was from the remand centre in Enfield, I think it was called St Christopher's ?

It was a very cold and foggy night in December and so dark I could not see where the country lane finished and the verge began.

I recall the hissing of electrical pylons in the adjacent fields, I was soon returned by a passing police car.

At the remand centre we were kitted out in corduroy shorts and top with long socks with sandals, not quite the thing for a cold winter night.

It was home sickness that drove me to it as it did with you, I never absconded again, they let me off and gave me some tea as I had missed the meal : )

My stay in Carlton in 1961 was a good time and the staff were very kind to us all, I and John have fond memories of our time there.

Do you recall any of the masters names, I should be interested to hear if any remained from my time at Carlton.

It was such a long time ago I am now 72, but it sometimes seems like yesterday : )

God Bless Allen


Hi people, I was in Carlton 1974-1976, I was lucky enough to work on the farm, in the dairy and looking after the pigs. Personally I hated being away from home and spent a lot of my time running away, I was once taken back by a social worker only to get out of a toilet window while they was handing over the paperwork, most embarrassing for the social worker I guess. I don't quite know what became of the place as I haven't been there in 35 years or more. It was a very significant time in my life and I'm able to tell some interesting stories about my past because of it, some good stories, some not so good, some a little harrowing, some down right awful, but that's life. Interesting that there should be this forum though, best regards to everyone.


Hello Allen, Each reply evokes more memories I was running through all the staff members in my head plus the geographic layout of the school, work shops, class rooms the gym, where morning assemble was held, the swimming pool, games room off the dinning room, the club house which I had forgotten. I now remember it so vivid we changed into our evening clothes blazers and grey flannels blue stripped shirt red or green tie depending on what house you were in, we played snooker, smoked and generally chatted. Sundays the long walk to the Church in Turvey and maybe a lift back in the old lorry if you were lucky. I went on a couple trips to London, The Motor Show and Building Exhibition as I was in the building department plus a trip to Snowdonia North Wales as part of the D.O.E . From memory the transport was a red mini bus/van. The school was very strict but if you just got on with your job, done as you were told you made progress through the grades which was the key to your release date. I did after hours work for Mrs Pratt at her house and received cigarettes, which were very welcome. Some Saturdays we had a film in the Gym/Hall which I really looked forward to. As part of my D.O.E I did a Life Saving Course, which gained me a Royal Humane Society bronze, medal and I have to this day. Ironically, the course was run by, the Bedfordshire Police, the instructors were current serving officers. I did hobbies and activities while at Carlton which I would never have done left to my devices at that time in my life. I learnt a trade and went on to run my own business. Carlton taught me to stand on my own two feet. Really nice to hear from you again, I may have repeated some things from previous posts so excuse me, but just wanted to keep writing as memories flooded back. I wish a Merry Christmas to you and Alanna. Kind regards John


Hallo John, Great to hear from you again.

Well done on the D.O.E. quite an achievement: )

Mr Bullock yes I remember him, I did some evening activity making a record rack out of welding rods with him, I found him a very nice man.

I cannot think of any of them that I disliked, Mr Price the headmaster was a little intimidating, but then that was a position that required it.

He once had me to his house to help his son set up a train set, I received 10 cigarettes, magic at that time of micro thin roll ups : )

They were all top mark gents and the ladies too, I shall never forget Mr Arnolds wife such a beautiful woman, sadly I think they separated while we were there.

Mr Elwell was very good to me, I am not sure if I mentioned this before, he allowed me to use his home telephone to reverse charge and speak to my parents in between visits : )

He also ran me all the way to Eastcote for a job interview so I could be released.

May God Bless him, I expect he has passed away by now as I am 72 just before Christmas.

It would be great to step back in time to one of those visits to the club hut in the evenings, all dressed up in our blazers.

If we do not speak on the forum before, A Very Happy Christmas to you and your family.

May God Bless you Allen & Alanna


Hi Allen, Just been on the site and saw a new post from Michael, I had left by the time he arrived. The master he referred to is Mr Bullock who taught Auto Mechanical Engineering, he had a workshop next to where you worked in engineering, opposite the swimming pool and boot room. From what I remember he was a reasonable man, small with a moustache. Mr Elwell, was the instructor for foil fencing lessons, I still have my D.O.E passbook signed by him confirming that I had archived a competent level as the pursuit/hobby section of the D.O.E. As you say he was not of the physic to swing from the chandeliers and smoked, but he instructed from the side without participation. I took the D.O.E course and achieved silver the course was run by Mr Fletcher a really nice man, his wife worked with Mrs Talbot on the medical side. Glad the site is still up and attracting former inmates.


