From Coalface to Facebook?

The Child Care History Network Annual Conference will take place at the Planned Environment Therapy Trust at the Barns in Toddington, Gloucestershire on Thursday 11 November 2010.

We are used to dealing with files stuffed full of papers; that is the meat which generations of archivists, researchers, social workers and other professionals have fed on. But now we have text messages, emails, twitter and electronic friends.

What are the opportunities offered by the new media, to record people’s experiences in new ways? What are the threats and dangers – particularly to vulnerable children? What will archives of the 2010s look like in 2060? The conference will offer a chance to think through these sorts of issues and hear from people involved in the use of electronic archives.

Speakers will include, Dr. Jim Goddard from the Care Leavers Association and the University of Bradford, Simon Hammond from the University of East Anglia, Dr Craig Fees from the Planned Environment Trust, and Charles Sharpe from goodenoughcaring.

The fee for the conference includes membership of the Network and many individual and organisational members use the conference as the opportunity to renew membership. The Annual General Meeting of  CCHN will take place immediately before the conference.

For those of you who may be thinking of joining CCHN I would urge you to visit the website at   where you can find out about the work of the network and about what membership has to offer. I hope that this will be of interest to you and it would be good to see you in November.

I have attached details of the conference and the webpage can be accessed at

PS       For those travelling some distance it is possible to book accommodation for the night before or after the conference – and there is the chance to network over an evening meal.

1 thought on “From Coalface to Facebook?”

  1. Have read with interest the story of child abuse at Court Lees Approved School. Has a move ever been made to contact minors sent to this school? As I was one of them in 1948-50 I could probably give a personal update on what it was really like and would like to know more about how the lads made out from there. I know one eventually went to the Arethusa training ship. I do not recall child abuse by staff, who were in the main very caring people. Apart that is from a Mr Edwards in Maintenance Department who was very handy with his fists delivered at the nape of the neck if he wanted to make it known he demanded silence during meal times. There was a considerably amount of homosexual activity among some lads which, when discovered, resulted in downgarding on the conduct scale which ranged from 1 to 4, with a subsequent loss of pocket money.There was also a Gym instructor ( a Mr Robert?) ,brother of the superintendent of the Harrietsham Remand Home who was keen to show off his boxing prowess with one of our star boxers incarcerated at the time. We had a boxing team that represented the school at the White City Stadium for amateur boxing. The ‘Guvnor’ at my time was Mr Fish and his second in command was Mr Barke (known by us as Doggie Barke). Mr Fish will always be remembered by me for his regular lectures at morning assembly when he made it clear he did not want us to join the “Gor Blimey” boys who were our peers on the outside.One of the female staff that I can remember was Mrs Shearne-a very kindly lady. There was also a Miss Jones who cared for the sick bay. My misdemeanor? I ran away from home on two occasions because my parents were going through the process of seperation and I,child-like, thought my actions would bring them back together. It didn’t work at the time but they reconciled their differences many years later by which time I had joined the Merchant Navy. Strangely when faced with the Juvenile Court to answer for my sins I asked to be sent away to school- foolishly believing I would be sent to a Naval Training school. My trust in adults plunged dramatically when I was transported to Court Lees, particularly as my accompanying Probation Officer assured me I was heading for the much desired Naval School.


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