DR. HOWARD JONES [HJ]
MRS. BESS JONES [BJ]
Interviewed by Craig Fees [CF]
29th January, 1998
Note: The names of children have been changed, and the text has been edited .
BJ You'll get a lot more from him than you will from me, because I've only ever done the two and a half years that I did at Bodenham in this field.
HJ Well, and your hostel.
BJ Well, yes, the hostel was only a matter of a couple of months - three months, I think, or something. So, you know, you'll get a lot more from my husband than from me. He knows more about it.
HJ Well, if you're going to start with me, I worked with kids for a very long time. I used to run a youth club in Birmingham for the Y.M.C.A.
CF Were you a Birmingham child?
HJ I'm from West Bromwich which is nearby, five miles away. And from there I went into Y.M.C.A. hostels for training boys in farm work. They had a scheme called British Boys for British Farms. The kids would come and stay there for eight weeks. I was the Deputy Warden of a hostel where they lived. They were placed with local farmers, and my job was to go round on a bike to make sure the farmers were training them and not just exploiting them.
HJ It was great fun. During the cider season I used to be given a glass of cider at every farm I visited. Halfway round I'd be pushing my bike, and the last bit I tossed it in the hedge and crawled home. These were all teenagers. I went after that to Wallingford - David [Wills] mentions Wallingford, he had been there too. That's one of the many things we had in common. And I was there six months, I couldn't stand it. The kids were treated very violently.
CF Even still? I mean when would this have been?
HJ This would have been during the early years of the war.
BJ Roughly '39, '40.
HJ Or a bit later than that, maybe. Maybe '42 perhaps, '41, '42. David describes this sort of thing very vividly himself; there was a general acceptance that you got accepted by the kids by beating one of them in a fight. Eventually they would challenge you, and then you would have to beat them, and the others would be sufficiently cowed. So it wasn't really a very nice atmosphere. The warden was an ex-Army major, who gave them the strap if they misbehaved. Attempts to get friendly with the children were difficult. There was one boy called Haymes I remember very vividly. He was not very bright, he was a high grade subnormal I suppose, but he was also very naughty. He was about sixteen I suppose, and he was always getting into trouble.
Every Sunday the kids had to march - were marched into chapel (they had a chapel on the estate), and the staff had to march with them. I was looking round at my flock, and Epps was missing. So I sneaked out of the chapel and went looking for him, and found him up a tree. After a bit I persuaded him to come down and come back in with me. He slipped into the back, but the Major saw him, and afterwards beat him for not being there at the beginning. So, you know, Wallingford wasn't - that wasn't a particularly nice experience.
HJ I went from there to Barns.
CF Well, how did you find out about Barns?
HJ Oh, I'd read David Wills's book [The Barns Experiment].
HJ And - I'd read The Hawkspur Experiment with great interest, with a great deal of enthusiasm. They advertised for a teacher, and I applied for it and went off there. Ben Stoddard was by this time in charge. David came on one or two visits. He had a neurotic dog.
CF Did he?
HJ Who once got caught in the door. So every time he came to the door, he'd squeal in anticipation. Everybody waited. Then, when you did open the door, he'd come in screaming, "Oaow" in agony. Anyway, that was at Barns. I was there, what, two years I suppose. I was there when the place was burned down.
HJ You know about that?
CF Was that Ancrum House?
HJ No, no. No, that was Temple Hall.
CF Temple Hall, yes.
HJ Which is where they moved to from Barns House. They were at Temple Hall when I went there. It got burned down in a most curious way. The maids lived on the top floor, and one of them, it was her day off and so she wasn't there, and the place Temple Hall had had no electricity, it operated on an estate generator, and that had bust, and so it had to be connected up to the Grid. And so the electricians arrived. Meanwhile, astonishing things had been happening, we'd been using Tilley lamps and hurricane lamps around the place, and with those kids, you can imagine - for example, on one occasion a boy poured the contents of a hurricane lamp on the floor of the kitchen and threw matches on it. It was only paraffin, so it wouldn't light, you see. But you could see that this was a hazardous business. So we were all quite glad when the electricians arrived to put us onto the Grid. And they went around checking all the terminals and the wiring except in the maids' room at the top of the house they were on a day off. Then they switched us on, and a defective wire up in the maid's room caused the fire to start in the roof and the place was burned down. We were all that time with dangerous oil lamps safely, and the moment they put us onto the Grid we got burned down by electricity. It was incredible. But it was very - very frightening for the children. They were devoted to the place, and they cried as they gathered out on the lawn watching the place burn down. I'd got a fire in my grate on the first floor, in my room, and I watched the fire gradually descend from the roof till it got to that floor, and then my little fire was taken up into the big fire and disappeared. It started in the roof and they couldn't do anything, they just couldn't; it just spread through the roof. And so for a while we lived in a place at West Linton near Edinburgh, which was a sort of holiday school for the kids in Edinburgh.
HJ We worked there for a while, as lodgers really, until we could find another place, which was Ancrum House.
CF Did you find the children sort of cohered during that period and made it easier, or was it extremely difficult?
