Barbara Dockar Drysdale was born in Dublin in 1912. She initially wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and train as a doctor, but after his death the family’s financial situation led Drysdale to a different career path. She relocated to Austria to learn German and train as a librarian. In 1935 whilst working at a playgroup, she found that she had a natural talent for child psychology. Her skills enabled her to control children without having to resort to punishments such as ignoring or excluding them; this was especially noticeable in her work with trouble children during the Second War World. It was because of this work she was encouraged by the Home Office and the Ministry of Education to start a special school at the end of the War. Drysdale established the Mulberry Bush School in 1948 as an independent residential special school in Standlake in Oxfordshire. At the same time, she set about gaining the qualification to support her new role. She studied psychotherapy at the Tavistock Clinic and at Maudsley Hospital in London. During this time she was mixing with leading figures such as Melanie Klein, Anna Freud and Leila Rendel. Her mentor was the pediatric psychiatrist Donald Winnicott. Drysdale remained co-principle of the Mulberry Bush School with her husband until they both stepped down in 1962. She remained as an adviser until 1975. Drysdale also worked to establish the Cotswold Community, a similar residential provision for children at Ashton Keynes. Drysdale died in Fairford on 18 March 1999.