Every new detail about the people who became involved with the Caldecott Community helps to fill out the story of the Caldecott family: the story opens and becomes bigger with each new detail. We also see how the Community's life flows out even more widely into the world, with Caldecott people touching others' lives, and bringing them in that way into the Caldecott story as well.


Herbert and Nancy Wainwright

Dennis Wainwright's father, Herbert,  met the Caldecott Community's co-founder Phyllis Potter through a London Sunday School. At Goff's Oak in Hertfordshire (where the Community lived from 1924-1932), he took an active part in running the Caldecott School, as part of an arrangement through which his son Dennis attended the school. Dennis' mother Nancy became involved as well. Dennis's son Gerald writes:

I understand Nancy helped on occasion with some of the very young infant children, for example taking them out for a walk if the teacher was away or unavailable for some reason.

She would also offer the spare room in their house to a member of staff if there was no room available at Caldecott. Dennis recounts a story that, as there was only running hot water on the days of the week Herbert lit the coal fired boiler, if there was a member of staff staying, Nancy would take up a cup of tea, along with a kettle of hot water for them to use to wash, before the guest walked the short distance down to Caldecott to join them for breakfast. On one occasion Dennis remembers a Miss Naylor, who was using their spare room, was spotted by Nancy and Herbert from their bedroom window, walking off down the road to Caldecott for breakfast, carrying their kettle!

He goes on to say:

I’m afraid not much is known about how Dennis’s parents Herbert and Nancy met. Nancy was significantly older and it is believed the first time Herbert saw her was when he went in to a grocery shop in Lewisham to buy a bar of soap - Nancy was serving in the shop which was owned by her parents.

Herbert and Nancy were married on August 23, 1914, as Herbert was in the Territorial Army and was called up at the start of the First World War, so they thought their future was somewhat uncertain. With good fortune, they went on to have a long and happy marriage, celebrating their golden wedding anniversary in 1964. Both lived into their mid 90s with Nancy dying in 1974 and Herbert in 1985. Herbert was in the Royal Engineers Regiment.



Sergeant Barnado


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During the Second World War Dennis served in the Devonshire Regiment, but was subsequently seconded to the Kings African Rifles, and served in Kenya. In the photograph above he is pictured with Sgt. Barnado, who had earlier been his Company Office Orderly.