HJ Oh, the children were good as gold. I could never understand why they were supposed to be difficult. I had a dog - Ben Stoddard once said he thought the dog should have my salary because he entertained so many kids. The kids loved him. The night of the fire they all had to sleep in a school room down in the village at Coldingham, and my dog wandered off. He was frightened, and he wandered off, because he was kept free most of the time. Eventually we found him, called him and he came, but after that one little boy called Charlie Dunegan, who had big protruding front teeth, tied the dog to his foot by a piece of string, so that if the dog moved away he'd wake up. He and the dog slept together on the floor of the school room. It was a bad time for the children, and the move to Ancrum was quite a relief. They were lucky actually to get a grand house like that really.
CF Very isolated, isn't it?
HJ It's about a mile out of Jedburgh, quite a good size town. It's halfway, I suppose, between Jedburgh and Melrose. But my wife's seen it, we've driven past the place. But there were a lot of lovely things about Barns. You know, they'd got this tradition from David that people who misbehaved were brought before the children's tribunal. And I was brought before the children's tribunal for shoving some child rather rudely. I was required to clean his shoes for two days. There was also another child - and I've never forgotten this - who was being brought before this tribunal for some misdemeanour or other, and he was playing horses. He'd got some string tied to the two arms of one of the other children, and they were galloping round the grounds. He was sent for, so he came galloping up. He tied his horse to the back of a chair by the string, and the "horse" kept neighing and stamping his feet. The moment he'd been tried and received his punishment he untied his "horse" and galloped off again. It was great. I ran the Scouts there. David had made several attempts to start Scouts in his time, and they said they knew when it was Spring, because David started repairing the trek cart to go camping. But we had quite a successful Scout troop, and one of the cooks ran some Cubs side by side with it. We went camping a couple of times. We had a local Scout troop from a rather grand private school nearby who came over and we had a sort of competition in firelighting, and a sing song. We had a campfire, and it was great fun. It was very difficult to decide really to give up this kind of thing and go and work in a university. It seemed very boring by comparison.
BJ There was a long way between that and work in the university though.
CF Was the Boy Scout troop - was that simply Barns boys, or was it Barns and local boys?
HJ Oh, Barns boys only.
HJ Barns boys. They were a bit of a pest, actually, because they wanted to pass the tests, whether it was the right day or not. I did one Scout day actually, but they'd be coming and saying, "I want to do my Tenderfoot test." I used to look at them, "I can't do it now." "Why not? I want to do it." So they became a full time Scout troop. But it was good fun. I was also working for an external degree.
CF You'd already started then?
HJ Over a few years at that time, yes. Ben Stoddard's father was a Theosophist. I was reading a book called Primitive Society by an anthropologist called Lowy, an American anthropologist, and he took a great offence to the title of this. "Primitive Society. I suppose you think they're a lower grade than us, do you?" This was old Stoddard, you know, he was a Theosophist, who took the view that there was a lot to be learned from these early societies. Anyway, I wanted about a month to prepare and take the examination, so I left Barns then.
HJ And went - after it was all over I had to find another job, and I got a - I'm trying to remember the sequence, it's so long ago now. What did I do after that? The order, the time sequence is difficult. There are so many bits and pieces. But I did that -
BJ Was that when you went to Redhill?
BJ Well, you went down to Surrey, didn't you?
HJ Yes, I did that. No, I went there after - I did a mental health course, you see, I'm a trained Psychiatric Social Worker, but that had to be - oh, that's right, yes. No, I'd already graduated, and I went from Barns to do the mental health course, that's right.
CF And that was at the L.S.E.?
HJ That's right. And I did that because I'd read about David doing it, and it seemed a useful thing to do, so I went and did it. It was a post-graduate thing at the L.S.E. I did that, and went from there to an approved school, to the Philanthropic Society School at Redhill.
HJ And I was there six months. It wasn't, again, a very happy experience for me.
CF Was it a fairly typical approved school?
HJ Yes. It was run by a man who'd been a prison governor, called John Welden. It was very unusual in structure, because the head was called a warden, and the place was divided up into cottages. It was very ancient, sort of early nineteenth century institution. And so in many ways it was rather different. But there were lots of problems. For a while some of the kids used to go out at night burgling in the neighbourhood - from the approved school - and things of that kind, so it wasn't a - it wasn't a very settled establishment. And so I stayed there about six months, I suppose. And left there to - without a job actually, and I went to work as a psychiatric social worker, in an institution for subnormals at Monihull near Birmingham. The warden there was a very talented psychiatrist, who was an expert on the Rorschach, and he gave me a shot at learning the Rorschach, which I became competent at, but he was very good at it. He could do intelligence tests with the Rorschach very accurately. But that was only really a stopgap, and I went from there to Chaigeley. I stayed at Chaigeley for a couple of years and left when the headmaster, Ted Seel, left. The new headmaster, Jim Goynes, had been a headmaster of an approved school, a Quaker approved school near Brighton.
HJ His ideas about discipline and Ted's and mine were quite different. Ted was the most relaxed and laid back person I've ever met. Quite different from David, you know. David was always on the ball, but Ted was, you know, "Oh, if you leave things, they'll settle themselves" sort of thing. Lovely story about Ted, when we had an inspection, a formal inspection of the school. Ted had been giving them a sex lesson, and one of the kids had drawn an enormous penis on the blackboard, and the inspector came in and looked at it. "What on earth's that?" And Ted said very sort of innocently, "Don't you know?" Needless to say we had a bad report.
