History of Camphill

Who established Camphill

In 1939, a small but dedicated group of Austrian refugees settled outside of Aberdeen.  The group of doctors, artists, and a dancer had come for a specific purpose: to live with, care for and educate children with special needs.

The group had first come together in Vienna, where they had studied the work of Rudolf Steiner, and started to make plans to set up a community based on anthroposophical ideals.  At that time, children with disabilities did not normally receive an education, either being cared for in hospitals or at home, and the group wanted to make a real difference for this group of people.  They wanted to help people to express themselves and develop.

Many of the group were Jewish, and had to flee Austria.  They set up their first community in a rented manse, which provided accommodation and food from the gardens for the small group and the children they were to care for.  Shortly after this the men in the group were interned as enemy aliens, but the women continued with the work. 

Naming the movement

This group of pioneering Austrian refugees went on to purchase Camphill House, which gives its name to the movement, on June 1, 1940, and this date is now recognised as Camphill's birthday.

Camphill develops

When the men finally returned to the new site, the community was active and thriving, with about 12 children living, working and learning with their dedicated co-workers.

Some favourable publicity from the press earned Camphill interest, approval and respect from the local community, and within two years they had to rent another house to cope with the resulting expansion.

Since then, Camphill has continued to expand and grow around the world.  

Timeline of key developments in Scotland

1944
Murtle Estate purchased, becoming the second estate of Camphill Rudolf Steiner Schools

1945
Camphill acquires Newton Dee Estate, originally as a community for boys

1948
St John's School opens on Murtle Estate to provide education facilities for the children at Camphill and Murtle, alongside the children of Camphill co-workers

1950
Cairnlee Estate purchased, initially as a centre for girls

1953
Camphill Movement spread outside Aberdeen for the first time, with the opening of centres in England

1959
First Camphill community established in the USA

1960
Newton Dee transfered to the Camphill Village Trust as a centre for adults.  Devolved from CVT 2012

1972
Ochil Tower School established in Auchterarder

1972
Templehill established in Auchenblae (closed 2000)

1974
Milltown Community established in Arbuthnott

1975
Camphill Blair Drummond established near Stirling

1977
Corbenic established in Trochry, by Dunkeld

1978
Beannachar established at Banchory Devenick, just outside Aberdeen

1983
Loch Arthur Village established in Beeswing, Dumfries

1984
Simeon Care for the Elderly opened on Cairnlee Estate, in the Bieldside area of Aberdeen

1987
Tigh a' Chomainn opened in Peterculter area of Aberdeen

1992
Tiphereth established in Edinburgh

1995
Camphill Scotland was established

2000
Camphill Medical Practice developed as an NHS practice

©2012 Camphill Scotland is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation: SC024428. Our principal office is 17-21 East Mayfield, Edinburgh EH9 1SE

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