by Briony Webb. Self published. Lulu (www.lulu.com), 2011. ISBN. 978-1-4477-7165-4
A 'must read' for those who wish to understand the origins of Caldecott Community 1911-1920.
It is believed that the proceeds of the sale of this extraordinary book will be donated to The Caldecott Foundation.
George by Briony Webb
In the London of suffragism and the Bloomsbury Group, two young women are driven by idealism to found a nursery school for poor children from the slums of Somers Town; children like George, a toddler from a large family who struggle to live decently amidst squalor, ill health, drunkenness and violence.
Drawing on their ingenuity and perseverance, Phyllis (Potter) and Leila (Rendel) win the support of the families, the educational establishment and fashionable society, and develop the Caldecott Nursery into a community that experiments with new ideas in education. But their success is threatened by the Great War, and they are forced to uproot the community and take the children to a new life in the Kent countryside.
Based on detailed research into the real people of the story, this novel imagines the experience of Phyllis as she sacrifices her personal aspirations in the face of the all-consuming demands of building the community that absorb all her energies. And it explores George’s dilemma as he is nurtured in a culture in which he finds himself dislocated from his own origins and identity.
(Note: the picture on the front cover of the booklet 'New Foundations' by Enid Coggin 1920 was, possibly, drawn by the real-life 'George' age 11- George Ernest Wheatley, Father of Briony Webb).