So Even the Tree has its Yolk

Open Access


This creative-critical work draws on the archives of the Pioneer Health Centre, also known as the Peckham Experiment, held at the Wellcome Library. The Centre was established between the wars both to provide the conditions for, and to investigate, health rather than illness. The ways in which personal and group forms of vitality were conceptualized, valorized and put to work allowed poet and writer James Wilkes to think through the link between individual and societal relationships to leisure, work and health. However, the archive also holds many other strands of thinking – esoteric, biological, quasi-anarchist – and the choice of fiction as a form of writing provides a way of holding these dispersive, messy ingredients together – a way of working restlessly with restless materials.


Archival writing Literary fiction Peckham Experiment Pioneer Health Centre Wellcome Library 

Further Reading

  1. Ginzburg, Carlo. Threads and Traces: True, False, Fictive. Translated by John Tedeschi and Anne C. Tedeschi. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2012.Google Scholar
  2. Hall, Lesley A. The Archives of the Pioneer Health Centre, Peckham, in the Wellcome Library. Social History of Medicine 14, no. 3 (2001): 525–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Pester, Holly. Go to Reception and Ask for Sara in Red Felt Tip. London: Bookworks, 2015.Google Scholar
  4. ‘Pioneer Health Centre Peckham, with Papers of George Scott Williamson MD (1884–1953) and Innes Hope Pearse (1889–1978). Wellcome Library Archive, SA/PHC, n.d.Google Scholar
  5. Smith, Ali. Artful. New York: Penguin, 2013.Google Scholar

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© The Author(s) 2016

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Durham UniversityDurhamUnited Kingdom

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