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Social Work History of Social Work in the United Kingdom
by
Caroline Skehill

Introduction

This entry provides an overview of social work in the United Kingdom, which refers to Great Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland) and Northern Ireland. (The more accurate historical name for the United Kingdom is Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but generally this is abbreviated to the United Kingdom or sometimes just to England.) The complex history of the two islands makes it difficult to provide a general overview of social work in the United Kingdom per se. A complex set of relations marked the individual countries’ histories over a number of centuries and is explained in the more detailed histories of the jurisdictions in other entries. In terms of the modern history, from 1800 the four countries England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland were unified. After the war of independence and subsequent civil war in Ireland between 1919 and 1921, twenty-six counties of Ireland became a free state, and six—Northern Ireland—remained part of the United Kingdom. The history of social work spans over 150 years, though the period covered in this entry is roughly 1870 to 1980. Each section of this entry has a mixture of retrospective histories written in the present or the recent past and samples of important resources from different periods that reflect the nature of social work at particular moments in time. Where possible, major policy documents and archival sources are also cited. A complex set of relations marked the individual countries’ histories over a number of centuries. In terms of the history of social work, practice in the United Kingdom shares many common features in terms of models of practice, development of the profession, dominant theories, legislation and policy, and training approaches. The vast majority of literature on which an understanding of United Kingdom social work is built within national and international contexts derives from histories relating to Great Britain or England. The diversity of history within the broader United Kingdom is highlighted in this general entry and in the more specific entries on Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Introductory Works

For those unfamiliar with the subject, introductory chapters aimed at beginning social work students provide some useful mapping, such as Horner 2003 and Wilson, et al. 2008, which highlights some of the major transitions in the profession in the 20th century. Payne 2005 is the most comprehensive single modern text available, though it offers a broad general overview of history from an international perspective rather than focusing on the United Kingdom. The classic, most-cited text on social work is Woodroofe 1962, followed by Seed 1973.

  • Horner, Nigel. 2003. The beginnings of social work; The comfort of strangers; Formalising and consolidating social work as a profession. In What is social work? 2d ed. By Nigel Horner. Exeter, UK: Learning Matters.

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    These are basic introductory chapters aimed at beginning students of social work. They map the origins of social work from philanthropy and the development of social work as a profession through the 20th century. Though introductory, they are helpful overviews of some of the main developments and are particularly useful for new researchers.

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  • Payne, Malcolm. 2005. The origins of social work: Continuity and change. Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

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    Provides a general overview of the history of social work with an emphasis on developments in Great Britain and, to a lesser extent, other Western democracies. Overall it provides a broad international perspective that makes it a particularly useful reference resource.

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  • Seed, Philip. 1973. The expansion of social work in Britain. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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    This book from the 1970s provides an early history of social work with a focus on its development as a profession. It was written at a time when a major shift had occurred in the organization of social work training from specialist education (mostly in child care, psychiatry, or hospital social work) to a generic model.

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  • Wilson, Kate, Gillian Ruch, Mark Lymbery, and Andrew Cooper. 2008. The development of social work: Key themes and critical debates. In Social work: An introduction to contemporary practice. By Kate Wilson, Gillian Ruch, Mark Lymbery, and Andrew Cooper. Harlow, UK: Pearson Longman.

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    As in the case of Horner 2003, this reference is intended specifically to help students develop a beginning understanding of historical perspectives in social work. It is a useful introduction to history that introduces some critical themes to reflect on in terms of how history is interpreted and understood.

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  • Woodroofe, Kathleen. 1962. From charity to social work in England and the United States. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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    One of the most well-known and widely cited books relating to the history of social work in the United Kingdom. It charts the history of social work in both England and the United States, thus giving a broad international perspective. It focuses in particular on the development of social work from a philanthropic activity to an organized profession. It is also an interesting moment-in-time reflection as the first edition was published in the early 1960s.

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General Overviews

This section is aimed at introducing readers to what may be described as some of the more general histories of social work and related themes in the United Kingdom, though as the citations in this section indicate, this most often refers to social work in Great Britain or more specifically to social work in England and Wales. Coming to grips with the relations and differences among the jurisdictions is part of the challenge of understanding and appreciating the history of social work in the United Kingdom. Brodie, et al. 2008 provides an excellent overview of Scottish social work. Taylor 2008 argues that the Charity Organisation Society, most commonly associated with the beginnings of social work in Great Britain, pertained mostly to London practice as opposed to broader English practices within specific regions. Payne and Shardlow 2002 clarifies the distinctiveness of social work across the broad sphere of the British Isles.

  • Brodie, Ian, Chris Nottingham, and Stephen Plunkett. 2008. A tale of two reports: Social work in Scotland from Social Work in the Community (1966) to Changing Lives (2006). British Journal of Social Work 38.4: 697–715.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcn035Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An excellent overview of the recent history of social work in Scotland as it highlights the unique features of developments there. It underscores how important it is when studying the history of social work in the United Kingdom to pay attention to the specific jurisdictions.

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  • Payne, Malcolm, and Steven M. Shardlow, eds. 2002. Social work in the British Isles. London: Jessica Kingsley.

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    A comprehensive overview of social work in all parts of the British Isles. Each chapter gives a useful historical overview of developments, so it serves as a good introductory text.

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  • Taylor, Carolyn. 2008. Humanitarian narratives: Bodies and details in late-Victorian social work. British Journal of Social Work 38.4: 680–696.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcm124Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    As well as providing a competent overview of the history of social work during the later Victorian period using a methodology of discourse analysis, this article highlights the importance of taking account of local histories of social work, such as that provided in relation to Manchester in this article.

