“Shussshhhh! I’m hunting wabbits” No, I’m not. I’m doing something much more interesting, Doc. I’m tip toeing through the deepest recesses of the PETT Archive, seeking to uncover the most valuable treasure* that it holds.
Wait, here’s another Winnicott autograph! No, precious surely, but not the most valuable treasure. Gosh, over here – a chest painted by the students on the therapeutic child care course in Reading during the “Noughties”. Impressive, but not the MVT. Holy Cremoly, check out the line up on this poster for the (now famous) Dialectics of Liberation Congress at the Roundhouse in London in 1967. 1967, what a year! No, a “Biggie” but not quite the elusive MVT kewpie doll.
A painting by Mary Barnes?
A manual floor polisher like the one so important to those who had lived in the Caldecott Community?
The battered, yet sturdy, old suitcase that transported the original tranche of the Wennington collection here?
The Cassel Hospital notice on “What to do if a Fire should break out”?
The “mouse table” from the Peper Harow dining room?
A display shelf from the wartime Northfield Military Hospital TC?
Mrs Dockar – Drysdale’s roll top desk from the original Mulberry Bush farmhouse building in Standlake [1948 – 1970]?
The recently discovered photo of Otto Shaw sitting beneath the mural of Red Hill School painted by a student, Ralph Gee [see Day 3 of PETiTathon]?
The Henderson Hospital “dream catcher” mobile I just walked into?
That innocuous film tin, holding a complete copy of a film with TC pioneer, Maxwell Jones, and Mill Hill in a starring role [more complete than the copy held in the National Film Archive]?
Clearly I am wandering about and through a veritable treasure trove! All of them “keepers” and worthy of a guard like Smaug. But, but, despite all this wonder – the prize for the PETT Archive Most Valuable Treasure [MVT] is, has to be – drum roll , please, Ringo –
Yes, here is our real treasure, Craig, our MVT, actually a National Treasure, International even, as recognised in the Foreword of Volume 1 of the new Collected Works of D.W. Winnicott. Why do I say this? Well, I’m the boss and what I say goes here [and if you believe that, you’ll believe anything!]. But think on it….. Without Craig and his continuous, relentless even, selfless sowing, growing and harvesting links, networks, conversations and serendipitous relationships amongst so many involved in the worlds of Therapeutic Communities and Planned Environments for living and learning - past, present and future too - and his unearthing, saving/securing the richness of the materials that are this vast treasure trove of the PETT Archive we ourselves and others yet to discover the Archive would be much the poorer in memories about and in lively connections across this area dear to our hearts and vital as an enduring model for the care and treatment of people of whatever age who struggle with emotions and feelings and with their relationships in our complex social world.
The world would likely continue to exist if all the butterflies disappeared or decamped to the Moon, but it would be a far duller place. So too the world of TCs and Planned Environments would likely carry on [or stagger on] without The Archive and Craig’s selfless activity on its and our behalf. But that world too would be duller and sorely deprived of a valuable part of its identity – who we are, where we’ve been and where we know society needs to go to treat troubled spirits and to build true, sound and positively engaged social beings.
So join with me now to salute and celebrate PETT’s living MVT – Craig – even if he will say, as I know he will, it is you yourselves that are our MVTs. But, remember, I’m the boss; I decide, at least for today!
Rich Rollinson 11 December 2015
2. "Report on visit to Barns School, Peebles & Dunnow Hall, Cheshire", by Frank Mathews: Transcribed!
This material in this year's PETiTathon has been selected, prepared, and uploaded by Craig Fees as part of
Our quick and concise fundraising appeal
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