The Caldecott Community was founded in 1911 in St Pancras, London, by the 28 year old Leila Rendel. Details of the initial years are well documented elsewhere, particularly in the book titled 'George' by Briony Webb.
The effects of the First World War on London, and Miss Leila's belief in the need to create a healthy environment for her ever expanding group of nursery children, led her to move the Community out into a countryside property in 1917; the first of several moves until the Community finally leased Mersham-le-Hatch, Kent, in 1947.
Miss Leila led the Community until 1967 and sadly died in 1969, soon to be followed by her co-Director Ethel Davies (Miss Dave) who died in 1974.
The loss of these two iconic leaders was the beginning of the end of a long and succcessful era of child care. At the end of Mersham-le-Hatch's 50 year lease the Caldecott Community, that was already evolving into it's current form of a modern day care facility, and had, in about 1998, changed it's name to the Caldecott Foundation, dispersed to a collection of several different properties still in the Ashford/Smeeth area of Kent.
As can be imagined, this transition uncovered a wealth of Documents, Photographs, Artefacts, and general memorabilia from as far back as the early days of the nursery school, the amount of which far outstripped Caldecott Foundation's relatively meagre storage capacity. A small group of ex-Caldecott pupils retrieved as much as was reasonable from the surplus material and these disparate collections finally came together as a 'Caldecott Archive' in the professional care of a Trust known as 'Planned Environment Therapy Trust' (PETT) based in Toddington, Gloucestershire. This process was managed by members of the Caldecott Association formed in 2004.
It is nice to see this Archive slowly growing as ex-pupils and staff donate, or lend, their carefully (and sometimes not so carefully) kept photographs and personal documents related to their time with the Community. Some people have even delved into their past and written, or dictated, their memories for the benefit of the Archive.
Although visitors are welcome at PETT's excellent Archive facility, it's geographical remoteness means that it is not always easy for volunteer ex-members of the Community to spend time there helping to sort and catalogue original material, and introduce newly received donations. Neither is the material readily accessible to those people who cannot make the journey.
To redress these shortcomings, and make material visible to the wider public, the Caldecott Association initiated it's own website, the embryo version of which came to fruition in 2013.
The website content is slowly growing, reflecting the slow progress made with cataloguing material at PETT, and it will continue to evolve and improve as time goes on.
CLICK ON ANY OF THE TABS ABOVE THE BLUE BANNER TO FIND YOUR WAY AROUND THE SITE.
YOU CAN VIEW THE SITE WITHOUT LOGGING IN.
The content of this site is the sole responsibility of the Caldecott Association
Please be aware that this website will contain photographs of many former pupils and staff, sometimes with names added. If anyone would prefer not to be named, please let us know via the "Contact us" link.