CF Yes, it is. I mean that was the first one, wasn't it. There were a series of reports -
HJ That's right.
CF Which were really -
HJ Yes, well they were rather vicious. That guy was a peculiar guy. The boys' and girls' toilets were side by side, with a wooden partition in the middle. One of his complaints was that if - he said, "If you climb up the partition on the boys' side and peer over it, you can see into the girls' lavatories." We wondered how he knew! But Ted was so laid back he never let any of this worry him. He of course, alas, is dead now. He was an artist, and he loved clay modelling. He used to get the kids to strip down to the waist and put their arms into the clay to mix it up, you know, which he said was very good for them. But Chaigeley was a good experience.
HJ Goynes was a great believer in firm discipline. And that was the complete antithesis of Ted's approach. He appointed a man like himself to provide an extra teacher, and I remember this chap and I were in adjoining classrooms. And there was so much racket coming out of his classroom, in the end I said to one of the older boys in my class, "For God's sake go in and shut those kids up." So he went in, and it was quiet after that. So, you know, it wasn't always the most muscular that had the most effect on the children really.
CF And there must have been quite a powerful - you must have developed a culture at Chaigeley which - among the children, which would have been the antithesis of what was being brought in. So that in itself must have created -
HJ Yes. That created trouble, yes. I think that's right. They took a long time to settle down with him. The fact that things had changed so much made it less to my taste. So I left and applied for a job as psychiatric social worker to the Committee that owned Bodenham Manor, and I worked for a while visiting the families and writing case histories. And eventually they wanted a teacher. The lady who became my wife was running the school side by this time. They wanted another teacher there, and I applied for the job.
There were people who were at Barns, if I can go back, who were doing great things. For example there was a chap called Adam McGillivry.
HJ He became a probation officer, and eventually became Chief Probation Officer for Hertfordshire. He was very talented as an artist. He supervised the kids in painting nursery rhyme figures around their dormitories. It was very good. But there people pass through these places who have got talents, don't they?
Anyway, to Chaigeley, and as you know, most of my experiences there have been recorded in Reluctant Rebels. I unfortunately didn't name Ted in the dedication, though it was dedicated to him, because my publishers thought that it might expose us to some problems, because the kids would be identifiable, so I also made up a name of the school.
HJ And Ted was a bit disappointed that his name wasn't actually in it. It's dedicated just to the headmaster, without naming him. But that was the reason why. And then from - Bess and I ran the school side together at Bodenham.
BJ We only had thirty kids there.
HJ That's right, yes.
BJ One younger class and one older class. You took the older class, and I took the younger.
HJ That's right.
BJ And then of course Pauline took over from you.
HJ That's right, Pauline, yes. She was Pauline Cushing then.
BJ That's right.
HJ And - yes. Of course her husband was - you know that he was one of David's oldest friends.
HJ Judah Weinstein. He wrote a book about Borstal, a very interesting book.
CF Yes, but I haven't yet come across it in a secondhand book store.
HJ It's called There are Borstals in Heaven, or Borstal Lives. It's got two titles.
HJ And David figures in it a lot. He's called Mr. Masters in the book.
BJ Judah was very, very fond of David, wasn't he? He used to visit Bodenham quite frequently.
HJ Oh yes. Oh yes, he was. Well, I mean he owed quite a lot to David I think really, by way of encouragement and support. And he worked at Barns.
CF Yes, for a while, that's right, yes.
HJ During the Barns years, the early years at Barns House, before Temple Hall. Yes, Pauline took over from Bess when Bess left to go and look after her mother, who was ill. And John Cross arrived at about that time. He wasn't there when you were there, was he?
HJ No. He arrived at about that time.
BJ Did he teach there?
HJ He was a kind of supernumerary. He wasn't a trained teacher, you see, so he did whatever was available for him to do really. Did a lot of supervision of kids, a lot of work with them in the evenings. And occasionally took - took a little class of readers, that was it.
BJ I think the trouble with so many of these places though is that the majority of the staff are moving all the time. You don't often get people who stay for very many years.
BJ Because when I went to Bodenham there was a very nice staff there, but gradually, they moved on, and we had Crocus, didn't we?
HJ Oh yes.
HJ Well she said that was her name, but it wasn't her real name. I mean that that's what she wanted to be known by. And she would not get herself a food card, would she?
HJ Well, she was the housekeeper, wasn't she?
BJ No, she was just one of the people who did things in the house I think.
HJ I remember that she always thought that the legs of the wash basins were indecent.
BJ That's right.
HJ So she made little woolly things to put round them.
BJ You know, you do get some of the most odd people there. Maybe they thought that of us of course. At the time we had a cook called -
BJ Raymond, with a beard. He wouldn't give Crocus any food, because she wouldn't go and get her - what do you call those things?
HJ Ration card.
BJ Ration cards. She just would not go and get a ration card. And he wouldn't give her any food, and I had - every time we had an evening meal we'd say, "Look, I don't want that bit of mine, so give it to her." "Now, tomatoes are not on ration, give her tomatoes."
HJ Well, things to eat were very limited, weren't they?
