Spring!! In this issue of PETT eNews:

  1. Barns House: We're not closed yet!
  2. Goodbyes and thankyou from two February Groups.
  3. Invitation: April 14, 2018: A Celebration of the late John Cross and his life of service
  4. Congratulations!
  5. New on the website
  6. In the Archive
PETT eNewsletter 32. March 12, 2018

This month's photograph was taken by Simon Peacock at the Cotswold Community in 1991, and was given to the Archive by Georgia Tomlinson, whose daughter is enjoying the situation, with Barbara Dockar-Drysdale. We hope you enjoy this newsletter at least half as much! (Click on the image to go to the article)


1. Barns House: We're not closed yet!!!

A brief reprieve! - Barns Centre Extended Opening - Reserve your place now!

The move from Toddington has been delayed. This mean that the availability of our on-site accommodation, services and facilities has been extended from the end of April to the end of August! So, for those who act quickly, we have many new dates available for bookings!

If you or a group you know would like to take advantage of the many benefits that Barns House and Conference Centre offer (see below!), while also supporting PETT financially in these changing and challenging times, please contact Jo or Maureen on 01242 621200 or (email) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What does PETT Offer as a venue? We've just said final goodbyes to two long-standing groups. See their parting testimonials below.

2. Goodbyes and Thankyou from two February Groups.

Non-Violent Communications [NVC]

Thankyou so much - warm welcome - loving the facilities, the environment, so comfortable & beautiful. We have stayed with you many times - have such rich & happy memories of what it is to live in community, intentionally showing up and stepping over the boundaries the culture we live in suggests; of independence. Of taking risks to ask for and offer help in ways that can seem strange or impossible in the "outside world". This has been such a support over the years, has witnessed us in our pain & delight, seen us grow & step towards each other in ways that are not possible elsewhere - and indeed to step towards our environment & our world.
Thankyou, we will miss you.

Creative Studies Group

We would like to say a fond farewell to you all, having come here five times a year for the past seven years.

This has been a perfect place for quiet contemplation and much spiritual self growth.
Our creativity has been spurred on by being immersed in this environment.

We would like to say a special thankyou for the wonderful breakfasts we have enjoyed over the years, and looked after by two lovely ladies - we will miss their caring and friendly ways.

Once again - many thanks and we wish you all the best for the future.

Lyn Delane.


3. Invitation: April 14, 2018: A Celebration of the late John Cross and his life of service

On Saturday, 14 April 2018, The Trustees and team of PETT invite people to join us for the day to remember John and honour and celebrate his long life of service for others. Many who knew John and were touched by what he said and did will recognise the intentional avoidance of the word “work”. John was always clear; he never had a job. Whatever he did was not work; it was a way of living – a way that gave living expression to his understanding of the term planned environment therapy.

As we know, John himself would have resisted any event that simply eulogised him. So, while there will be an honouring of the man himself on the day, in no small part our focus will be on planned environment therapy, that was so close to his heart and that he worked so hard to explore and practice, demonstrate and articulate over the course of his life.

Therefore, our invitation to those who attend is to reflect upon the John you knew in and across the many organisations and areas in which he was involved, capture your memories of him and how he affected you, and then try to connect that experience/memory with the principles and practice of planned environment therapy. Our gathering of these reflections and connections will prove to be valuable in themselves and a most fitting tribute to John himself.

For more details, please see the website: CLICK HERE.

To RSVP (some accommodation onsite may still be available!), please phone 01242 621200, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


4. Congratulations!

to Tom Harrison, for contributions to Literature

Shelia Llewellyn, Walking Wounded, Sceptre Books (2018).
Sheila Llewellyn's new novel Walking Wounded is about the last days of the Northfield Military Psychiatric Hospital, from which the term "therapeutic community" burst upon the world in 1946. In her acknowledgements Llewellyn writes:
Northfield hospital was an influential military psychiatric hospital during the 1940s, and Tom Harrison's fascinating account of the psychiatrists and patients who were there at that time was invaluable: Bion, Rickman, Foulkes and the Northfield Experiment: Advancing on a Different Front (2000).
Hilary Mantel calls the book "expertly imagined" and writes "Walking Wounded will shock the reader - it is a fierce warning against medical arrogance", while Pat Barker says it is "A considerable achievement...a compassionate and compelling account of post traumatic stress in veterans of the Second World War..."

Great company for an historian of medicine to keep!

to The Hank Nunn Institute, for their new website

The Hank Nunn Institute's mission is to make mental health more accessible and affordable in India. Deeply engaged in therapeutic community tradition and practice, a Biopsychosocial Mental Health service, "We create therapeutic spaces where individuals can collaboratively reflect on long-standing intrapersonal, interpersonal and prosocial difficulties." And now they have a website, to complement their presence on Facebook and Twitter!

Look, Like, and Follow!

to Stephen Steinhaus, for the imminent start of a new adventure

"Former Fighting Illini football player and Fulbright Scholar Stephen Steinhaus is opening a new high school in Solihull, England, this April. Once obsessed with becoming a lawyer like Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a long line of teachers in his family—and Lennie in John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”—led him instead to become a driving force for children’s education and performing arts."
So begins a profile in The Illinois College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Newsletter about Stephen "My job now is to make sure every pupil in our care is actually cared for and enabled to make the progress academically and socially/emotionally that they deserve" Steinhaus. To read that profile in total, CLICK HERE.

