Festival celebrating the life & work of Caldecott

Caldecott Festival – Saturday 27th February 2021



I am a grandmother of two sets of twins. How is that for being lucky? It is because of them and their parents that I find myself living in the lovely market town of Whitchurch in Shropshire, which has been here since the Romans came to England.

In Whitchurch I got to know Mr Randolph Caldecott, a resident of the town in the 1860s. The more I got to know about him the more I wanted to learn about the man who never stopped drawing and who drew much of our town and the surrounding countryside.  He illustrated many children’s books with his paintings and drawings. He had a great sense of humour and his cartoons of people from all over Europe made me laugh out loud.

I wanted to share my discovery of the man, the artist and humourist.

I talked and talked about him. I held a town meeting and asked people to join in celebrating his life and work to create a festival.

So now we have our team. Teachers, local business owners and people from the voluntary sector. The steering group has become the Caldecott crew to prepare for the festival on SATURDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2021  and create an event a month for  2020 so more and more people get to know about Mr Caldecott and can smile at his work and be inspired by his courage and determination to live his dream.

He is little known it turns out in our town, let alone the rest of the UK. However he is well known in the USA. Why is that? There the Caldecott medal with two of his drawings on it is awarded every year for “the most distinguished American picture book for children” by the Association for Library Service to Children.

 On the front of the medal is an engraving of his picture of John Gilpin. The medal is made of silver.

Our vision is to make him as well known in England and to put our lovely town firmly on the creative map for aspiring and living artists and cartoonists, as well as those of us who enjoy arts, cartoons and laughter.

How did he get to the USA? How did he travel to different parts of Europe, spend time with both locals and famous artist? How did he get from being a trainee at the bank to a well-loved artist earning his living by drawing and painting?

His dad wanted him to become the banker. That is why he came to Whitchurch, to work in a bank. He trained at night school to become an artist and worked by day in the bank until he was age 26 when he quit his day job and went to London to earn his living as an artist. How courageous is that!

We will use the money we  raise to help market the festival and prepare for it, create paid internships for young people.

Recent Posts