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Reference Resources

Researchers of social work history in the United Kingdom are fortunate to have at their disposal a rich array of archives and libraries. To begin with, the National Archives is the main archive for social work collections. The British Library would be the main first point of contact for further books and journals. The Heatherbank Museum of Social Work, based at Glasgow Caledonian University, is an excellent resource dedicated to social work history, and the Wellcome Library is relevant especially for researching health-related social work. Some general online resources, such as Social Care Online, BBC History, and A Vision of Britain through Time, provide useful contextual resources. The United Kingdom Social Work History Network is the main forum for researchers of social work in the United Kingdom to network and share ideas and resources.

  • BBC History.

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    The history section of the BBC website hosts a range of interesting information, pictures, videos, and audio recordings of aspects of British history. It may provide useful supplementary resources or references to programs for those studying specific aspects of social work history, although it does not have dedicated resources per se.

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  • British Library.

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    The British Library is a good starting resource for literature relating to social work, charity, and social welfare and social policy. See also the sound archive section Pioneers in Charity and Social Welfare project.

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    • Heatherbank Museum of Social Work.

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      An excellent resource for social work history materials, not just in relation to Scotland, where it is based at Glasgow Caledonian University, this collection is particularly impressive. It hosts a range of materials, such as photos, journals, historical collections, government reports, and archives, such as those of the Association of Directors of Social Work (Scotland) (1969–). It also has an excellent library catalogue.

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      • National Archives.

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        The National Archives has a large collection of relevant collections relating to government departments, legislation, social services, and social work. It is an obvious starting point for research into specific fields of social work and useful links to other archive sources through its global search facility (such as the excellent and comprehensive resources provided in the Modern Records Centre).

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        • Social Care Online.

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          A range of contemporary databases hold interesting materials on various aspects of history. See Social Care Online for books, journals, and other resources.

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          • United Kingdom Social Work History Network.

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            Established in 2001; runs a number seminars on the history of social work throughout the year. It does not yet have a website but has a vibrant e-mail exchange that often includes papers and other materials relating to the history of social work.

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          • Vision of Britain through Time.

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            This resource is the result of a large-scale project that has collected general data for the social history of Britain from the 1801 census onward. It would be a good source for collecting or finding links to national and local sociodemographic data. It also has a useful mapping section.

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            • Wellcome Library.

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              Offers an excellent collection relating in particular to health-related and mental health social work. As well as housing many historical books, it has excellent and interesting archives on social work conferences in the 1930s and a range of archives about medical social work, including handbooks, guides for practice, and video material. It also holds some unique archives of unpublished studies and documents relating to social work practice and education.

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              Journals

              There is no dedicated journal for the history of social work. The British Journal of Social Work published a special issue on history in 2008. To access journals from the past, the journal collection at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit provides a growing and valuable resource of past issues of major influential journals, such as the Journal of the Association of Child Care Officers, the British Journal of Psychiatric Social Work, and the British Journal of Social Work. Researchers should also consult main history journals.

              Biographies and Autobiographies

              This section is a brief and illustrative selection of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs from key figures in the history of social work and related areas such as philanthropy. Boyd 1982, Johnson 2008, and van Drenth and de Haan 1999 provide biographies of key female pioneers. Holman 2001 provides an overview of a number of key contributors to child welfare services. Webb 1926 is an autobiographical account. The Sound Archive of the British Library and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography are excellent resources for a more expansive list of biographies.

              • Boyd, Nancy. 1982. Three Victorian women who changed their world: Josephine Butler, Octavia Hill, Florence Nightingale. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                This set of biographies by Nancy Boyd gives insight into the role of women philanthropists in the development of social and health care. It is a good general reference source for researching the role of women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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              • Holman, Bob. 2001. Champions for children: The lives of modern child care pioneers. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

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                This collection includes biographies of Eleanor Rathbone (1872–1946), Marjory Allen (1897–1976), Barbara Kahan (1920–2000), John Stroud (1923–1989), Claire Winnicott (1906–1984), Peter Townsend (1928–), and Bob Holman (1936–). The contribution of each individual to the development of child welfare practice and policy is examined.

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              • Johnson, Yvonne M. 2008. Remembering Barbara Wootton’s contribution to social work education. Journal of Social Work Education 44.1: 23–36.

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                This extended paper reflects on the significant contribution of Barbara Wootton to social work education in Great Britain and internationally. It emphasizes her critical approach to social work literature and her promotion of an interdisciplinary approach.

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              • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

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                Provides a vast collection that includes key persons from the social work and social welfare field, such as Eglantyne Jebb and Charles Loch. Most local libraries subscribe to the dictionary, and it is therefore easy to access.

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              • Sound Archive, British Library.

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                Offers an excellent resource, Pioneers in Charity and Social Welfare, that lists numerous and sometimes long and detailed interviews with a range of well-known persons, such as Olive Stevenson and Bob Holman.

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                • Van Drenth, Annemieke, and Francisca de Haan. 1999. The rise of caring power: Elizabeth Fry and Josephine Butler in Britain and the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Amsterdam Univ. Press.

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                  As well as a history of two key women in social work and social care, this book provides an interesting theorization of the development of these practices in terms of the notion of “caring power.”

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                • Webb, Beatrice. 1926. My apprenticeship. New York and London: Longmans, Green.

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                  This is a fascinating account by Beatrice Webb of the influence her upbringing had on her development as a social reformer and a socialist. As well as reflecting on her personal experiences, she also shares her views on the work of Charles Stewart Loch and on socialism.

