To round off a busy October, the Early Pestalozzi Children Project has been invited by the University of Brighton to present its story to students and staff on the Falmer Campus on 27th October. This is an exciting development for the Project as it will expose our story and activities to a wider audience and give us the potential to link with further specialised knowledge.
William and Len will make their annual presentation to the staff and new intake of students at the Pestalozzi International Village Trust (PIVT) this coming Monday, 24th October. We are delighted that there will be several former early Pestalozzi children attending, a former volunteer staff member and even a former teacher from Claverham County Secondary Modern School (as it once was!). There will also be opening comments by Dr Craig Fees, Archivist at the Planned Environment Therapy Trust, who has been our mentor and staunch supporter from the outset of our project.
PIVT has nominated this date (which is also United Nations Day) as the Pestalozzi “Founders Day”. This is a special date for the earliest of the early Pestalozzi children – it will be exactly 56 years since the inaugural “Foundation Day” was celebrated at Pestalozzi in 1960. Dr Walter Corti (founder of the Swiss Pestalozzi Children’s Village) attended and presided over the burial of a time capsule (this site can still be seen in the Pestalozzi Peace Garden, just above Sainsbury House).
Not only will this be our first presentation in the new Pestalozzi Centre, but there will also be an unveiling of framed images for a Founders’ Display, positioned in the entrance of the new Centre. This will be a fitting tribute to the founders and those who inspired the establishment of this Pestalozzi community. We feel this is a validation of our efforts to have our early history recognised.
The Early Pestalozzi Children Project received a valuable surprise recently which resulted in making a presentation about the Project to a seminar in Hastings on 8th October. The event, titled “Not 1066 and all that – radical histories in Hastings and St Leonards” was a showcase for a variety of local community history studies; demonstrating how it’s being done and inspiring others to have a go for themselves.
An enquiry to organiser, Dr Hilda Kean, about the possibility of us attending, resulted in an invitation to tell our own story! Dr Kean, a public and cultural historian, had organised a group of engaging local speakers, some of whom spoke of fascinating research which took them far beyond the bounds of Hastings and the UK.
Our own presentation was very well received and we also encountered people who recollected visiting the Pestalozzi Children’s Village nearly half a century ago. It was pleasing to hear the emotional recollection of those memories. Additionally, we have made new and valuable contacts in the Hastings area.
Our thanks go to organisers Hilda Kean and Dee Daly for making us welcome.
We are grateful for the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Sharing Heritage grant which, among other things, enables us to travel and spread the early Pestalozzi story.