Archives and Special Collections

Who we are

We are the Planned Environment Therapy Archives and Special Collections, including the National Childcare Library, part of The Mulberry Bush Organisation.

The Planned Environment Therapy Archives and Special Collections were established in 1989 by the Planned Environment Therapy Trust (PETT).

An internationally important collection of original and published materials, the archives and accompanying publications form a unique, living collection that explores the history of therapeutic practices in schools, hospitals, prisons and residential settings.


The National Childcare Library was established in 2004 by David Lane and PETT. It is an extensive resource of published materials recording the history of private and public childcare. The Library includes rare and out-of-print books, journals and pamphlets.




What we do

The Archives and Special Collections promote therapeutic care through preserving and providing access to primary and secondary source materials.

We actively collect materials which together record the histories, achievements and memories of:

  • Therapeutic communities
  • Community living environments
  • Enabling environments
  • Planned environments

We are currently working to improve the management of the Archives and Libraries as part of a three year project to better preserve and promote the collections. You can read more about our work and future plans in our Collections Development Policy.


Search our collections

**NEW** You can discover the collections we hold by searching our Online Catalogue.

Our dedicated team regularly add new descriptions to our catalogue as they continue to covert traditional finding aids into online records.

If you can’t find what you are looking for after searching our catalogue, please get in touch using the contact details below and we will search our hardcopy finding aids on your behalf.


Plan your visit

The Archives, Special Collections and National Childcare Library are free to use and open to the public by appointment only.

To book your visit, please contact the Archives Team using the details below.

You might find it useful to read our Information for Researchers booklet before you visit.

Our usual opening hours are open Monday-Friday 10am to 4:30pm.

The Archives are located at The Mulberry Bush Third Space in Toddington, Gloucestershire.


Our services

Borrowing books: We operate a lending scheme for the National Childcare Library whereby books can be borrowed for up to four weeks with payment of a £5 deposit.

Group visits: We can accommodate group visits and tours of the Archives. Where possible, tours can be tailored to the interests of your group. Full details and prices are available on request.

Talks and Presentations: we can arrange to visit your work place, society or group meeting to present our favorite stories from the Archives or explore specific collections we hold. Full details and prices are available on request.

Professional advice: Our team of professional Archivists can be hired to provide expert advice and tips on how to better manage and preserve your organisation’s records and documents. Full details and prices are available on request.


Our policies

Our team are committed to following professional standards with regards to the management of the Archives and Special Collections.


Be part of the Archives!

We welcome large and small donations from individuals and organisations relating to therapeutic care and communities as well as the history of childcare.

As part of the Archives, Special Collections and Library your materials will be preserved and made accessible to researchers, practitioners and community groups for generations to come. Please get in touch to find out more.

We’re also interested to hear about reminiscence and history projects involving those affiliated with current or historic TCs. We’d love to work with you to support your project, offer professional archival advice, and provide a long term home for the project outputs.


Contact us

The best way to reach us is by email at: or to call on 01242 621 200 and ask for the Archives.

Alternatively, you can contact Senior Archivist, Nicky Hilton directly at

Our postal address is: Archives and Library, Mulberry Bush Third Space, Church Lane, Toddington, Gloucestershire, GL54 5DQ


The Mulberry Bush Third Space
Church Lane
Toddington, Cheltenham
GL54 5DQ

Tel. 01242 621200
Part of The Mulberry Bush Organisation Ltd.
Registered Charity 309565