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                The Charity Organisation Society and the Settlement Movement

                Two main organizations are most often associated with the beginnings of professional social work: the Charity Organisation Society (COS), founded by Charles Stewart Loch in 1869 (originally called the Society for Organising Charitable Relief and Repressing Mendicity [1896–1971], then the Charity Organisation Society [1871–1946], then the Family Welfare Association), and the Toynbee Hall settlement, founded by Samuel A. Barrett and Henrietta Barrett in 1884. The COS is generally associated with the emergence and consolidation of modern philanthropy and the settlement movement with a community-oriented approach. The archives for the associations are listed in this section (Family Welfare Association Library and History of Toynbee Hall). These two movements form the origins of this duality in social work that is still visible and has taken various shapes and forms over the past one hundred years: social work as a practice of individual reform and casework and social work as a community-oriented social reform activity. Barnett 1898 provides a discussion about settlements from the late 19th century. Briggs and Macartney 1984, Gilchrist and Jeffs 2001, Pimlott 1935, and Meacham 1987 provide histories of the settlement movement, and Lewis 1995 and Rooff 1972 focus on the history of the Charity Organisation Society and the Family Welfare Association.

                • Barnett, Samuel A. 1898. University settlements.

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                  This is a transcript of Barnett’s views on the aims and purposes of university settlements.

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                • Briggs, Asa, and Anne Macartney. 1984. Toynbee Hall: The first hundred years. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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                  An important historical record of the establishment of Toynbee Hall. It includes an interesting account of the foundation of settlement work and its development through the 20th century.

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                • Family Welfare Association Library.

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                  The Senate House Library at the University of London holds the records of the Family Welfare Association, previously known as the Charity Organisation Society. Other related records are held here, one hundred of them from before 1851.

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                  • Gilchrist, Ruth, and Tony Jeffs, eds. 2001. Settlements, social change, and community action: Good neighbours. London: Jessica Kingsley.

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                    This account provides a general discussion of the role of settlements in communities as a form of social action. It refers to the origins of the movement and documents the main developments over the 20th century. It is particularly useful for understanding the emergence of the social action and community-oriented branch of social work.

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                  • History of Toynbee Hall.

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                    Toynbee Hall provides the Barnett Research Centre, which has an extensive library and archive section, including the records of the settlement since 1884. It also has a multimedia collection of newspaper articles, photographs, and so forth.

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                    • Lewis, Jane. 1995. The voluntary sector, the state, and social work in Britain: The Charity Organisation Society/Family Welfare Association since 1869. Aldershot, UK: Elgar.

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                      An insightful and analytical account of the development of the Charity Organisation Society (COS) in England that applies a feminist and critical perspective to the emergence of social work through the Charity Organisation Society.

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                    • Meacham, Standish. 1987. Toynbee Hall and social reform, 1880–1914: The search for community. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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                      This is a history of Toynbee Hall that focuses on the model of social work and social action usually referred to in the 21st century as community work and community development. The work in Toynbee Hall is described as a core example of how social reform and community action developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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                    • Pimlott, J. A. R. 1935. Toynbee Hall: Fifty years of social progress; 1884–1934. London: Dent.

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                      This is a history of Toynbee Hall from the 1930s that gives an interesting moment-in-time perspective on the nature of the work and its future. The potential for social action and reform is emphasized.

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                    • Rooff, Madeline. 1972. A hundred years of family welfare: A study of the Family Welfare Association (formerly Charity Organisation Society) 1869–1969. London: Joseph.

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                      This history, written in the early 1970s, marked the centenary of the Family Welfare Association. It gives a good sense of the association as a voluntary body during a major period of reform of social services following the 1968 report of the Committee on Local Authority and Allied Personal Social Services.

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                    Philanthropy, Volunteerism, Moral Welfare, and Social Work

                    In addition to examining the histories of the two most well-known organizations as forerunners of the emergence of professional social work, a more general understanding of the history of philanthropy, from which social work originally emerged, is also important for appreciating the context for professional development. Brasnett 1969 is the history of one of the largest voluntary social services in England, the National Council of Social Service (NCSS). Lewis 1992 considers the role of women in philanthropy in public life and also provides important contextual understandings. Cannadine and Pellew 2008 provides one of the most recent accounts of this history. Hall and Howes 1965 focuses on the role of the church. The website of the Voluntary Action History Society is an important reference for further sources.

                    Social Work: Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

                    While specialist social workers were employed from the late 19th century (see, for example, Medical and Health-Related Social Work), as an emerging profession social work was mostly generic in nature and training, covering a range of fields of practice mostly within the voluntary sector, including work with children and poor families; hygiene work, social reform, and development of health and recreational services; religious and moral reform; and education. Some of the best publications about practice at this time include Loch 1883, Attlee 1920, Bosanquet 1906, Foss and West 1914, Haldane 1911, and Macadam 1925. Webb 2007 and Forsythe and Jordan 2002 consider this period from a present-day perspective. Young and Ashton 1956 is one of the first histories of this period.

                    • Attlee, Clement R. 1920. The social worker. London: Bell.

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                      Clement Attlee, Labour prime minister from 1935 to 1951, wrote this book, which describes his views on socialism and explains why individual charity could not address widespread poverty and its effects. In essence it is an early plea for a socialist approach in social work.

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                    • Bosanquet, Helen. 1906. The standard of life. London: Macmillan.

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                      This text was influential in social work and social service education. The book is particularly well known for its commentary on practices around social hygiene in social work.

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                    • Forsythe, Bill, and Bill Jordan. 2002. The Victorian ethical foundations of social work in England: Continuity and contradiction. British Journal of Social Work 32.7: 847–862.

                      DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/32.7.847Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      Reflects on continuities and contradictions in developments in this period with specific reference to values and ethics. Provides an authoritative overview of the development of the key principles of social work from the Victorian period.

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                    • Foss, William, and Julius West. 1914. The social worker and modern charity. London: Black.

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                      Looks in particular at the relationship between social work and philanthropy with a focus on the nature of charity in England and the challenge for modern social work. It also has a specific chapter on charity work with children.

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                    • Haldane, John Bernard. 1911. The social workers’ guide. London: Pitman.

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                      An early practical guide to doing good social work that is often referred to in historical accounts. It provides a vast range of references to voluntary work, education, rescue work, health issues, and so on.

