Online Catalogue for Therapeutic Community History Launched. By Nicky Hilton.

The team at the MB3 Planned Environment Therapy Archives and Special Collections are delighted to announce the launch of the Service’s new online catalogue. For the first time you can independently search our collections from anywhere in the world using your computer, laptop or mobile device.

The launch of the catalogue is part of a three year project to modernise the management of the Archives, making the materials we hold easier to search and access both online and in our searchroom.

At this early stage the catalogue already contains descriptive overviews of all our major archive collections. These descriptions provide a taster of the topics, people and events that can be explored through the archives, providing a portal from which TC histories can be explored .

We’ve also made selected recordings from our substantial oral history collections available for free via the catalogue. These fascinating interviews (conducted between 1989 and 2018), capture the voices of practitioners and community members living, working and supporting therapeutic communities in the post war era.

Particular favourites of mine are the interviews conducted with Dr Bertram Mandelbrote. Mandelbrote was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Ley Community in 1972 which offered a therapeutic rehabilitation programme for those with drug and alcohol dependency. Mandelbrote talks with clarity and consideration about the successes and challenges of establishing the community as well as explaining the theory which underpinned his practice.

It’s also been a joy to hear the voices of Barbara and Stephen Dockar-Drysdale, founders of The Mulberry Bush School in Oxfordshire. The recordings invite us to join the couple as they wander down memory lane. In doing so, we are given a unique insight into the personalities of a couple who made it their life’s work to improve the outlook for vulnerable children in their care.

With many more archives to be revealed and oral histories to be shared this is a really exciting time for the PET Archives and TC history. We’d love to hear your thoughts on what we’ve done so far, and how the Archives could support your research, interests and practice.

You can visit the catalogue here

Please do contact us if you would like any more information about the work we do here: [email protected]


Listen to Dr Bertram Mandelbrote

Listen to Barbara and Stephen Dockar Drysdale

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