BJ Well, they had to be, because she didn't have any ration cards. "Well, I can do without that butter, Raymond, you give it to her."
HJ Raymond was going round the shops in London with another member of staff, and she came back and said, "You know Raymond, we were looking at these blouses in a shop window in London in the West End, and he said, 'Oh, my dear, you'd have to be careful what you wore under that, wouldn't you?' Do you remember that?
BJ Yes. And then of course we had people like Rob who were highly intelligent.
HJ Well, he was a graduate, wasn't he?
BJ Yes. What did he do?
HJ He was the handyman.
BJ Handyman, that's right. Who was marvellous, you see. We'd got this variety of staff.
HJ The gardener was very appropriate, he was a strict vegetarian, so it was very appropriate for a gardener.
BJ He was nice. He was good, too.
HJ What was his name, do you remember?
BJ I'm trying to think.
HJ We went to visit him once when he left. After he left he went to work in one of these health farms, vegetarian health farms near Stratford. And I remember we had a meal with him, piled high with green vegetables. I felt like a horse. So, yes, that was Bodenham. I was really rather sad when the place closed.
BJ What is it now?
CF It's a hotel/restaurant.
BJ Is it?
HJ There's so much fuss about kids being out of control in schools at the moment, and yet there seem to be hardly any facilities any more of these kinds, to take these kids and educate them.
CF No, they've been pretty well - the pressures put on them over the last ten, fifteen years have been enormous, and a lot of them simply have disappeared. They weren't getting sufficient referrals so the finances made it impossible for some. And they were being required to meet the National Curriculum which was designed for normal children in normal schools. You know, and this is the way it's gone.
HJ I remember that A.S. Neill had this problem at one point. They insisted on inspecting him, and the inspectors were not really particularly sympathetic, and I gather he had quite a tussle, you know, managed to keep most of his programme going, but it was not easy, because obviously A.S. Neill had ideas about freedom which were quite extreme to many eyes. He wrote to me when Reluctant Rebels appeared in a very friendly way.
HJ I've been working around these kids for about twelve years in different places. Longer and shorter periods. Two years tended to be my limit in one place.
CF Yes. Well, in Reluctant Rebels one of the things you do, you bring quite a - what to me is quite an astonishing amount of reading and thinking into the book. I mean you're talking about Bion and the Northfield Experiments, for example, which are really even now being rediscovered. It doesn't seem to me to characterise the kind of writing that generally goes on, or went on, around this kind of work with disturbed kids.
HJ Well, that's been very much practitioner orientated, hasn't it?
HJ They've been talented individuals who have been good with children. And David developed a little theoretical framework of a kind, didn't he? I mean this whole idea of shared responsibility, which was David's theoretical framework. But I was also lucky in that I did some of my psychiatric social work training in the Tavistock. So I was lucky enough to be close to some of these people, and I also got a small grant when I started work on my Ph.D. to go to the States, and I made friends with a number of people working in group therapy fields there. For example Fritz Redl, who was at that point a very important figure in this field, and also the chap from Chicago. What was his name? I remember the name of his school, he ran a school called the Orthogenic School.
CF Oh, Bettelheim.
HJ Bettelheim, that's right, yes. And Bettelheim I got to know over there.
CF Oh right.
HJ Well, through Redl. Redl was one of his friends, and he took me to meet Bettelheim. And so I was able to meet some of these people and to therefore get to know something about the work that was going on in the field of group therapy, which seemed to me to be ready made for residential institutions really.
HJ And so when I eventually went to work in a university, I was very interested in the idea of applying this to the training of staff of institutions, and we started a series of group relation training conferences, which began at the University of Leicester where I was working at that time, jointly with the Tavistock.
HJ My contact with the Tavistock enabled this to come off. A chap called Eric Trist, who was then running the Institute of Human Relations at the Tavistock, and we worked out a scheme for a joint project between the University and the Tavistock at Leicester, which ran many years, and trained prison officers and other people, as well as bringing industry together in the management of groups. The whole programme of group counselling in prisons developed out of this, which I think they've let slide in these days when they seem to think punishment is the main thing. But at that time it was a very hopeful sign. I used to go round at that time talking to prison governors about counselling, encouraging them to do it.
CF Right, right.
HJ One of our students, one of the people who came to one of our conferences eventually became one of the Directors of the Prison Service, a chap called Eric Towndrow. He had been governor of Wakefield Prison at the time, and developed a very large programme there of group counselling. So one of the spin-offs from the maladjusted schools was the counselling in prisons.
CF You put that in a very definite way. It would be the kind of thing one would like to quote. I mean personally I like to see the way that influences do flow throughout society. Do you think it was - I mean would that be a safe quote to quote?
HJ Oh yes, sure. I'm not saying anything I don't mind quoting.
CF But I mean do you - is there - well, there is that stream that flows through you into the -
HJ Yes. I think the only bridge is me there, you see.
HJ There's no sense that anybody else involved in this knew anything about schools for maladjusted kids. But I think that I - my interest was aroused by this work, and by the theorising I had done, and which I then felt we could transfer to other things. To the Probation Service too. The Stationery Office eventually published a book called Group Counselling in Probation. My name's there in the introduction. But, as I was saying, this was certainly the way it developed. But of course Tavistock was a centre for psychoanalytic treatment and teaching, and distinguished psychoanalysts were involved in this, came to Leicester, including the Director of the clinic, a chap called Jock Sutherland. You know him, do you?
