Caldecott Community Timeline
Cartwright Gardens (1911-1917)
Charlton Court (1917-1924)
Charlton Court was Elizabethan; a beautiful house with great distinctive Tudor chimneys. It had fine grounds, a farm, stable-block, kitchen garden and a paddock. It stood on high ground above the Kentish Weald surrounded by cultivated country with hop gardens, fields and oak copses that were messed each year with spring flowers: here was space and air and light undreamed of by those young Londoners.At the start there were forty children, the oldest about twelve, and the youngest eighteen months.
Goff's Oak (1924-1932)
Another great change was now ahead of the Community. Charlton Court was itself part of a larger property and when the owner died the whole estate, including Charlton, was sold up by the new owners and the Community had to leave.
Again, then, the problem arose, where were they to go and would the Community have to end.Leila Rendel must then have gone off on the second of her treks in looking for a new home for the Community. One was eventually found at Cuffley, a village in Hertfordshire. The house had the rather curious name of Goff's Oak: it was reasonably spacious and had grounds and a kitchen garden and farm buildings. This was the first of many moves to be experienced by Roma Easton and she remembers it as a “dreary place, exchanging as it did, the green fields of Kent for cinder paths, glasshouses and smuts, but it was better than having no Community and we were thankful."
The Mote (1932-1940)
St. Peter's Hall, Oxford (December 1940 - January 1941)
Hyde House (1941-1947)
Imagine yourself one black January night in 1941 driving a small car packed to the roof with luggage and possessions across what appeared to be a wild desolate heath with the wind screaming and moaning like some terrible lost spirit rocking the oar backwards and forwards and the rain lashing the windows. Helen Stocks and I were on our way to Hyde House in the middle of Egdon Heath, in Dorset.
Undaunted and indomitable, Miss Leila, driving yet again up and down England with her Secretary, had at last found a resting-place for the Community.
The move from Dorset back to Kent took place in August of 1947 and the Christmas Term of that year was a momentous one; the first in yet another new house - the Community's fourth.
Mersham-le-Hatch was beautiful: built in 1760 by Robert Adam in the small Georgian bricks which had weathered to that inimitable warm terra-cotta. It was spacious with two long wings on either side of the main building. It was originally two-storied but in late Victorian times the top attics had been opened up, windows put in and the rooms were presumably used for the huge number of servants who kept the house going: I believe at one time there were thirty in all. They were no doubt necessary as there was no water upstairs and all the coal for the fires had to be carried up over sixty stairs.