I was on the D.O.E scheme and had a very serious hand injury while up in the Peak district. was very lucky not to get killed. got struck by large boulder. After a spell in hospital I spent some time in the carlton sick bay and was looked after by a fellow in-mate John Letton. Met up with him many years later


Hallo Michael thank you for posting on the Carlton forum.

My stay at Carlton was in 1961, so just before you.

Mr Banks was the building master, a lovely gentleman : )

I cannot at the moment place Mr Bullock, sorry to hear about that.

He may have been the light engineering master not sure, would not have thought so though as he appeared to me to be a nice gentleman as they all did.

God Bless Allen


I was at Carlton from around 1963 to 1965. my closest friend there was Dennis Williams. I was doing building work and cannot remember my instructors name. nice bloke though. Spent longer there because of a Mr Bullock {spelling might be wrong} who hated me and and impeded my improved grades


Hallo John lovely to hear from you again, a belated Happy New year : ) As you say it was such a long time ago but seems just like yesterday, I also would not have missed it for the world. Surprised to hear that Mr Elwell was a fencing master, I remember him as a well built gentleman and steady smoker, I cannot quite imagine him swinging from chandeliers : ) Should you wish to contact me direct or in case the site went down, I have just created an address, it is the name of the school plus the at sign them It will be live in an hour or so of this posting. That way we shall not loose contact : ) God Bless Allen and Alanna


Hi Allen Further to my previous posts. Thought I would check the site to see if anybody had posted anything since. The reason I am thinking of Carlton is it's 56 years since I appeared in court and was remanded on the 21/12/1960. This was the start of my journey to Carlton at which I arrived in February 1961.So long ago and yet I still have such strong memories. I often wonder what happened to everyone? I moved recently and discovered my Duke of Edinburgh log book with names of the teachers who were also instructors, your old housemaster Mr Elwell was my fencing instructor. Mr Fletcher took us camping in Wales. All these things I would never have done if I had not gone to Carlton it really did set me up for life. Well if anybody is out there it would be good to here from you. Allen and Allana have a great Christmas From a fellow ex Carlton boy......John.


Hallo Ian, I was sorry to hear that you had such a bad time at Carlton, John and I were very fortunate to be there at a time when the school had been restarted after a riot.

Please see link below about the riot. :-

You sound to have turned out a decent gentleman.

I do have some more pictures from the time I visited Carlton with Alanna, they are on slides, I now have a slide scanner 

Quite an achievement getting the school closed as you did : )

Kind Regards Allen.


hello.. I was at carlton a while after you. i was there in 1982 when i was in care. I can say that it was a truly awful place essentially used as a dumping ground for kids in the care of bedfordshire. i agree though alot of troubled teens that had developed issues mostly as a result of life's traumas, usually made worse by a care environment that was set up to fail them. whilst i would say some staff did indeed have a desire to enable the system to address the kids troubles, most staff were there for the free ride or power trip? harsh words i know but i'm sure in part you may relate? i have no doubt the further you go back the harder it may have been? ie the 80's were not as tough as the 70's which were easier than the 60's 50's etc? In any case carlton boys home/school as we knew it was closed in 1982. i had been let out for the day and went missing, ended up in police cells and would not tell the police my name or where i was from because partly i did not want to go back and also because of carltons reputation? anyways eventually i admitted where i was from. Staff had not reported me missing and as a result my story ended up in the beds times. This prompted an emergency meeting within the council and because of its previous reputation and the bad press from my story Carlton was closed. I was sent to a youth trust in Oxfordshire called Turners Court which in stark contrast was a wonderful place. For years Carlton was used by the council to store out of use buses? and although alot of it has been demolished it now has a different role in that it provides accomodation and support for homeless people wishing to rebuild their lives? you may have heard of the Emmaus charity? I now myself work in socialcare and have worked with the charity referring people for placement. In 2008 i even took a lad up there for a visit. first time i'd been back since 1982!! And just for old time sake i also had a meal there with my wife as there is also a restaurant on site now as well as a charity shop? Soo perhaps you would like to visit? and maybe have a wee smile at what has grown from what it once was. much love people.. kind regards Ian O'Connell


