Ethel Davies, Co-Director of Caldecott Community

The following information is extracted from Elizabeth Lloyd's book "The Story of a Community" written in 1976. The book is a typed manuscript, the original held in the Caldecott Association Archives (awaiting a Catalogue number) at the 'Planned Environment Therapy Trust' (PETT).

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.

The house in Huskisson Street, in the early nineteen hundreds, was not a peaceful one though and Ethel Davies had an unhappy and difficult childhood and girlhood there...

After leaving school in Birkenhead, Ethel took Domestic Science Training. Towards the end of the War in 1918 she joined the Ambulance Brigade as a driver; the only time in her life when she drove a vehicle of any sort...

After the war she eventually met up with Betty Hillyer, a Doctor's daughter from Somerset who also had Domestic Science Training and they worked together for a family with seven children; Betty cooking, and Ethel as 'parlour-maid'. After nine months Ethel had to return to Liverpool to look after her sick Mother. After another nine months she saw an advertisement that read "Wanted, someone who enjoys working hard for little money". She answered the advetisement and was accepted onto the staff of the Caldecott Community at Goffs Oak in Hertforshire.

After some months she was joined by Betty Hillier and they worked together in the Pantry and Dining Room. Later Betty moved into full-time cooking duties, whilst Ethel was moved from Pantry work to become the girl's Matron.

When Phyllis Potter decided to leave the Community in 1931, Miss Leila almost immediately appointed Ethel as a second Director. This appointment was viewed with astonishment and concern by the rest of the adult Community but Ethel and Leila were to work in excellent harmony for over forty years until the death of Leila in 1969.

Ethel Davies retired from the Community in 1972.

 

This memory was written by Margaret Stirling, more than twenty years after the death of Miss Dave.

For readers who knew Miss Dave, Margaret's words must surely bring back fond memories of a remarkable, but self-effacing lady.