By the mid nineteen-fifties the Community was very full, with a long waiting list. The Colt House had been built to accommodate boys over fourteen; there were about a dozen of these and they lived there with a young Housemaster: he had previously worked with the boys and he remained with them for a great many years and after leaving to do a University course and take up fresh work maintained a remarkable contact with the boys and did, I thought, an immense amount of invaluable after-care work.

The younger boys of the Seniors’ group remained in the west wing of the main house.

A notable event of the fifties was the O.B.E. award given to Miss Leila. She went to Buckingham Palace to receive it. There was great speculation as to what hat should be considered worthy of this occasion; but Miss Leila, having a love of hats and a love of change, had plenty to choose from: a new one was of course bought. We celebrated this Award with a tremendous party to which the whole Community came: it went on for hours and hours in the hall, dining room and library: a good many old boys and girls came and it culminated in a skit put on by the Staff in which Desiree Martin took the part of Miss Leila: The Queen was represented by a young woman who had a remarkably similar voice to that of her Sovereign, and the whole Palace Ceremony of the giving of the O.B.E. was enacted: none of us had ever seen this actual ceremony but the Community was never lacking in imagination.

The Paddocks, a large house with a lot of ground just across the main Ashford road, was taken and what was known as a "Family Group" was established there. It was run by an ex-Naval Commander and his wife. He had been on the Staff for some time and his wife worked as Secretary in the Office. To this house were sent children who it was thought would do better in a smaller group and away from the noise and pace of the main house: the idea was that they would come into the Community, although they were already, of course, part of it, either when they were adolescent or perhaps sooner. They attended the Community's Junior School and came to the mid-day meal and Sunday Chapel Services. A golden Labrador, aptly called Sinbad, joined them at the Paddocks and grew to a massive size: he used to become very enamoured of Miss Dave's Retriever and the only people who could really control him were his owners.

Later, Michael Clover took over the Paddocks for a scheme of his own and the Community children no longer went there. Lacton Hall, a fine Georgian House in Willesborough, was bought and children needing the same sort of care were sent there: this was run for some years by a young Housemaster and his wife: they later came to live up at the Community and their place was taken by another young man and his wife.

All this meant of course that the Community's numbers could be increased and they rose to a hundred and fourteen.

Remedial teaching was started under the auspices, as it were, of Dr. Kellmer Pringle, a full-time Remedial teacher who came on the Staff. Her work was invaluable and she must have enlightened the befogged minds of many many children who were by no means unintelligent; some of them had high I.Qs but they simply needed some intensive, concentrated individual teaching and help, and when light dawned for them they forged ahead and needed her no more.

I ran the Library now, which I found an enjoyable task as we had a great many books. The County Library in Maidstone loaned over a hundred each term, mostly fiction, but they would send any I particularly asked for: their supply of books for the very young, books with large clear print and good illustrations, was always excellent.

A certain amount of money was available from a bequest left to the Community by Lady Betty Balfour; it was specifically for books but was only £18 per annum, which did not buy very many. Now, of course, in 1976 it would get very few. I managed to squeeze money out of the "office" - the Community's Treasury - at intervals and the library did steadily increase. The younger children read a great deal as "Rest" still continued when they would read for half an hour or more every day, all the old favourites and much very good new children's literature. As the years went by I always thought the Seniors, both boys and girls, read less and less as "Pop" music and television took the place of books.

Weekends in these years of the nineteen fifties continued to follow much the same pattern although the senior part of the school had grown greatly in number, and the outside schools offered various activities in after-school hours, and some of the boys, and the girls, were in their various schools games teams.

Miss Leila still took two Chapel Services on Sunday, a Junior and a Senior service: by now I was giving a great many of the Addresses or what were known as "Talks" in Chapel: in fact I spoke on most Sundays, although doing my best to persuade Miss Leila to speak as her "Talks" were still so admirable. I also did my best to persuade Miss Leila to allow others to talk and give their views but she was very loth to do this and I never really knew why. She did eventually have in outside speakers, but not often. I found it a considerable strain at first to stand up in Chapel and speak, not because of the size of the congregation, which could be anything from sixty to seventy, but because I knew them all so well, and they knew me. I used to envy clergymen in their pulpits who could not have known their congregations as I did mine, nor have lived in such close proximity to them either.

It was not difficult to find subjects to talk about: I did not always care for conventional church doctrine and anyway all the children had Religious Instruction in school. I had been long enough at the Community to know by now what interested the adolescent. I really wished to make them become aware of the ever-increasing questions and problems that faced all classes of society and to see what connection “Religion” had with them and whether it had any answer.