Hi Allen thank you for the reply and photos the picture confirms my thoughts its you, surname begins N. I donít know if you remember you taught me how to play chess, which thanks to you I have passed on to my Wife and three children, they all beat me once they learnt. I remember Tim I used to work with him as a Kitchen boy under Mrs Jones in the kitchen behind the staff room and below the sick bay. Then I went to the building department under Mr Banks. I have a photo I will try and find it, Stumpy and me on top of mount Snowdon during our C of E award. I think that you and I arrived on the same day from Redhill ? I may be wrong! your number was 43 mine 42. Such a very long time ago, I never thought I would ever hear from anybody from that time in Carlton. It is very strange after a lifetime behind me. The more I think about my time there the names come flooding back. I remember that you got into special grade after a year and released a few months before me I was in for 16 months. I made a visit with my Wife and small Children in 80s while it was still an approved School. It seemed strange going back as an adult very like visiting your old School, some of the staff were still there, look forward to any more photos and memories Regards John.


Got there at last, two pictures below : )

Great to hear from you John, I have some more pictures I took when Alanna and I visited the location round 1996.

They are on slides so I shall have to dig them out.

As with yourself John Carlton is often in my thoughts, the payment system you mentioned was very fair, you received points for effort so that even if you were not to good at your chosen vacation, pay was there : )

The Minibus with the car radio fitted for us.

I recall on one occasion at morning parade a boy had absconded and the boy at the front of the line Jim I think, said and " boys name " some where in London, which caused much chuckling : )

Happy days yes they were, home sick as you said after leave but more inspired to do ones best to obtain an early release.

I think your incarceration was due to protecting a youth club you ran, am I correct there ?

Image one is of course a group of the boys, I am second from the left, the boy to my left was Tim and Jim is far right.

Image two is myself in evening wear with my Mum and Dad during a visit, they stood by me through it all : )

The images are thumbnails so just click on them.

I will get the rest of the pictures online soon.

If you have any pictures I will give you an email address to send them too.

God Bless.

Kind Regards Allen



Hi Allen thanks for the reply it would be interesting to see the group photo, I still remember the School the memory of Carlton will remain with me forever, I meet some good friends but after leaving I lost touch it was 50 years ago and it seems like yesterday


Hi Allen thanks for your reply sorry its being a long time posting my reply. I remember all the names of the masters, I was in Red house Mr Pratt was my house master. I remember evening activities I did fencing and took the Life saving course run by the Bedford police (ironic) I also did a Civil defence course as part of the Duke of Edinburgh award.I first arrived January 1961 I think? I was released June 1962. Carlton has remained in my memory and will never leave although 50 years have past it seems like yesterday, I remember the morning parade, the grade system having to get into special grade before you could be considered for release. Home leave was bad as you had to come back the points system which determined your pay at he end of the week, so you could then buy cigarettes or sweets I had fun all in all no drugs or bad bulling, I imagine that modern young offenders establishments are a significantly different from Carlton, which was more like a boarding School. Speak again soon John


In reply to John. Sorry for the long delay in replying.

I think my number was 45. Mr Fute the cook yes I had forgotten his name, a large gentleman : ) Mr Bustin Gardening, Mr Carter woodwork you mentioned, I also recall them.

I have a group photo Mr Erlwell took, I will look it out.

In reply to Gordon it looks as if things had changed by the 1970s, sorry to hear of your troubles, it was a very decent place given why we were all there in the 60s.

God Bless Allen


Hi I am very interested to hear about the Carlton School. I was there around 1971/72? not to sure. I was sent there through the system from a very disturbing ADS sickness. the house masters i.e., sexually abused my person. There for I terminated my stay( disappeared ) and found my own way in life .I have many memories of Carlton and the masters but no recollection of their names. Have you had any contact to residents around this period. Today I am a very successful international company but still carry at times the cell blocks in my thoughts. Regards to you and all the best.