CF Well, yes, yes. Not personally, obviously, but, you know.
HJ The Leicester half consisted of myself and a chap called Allaway, who was Professor of Adult Education.
END OF SIDE 'A'
HJ But we were at Keele.
BJ That was when we returned, wasn't it?
HJ Yes, that's right.
BJ All these things happened so long ago.
CF Yes. So you went from Leicester to Keele?
BJ Yes. And from Keele to Cardiff.
HJ Via shorter stays in -
BJ Oh abroad, yes.
HJ California and Papua New Guinea.
CF Papua New Guinea?
BJ Oh, it was lovely.
BJ I enjoyed it. I got mugged, but I enjoyed Papua New Guinea.
HJ Yes, we got mugged there. No, we've been - we've lived and I've worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, California.
BJ New Zealand.
HJ New Zealand and Canada of course. I had a year in Canada. So it's never been easy for my university to find me in the vacations.
CF I mean I think that one of the things that's happened in the last few years has been a wiping away of a lot of - I mean I was reading Crime in a Changing Society, and I said, "Yes, yes, yes." I kept saying, "Yes, well this is right, this is right, this is right." But a lot of the fundamental assumptions, and the arguments, and the - what seemed so right, what seemed like common sense, descriptions of the problems and all the rest of it in there, have been wiped away in the last - what? ten, fifteen years.
HJ That's right.
CF And I think one of the reasons that that's been possible is because the history itself, the foundation, has been obscured. And one of the tasks that I hope the Archive will serve will be to make this past available again. People will see the foundation stones, they'll see the amount of work that has been done, the kind of work that has been done, and it'll be - and people will begin to see how things are connected to each other. You know, the work in the maladjusted schools, at Chaigeley and so on, how that feeds into group work in prisons for example later on, which I wasn't aware of. Now it is. You can begin to build up a much stronger foundation for the work itself, and for the principles.
BJ Yes, yes. Well of course this has happened not only in that field, but in the ordinary field of education, hasn't it?
BJ I mean for years they changed and they changed and they changed, and now they've come back to this idea that if you can't read or write you can't do much.
HJ I can never quite understand the desperate state that teachers seem to get into with difficult children in their classes. And why they can't organise it - even if it meant having a smaller class for the more difficult children - why they can't organise it in such a way as to manage. I mean they've never seemed to me to be so difficult that you became desperate.
BJ No, but then you never had classes of forty, or thirty five. And you didn't have it in today's atmosphere, where children really think they're little gods.
HJ Well, I didn't really mean that the teachers were at fault. What I meant was that I feel there's something wrong with the organisation.
BJ Oh well of course there is.
HJ Because I think probably with the right organisation there shouldn't be a problem. But instead of that, the kids get kicked out of school. You know, they get expelled, and then they've got all these problems of governors trying to arrange alternative ways of teaching them, and parents objecting, and even going to court to get their kids back into school. It all seems to me to be over the top somehow.
BJ Yes, but the whole thing wouldn't be nearly as difficult as they had, with our fifteen in the class.
CF But you must have had violent children, children who actually would attack one another, or you.
BJ No. Well, Ellen was. Yes, Ellen, one of the children at Bodenham, was very vicious.
HJ And that other child from Birmingham - what was her name? - who I told you about, who I sat with. But you have to be prepared to sit with a child for a couple of hours who is in a violent state.
BJ I can't think of anybody but Ellen in Bodenham who was vicious. And I mean she was only vicious with women. I mean she loathed the sight of me. She was, she was extremely vicious with me, but she was spoilt by David, there's no doubt about that.
HJ Yes, she was one of David's favourites. But, yes, you do get violent kids, there's no doubt about that. And a lot depends upon whether you can be relaxed about it. I think if you react violently then I think you're liable to just increase the problem. When we were at Barns, we did have a number of occasions like that where somebody coming in temporarily couldn't cope, and ended up by bashing a kid, because he was cheeky or something. For example, you don't have to worry about verbal aggression. It doesn't have to worry you at all. You have to ride that and take no notice of it. Well, some people can't do that, can't bear the thought of being reviled by a child.
HJ Or being falsely accused by a child. But I remember a child who was in Barns, who was making so much racket he was keeping the other kids awake. And I'd put him to bed, and I said, "Look, be quiet, you're keeping them all awake." So he made more noise, and thought, well, I don't mind how much noise he makes, but he can make it downstairs. So I slung him over my shoulder and carried him down the stairs. Now at Temple Hall the stairs to the kids' dormitories was a spiral staircase. And carrying that child down the spiral staircase while he was struggling - I'd got a pullover like this, he was tearing at. Eventually it ripped, and he said, "There, you bugger, you've torn my pullover." And he looked ruefully at mine. It was a wonderful example of projection. I took him down into the playroom and sat there with him for an hour until he quietened down and was ready for bed. You have to be able to do that, I think. And as I say, you can't do it if you've got a young army of children to control.
CF Did you have much support in the classroom from other adults?
BJ At Bodenham we used to arrange it that they did the three hours of formal lessons mostly in the morning, and then in the afternoon we did lots of other things. One lady came in and did music, didn't she?
