Celebrating the Cotswold Community: July 9th 2011
The Cotswold Community near Ashton Keynes in Wiltshire had a rich history.
The core of its buildings were part of a pre-war Cotswold farm. The farm was purchased and new buildings added in a characteristic European style by members of the Bruderhof Community, who were fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany. Because of British government fears of enemy aliens, the Bruderhof community left at the beginning of World War II to seek sanctuary in Paraguay.
The site was then taken over by the London Police Court Mission, and new buildings added for its Cotswold Approved School. The head of the Cotswold Approved School was a charismatic warden, writer and broadcaster named C.A. Joyce.
In the late 1960s the Police Court Mission transferred ownership to Wiltshire County Counci. It was famously transformed into the Cotswold Community therapeutic community under the leadership of Richard Balbernie. The Community was later taken over and run by NCH (now Action for Children), which closed the facility and sold the site for private development in 2011.
With the closure of the Community, on July 9th 2011 members of the Cotswold Community family - including members of the Bruderhof, at least one Approved School boy, early Cotswold Community staff and children, and more recent staff and children - joined together to celebrate a remarkable site, community, and continuity.
These two recordings are talks given on that occasion by John Whitwell, who succeeded Richard Balbernie as Director of the Cotswold Community, and David Randolph, who began as a Governor when Richard Balbernie was Director.
Weavers Hall. Speakers and feasting done