One of the factors that has inspired us to recover our story is the paucity of credible information published about the subject. And, of the books that have been published, we believe that some are of questionable accuracy.
We have nonetheless decided to list all books that we have discovered which refer to the early days of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village, irrespective of our opinion as to their value or accuracy. We feel that to ignore some publications is to leave them accessible to researchers who may not recongise their limitiations – or even misrepresentation. Where appropriate we will include our own caveat.
Similarly, there are several features we have found in newspapers and magazines, published across decades, which have failed to present the story accurately. One recent article (2013) completely omitted the fact that European children had even lived at the Pestalozzi Children’s Village!
We feel that, the longer this misrepresentation continues, the greater the likelihood that our true story will disappear. That is the nub of the matter: this is our story and it will belong to our descendants. They, too, deserve to have a clear and accurate record of our lives.
Do you know of other books which refer to this subject? If so, please let us know – we are keen to hear from you. Click here
Barker, Ralph. 1975. One Man’s Jungle. London. Chatto & Windus
The first biography of Freddy Spencer Chapman, who was Warden at the Pestalozzi Children’s Village between 1962 and 1966. The biography is believed to have been commissioned by Spencer Chapman’s wife, Faith, in 1973. The period at the Pestalozzi Children’s Village is a small but sad moment in Spencer Chapman’s life as he was certainly unhappy at that time.
Bourne, Eric. 2012. A European Life. New Romney. Bank House Books
The autobiography of the first Warden of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village. His time at the Village is a small proportion of his life and, so, comprises a very small part of the book. Nonetheless, Eric Bourne was a pivotal influence on the initial shape of the community and remains an influential figure in our lives.
Buchanan, Mary. 1951. The Children’s Village:The Village of Peace. London. The Bannisdale Press (Five editions published)
This book was written by one of the co-founders of the British Pestalozzi Children’s Village Association (and, at the time, its Honorary General Secretary).
This book tells the story of the creation and development of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village in Switzerland and relates the vision of the British Association. The fifth (revised) edition, privately published by the author in 1960 and reprinted in 1961, includes information and photographs about the then new Pestalozzi Children’s Village in East Sussex.
Lucey, Beryl. 1984. A Village Where The World Is One. London. Regency Press
Written by a resident of the local Sedlescombe village some twenty years after the first children began to depart. The author reviews the story of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village on the Oaklands estate through to about 1984. While this book contains, probably, more information than any other publication about the Village’s earliest days, we hold significant reservations as to its reliability as a work of reference. The children’s real names appear to have been included – but there is also reference to one child (by name) for whom there is neither any record located so far nor any recollection of on the part of surviving children and staff. There are quotations attributed to some of the original children (some of which are disputed by the cited individuals) and statements about the backgrounds of some of the individual children. These details (in some cases, personally sensitive) appear never to have been referred to the subjects before publication and we are unaware of any of the early Pestalozzi children being approached at any stage about their story or the research. Further, we note that this book contains little in the way of attributions or citations for many of the statements made – save for a brief bibliography at the end of the book. We do not make any comment or judgement about the author’s material relating to the years beyond our own experiences.
Moynahan, Brian. 2009. Jungle Soldier. London. Quercus
A more recent biography of Freddy Spencer Chapman which focusses, primarily on his wartime exploits in Malaya. Spencer Chapman’s experiences as Warden of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village are summarised in a single paragraph and present what we feel is a very distorted image of the resident children and their conduct.
Zaniewicki, Zbigniew. 2012. 40 Lat W Anglii (40 Years in England). Warsaw. published privately
(Polish language – manscript rewritten for publication by Krystyna Sosińska)
One of a group of autobiographies about a man who spent some time supporting the Pestalozzi Children’s Village as a teacher of Polish language and culture to the resident Polish children. Again, this is a small part of a long life and gives only a brief image of his experiences at the Village.