Whilst the vast majority of our holdings are kept in the archive stores following transfer or rescuing, some key items which have seen lots of use over the years have simply refused to go into retirement! Others are selected to bring a feel of continuity with the past or to enrich our museum-like displays.

The numbering in the following sections corresponds with the panoramic view of the room (top).


Just visible on the far left is a framed portrait of David Wills painted by his future wife and early occupational/art therapist Elizabeth Collyer in September 1949 [1]. To the right of this painting is a 4-tier glass cabinet [2] which shelters a black cat beneath and supports the Archive mascot above (complete with a Heritage Lottery Fund project t-shirt).


The cabinet was a gift of Alexander Gobell, and came from Hengrove School. It houses trophies and various confiscated home-made weapons from the Cotswold Approved School, which became the Cotswold Community under Richard Balbernie; providing group living and educational experience for emotionally disturbed boys. It incorporates some Margaret Lowenfeld material which includes her own World Play toys, given by Robin Balbernie. Further yet to the right is an easel given by Dr. Richard Crocket [3] supporting a painting composed by 'Moley' of Caldecott.


Next to the doorway to the archive workrooms is a Harold Bridger Bookcase, gifted by Harold Bridger himself. It came originally from his home in North London. A Psychoanalyst and Organisational Consultant, he played a key role in the famous 'Northfield Experiments'.

The books on the left of the top shelf were a gift of book-seller and publisher Harry Karnac, who was a personal friend of Donald Winnicott.

At present, a framed photograph of Elizabeth Wills sits on the top of the bookcase. Behind this on the shelf, in the corner of the room, lies a framed painting by Wills (née Collyer) from 1948, when she joined the therapeutic team at Withymead therapeutic community in Devon.



In the foreground are the Peper Harrow bench and table [5]. This refectory bench and hand-adzed dining room table capture the philosophy of Peper Harow, which was transformed from a traditional approved school into an internationally renowned therapeutic community for boys in the 1970s. A group of boys and staff members went up to the the famous Yorkshire workshops of Robert "Mousey" Thompson (note the trademark mouse carved into the table edge), where the tables were created for them, reflecting the sense of value, warmth and aesthetic excellence with which the boys were surrounded.

The table currently operates as the workspace for volunteers and researchers, supporting scanning equipment, a computer largely used for processing and cataloguing and, typically, large piles of records.



On the doorframe of the Archivist's Office hangs a rainbow-coloured dream catcher [6], which came from the Henderson Hospital. The desk between the dream catcher and the window [7] originally belonged to Margaret Lowenfeld (1890 – 1973), the influential child psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and pioneer of the World Play/Sand Play technique of child analysis/therapy; founder of the Institute of Child Psychology and the creator of poleidoblocs (designed to stimulate progressive experimentation with shapes which incorporate mathematical relationships). The desk was a gift from Dr. Lowenfeld to Alexander Gobell, who gave it to the Archive. According to Alexander - whose parents founded Hengrove School, with which Margaret Lowenfeld was closely involved - the ink stains are entirely Dr. Lowenfeld’s. This desk is also used by volunteers and researchers.



In between the two desks by the windows is a large bell [8]. This was used at Hollymoor Hospital, whereas the significantly smaller hand bell is typical of those used in many therapeutic (and other!) schools [9] . The desk upon which the latter is resting originally belonged to Barbara Dockar-Drysdale (1912-1999), the immensely influential psychotherapist and child care pioneer who founded the Mulberry Bush School, and was later Therapeutic Consultant for the Cotswold Community. PETT Executive Director Richard Rollinson worked at the Mulberry Bush for well over 20 years, and from 1991 to 2001 was its Director. The desk was given to him as a leaving gift, and was recently lovingly restored by Anthony Jansen, husband of PETT conference manager Joanna.


And this is only half of the overall view of the work room! Do visit us to see these items in person and hear some of our stories about them, or to see more of our collections. And, although these photographs were taken in 2012, everything is pretty much the same: Spot the differences when you come!