Caldecott Community Founders and Staff

Leila Rendel

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Leila Rendel was, at this time, twenty-eight, and had been trained in 'Swedish gymnastics', a subject which she subsequently taught in a teachers' training college and for which she became an inspector. In her early twenties she was greatly interested in Margaret Macmillan's pioneer nursery-school work. She always had a passion for teaching and Baroness Stocks, her cousin, remembers that, while still a young child, Leila Rendel had insisted on teaching her the catechism. Her attachment to the established Church was not fixed. Her religion was of a practical kind and she eventually joined the Society of Friends ...
Read more 1911-1969

Ruth Rowson

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I first arrived one wintry February afternoon in 1936. The Community was then housed in The Mote; a huge imposing late Georgian mansion standing firmly and solidly in the middle of many acres of park-land, whose western boundaries touched the outskirts of Maidstone. There was a fine view to the south, open park and magnificent trees to a distant lake. I was not to know then that every blade of grass, speck of gravel on the drives, and shape and size of every tree and bush would become as familiar to me as the shoes I walked in.
Read more 1915 or earlier

Phyllis Potter

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At the age of twenty-one, Phyllis, who from all accounts was a strikingly handsome young woman, dark-haired and with a searching eye which missed little, went up to West Hill College, near Birmingham, to take a Teacher-Training course in Sunday School work....
Read more 1917-1924

Winifred Vaizey

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Another young woman, Winifred Vaizey, also sent to Charlton, first on a visit in the Summer Term of 1919; then returned in September to teach a group of five to seven year olds. She also "took" walks and recalls some hoppers from the East End of London and in Kent for the annual hop-picking, running out cf their huts and pressing pennies into the Caldecott children's hands.

Read more 1919

Daisy Campbell

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In January 1920 another young woman, Daisy Campbell, joined the Charlton Staff. She was the sister of a doctor, Jessie Maxwell, whose husband later became Chairman of the Prison Commission and had a good deal to do with the Community; he was to become a great friend of Leila Rendel. She had known the Campbell family in Scotland for some years and she used Dr. Maxwell for medical inspections of the children in those early days.

Read more 1920

Kathleen Syer

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"...and there was Kathleen Syer, who was a friend of my aunt's at the harmonium..."
Read more c. 1920

Roma Easton (Miss E)

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"I first joined the Community in 1923 having been briefed in London by Miss Potter as to my duties with the Nursery Children and also the part I was expected to play in the wider life at Charlton Court. I had had some experience of Day Nurseries in the Hoxton slums and had had a training, so I thought I might manage the first but was doubtful as to the latter.
Read more 1923-1967

Ethel Davies (Miss Dave)

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Ethel Davies was born in Liverpool in 1897, the youngest of the two daughters of a well-to-do Ship's Chandler; there were three sons of the marriage. They were brought up in a fine old terraced eighteenth century house, one in a long street that runs down to the Mersey and the Docks; once an elegant street lived in by prosperous families but now, like much of the Liverpool of that century, the houses are let out as single rooms and flats, and are shabby and with an air of decay.

Read more c. 1926-1972

Betty Hillyer

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After the war, [Ethel Davies] eventually met up with another young woman, Betty Hillyer, a doctor's daughter from Somerset who had also a Domestic Science Training at Gloucester...

Read more c. 1927

Marjorie Seaver

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"I answered an advertisement for a temporary vacancy for someone to look after a group of children out of school hours in addition to housework and a small amount of teaching."
Read more 1930

Elizabeth Lloyd

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My life at the Caldecott Community covered a span of thirty-five years: a long time even measured by the standards of those pre-war years. This information is often greeted now with incredulity, then horror, then a reluctant grudging admiration that anyone in their right mind could stay for so long in one place: but there were others who had already been at the Community for some years before I came and who left after I did.