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                    • Loch, Charles Stewart. 1883. How to help in cases of distress: A handy reference book for almoners, almsgivers, and others. London: Longmans, Green.

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                      A well-known publication by Charles Stewart Loch from the late 19th century. Loch was secretary of the Charity Organisation Society (COS) from 1875 to 1913 and had a major impact on the development of the ideas and practices of the society. The handbook describes the principles of English charity and provides information on services.

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                    • Macadam, E. 1925. The equipment of social work. London: Unwin.

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                      Written by an experienced social worker, this book offers one of the early texts about the skills of social work practice. The emphasis is on the importance of social work education and the need for a sound understanding of social services. She also strongly encouraged “social study,” promoting a research-oriented approach.

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                    • Webb, Stephen A. 2007. The comfort of strangers: Social work, modernity, and late Victorian England: Part I. European Journal of Social Work 10.1: 39–54.

                      DOI: 10.1080/13691450601143625Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      This paper was followed by “The comfort of strangers: Social work, modernity, and late Victorian England: Part II” in European Journal of Social Work 10.2: 193–207. These two papers provide a comprehensive analysis of the history of social work by considering its origins in late Victorian times. As well as providing a sound historical account, they also guide access other relevant resources.

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                    • Young, Agnes Freda, and E. T. Ashton. 1956. British social work in the nineteenth century. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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                      One of the earliest histories of modern-day social work written during the 20th century. It documents the development of British social work from the late 19th century, emphasizing the origins in charity and philanthropy.

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                    Social Work: 1900–1950

                    As the 20th century progressed, social work developed as a broad generic field but also began to establish “specialisms,” most notably in health and psychiatry, as detailed in Medical and Health-Related Social Work and Mental Health. This debate over social work as a generic or specialist activity imbues its history throughout the 20th century and remains a matter for debate in the present day. Burt 2008 provides an excellent overview of this period for social work, and Lees 1971, one of the first papers for the British Journal of Social Work, provides an interesting historical perspective as seen in 1971.

                    • Burt, M. 2008. Social work occupations in England 1900–1939: Changing the focus. International Journal of Social Work 51.6: 749–762.

                      DOI: 10.1177/0020872808095248Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      This account of early 20th-century practice provides one of the few current publications on the main focus and nature of social work in the early 20th century with an emphasis on postwar practice.

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                    • Lees, Ray. 1971. Social work, 1925–1950: The case for a reappraisal. British Journal of Social Work 1.4: 371–379.

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                      This is an interesting historical paper featured in the first year of publication of the British Journal of Social Work. It provides an authoritative commentary on the origins of professional social work and the challenges posed by its history. It was written during the time of a major shift from a specialist to a generic model of social work, and this is reflected in the discussion.

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                    Social Work: From 1950

                    It is generally argued that in the aftermath of World War II social work was consolidated as a professional and distinct activity within the newly emerging welfare state after Beveridge 1942. The publications in this section highlight the range of debates that have occupied social work over the past sixty years, especially in terms of its role and purpose, the generic-versus-specific debate, its relationship with the state, and the broader social context. For illustration, some key government reports pertaining to social work are listed in this section, including Great Britain 1968, Barclay 1982, and Beveridge 1942. General textbooks from the 1950s to the 1980s are listed as examples of the thinking of the time (for example, Wootton 1958). Philp 1979, a classic article, provides a commentary on the continuities in the history of social work as observed in 1979. Brewer and Lait 1980 provides a challenging overview of the state of social work at that time with many themes still resonating for the present day.

                    • Barclay, Peter M. 1982. Social workers: Their role and tasks. London: Bedford Square.

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                      A major attempt to examine the core functions and tasks of social work during a period of profound change. However, in addition to the majority report, the committee issued two minority reports, one written by R. Pinker highlighting tensions in the interpretation of the role of social work in terms of its administrative, communitarian, and professional context. See also R. Pinker, “Populism and the Social Services” in Social Policy and Administration 918.1 (1984): 89–99, for a summary critique based on his objection to the majority report.

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                    • Beveridge, William. 1942. Social insurance and allied services. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office.

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                      The Beveridge report outlined the plan for social service in postwar Great Britain and influenced the development of professional social work services within the broader welfare services that developed from 1948 onward. In particular it reformed the Poor Law system and introduced what is called the modern welfare system.

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                    • Brewer, Colin, and June Lait. 1980. Can social work survive? London: Temple Smith.

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                      This seminal critique of the state of social work in Great Britain used U.S. evidence to challenge whether social work had any foundation as a profession based on the challenges it was experiencing in terms of its role and function and its relationship with the state.

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                    • Great Britain, Committee on Local Authority and Allied Personal Social Services. 1968. Report of the Committee on Local Authority and Allied Personal Social Services. Cmnd. 3703. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

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                      Following Beveridge 1942, this report, known as the Seebohm report, signified the next major reform of social services in England and Wales, leading to a major reorientation toward the provision of generic social services. The shift from specialist to generic social work occurred as a consequence of these reforms.

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                    • Jones, Howard, ed. 1975. Towards a new social work. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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                      Written by a psychiatric social worker with a background in youth work and criminology, this book provides an interesting reflection on changes needed in social work during the 1970s and many concerns of that period.

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                    • Philp, Mark. 1979. Notes on the form of knowledge in social work. Sociological Review 27.1: 83–111.

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                      A seminal paper on the nature of knowledge in social work and its historical development emphasizing the continuities in social work knowledge and practice. It was recently revisited by Nigel Parton, “Changes in the Form of Knowledge in Social Work: From the ‘Social’ to the ‘Informational’?” in British Journal of Social Work 38 (2008): 253–269.

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                    • Smith, Marjorie J. 1965. Professional education for social work in Britain: An historical account. London: Allen and Unwin.

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                      This is an early text about the challenges involved in professional education during the early and mid-20th century concentrating on the push to professionalize social work and clarify its distinctiveness. First published in 1952.