For further information about the all-new Solihull Academy, opening in April, CLICK HERE.

To see the new site before it opens (RSVP essential; guided tour takes place on March 21st; places were still available at time of going to press), CLICK HERE.

To see what Stephen had to say about his work with PETT/Archive and Study Centre, and its influence on his career, CLICK HERE.

5. New on the website (Chronologically, oldest first)

And, of course, the Kaki Tree:

  • For monthly snapshots back to April 2014, CLICK HERE (and scroll to thumbnails at bottom of the page)

6. In the Archive

Craig and Jen are intensively involved in the complex process of bringing this very rich and active Archive service to an orderly and efficient close, so that it can be fully in storage by the beginning of December, and so that it can be transposed and entirely re-born in an all-new setting whenever that is ready. We're also trying to keep up with requests and queries, Archive Weekends and researchers. With so many different kinds of balls in the air, please forgive us if we slip up; and please feel free to patiently remind us of things we haven't done that we said we would do, or if emails, for example, have been missed in the maelstrom. Meanwhile, Debra Lyons continues to bring order into Room 14, materials brought together by the late John Cross for saving and sorting.

Squiggle Talks

If you're a fan of D.W. (Donald) Winnicott - and if you're not, you arguably should be - check out squiggletalks.org.uk. During the course of 2017 PETT partnered with the Squiggle Foundation, supported by a grant from the Winnicott Trust, to bring the 400-plus recorded talks and seminars in the Squiggle Foundation archives to the World Wide Web. We're gradually getting there. The talks come from a wide range of speakers and cover a wide range of topics, demonstrating how rich and vital Winnicott's insights and approach to psychoanalysis are.

So far a hundred of the talks have been prepared and uploaded, with more going up each week. If you're a Squiggle member, you will be able to get a username and password which will allow you to listen online. It is hoped to extend online access in due course, but the recordings themselves are held in the Archive and Study Centre and can be accessed without charge here.

A glorious experience

Craig writes:

One of my most glorious archive experiences of all time came in February at the end of the NVC's week-long sojourn at the Centre [See their thankyou and goodbye above].

NVC is a families-based group which has been coming to PETT for many years, filling the place (day and night, when they come) with the sounds of music and discussion and the laughter and play of children running all over the building. To make sure we don't impinge too heavily on the unique transitional community they create while at PETT, while they are here we lock the Archive's front door and come and go as quietly and unobtrusively as we can through the Archive's back door. Sometimes an adult will come into the Archive to chat (entering and exiting through the back door!), and from time to time we and members of the group run into each other in the lively profusion of the kitchen when we go out to get tea and coffee. But for the most part the Group and the Archive are in separate worlds, and we are a clear mystery to the children who - if they notice us at all - seem to take us as part of the local furniture - like the trees on the field, the benches, the hippopotamus, and the stones which get scattered about while they're here.

This time, as the group was cleaning and packing on the final morning making ready to go, I unlocked and threw open the Archive's front door, and wedged it open. If you've been here, you'll know that our front door opens into the Large Meeting Room, which is a big open space where upstairs meets downstairs; the hub in a natural circuit that runs from the Large Meeting Room through the Garden Meeting Room, kitchen, downstairs hallway and main entrance to the building, and back again. It's a public/private concourse where toy cars, bouncing balls, lego, races, and hide n seek have a natural home. Throwing the door open was a quiet invitation to anyone still around to detour from the circuit and explore.

And they came.

The first visitor through the door was - naturally! - a toddler, walking his mother around the building. She hesitated, but he crossed the threshhold, looked, satisfied his curiosity, and continued his journey through the rest of the building. I went back into the office and onto the computer.

I came out when I heard "This is awesome!" and saw three boys struggling with the invisible forcefield at the threshhold. With movement into storage on the top of the agenda, digitisation is the order of the day, and everything was out on the table: reel to reel recorder, DAT, mini-cassete, MiniDisk, audiocassette console, and the whole array of computers and associated equipment, some of it beavering away.

From the doorway Sam said, "I always thought this was a boiler room!" Johnny said "I like the way it smells". Sam had been coming with NVC for six years and really liked it, but hadn't known we were here. Johnny didn't worry too long about the boundary, and quickly came in. There were introductions: Sam was 11, Charlie was 9, and Johnny was 7.

Johnny gave himself a quick tour of the office and emerged with some brass paper clips in his hand ("When I said it was best not to touch anything in an archive without asking first, what did you think I had in mind?"). There was a fascination with the mini-cassettes. I turned on the library lights and they discovered the mobile shelving and the books, and the potential for hide and seek. We discussed the difference between materials which are 'vulnerable' and those which are 'fragile', and were quickly into a surprisingly deep conversation about the danger that magnetic fields present to audio and video recordings, and the fact that magnetic fields are everywhere - in the magnets of headphones and speakers, and wherever there is an electric current. After a while, having come in and filled the Archive with movement and life, they just as suddenly disappeared, and I disappeared as well, back into the office and the computer. But not for very long.

They came back, with their parents. From the office I heard Sam, Charlie and Johnny take their parents on a guided tour. They introduced them to the library, explained the equipment and the work of an archive, and talked about handling and the different kinds of materials. It was a thorough and closely observed tour. I came out and found them comfortable and right at home, and they were part of the conversation about archives and the work that followed. All of us belonged. It was brilliant. Thank you.