Guest blog by Peter Still

We Red Hill boys were led to believe that the fig tree, which grew over the wall of the kitchen garden, was an old and rare variety, possible originating from the Filmer who was one of the first officers of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It has similar colouring to the common Brown Turkey variety, but is longer and slimmer as well as being very much sweeter than the usual shop-bought figs.

The Charlton Court tree has succumbed to the redevelopment of the site, but luckily Jack Hazelgrove took a cutting before the school closed, and was kind enough to give me a cutting from his tree, so the photo below is of a ‘grandchild’ of the Charlton Court fig, in my garden in Rugby.


the charlton court fig



Editor's Note:

Red Hill School in Kent was founded by Otto Shaw in 1934 and closed in 1992. The Official Red Hill School website is here.

For material about Red Hill School held in the PETT Archive and Study Centre, see here.

For oral history recordings and other information about Red Hill, see the "Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children" website, here.

If plants or gardens figure in your memories and experiences of therapeutic communities and environments, please tell us about it.


Looking Back: Here is an appropriate paragraph about one of our targetted Assessment, Training and Advisory Events during the Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children project. The paragraph is taken from the Final Report to the Heritage Lottery Fund on the "Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children" project (4th edition), the full text of which can be found here.

4.2.1 "Place, Participation and Landscape": May 18, 2010

One of the themes to emerge during the course of the project was the central role that the buildings and grounds, and doing and making played in the lives of the students for many of the communities. Wennington School in particular took an approach to involving the students in every aspect of building and maintenance which led to the idea of scheduling the first Assessment, Training and Advisory (ATA) Event of the project during the first Wennington Archive "Weekend". Entitled "Place, Participation and Landscape," two members of the ATA Panel took part: Dr. Rosie Parnell, Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Sheffield, and a board member of the University's interdisciplinary research Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, who had a special interest in involving people in the design and use of their environment; and Dr. Clare Hickman of the University of Bristol's Historic Gardens of England project, who had completed her PhD on "The Design and Use of Landscapes in England for Therapeutic Purposes Since 1800" [a copy of which is in the Archive Library], and at the time was working with the University of Birmingham's History of Medicine Unit, the University of Warwick's Centre for the History of Medicine, and the IHWTE on a joint bid to the Wellcome Trust for a programme grant on the history of therapeutic environments."


Also, for a treat: Look, and listen, to Dr. Danny Beath's "This is my Shotton", where Danny talks about the remarkable map of the living grounds of Shotton Hall School that he drew when he was a student there in 1975. You can find that here.