Archive News

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.

Recording the Community of Communities Annual Forum on May 1st 2014 has taken the number of audio recordings by P.E.T.T. archivist Craig Fees over the one thousand mark.

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(T) CF1000 captured Community of Communities out-going Chair Steve Pearce, welcoming participants to the day; CofC's Josephine Thorne reporting on CofC's Annual Cycle for 2013-2014; and Chris Nicholson, of the University of Essex, launching The Core Competency Framework for Self-Regulating TCs.

(T) CF1001 caught Dr. Gary Winship of Nottingham University delivering his keynote address on "Recovering Recovery - How TCs invented Recovery, and where it all went right"

(T) CF1002 recorded the Community of Communities Annual Debate, in which the proposition that "There is no evidence that Therapeutic Communities are effective" was supported by Steve Pearce and Marya Hemmings, and opposed by Nick Manning and Vicky Gavin. Voting before and after the debate showed a definitive swing to the opposition, and a recognition that evidence that went beyond the narrow terms of randomised control trials abounded.

Using two video cameras, the (V) CF collection also passed the 120 mark.


"Therapeutic Communities: Isn't it obvious?"

(The theme of the 2014 Annual Forum)

Community of Communities (C of C) is an initiative of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' College Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI), working in partnership with The Consortium of Therapeutic Communities (TCTC) and the Planned Environment Therapy Trust (PETT)  to develop, manage and improve a quality improvement and accreditation programme for Therapeutic Communities (TCs) in the UK and overseas.

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The Community of Communities Annual Forum is the biggest gathering of its kind, enabling people across the Therapeutic Community world to come together to share and reflect on practice, ideas and experiences. Keep an eye on the Community of Communities website for podcasts from the Forum.

Jean Costello and her husband Brian paid a surprise visit to the Archive today, and chatted over tea and biscuits about her latest painting-in-progress: A study of Mersham-le-Hatch, where she grew up as a child in the Caldecott Community. Thanks to its current owners, Jean was able to spend two rainy but productive days sitting under a tree - with canvas and paints, and her sister beside her writing poetry - sketching the Mersham buildings from life.

You can see the gathering snow, and almost feel the plight of the Caldecott boy who climbed out of the kitchen window in 1962 or 1963, when a heavy snowfall had blocked all the doors, and immediately disappeared over his head into the depths of the snow drift outside. Fifteen feet in places.

We'll report progress on her winter painting here. In the meantime, go here to watch Moley's Movie, about an earlier oil painting of Hatch in the summer.




Very many thanks to Pat and Sam of Wennington Old Scholars and to Bob of Caldecott for a great and gratefully received boost to our project of creating a Unified and Comprehensive Collections Catalogue. Their time here this week has taken us closer to our goal of a single, powerful, searchable database of the catalogues of all the collections we hold.


We have over 400 (!) individual collection catalogues and listings. The majority of these are in Word document and spreadsheet form, and cannot be directly imported into the dedicated database software which we purchased (thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund) during the "Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children" project. This means they can be searched manually, or through free text queries; but that is slow and labour-intensive, and not a patch on the speed, richness and reliability that the dedicated catalogue database software makes possible -  nor a patch on the many  other things that become possible once you have a powerful database tool fully populated with information.


So, in their brief time here Sam and Pat checked 83 catalogues, 67 of which had been superseded by subsequent cataloguing and could be taken out of the system. 12 catalogues were translated into a database-friendly format using the cataloguing template created by former project archivist Matt Naylor, and can now be uploaded into the database. 4 were set aside for checking by the archivist.
In short, almost a fifth of the existing catalogues have been tackled!


Meanwhile, using Matt's cataloguing template, and concentrating on the numerous individual collections relating to Caldecott, Bob created 12 new catalogues,  all database-ready.


It's amazing what volunteers can add to an archive! Quite apart from the joy of the company! Thankyou!



Industrious Revolution

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Matt Naylor is briefly back in the Archive, bringing his cataloguing genius to the Mulberry Bush archives. He comes across a classic letter from the late Christopher Reeves to a Mr. A. Evans. 'How the years pass!' Dr. Reeves writes:


I have been Principal here for 5 1/2 years now, and Therapeutic Adviser for 5 years before that. The years seem to take a toll on one's hair: like my predecessor John I am losing mine rapidly.


Part of the pleasure of an archive is having comments like this thrown out at you from the room next door, as the rich orderly chaos of history is brought under control by a serious colleague with a fun sense of important things and humour.

Quote from: UP/MBS/02/18/325/02/54


The Stewart De Bono family visited recently as part of the Oral History Society Committee's residential Strategic Review weekend, with young Albert and Matt setting up base in the Archive User's Room. This led Mary to ask:


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'At five months, is Albert the youngest visitor/user in the history of the Archive?' (leaving aside the Archivist's children, of course, who had an unfair advantage).


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  Answers below, please.