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                    • Wootton, Barbara. 1958. Social science and social pedagogy. London: Allen and Unwin.

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                      An example of the emerging theoretical influences in social work in this period that is a must-read for those interested in the development of social work theory. Wootton was particularly critical of the overreliance in social work on psychotherapy and psychiatry to ground its social science base.

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                    Individual Casework

                    It is beyond the scope of this entry to provide histories of each method used in social work; this requires attention in its own right. Casework is chosen as an example of one broad approach that was influential from the 1950s onward and remains relevant in the present day as a foundation of more contemporary individual methods. Morris 1955 documents its use in various settings. Classics such as Biestek 1957 are still referred to in present-day discussions, especially in relation to values in social work. Reid and Shyne 1969 is well known for opening up the debate about long-term versus short-term interventions, and Timms 1966 and Timms 1968 provide good overviews of methods and critical perspectives relating to casework. The book review section of Skehill 2008 provides an engaging set of reflections from prominent academics on books that influenced them.

                    • Biestek, Felix Paul. 1957. The casework relationship. Chicago: Loyola Univ. Press.

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                      This book continues to be cited most frequently as one of the first that listed the social work values that are still influential in 21st-century practice. While originating from a Christian perspective, the sets of values and principles set down by Biestek became absorbed into secular practice.

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                    • Morris, Cherry, ed. 1955. Social case-work in Great Britain. New York: Whiteside and Morrow.

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                      Provides chapters about different fields of social casework in the 1950s, giving a broad introduction to the method in relation to different aspects of social work. It also highlights the specialist nature of practice at the time.

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                    • Reid, William J., and Ann W. Shyne. 1969. Brief and extended casework. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

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                      Still cited as the origin of task-centered casework, this book brought to the fore the question of whether short- or long-term casework was most appropriate in social work practice. Based on research that compared short- and long-term interventions, it was an early example of the promotion of evidence-based practice.

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                    • Skehill, Caroline, ed. 2008. History of social work. Special issue, British Journal of Social Work 28.4: 619–804.

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                      The book review section includes reviews by prominent academics of books that influenced them at various moments of their own histories. For example, David Jones reflects on the influence of Florence Hollis’s Casework: A Psychosocial Therapy (New York: Random House, 1972).

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                    • Timms, Noel. 1966. Social casework principles and practice. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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                      One of the many books written by Timms around this time pertaining to social work and casework, it was influential in social work education and practice.

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                    • Timms, Noel. 1968. The language of social casework. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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                      Accompanies Timms 1966, which provides a more in-depth analysis of the use of casework.

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                    Radical Social Work

                    Alongside the development of casework and individual methods in social work, the emergence of radical social work in the 1970s and early 1980s is an important historical moment to consider in the history of social work. While not altogether successful in changing the mainstream individualistic nature of social work (for complex reasons within and surrounding the profession), it formed the basis for approaches that are now considered commonplace in practice and education, such as feminist and antiracist social work, anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice, empowerment, involvement of service users and providers, and general critical social work perspectives (each requiring separate attention in their own rights). As a general history of the origins of radical thinking in social work, Bailey and Brake 1975 was one of the earliest books on the subject. Corrigan and Leonard 1978 is another influential text. Case Con Manifesto was written in the 1970s by a group of radical social workers who also published a magazine with this name.

                    Professional Associations

                    Social work has a rich and textured history of professional associations, especially prior to 1970, when the British Association of Social Workers was formed to unify the differing interests. Payne 2002 reflects on the work of the association. No comprehensive history of the earlier associations is available in one publication. However, a range of associations’ histories are archived and accessible at the Modern Records Centre, including the important and influential National Institute for Social Work, established to enhance excellence in social work and social care management in 1961 and disbanded in 2003.

                    • Modern Records Centre, Warwick University Library.

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                      The best source for accessing original records of the various social work associations is at the excellent Subject Guide Sources for the History of Social Work. Online resources and references are also available. Holdings include Association of Social Workers, 1936–1970; Association of Child Care Officers, 1951–1970; Association of Children’s Officers, 1949–1971; Association of Family Case Workers, 1942–1970; and more.

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                      • Payne, Malcolm. 2002. The role and achievements of a professional association in the late twentieth century: The British Association of Social Workers 1970–2000. British Journal of Social Work 32:969–995.

                        DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/32.8.969Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        A comprehensive documentation of the main developments in the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) over thirty years.

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                      Eileen Younghusband: Pioneer in Social Work Education

                      Many persons might be described as key pioneers of social work at key moments in the past. Eileen Younghusband’s work is an example of leadership in social work education and practice, as described by Jones 1984 and Lyons 2003. Her books and articles cover a broad range of themes, including social work history (Younghusband 1964), education (Younghusband 1968), values (Younghusband 1967), and children and families (Younghusband 1965). Younghusband 1947–1959 gives excellent insight into the issues of the time regarding employment and training of social workers. Her work directly influenced policy developments in social work, with the proposals of the 1959 report leading to the establishment of the National Institute for Social Work in 1961.

                      Children and Families Social Work

                      The field of children and family social work is currently one of the most dominant in social work practice. Practice has developed across a range of domains in relation to intervention with the family and the child and has been subject to much research and publication over time. History of child care, a special issue of Child and Family Social Work, gives a sense of this diversity. For a competent introduction to the history of child welfare, Parton 1991, Hendrick 2003, and works in Child Abuse and Neglect provide good starting points. Other selected materials from key authors, such as Pugh 1968, Winnicott 1964, and Winnicott 1965, are highlighted to give an insight into practice. The Claire Winnicott papers (Winnicott 1964) are an excellent supplement to the previously published works. Welshman 1999 summarizes the nature of practice with the so-called problem family. Curtis 1946 is the report of the first of many committees that examined the organization and delivery of child welfare services. The Child Care History Network is the most useful online supplementary resource.

