1Thankyou to a small team of Caldecott Association members who joined us for another productive Archive Week, arriving on Sunday the 8th and leaving on the evening of Wednesday the 11th, just before the start of the England/Croatia game in Russia. Apparently the roads became fairly clear as match-time approached.

We still haven't counted up the numbers, but at least one oral history recording transcript was completed, and inroads made into three more. Cataloguing issues with photographs were sorted, some snags in past scanning discovered and corrected, at least 200 scans were added to the digital storage system, a query from Dorset Life magazine was responded to (look forward to an article on Hyde House, near Wareham, where the Caldecott Community lived between 1941 and 1947), a major website riddle was solved, and box-listing was begun for the entirety of the SA/CA (Societies and Associations/Caldecott Association) Collection, with some re-boxing thrown in for good measure.

The only sad news for the PETT team was learning of the death last year of Ley Melrose, the Caldecott housemother whose interview Craig recorded in 2010 for the "Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children" project:

"I was born in 1930,  and it was just when the unrest, [prior to] the Spanish Civil War was getting to its height. The war didn't break out until about three years later, but it - I do remember hearing gunshots. I mean I was very, very small, but by three years I remember the gunshots and the sort of general atmosphere of something not right. I suppose I picked it up from my parents. My father decided that it wasn't very safe to be staying in Madrid, so we moved from Madrid, went up to Santander, and caught a boat to England, Southampton. I thought we were going to stay in England, but in fact we ended up in Gibraltar..." [HLF/CAL/020].

Ley gave us six 8mm films she made while she was at Caldecott in the 1950s, which were then digitised; between snow, water, sand, trees and home made swords, they show how very differently childhood was regarded, and survived; and perhaps something of why Caldecott children from that era appear to have such a secure sense of place and balance. The interview tells us something about the extraordinary people who were drawn to living and working at the Caldecott Community, and gave their lives to the children.

Among the photographs scanned were three from the John Brown Collection featuring Ethel Davies [for more of those, with unknown children and an unknown dog, see here]. One of our favourite surprises of the week was the fragment of a photograph preserved on the back of one of these: a small group of cows, long passed into history.

And Jean Costello - "Moley" - brought another lovely and light-filled painting;



"All that you have done for us all at PETT has just been so important to us and for me in particular the recordings were a way to talk about childhood experiences which generally have never been spoken about before and I have learnt a lot about Therapeutic Communities which I had never heard of before." Moley (Jean Costello)


Meanwhile, Gill Cook began her morning, before the Archive doors opened, weeding, and feeding the hippo (photographs by Barry Northam):

feeding time


Apparently it has become a Caldecott tradition to have photographs taken with Hippo.

job done


And people worked: Doors open and fans going (photographs not by Barry Northam; he has a genuinely good camera!).


Eileen and Gill, transcribing


Barry problem solving and scanning; Eileen transcribing; archive boxes accumulating