Wednesday, 7 October 2009
The Peckham Experiment.
Speaking on the phone yesterday to an old comrade about meeting up at the Anarchist Bookfair he said that he would have to blow me out. Prior commitment at Camberwell College of Art he said. Something to do with the Peckham Experiment. 'The what?' I said. He was amazed that I hadn't heard of it, and now having found out a bit about it, so am I.
Established in the 1930's, the Peckham Experiment was a groundbreaking health centre founded on the principles of self-management and the belief that left to themselves people would spontaneously begin to organise in a creative way. The project was a huge success but eventually closed in 1950, it's philosophy of autonomy and prevention rather than cure being at odds with the new NHS. Colin Ward wrote at length on the subject and there is a very interesting piece by David Goodway on the History and Policy website.
I feel like the subject of one of those HM Bateman cartoons - 'The Anarchist Who Had Never Heard Of The Peckham Experiment'.