Read more 1936-1971

Heiner

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The only male member of staff at the Community, when I first went there, was a young German, and what he contributed to the well-being of the boys I never knew, as what he really enjoyed was the company of the young female staff.

Read more c. 1936-1939

Hedy (also Hedi, Hedwig, Heidi) Schwartz

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Read more c.1938 -c 1940 (?)

Aggie Travers

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Read more 1941-1967

Winifred Watson

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Winifred Watson was a member of staff and in the 50s taught the Junior Study children aged 7-9 yrs in the stableblock.
Read more 1950s

James King

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"In the early 1960s Leila Rendel, the founder and director of the Caldecott Community (now Foundation) was looking for a successor to run her inspiring therapeutic community for children. James King, who joined in 1961 and soon became team manager of a group of 15 boys and girls....."
Read more 1961-1992

Michael Jinks

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(Simon Rodway, "Michael Jinks, child care pioneer" : Obituary, The Guardian, August 27, 1996, p. 15)
Read more 1980-1996

Jane Abbey

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"Jane Abbey was a sort of assistant to Joe Marshall in the Colt House in my last year or two. I think before that she had dealt with senior study girls and maybe was at Lacton Hall for a time. She stayed on after I left and I always made a point of seeing her when I visited Caldecott for my annual recitals."
Read more tbc

David Carver

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Share your memories
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Carol Clark

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The Community's Secretary played a very important part, being, as far as I could judge, chauffeur, typist, office manager and organiser of everything that no one else could or wanted to do. She did most of the driving and was constantly out with Miss Leila. She too remained at the Community for a very great many years, until her death in the fifties.

Read more tbc

Major Clark

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Read more tbc

Mike Clover

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Share your memories
Read more tbc

Diana Dee

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Read more tbc

Desmond Draper

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Share your memories
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Dick Edwards [?]

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Read more tbc

John Gladstone

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Read more tbc

Diana Howarth

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Read more tbc

Jock Mackintosh

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" His accent was as Scottish as his name (his nickname was of course “Jock”). A very friendly chap. "
Read more tbc

Miss Mahon

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Read more tbc

Joe Marshall

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Read more tbc

Desiree Martin

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Down from London, every week, came the teacher of Eurhythmics, Desiree Martin. I have named her as she must be internationally known, and known by hundreds of ex-pupils of hers in this country in the dance, music and theatre world, for she later taught at the Royal Ballet School and the Royal College of Music.
Read more tbc

Pat Meara

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"Pat Meara was Australian, or at any rate had lived there. She didn’t have much of an Australian accent but didn’t quite sound pure English either. For a time (in my later years at CC) she looked after the upstairs dormitories in the West Wing. She was small, slightly dark-skinned and, I would say, a very strong-willed personality."
Read more tbc

Muriel Morris

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Share your memories
Read more tbc

Joyce Murdin

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Share your memories
Read more tbc

Nurse Nobbs

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Read more tbc

Betty Rayment

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Read more tbc

Margaret Robson

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Read more tbc

Miss Ruhl

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Read more left 1967

Don Sanford

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Read more tbc

Helen Stocks

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They ate in the kitchen except on Sundays, when they were invited to lunch in the dining-room, all except Helen, who remained in the kitchen to eat, and eventually wash-up.
Read more tbc

Audrey Watson

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"It was a difficult period for the Community. Apart from Miss Leila’s own semi-withdrawal and her death not long after, a whole host of long-standing staff members – Miss E., Miss Travers, Miss Elizabeth, Miss Ruhl, Mr. Gladstone and Miss Hill herself – all felt the time had come to retire. Not all at once, but over a period of about three years the shape of the Community had profoundly changed.
Read more tbc

Joan Watson

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"Relatively few ex-Caldecottians will remember Miss Joan Watson. I don’t think her stay was very long. She had been in charge of the middle class in the junior school for a few years when I arrived – the first class was in the hands of Margaret Robson, while Desmond Draper was headmaster and taught the higher class."
Read more tbc