                      • Child Care History Network.

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                        Founded in 2008, an excellent resource for child care archives, historical links, and relevant events. Although still developing, it hosts a range of information and links to archives, oral history sites, and the Foundling Museum, Britain’s oldest hospital for abandoned children. The first Child Care History Network conference was held in 2008.

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                      • Curtis, Myra. 1946. Report of the Care of Children Committee. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

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                        This report influenced postwar child care policy and practice developments. The committee was established following the 1945 death of Dennis O’Neill in foster care. This report became the first of many to influence the development of the child welfare and protection service as summarized in the general histories of child welfare.

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                      • Hendrick, Harry. 2003. Child welfare: Historical dimensions, contemporary debate. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

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                        An excellent textbook on the broad history of child welfare that documents the major historical developments in terms of both policy and practice concepts. Written from a sociological perspective, it provides a sound introduction to the major themes and debates affecting the development of child welfare during the 20th century.

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                      • History of child care. Special issue. 1998. Child and Family Social Work 3.3: 147–217.

                        DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2206.1998.00090.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        This is essential reading for an overview of key developments in the history of child welfare in the United Kingdom and gives a good introduction to the main themes and debates that surrounded key moments. It shows the relevance of history for a present-day understanding of child welfare and protection.

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                      • Parton, Nigel. 1991. Governing the family. London: Macmillan.

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                        This is the most comprehensive history of child care social work available and is based on a history of the present approach. Parton provides an insightful analysis of the major shifts in the nature and form of child welfare and protection practice and policy at major moments of transformation.

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                      • Pugh, Elisabeth. 1968. Social work in child care. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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                        Gives excellent insight into how issues of child care and protection were perceived at a key moment of development in child welfare policy and practice.

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                      • Welshman, John. 1999. The social history of social work: The issue of the “problem family” 1940–70. British Journal of Social Work 29.3: 457–476.

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                        This paper looks specifically at the notion of the problem family, which dominated much of the literature and discussions about child care during the mid-20th century. It describes how the concept dominated practice. It also refers to a range of other useful resources in the bibliography.

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                      • Winnicott, Claire. 1964. Child care and social work: A collection of papers written between 1954 and 1963. Welwyn, UK: Codecote.

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                        This collection of papers of Claire Winnicott, an influential voice in child care social work, is at the Wellcome Library. Much of the work has not been published elsewhere, so this is essential for those researching her work or the history of child care social work in the mid-20th century.

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                      • Winnicott, Donald Woods. 1965. The family and individual development. London: Tavistock.

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                        As in the case of Pugh 1968, this book gives insight into the thinking of the time in relation to the so-called problem family. An emphasis is placed on the psychological needs of the family.

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                      Child Abuse and Neglect

                      While inseparable from general histories of child welfare, the specific theme of child abuse and neglect has produced a set of literature in its own right, a small sample of which is in this section. The Maria Colwell inquiry (Great Britain 1974) was one of a number of government reports or inquiries that emerged in response to the problem of child deaths and abuse. Parton 2004 reflects on the impact of these inquiries in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Behlmer 1982 is one of the main books cited in relation to early responses to the problem. Dingwall and Eekelaar 1998 and Ferguson 2004 provide overviews of how the state and social work institutions have responded to child abuse during modern times. Plummer 1999 and Smart 2000 document the specific history of child sexual abuse.

                      • Behlmer, George K. 1982. Child abuse and moral reform in England, 1870–1908. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                        This book was highly influential in informing early thinking about child abuse. It provides a comprehensive overview of the history of child abuse and neglect and considers how the issue became a matter of public concern and moral reform from the mid-19th century onward.

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                      • Dingwall, Robert, and John Eekelaar. 1998. Families and the state: An historical perspective on the public regulation of private conduct. Law and Policy 10.4: 341–361.

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                        These authors provide one of the most cited analyses of the nature of the relation between the family and the state in relation to child protection. This article summarizes their important historical research into the history of child welfare and protection.

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                      • Ferguson, Harry. 2004. Protecting children in time: Child abuse, child protection, and the consequences of modernity. Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

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                        This is one of the more recent comprehensive analyses of the history of child welfare and protection and the implications of the past for the present day.

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                      • Great Britain, Committee of Inquiry into the Care and Supervision Provided in Relation to Maria Colwell. 1974. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Care and Supervision Provided in Relation to Maria Colwell. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

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                        The Colwell case is most often cited as representing one of the major shifts in child welfare and protection policy and practice in the United Kingdom. The report gives insight into the criticisms of social services for failure to protect the child. It marked the first of many inquiries into the issue of how social services and social workers can effectively balance respecting family privacy and protecting children.

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                      • Parton, Nigel. 2004. From Maria Colwell to Victoria Climbié: Reflections on public inquiries into child abuse a generation apart. Child Abuse Review 13.2: 80–94.

                        DOI: 10.1002/car.838Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        This article is by one of the most well-known authors in the field, Nigel Parton, on the nature of child protection and welfare in the United Kingdom from a historical perspective. It considers in particular the way the issues arising in major child abuse inquires over the past four decades have developed and increased in their complexity and challenges for social work and social services.

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                      • Plummer, Carol A. 1999. The history of child sexual abuse prevention: A practitioner’s perspective. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse 7.4: 77–95.

                        DOI: 10.1300/J070v07n04_06Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        This paper looks specifically at the history of sexual abuse and how practice has responded to it.

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                      • Smart, Carol. 2000. Reconsidering the recent history of child sexual abuse: 1910–1960. Journal of Social Policy 29.1: 55–71.

                        DOI: 10.1017/S0047279400005857Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        Provides a critical analysis of the history of child abuse and responses to it in the early to mid-20th century.

