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Happenings and goings on in the Archive and Study Centre: Events, researchers, discoveries, additions. For latest articles added to the Archive and Study Centre section of the website, click here.

How many stories are wrapped up in this accession, part of 2016.014, given by the children of Margaret Barron, who died at the age of 98 on January30th (she would have been 99 on February 1st), and whose funeral on February 16th, held at St. Peter's Church, Shaftesbury, was full of life, music and joy?

The selvage from a sheet of Post Office stamps issued in the 1930s, with advertisements for a Post Office "Home Safe", has been put to use in a time of austerity to stick a label on the back of a photograph. In the practical world of the new Q Camp at Hawkspur Green (begun in 1936), the first step to building sheds and workshops is - a carpenter's bench.


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Margaret and Arthur Thomas Barron met later, at a progressive childrens home for refugees in Lincolnshire called Lynwode Manor, where they married; and spent their early married life in therapeutic camps, hostels, and finally running a therapeutic childrens home after the War in Surrey while Arthur - "Bunny", as he was better known - trained under Anna Freud as a child psychotherapist.

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At work building the bench.


Among the treasures in the new accession are unique photographs of Lynwode Manor, Q Camps (below, in an unstaged view of domestic life not paralleled in other photographs of Q), Ida Saxby's shortlived therapeutic residential school at Rest Harrow Abbey, and places still to be identified. Arthur, who co-founded the Planned Environment Therapy Trust in 1966, became a busy consultant to children's facilities throughout the SouthWest and West.

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For a detailed sketch of Arthur Barron's life and career, see this "Preface" to an article by Arthur Barron written in 1943, "Children's Hostels."


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This photograph has no note on the back. Where was it taken? What was the game?

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Recorded at Braziers Park, Ipsden, Oxfordshire, on February 20, 2016. The slides of the talk are not available, but the talk is fascinating without them.

Some keywords:

Braziers Park, Priory Gate School, Theodore Faithfull, Ernest Thompson Seton, John Hargrave, Kibbo Kift, Robert Baden Powell, Boy Scouts, Order of Woodcraft Chivalry, Woodcraft Folk, Forest School, Green Shirts, H.G. Wells, League of the Unemployed, The Social Credit Party of Great Britain, the National Dividend...

Helen is working on cataloguing books towards the National Child Care Library project. She's working on a collection of books which belonged to David Wills (therapeutic child care pioneer; OBE). Today, the first one she reaches for opens up to reveal a cache of documents David obviously left in the book, which he inscribed "Birmingham 1949". What conversations are there, hidden behind these things? How much is it possible to recover now?


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"Er op of er onder": "All or Nothing" (1949)
This is the Dutch edition of David Wills' 1945 book, "The Barns Experiment", translated into Dutch by A. Ahn. Published in Holland - and so soon after the War!



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The book is opened.



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Detail from the ledger sheet, above. It was re-used - at a time, and in a culture, of scarcity - for the notes and translations that follow. How much of our otherwise lost heritage survives because it was used for other purposes? But where is this ledger page from?



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One of the ledger pages unfolded, and turned over.



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And another.



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The red script looks somewhat like David Wills' own hand, but perhaps not - we need someone who is good at pattern recognition to come in and compare letters and talks he was writing at the time. But who has done the translations? Who has written the notes? How can we find out?


Archivist Craig Fees writes:

Going through elements of the library of the late Robert Laslett, which came to us in several different stages, I open his copy of Donald Winnicott's "Collected Papers: Through Paediatrics to Psycho-Analysis", published in 1958 by Tavistock.

Apart from being a leading figure in the field of therapeutic child care, Robert was one of those magical people who write in their books. He has inscribed the flyleaf of this one:
                 Robin Laslett / December 1963 / Ealing.

So - he acquired the book when he was head of Aston Day School, which he had opened in 1959:  "That was the day school," he explained in an interview recorded in 1990 - "that was the first day school for maladjusted children in Middlesex, and it was the seventh in England and Wales." (CF0003, Robert and Pam Laslett, interviewed by Craig Fees, 10/7/90).

Opposite this, in a different pen, is
                 "Did I hit him..." Pg 200.  (On page 200 Winnicott writes "Did I hit him? The answer is no, I never hit. But I should have had to have done so if I had not known all about my hate and if I had not let him know about it too..." )

The Contents Page has more such notes.

The real surprise, however, unfolds as we move into the book proper, and come across Robert's bookmarks.

Here is his bookmark for pages 132-133.  The book opens at a section called "Characteristics of the Manic Defence", beginning on p. 132:

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The bookmark holding his place at pages 180-181, within Chapter XIV, "Birth Memories, Birth Trauma, and Anxiety [1949]", is this note:

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There are three other bookmarks in the volume: At the first page of Chapter XIV, the chapter in which we find the note above, is a British Airways ticket stub for Robert, travelling from Birmingham International to Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris. No year is given, but it's for a non-smoking seat on BA flight 1807, departing 1700 on the third of September. Earlier in the book, between pages 58-59, there is a photograph of Donald Winncott, perhaps cut from the dust jacket.  Slipped into the Index at the end of the book, between pages 338-339, there is a hand-drawn card from Phoebe dated 14/6/88.


What is the story behind that first note, written to David Wills by Donald Winnicott on the death of Davids' wife Ruth - in 1956, before the book was even published, and well before Robert acquired it. What was its journey? How did it come to be there? 

And what about the second note, giving Winnicott's regrets for missing a meeting of the AWMC? Was that to David Wills, or to Robert? Both were founders of the Association of Workers for Maladjusted Children.



 (For a bit on Winnicott's relationship with Wills, see "A Fearless Frankness". For a bit on David, Ruth, Bodenham and Ministries, see "Bodenham, David Wills, and 'Administrative hostility'". For Robert and the AWMC, see PP/RL Robert Laslett).

Taken into the Archive and Study Centre collections during August 2015, the gift of Dr. Tom Harrison:

A reminder of Hollymoor Hospital - Northfield Military Psychiatric Hospital during World War Two - site of the Northfield Experiments - one of the key seeds of the therapeutic community movement.

Colours and textures to be savoured. What hands have held these?


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