[Originally published as part of PETiTathon2015!]


peter holmes

Peter Holmes, with Rex Haigh in the background, taken at a recent Windsor Conference. For more on Windsor and TCTC (The Consortium for Therapeutic Communities) see here.

Early in 2006 Peter Holmes and Susan Williams of Christ Church Deal travelled from the therapeutic faith community in Kent, which they had helped to found, to the Planned Environment Therapy Trust in Gloucestershire.  Peter had recently completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham, with a thesis entitled  "Becoming More Fully Human? Exploring the ecotone of human spirituality, salugenic discipleship, and therapeutic faith community"; and archivist Craig Fees grabbed his Sony tape recorder and took them upstairs for an opportunistic "Who are these human beings doing such extraordinary therapeutic community things?" interview.

The microphone placement is not ideal, and there are various noises off, but there is an interesting wholeness to the interview, and an interesting journey, from one layer to another of the life story Peter sets out very concisely in the opening selection. The 50+ minute original interview has been cut into shorter lengths in order to make the story more accessible, and the cuts themselves have been made at moments of structural transition in the interview itself: the interview has been divided at moments when Peter's story turns back into itself, to give greater depth, and greater detail. It is a structurally very interesting, as well as very generous, interview; and we are grateful for Peter's permission to present it to you here.

Bar five or ten seconds and introductions and closures, this is the entire, in its original order: splice the eight selections together, and you would effectively have the interview as recorded. For more on Christ Church Deal, their website is here.

Dr. Peter Holmes:

1. About himself: an overview:

"Born just after the Second World War..."


2. His father:

"The War did a number on him, on several counts..."


3. "You've opened up another particular crack, that one, you know, it would be useful, to be able to explore. Do you know anything about your father before the War?"

"Oh, yes..."


4. His family, beginning with the spacing between the children:

"They were that whole culture before the safety net of the Health Care Services, and before the safety net of creating support for people began to emerge..."


5. Taken into care:

"By the age of 18 I was on a lease purchase with an apartment in Kensington; I'd walked into Park Lane and bought an MGB sports car for cash..."


 6. His family dynamics, and towards a therapeutic community:

"There was just a profound fear of people..."


7. His father's War: 13th Airborne:

"...and the rest got massacred."


8. A briefly disappointed oral historian, the Christ Church Deal therapeutic community model, and the journey of an interview brought to rest in inspiration:

"I'm a therapist, but I'm a therapist in a social milieu where I facilitate healing of groups of people..."



This interview has been selected, edited, and uploaded as part of

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1. 'Planned Environment Therapy Trust: its origins and "those others" and about learning from success'. By Marjorie Franklin. (1971)

2. Oral History: Dr. Peter Holmes, recorded January 10, 2006

3. Where we live: Toddington, in Gloucestershire

4. Puzzles: Crowdsourcing Constance Masefield's handwriting

5. What do archivists do all day?

6. Craig Fees, "Getting it Right, Getting it Wrong..." (2013)