Hi Allen thank you for the reply, do you remember Mr Bustin Garding, Mr Carter woodwork. As I said before I did the D of E award. We went fishong at Captains Staires house. As you know we all had numbers mine was 42 what was yours so that I am sure who you are I am almost sure but your number would help. I was in red house and I believe that you were in Green house. We both arraived at the school around the same time you were released a feww months before me.I also remember Dave T Jim P many I knew only by their secound name as this seemed be the norm for both inmates and staff. regards John


Hallo John just spotted your post, I remember you, a good looking lad : ) It was great to hear a good memory of Carlton. I often think of the kindness of the masters, my house master Mr Erewell would let me telephone home from his house : ) Stumpy was my friend, we were both interested in radio and electronics so the masters found old equipment for us to mess around with . This was stored in the ark welding section of Mr Lafurie's workshop, one evening Stumpy and I went in there to work on an old radio chassis only to find some so and so had welded it to the bench : ) I am very happy to hear you stayed out of trouble and went on to succeed in life . The club house with it snooker and billiard tables was great, I often wish I could be there, not permanently though : ) Yes Mr Banks a nice gent as were they all, fishing in Turvey with My Laflurie, all great times. I am happily married with two daughters and live in Mullion Cornwall. I expect too much time has passed for any of the masters to be with us, but if they are any, I would love to hear from them if only to say thank you for all you did for the boys at Carlton back in the 1960s : ) If you get time to reply John it would be great to talk more. God Bless Kind Regards Allen.


I was at the school from Feb 1961 to June 62. I remember all the guys who were there then I did the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, my nick name was Tiny i went camping with Stumpy and two others I could name names but just in case. I went fishing in the Village Carlton and in a big house some ware we had assembly every morning, I was in the building department with Mr Banks a lovely old guy.My house master was Mr Pratt. I remember Mr Flute the cook. Sunday was a bad day that long walk to Turvey and Church and a ride back in the old lorry if you were lucky.Saturday night we a film, the snooker room was great. I have some good memories I learnt a trade and went on to run and own my own company allowing me to travel the world.I stayed out trouble after leaving a few close ones but I grew up. I often think of what happened to you all. love to hear from anyone through this blog John Maitland


Hi Allen and Alanna We do know each other, but Allen does not ring a bell at the moment. I too was in the engineering workshop(Mr Laflurie) I was the kid that everyone was warned about, ie: fight with me and you would be sent to a Borstal I walked out of there in 1964, (still have my release paper somewhere) 20 min after my mate who was released on the same day, he came from Liester.They dare not let us leave together. I too remeber the terrible winter of 63 where we slept in all out clothes, and were cut off for 6 weeks. Difficult to remember all the boys, but Elvis (carved the chapel pews) and Sully(tall stocky lad)spring to mind. I to went back there yrs after, when it was all changed, ended up in tears. That bastard Price beat the shit out of me and if I could I would gladly ring the bastards neck. I came to the conclusion years ago that none of the boys were bad, most just lacked love, a decent home and family.I made damn sure my kids never went through the life I had back then. Niether of them know about back then. We are all old men now, so many years have flown by, but I often think about that place and the lads. I trust you are well, and life there did not affect you to much. Douglas 1961 - 64


Hallo Alan I was there 1961 just after the school had re-opened after a riot, it had a totally new regime Mr Erwell was my house master, Mr Laflurie was in charge of the engineering workshop, I took engineering. They were all very kind to us at that time, Mr Erwell even used to take me to his home and let me phone my parents from there. He also took me for a job interview in Eastcote Middx some way from the School, just before I was released. Mr Laflurie had us make reels for fishing rods and took us fishing at the weekends. I am sorry to hear that you had such a bad time, it almost does not sound like the same place. Is it possible that you recall the dates incorrectly and were there prior to 1961 before the school re-opened ? Kind Regards Allen


since finding the site there dos not seem to be many boys who wish to remember those days also allen you seem to have different recall to me when was you there ? regards alan.


was there late 62/63 during the bad winter was a run away at the start of 63 till they had enough cannot say i have any good memories being beaten for escaping only bloke i remember had an eagle on his back who had to watch me not a good time for me


Ok all up and running would love to hear from any former pupils : )

I will be adding some photographs taken in 1961 and much later round 1995.

Kind Regards Allen