I tried to persuade Miss Dave to speak in Chapel but to no avail: she would not function in Chapel in any way, which I always thought was a pity because she had a very attractive clear speaking voice; she could control a crowd, did not mind addressing it and expressed herself well: she was also fully in accord with all that went on in Chapel and the way the service was conducted. It must have been some inhibition which she never got over that prevented her from ever taking a service.

The only time I ever heard Miss Dave say anything in a Chapel service was during a Remembrance Sunday Service one November. Michael Clover was to "speak" at the service. We had the "Two Minutes' Silence" for which we sat. The silence went on and on and we sat on and on: there was a good deal of coughing and clearing of throats in a rather ostentatious manner but no one moved. At last, after what seemed a very very long time indeed and I was wondering however it was to end, Miss Dave rose to her feet and said "Miss Leila, I think the two minutes must be over."

"Oh dear", said Miss Leila, "I was waiting for Mr. Clover to end the silence." Accustomed to a Friends’ Meeting a mere eight minutes was of course nothing to Miss Leila.

We rose from our chairs with alacrity and in all my life I have never heard "O God our help in ages past" sung with such gusto or speed.

Music at the community began to play a much greater part now. We had in the Chapel a small and beautiful old 18th century organ; it had a most sweet and mellifluous tone. In time another much larger new organ took its place; this was bought with money given by Madame Hilda Besse, the wife of the Belgian ship owner, Anton Besse. Miss Leila had met his wife at Gordonstoun when she was a Governor. Madame Besse, who was English, used to come and stay at Mersham-le-Hatch: she was always very generous and I think probably gave quite a lot of money to the Community.

We had a full-time Music Teacher who taught singing in the Junior School and gave piano lessons. The difficulty as far as the latter were concerned was in getting anyone to practise.

Desiree Martin came down again from London to take Eurhythmic classes. Undaunted by the difficulties of all the war years, she was as gay and invigorating as ever. She began again to produce the annual Christmas Nativity play and I always thought that these plays were in a class of their own: they were not the insipid milk-and-water productions of so many schools, or as a recent critic wrote "like a warm milk pudding."

These Community plays were highly dramatic and with beautifully timed and stylised movement for they were all done to music based on Eurhythmical movement and they were basically so excellent because the young actors were trained by two people who both had a highly developed sense of drama and who were both born teachers and I refer of course to Miss Leila and Desiree Martin.

The parts were allocated with great care. Successive generations of girls who took the part of Mary would behave like Prima Donnas of international reputation and would sweep off the stage saying they were never going to return. No one was unduly disturbed as it was quite obvious that (at the last possible moment it is true) they would appear again: no whipper-snapper of an understudy was going to be on the stage on the Day while the star was upstairs, out of it all: many of them were born actors and took to a stage at once and were well away in their part after one rehearsal while a lesser breed of actors followed humbly after them.

Although the only thing that mattered was that all should be well on the stage, it was not, as can be easily imagined, so well or so smooth-running in the background, upstairs.

Another play, King Saul, was produced by Miss Leila and Desiree in the Chapter House of Canterbury Cathedral.

This entailed an enormous amount of work of course, and here it was that the current Music Teacher did so much as the play was all done to music; Desiree Martin playing the piano for the whole of the play.

We also had the assistance of a former Eurhythmics teacher, now retired. She was Dutch and had worked with Phyllis Potter so she was well-known to Miss Leila. Although elderly now, she came down to the Community to see if she could give any help in the production of this play.

She stayed about a week. I went into the Library one day and there, alone, wearing a hat and with bare feet and in brown silk petticoat having removed her skirt, was Miss B. crouched almost on all fours. She was running round and round in a circle: I watched, fascinated. She stopped, and breathless "I am sheep," she announced.

Awe struck, I crept away.

After Desiree Martin had retired a niece of the American actress, Ruth Draper, came for a few terms.

She was nearly six foot in height and she arrived one tea time with, I remember, a nearly six-foot high bright scarlet umbrella. She was given tea and she said she thought the children probably needed their egos released.

No one batted so much as an eyelid, no one said anything.

The noise from her first class in the Library could have been heard several miles away.

She was a charming and generous character though and said afterwards that she had been wrong about the egos; they needed restraint, not release.

She too, like many of the Dalcrose Teachers we had met, was gay and vivacious and amusing and we missed her when she returned to the States.

[This was Penelope Draper Buchanan, and the time at Caldecott would have been 1957-8. See her 2010 obituary here]