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                      Children in Care

                      A few key texts on the history of care for children are cited in this section. Rowe and Lambert 1973 was highly influential at the time in the debate about how children were cared for in the public system. Sinclair 1998 and Ferguson 2007 provide histories of residential care. The journal Adoption and Fostering is useful for tracing the history of fostering and adoption. The Hidden Lives Revealed website is an excellent reference for further resources. Fletcher 2005 records the history of one major voluntary provider of child care and family services, Barnardo’s.

                      • Adoption and Fostering.

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                        This journal has been published since 1953 and was originally called Child Adoption. It is the best source for tracking the history of adoption in the United Kingdom, especially in terms of its development as an option for care placements as part of the so-called permanence movement of the 1970s.

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                      • Ferguson, Harry. 2007. Abused and looked after children as “moral dirt”: Child abuse and institutional care in historical perspective. Journal of Social Policy 36.1: 123–139.

                        DOI: 10.1017/S0047279406000407Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        This is one of a number of historical articles by Harry Ferguson that look in particular at the care and treatment of children in institutional care. He poses the thesis that children who were placed in care were perceived as “moral dirt” due to their backgrounds and origins.

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                      • Fletcher, Winston. 2005. Keeping the vision alive: The story of Barnardo’s, 1905–2005. London: Barnardo’s.

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                        This history documents the extensive work of Barnardo’s, one of the largest voluntary providers of services for children and families. See also the 2005 Barnardo’s centenary report “Then and Now”.

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                      • Hidden Lives Revealed.

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                        A useful site that records the history of children in the care of the Children’s Society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and has a range of engaging resources, including photographs and interesting documentary accounts.

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                      • Rowe, Jane, and Lydia Lambert. 1973. Children who wait. London: Association of British Adoption Agencies.

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                        This book highlighted the problem of delay in child welfare that left children without a permanent and secure base. The research reported in this book had a major influence on the debates at the time about the value of fostering and adoption versus residential care and the importance of stability and permanence for children.

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                      • Sinclair, Ian, ed. 1998. Residential care: The research reviewed. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

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                        This is a useful work that documents the history of residential care in the United Kingdom. It reviews research on residential care and places these findings within a historical context.

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                      Medical and Health-Related Social Work

                      The first female almoner was appointed at the Royal Free Hospital in 1895. Medical social work is one of the longest-standing occupations in social work, and its history provides insight into not only the particular nature of practices but also the relationship between the social and medical spheres that continues to be a key area of interest for practice to the present day. The Hospital Almoners’ Council (which existed from 1919 at least) and the Institute for Hospital Almoners were key organizations involved in promoting the position and nature of medical social work in the early and mid-20th century. The Almoner was the journal of the institute and is the best source for accessing publications on medical social work in different moments in time. Moberley Bell 1961 and Baraclough 1996 provide histories of medical social work and almoners, and Richards and Marriot 1995, a video of the history, is available at the Wellcome Library.

                      • Almoner.

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                        Produced by the Institute of Hospital Almoners, this was the main journal for the medical social work profession during the mid-20th century.

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                      • Baraclough, Joan. 1996. 100 years of health related social work 1895–1995. Birmingham, UK: British Association of Social Workers.

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                        One of the most accessible contemporary histories of medical social work, this work goes back to the end of the 19th century. The history shows how health-related social work developed as one of the earliest professional practices.

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                      • Moberley Bell, Enid. 1961. The story of hospital almoners. London: Faber and Faber.

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                        Provides an interesting account of the development of hospital almoners during the mid-20th century in Great Britain.

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                      • Richards, Kay, prod., and Alan Marriot, dir., 1995. One hundred years of health-related social work. Birmingham, UK: British Association of Social Workers and Centenary Video.

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                        This is a video produced with the British Association of Social Workers that narrates with pictures the one-hundred-year history of almoners in Great Britain. It is available at the Wellcome Library.

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                      Older People

                      Work with older people comes under the general heading of “health-related” social work to some extent. However, there is also a useful body of literature specifically related to the development of social services and social work for older persons, a sample of which is provided in this section. Means and Smith 1998 gives a broad overview of developments for older people. Goldberg, et al. 1970 was one of the few books available on work with older persons at the time, and Townsend 1962 provides a useful report on care homes for older people. Macnicol 2006 provides a history of age discrimination. The Wise Archive is a general site for older people but is an interesting resource to access to gain insight into personal biographies and experiences.

                      • Goldberg, E. Matilda, with Ann Mortimer and Brian T. Williams. 1970. Helping the aged. London: Allen and Unwin.

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                        This was one of the few books available in 1970 that focused on services and practices with older people. A major theme of the time related to the promotion of community care over institutional care. It was also groundbreaking in its methodological focus on random control trials to evaluate services.

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                      • Macnicol, John. 2006. Age discrimination: An historical and contemporary analysis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                        This book looks specifically at working with older persons from an antidiscriminatory perspective. It gives a unique history of discrimination and good insight into how these issues were tackled in the past as well as the present.

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                      • Means, Robin, and Randall Smith. 1998. From Poor Law to community care: The development of welfare services for elderly people, 1939–1971. 2d ed. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

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                        A history of the development of services for older people. In particular it documents the development from institutional to community care–based services. It highlights the gradual improvement in services for older people after World War II but notes that they lagged behind others, such as those for children and families.

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                      • Townsend, Peter. 1962. The last refuge: A survey of residential institutions and homes for the aged in England and Wales. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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                        This is an important report on the issue of institutions and homes for older people that highlighted the need for development and expansion of community care services. See also Generations Review.

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                      • Wise Archive.

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                        An online resource for older people that collects memoirs and recollections. It is a good general reference source for gaining insight into the personal accounts and experiences of older persons as service users and citizens.

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                        Probation and Juvenile Justice

                        Whitehead and Statham 2006 provides an overview of probation history. Gard 2007 is an account of the first probation officers in England and Wales. Lepper 2008 looks specifically at the history of juvenile justice.