HJ She taught them to make pipes, bamboo pipes and things.
BJ One of the local people. David did woodwork with them, and then somebody else did - well, I did sewing with the girls, and somebody else did something. And all the staff who could do something were roped in for the afternoons.
HJ I used to do P.T. with them in the afternoons. Astonishing thing. But I found a very cunning way, actually, of exercising them without exercising myself too much. I developed with them a kind of idea of running round the lawn at the front so many times. I think we called them twentiers, they had to run twenty without stopping. And those who succeeded in doing that were allowed to run outside to the next village and back again. And that was a miler. They'd join in these things with enthusiasm.
CF Because P.T. or Physical Education of - in the organised form, seems to be a very difficult thing to achieve with disturbed kids, disturbed children.
HJ Well, yes, it is. I mean I tried - at Chaigeley I'd tried to run ordinary exercises, you know, with the kids, and it's very difficult because they won't stay still long enough. They're restless. You want them to lie on their faces, and someone would be jumping up, and sitting up like this when you wanted them to lie there. So you had to be patient and keep saying, "Well, get back down again now. Get back down again. Now, are you all ready? Right." And get them to do it before anybody moves. But we had games. We played cricket, a lot of cricket at Bodenham, didn't we?
BJ Yes. We used to have students too, didn't we?
HJ Ben Challoner came from Leicester, oddly enough, where I eventually - we eventually went. He was a probation student, and came to -
BJ He was very good with them, actually.
HJ Yes. He was very proud of his cricket. There was always somebody, somebody from somewhere, wasn't there? I remember there was a publican's daughter came for a while one summer, and Philip Seed, whose obituary was in The Guardian the other day, was there. He came for a while one summer to Bodenham. He was a Quaker. And he spent a summer with us once.
CF So this goes back to what you said about the number of people who have actually been through these places.
HJ Oh yes, that's right.
CF Do you think they would have become - I don't know if influential's the right word, but do you think they would have developed the kinds of careers that they had whether they'd come through your Bodenhams and your Barnses and so on?
HJ Who could tell? I think I can fairly say that most of the ones I knew were influenced by their experience.
HJ And I think they were affected really partly by the atmosphere of the place. I mean the fact that there could be bad behaviour and yet there was a good atmosphere. I think Philip Seed was greatly affected. He became a social worker, and I went up a few times to talk to his students while he was up in Aberdeen. I'm trying to remember who else we had. I mentioned Adam McGillevry at Barns, didn't I? I remember there was a woman there too who went into the Probation Service. I can't remember her name now. And I remember when she was about to leave, the kids went around saying, "She's going on probation."
CF I mean that's one of the joys of working in that situation, of the children and the culture they create, but also the life that they have.
HJ Oh yes, that's right.
BJ It reminds me of the woman from Birmingham who used to tell all her friends that her boys were away at boarding school.
HJ That's right, yes. She was right, wasn't she, yes. But not the impression she was trying to give.
BJ Oh yes, it's lovely. Because they used to come down twice a term, didn't they, on a Sunday, to see their children, you know. Most of the ones at Bodenham were from Birmingham. There were one or two who weren't, but most of them. She used to be so proud that her boys were away at boarding school.
HJ It didn't always - you got some idea of how disturbed children's parents were, though, because I remember two of them, the father of one of the children, and the mother of another, got together as a result of coming down on their visits. You didn't know about that, did you? I'm trying to remember which one it was now, but there was quite a bit of a fuss - you know, a bit of matrimonial disharmony resulting therefrom.
BJ Yes, it was amazing though sometimes, when you knew what the parents did, that the children should have been so disturbed. Obviously, you know, you didn't know the inside of it, but they'd come and, "Oh yes, my father's a teacher, oh my father's a vicar," or something. And you really couldn't understand at the beginning how disturbed families they were.
HJ Well, vicars can be -
BJ Well exactly, exactly.
CF Presumably, if you had children coming from London and so on, they couldn't have seen their parents.
BJ No, no, they didn't.
CF What was that like?
BJ It didn't seem to worry them.
BJ No. In the hostel I ran originally some of them had never seen the sea so if you could interest them enough, and look after them well enough, it was a joy to be on holiday. It was the summer, fortunately, when I was there, so we used to meet them after school and take drinks and sandwiches down to the beach. You know, it was fun.
CF And you didn't have the complication of mined beaches.
BJ No. No, not down - not at that bit of the coast. But a very dangerous sea, so we never let them go out.
HJ The beach was great fun, wasn't it?
BJ We had great fun, didn't we, down at Wick?
HJ Yes, that's right. We took the Bodenham kids to Wick in South Wales here, and - except Bess, who lived nearby at Bridgend and used to go home - the rest of us stayed in the old Malthouse.
BJ That's right.
