Memorial service and tributes for Otto L. Shaw

click on images for the Memorial Service on Wednesday 14th July 1976 (brochure courtesy of Reg Slade)


click this link for "The Journal of the Association of Workers for Maladjusted Children" (Vol 4, No 3 - Spring 1977) - courtesy of Francis Wardale (Word document will be downloaded)


tributes below taken from "The Kent Messenger" newspaper on Tuesday 13th July 1976

Otto Shaw, the school founder

A memorial service will be held in East Sutton Church tomorrow for one of Maidstone's best-known figures Mr. Otto Shaw. He died on Saturday July 3rd, aged 68. Three years ago he resigned as chairman of Maidstone's Labour Party following a serious heart attack. His birthdate was February 26th 1908.

Mr. Shaw lived at Millfield House, Sutton Valence, where he died. He leaves a wife Joan, and three children. The memorial service will be at 3pm and addressed by Lord Pannell. The family has requested no flowers, but donations may be sent to the building fund at Red Hill School, East Sutton.

His life's work was setting up the school as a charitable trust for emotionally disturbed but highly intelligent youngsters.

Great Worker for Youth

Mr. Otto Shaw was born at Bexley on February 21st, 1908. He was educated at Eltham College and London University, and after training as an analytical chemist, became a petroleum technologist. Later he turned to a detailed study of philosophy, religion and psychology. As a result of these studies, he started Red Hill School for severely maladjusted boys in 1934, at Chislehurst. The School moved a year later to the present early 17th Century house in 20 acres of grounds at East Sutton.


There, he devoted his life to helping the young boys referred to his care on the principle that punishment has no particular function in influencing human behaviour. He published his first book "School Discipline" in 1936. This was followed by "Reformative Influences in the Treatment of Delinquent Children" (1944), "Malajusted Boys" (1963), "Youth in Crisis" (1966) and "Prisons of the Mind" (1969).

In 1939 he married Joan Goodbody, daughter of a Maidstone licensee. They have three children. A convinced Socialist, Mr. Shaw took a very active interest in politics, both locally and nationally. He was first adopted as prospective Labour Parliamentary candidate for Maidstone in 1937 and altogether he fought three Parliamentary elections, twice for Maidstone and once for Thanet seats. He was Chairman of Maidstone Constituency Labour Party for 15 years, and contested every Kent County Council election from 1945, with varying fortunes, until he lost his Maidstone South seat to Conservative Mrs. Dorothy Lucy in 1967.

He achieved national notice in 1967 when, as chairman of Bearsted magistrates, he asked a young motoring offender if he was sleeping with his girlfriend. The question was widely quoted, misunderstood and commented upon. The Lord Chancellor commented that the question was "an unfortunate one".


The following year, Mr. Shaw was succeeded as chairman, although he remained a JP on the Bench he had joined in 1943 until he retired, aged 65 in 1972. He was elected chairman of Kent Magistrates' Association in 1968. In 1972, Mr. Shaw went to Turkey to see if he could help Kent boy Timothy Davey, who was serving a jail sentence there for drug offences.

tribute below taken from "The Kent Messenger" newspaper on Thursday 15th July 1976

Last respects paid to Otto Shaw (click on image - newspaper article courtesy of Reg Slade)