Ancestry UK

The Caldecott Community

The Caldecott Community was founded in 1911 and was based at 26 Cartwright Gardens, St Pancras, London, by Leila Rendel, who believed that creating the right environment could help disadvantaged children develop their true potential.

In 1917, the Community moved to Charlton Court, East Sutton, Kent, then from 1924 to 1932 occupied Caldecot House, Goff's Oak, Cuffley, Hertfordshire.

The next move was to Mote House, Mote Park, near Maidstone, Kent. On 27th July, 1940, the premises were certified for use as an Approved School. The Mote School, as it was officially known, accommodated up 10 boys and 10 girls under 11 years of age who required special treatment. Soon afterwards, the Community was evacuated to Hyde House, Hyde Heath, Wareham, Dorset. On 15th May, 1941, the erstwhile Mote School was renamed Caldecott Community School.

In 1947, the School moved to Mersham-le-Hatch, Mersham, near Ashford. On 29th September, 1948, the establishment was re-certified as an Approved School. The certificate was withdrawn on 10th December, 1949.

In around 1998, the Community became the Caldecott Foundation and dispersed to a number of other properties, with its headquarters at Caldecott House, Smeeth, near Ashford.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.


  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Hyland,Jim Yesterday's Answers: Yesterday's Answers: Development and Decline of Schools for Young Offenders (1993, Whiting and Birch)
  • Millham, S, Bullock, R, and Cherrett, P After Grace — Teeth: a comparative study of the residential experience of boys in Approved Schools (1975, Chaucer Publishing)