HJ Which provided accommodation for us. David as well, we all stayed there, and the kids as well. And we used to go down to the beach together. I've never forgotten a little boy, who was a very talented lad, very clever boy - but he was a very little lad at this time, and he'd never seen the sea before. We walked down to the beach, and the moment he saw the beach, he said, "Ooooh!" and ran as hard as he could on to the beach. He'd never seen the sea before in his life. Very moving that. At Barns we used to walk to the beach from Temple Hall. The beach at Coldingham is a lovely beach about two miles from the house. And I used to walk down with the kids, and my dog trudging along beside us. He was a maladjusted creature. We went past a farmyard on one occasion, and the dog disappeared up the drive, and we heard a clucking and a quacking, and after a bit the dog came out wagging his tail with a feather in his mouth. I was really frightened, because I thought if the farmer saw him chasing the fowl, that would be the end of him. So I really scolded him. The next time, as we got near that farmhouse, he went to the other side of us - the other side from the farmhouse - to walk down the road. To avoid temptation?
CF And you had the river going through as well? That was at Ancrum.
HJ Not Temple Hall, that was at Ancrum, yes.
CF No, Ancrum, right.
HJ That was a lovely place. There was a boy - a couple of boys at Chaigeley who were homeless, they'd got nowhere to go in the Christmas holiday. And I didn't much enjoy going home for Christmas really, it was a bit boring. And so I decided to stay in school, and I rang Ben up and said, "Can I bring these two boys over?" So we all went and stayed - because Chaigeley was closing, you see, for the Christmas, so we all went and stayed at Barns for the Christmas, and it was great. One was a boy who was schizoid. He wasn't schizophrenic, but he was getting that way I think, you know, as he went into adolescence he probably would have got worse. And there was him, and there was a little boy, and on the way there - we went on the bus up to Edinburgh, and I took them to tea in a store cafe, where they had a little orchestra. And they were tickled to bits, you know, they were drinking tea, and there was the orchestra playing Chopin, or whatever it might be. They were just thrilled. They'd never been in a place like that before. It cost me well over a shilling a head, in those days.
BJ Have you seen Sidney? Have you spoken with Sidney?
CF Yes, I went up and saw him a couple of years ago now. Stayed overnight. I think I may have stayed overnight twice.
BJ Well, you'd almost have to there, wouldn't you? He lives way out.
CF Yes, it's quite a way out. He's got a - have you been there yourselves?
BJ Yes, yes.
CF It's wonderful, isn't it?
BJ It's a lovely place, yes.
CF So yes, yes, yes.
HJ We used to visit him in Harmeny near Edinburgh, when he was running Harmeny.
BJ We also visited him in Coventry when he ran the hostel in Coventry.
HJ My image of Sidney is Sidney putting on his big boots to play football at Chaigeley. And everybody - when Sidney came thundering down the pitch, everybody took cover. But he's a nice man.
CF There's so much potential in some of the children to get themselves very badly hurt.
HJ That's right. You never know when to stop them, do you, really?
CF That's right.
HJ I mean at Bodenham there was this enormous Sequoia at the front of the house. And there one or two boys loved to climb up it right to the top. And at the time I thought nothing of it, but since then I've often thought, "My God, suppose they fell".
CF Was the kind of difficulty that you had at Chaigeley, especially with that first inspector, effectively a clash of cultures? An inspector coming in with a whole panoply of concepts about how children and adults should relate which had nothing to do with therapeutic work with maladjusted children?
HJ I think that's partly it, but I think it's more than that. I think it was partly a personality thing. We did actually - the next time we were inspected the inspector was the Chief Inspector of Special Schools, and he said, "He won't come again. He won't come here again." So I think there was a special personal difficulty there, which - I mean otherwise you could have imagined anybody with any kind of relaxed attitude to life laughing at Ted's phallus on the blackboard. It was enormous, you know. Actually, that wasn't the complete story, because Ted happened to come back into the classroom after the class ended and the guy was there with a tape measure measuring it.
CF Oh no.
HJ Yes. And he put in - put the length of it in his report.
CF You make a very strong statement in Reluctant Rebels about - of course, you have to have inspection, and of course you have to have that oversight - and I wish I had the exact quote now, because it struck me as a very powerful statement at that stage about the damage and destructiveness that can be done. I think if they're not themselves well informed - I'm sorry, I haven't got the exact term. Did that come out of that particular incident?
HJ I can't remember the passage you mean, but I think it may well have been, yes. There's something just occurred to me on this question. It's gone now - oh yes, I know. Following this report, you know, I was asked - I was an active member of the Fabian Society at the time, and one of my Fabian friends was Member of Parliament for Newport. And I rang him up and made an appointment to see him over here, and I came over from Chaigeley to see him in order to complain about the way this inspection had gone, and he actually asked a Parliamentary question about it.
CF Did he?
HJ Yes. But the then Minister of Education said scornfully that this complaint had been made by "an assistant teacher at Chaigeley", which rather downgraded my complaint. But the result of that inspection was that Chaigeley was required to be a one sex school.
HJ And I'm trying to remember what happened. You see they had older boys and girls, and I remember David coming on a visit and saying, "They don't mind having - they don't want mature boys and girls to be interfering with each other, but it would be all right for big girls to be interfering with little boys." He was required to omit large boys from the school. David also had another remark which he often made about the attitude of royalty to children: "We have a Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but only a National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children."
CF Yes, yes. Did he - didn't David for a time take over from Ted Seel while the latter was on holiday? Is that something that happened?
HJ I believe it did, but I think - yes, I believe it did, yes. I can't remember where I was at that time. But I think he did, yes. They were different characters. You know, David had a very good control over the situation, whereas Ted's attitude was much more: 'if you let things slide they'll solve themselves' sort of thing. And so I think David would have found it very trying, you know, to be in a situation like that. And I think he was sensitive enough not to try and run against the grain too much.
CF And was Arthur Barron someone you knew at that point?
HJ No, I only met him once - this is Bunny Barron?
CF That's right.
HJ I only met him once. I read about him, of course, in The Hawkspur Experiment, but I met him - the Association of Workers for Maladjusted Children [AWMC] used to have this annual David Wills Lecture, and I was invited to go and chair one of these sessions, and he was the speaker on that occasion. That's the only time I ever met him. They were very close at Hawkspur. I don't know what Bunny Barron did afterwards.
CF Well, he ran the second Hawkspur for boys at the end of the war, and then trained under Anna Freud. He became a consultant child psycho-therapist, consulting in various places.
HJ Yes, I went to a couple of those AWMC sessions. I gave a lecture at one of them, which didn't go down very well because I tried to make it provocative and I don't think people really took the point so much. I called it "The Myth of Maladjustment", which was a little too provocative for them. But I enjoyed going. I only went about twice. We were both members of the Association of course when we were working in the field.
CF Have you kept any photographs or anything from that period?
HJ I've got some somewhere I think, mainly of Barns.
BJ You've got some of the children and your dog, haven't you?
HJ Those were all at Barns, yes. Yes, I've got some of the kids doing one of these set piece things in which people stand on one another's shoulders and so on. And they're all over the place, but they're very proud of themselves. And I've got pictures of them doing that, and I've got pictures of my dog with some of the kids. Oh, I've got some pictures at Chaigeley too.
BJ Have you?
HJ Yes. The kids at Chaigeley used to dig dens under the ground. I've got pictures of kids emerging from holes in the ground and that sort of thing. I don't know where they are now. I don't think I ever took any at Bodenham.
BJ No, I don't think you did.
HJ I don't think I'd got a camera then. I'll see what I can find, and lend them to you.
CF OK. Obviously if you were ever tempted to throw anything away, we would be quite happy to step in and prevent you from doing so.
HJ I think it's a bit too late for some of the things. For example, I kept a diary at Chaigeley during the time I was writing the book. I kept a daily diary, a diary of what I thought were all the significant events, for a year. But that's been thrown away long ago.
BJ When you've moved as much as we have, things don't remain.
HJ Once I'd written it up, I couldn't think of any other purpose for keeping it, you know.
HJ But that would have been quite interesting and useful, because it was, as I say, a daily diary of significant events in the school.
CF This is what you quote in the book time and again is it?
HJ Yes, there's actual quotes from in the diary, yes.
CF Yes, you're right. That would be very interesting.
HJ Too late, alas. It's been years and years, and I've had another career since then, and consequently all that has been overlaid by the detritus of this later period. And even that has now been dumped, most of it. I did do a piece of research on approved schools at one point, and I've got the report on that, but that's lengthy, a book length thing. It was never published. That was based on research since I've been in the university, you know. On the question of the punishment for crime, I wrote a paper for the - one of the Journals some time ago, attacking the argument for punishment. And I can find a copy, you might like to have it.
CF Yes please.
HJ It was mainly concerned with what you might call the philosophical aspects of punishment, what is justice, and so on. I was quoted by Ted Honderich in his book on punishment, the Professor of Philosophy, some time ago, this particular article. When Mr. Straw comes along with his latest pronouncements, it's as if nobody had ever really given any thought to these things before, because he does seem to be totally ignorant of anything that's been done or said, or any experimentation. This is really what you're saying, isn't it?
CF You know - the past gives us this huge example, and it's as if it doesn't exist. It's devastating really, but it - you know, I suppose it's partly because primary research materials haven't been there.
HJ Well it's partly also because public attitudes change, and politicians' ideas change with public attitudes really.
CF I would be interested in knowing about the work you're doing in the Third World.
HJ Well I wrote a book on that called Social Welfare and Third World Development, which is really intending to show the interaction between welfare policies and economic development in Third World countries. And I wrote a book about crime in Guyana, which is called Crime in a Developing Country. These are really the main things I've done in that field over recent years. I told you we've been in many, many countries, especially in the West Indies of course, a lot of the West Indies. I've been in Guyana many times, I used to go to the West Indies two or three times a year at one time, to Guyana and Barbados and Jamaica. So that all this really is my recent central focus of interest. The early years in the university it was group work, and criminology of course. I wrote the first text book. And now this Third World stuff. Well there are bridges all the time, because I started going to the Third World to develop crime prevention programmes and to train people in these things, in these techniques. So that the bridge there, just as the bridge to group relations, was from maladjusted kids, you know.
CF Yes, I can see a paper in that one: "Maladjusted Children and Third World Development". I like that idea.
HJ Yes, that's the beginning and the end of a chain of causation, yes. Actually I did have a brief return to my earlier interests in Barbados, because they asked me to develop a scheme for crime prevention programmes, and in the course of doing this I went to the approved school. It was in a terrible state. In my report I told them they were going to have trouble there, and within a few months the place blew up, exploded. And gave me no satisfaction whatever to have been able to warn them. But it was a kind of throw-back.
END OF TAPE