                        • Gard, Raymond. 2007. The first probation officers in England and Wales 1906–14. British Journal of Criminology 47.6: 938–954.

                          DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azm028Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          This paper documents the origins of probation in England and Wales and describes the work of the probation officers in their early years.

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                        • Lepper, J. 2008. A century of juvenile justice. Children and Young People 4.12: 16–17.

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                          This paper gives a brief overview of changes to juvenile justice in light of the Children Act of 1908 and examines the historical development of juvenile justice in Great Britain. It should be noted that this area overlaps with child protection and welfare services.

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                        • Whitehead, Philip, and Roger Statham. 2006. The history of probation: Politics, power, and cultural change 1876–2005. Crayford, UK: Shaw.

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                          Probation history was historically part of professional social work across the United Kingdom although it now carries a separate qualification in all jurisdictions except Northern Ireland.

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                        Mental Health

                        One of the major debates in social work, especially during the mid-20th century, related to its relationship with psychiatry as a specialist area of practice. The first specialist mental health social work course was established in the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1929. As outlined most clearly in the history of psychiatry provided by Timms 1964, from this period up to the 1960s this was a major sphere of social work practice and expertise. It remains one of the core functions of social work. London County Council 1947 gives good insight into the issues for mental health social workers. To understand the nature of institutional care broadly, Goffman 1961 is a must-read classic. Bartlett and Wright 1999 is another general history. Freeman 1998 and Peck and Parker 1998 provide useful histories of mental health policies. Two websites, the Institute for the History and Work of Therapeutic Environments and Radio TC International, are concerned with the history of therapeutic mental health practice.

                        • Bartlett, Peter, and David Wright, eds. 1999. Outside the walls of the asylum: The history of care in the community, 1750–2000. London: Athlone.

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                          An introductory overview of the history of community care for mental health patients. It is unique in tracing this history to 1750 even though community care did not become common within government policy until after the 1968 report of the Committee on Local Authority and Allied Personal Social Services.

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                        • Drake, Robert E., Alan I. Green, Kim T. Mueser, and Howard H. Goldman. 2003. The history of community mental health treatment and rehabilitation for persons with severe mental illness. Community Mental Health Journal 39.5: 427–440.

                          DOI: 10.1023/A:1025860919277Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          A useful paper that summarizes some of the main developments in community mental health treatment that are of particular interest to present debates around mental health.

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                        • Freeman, H. 1998. Mental health policy and practice in the NHS: 1948–1979. Journal of Mental Health 7.3: 225–239.

                          DOI: 10.1080/09638239818067Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Provides a general overview of the development of mental health policy within the National Health Service (NHS) up to 1979. It provides the broad background to how psychiatric social work developed within this context.

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                        • Goffman, Erving. 1961. Asylums: Essays on the social situation of mental patients and other inmates. Garden City, NY: Anchor.

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                          This classic provides critical insight into the nature of institutions and institutionalization, of which it is highly critical. The book was influential in the debate relating to promoting and developing services for mental health patients, as far as possible, within the community. It also influenced the key critical debates regarding psychiatry and social work reflected, for example, in the work of Geoffrey Pearson, The Deviant Imagination: Psychiatry, Social Work, and Social Change (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1975).

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                        • Institute for the History and Work of Therapeutic Environments.

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                          A designated research and study center of the University of Birmingham in partnership with the Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive, Research and Study Centre, and based at the Planned Environment Therapy Trust.

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                          • London County Council, Public Health Department. 1947. Handbook on mental health social work. London: London County Council.

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                            This is a guide to skills for practice in the mid-20th century and is available via the Wellcome Library. It shows the level of professionalism within this field at the time and gives insight into both the practical and the therapeutic natures of mental health and psychiatric social work practice.

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                          • Peck, E., and E. Parker. 1998. Mental health in the NHS: Policy and practice 1979–1998. Journal of Mental Health 7.3: 241–259.

                            DOI: 10.1080/09638239818076Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            This paper focuses on major policy and practice developments in mental health in the late 20th century. It picks up from Freeman 1998, and a reading of both gives a comprehensive history from after World War II to the present.

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                          • Radio TC International.

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                            The online therapeutic community radio station offers some interesting historical live discussions, such as J. Thoms’s “Relationship versus Authority: Psychiatric Social Work; Therapeutic Communities and the Subjectivity of the Child c. 1930 to c1970.” This can also be accessed via the social sciences resource Intute.

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                          • Timms, Noel. 1964. Psychiatric social work in Great Britain, 1939–1962. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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                            This was one of the most influential books of its time, providing an overview of theory and practice for social work in the field of psychiatry. It documents the historical development of this field from before World War II and highlights the extent of its professionalization by the 1960s.

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                          Learning Difficulties

                          The delivery of services to persons with learning difficulties was not always clear-cut. It was mixed up in the days of the workhouse with the needs of a range of other persons and later, as hospital services developed, with the care of persons with mental health problems. Great Britain 1979 is one of the few reports that has dealt directly with the issue. The specific development of services for, and social work with, persons with learning difficulties was reported most usefully by Todd 1967. Borsay 2005 provides a useful general history since 1750. Other useful general resources include the historical video Rix 2006 and Simpson’s “Resources on the History of Idiocy”.

                          Social Policy and Social Work

                          Social work in the United Kingdom has always been a mostly public activity, and its definition, purpose, and focus are strongly influenced by the broader policy and political context within which it operates. It is essential for those researching social work to appreciate its policy and political dimensions. This section is a small selection of social policy readings that provide useful overviews of the development of the welfare state in particular. The History and Policy website is a useful general resource, and the Workhouse website provides an excellent set of resources relating to the period of the Poor Law. Fraser 2009 provides a recent history of British social policy since the Industrial Revolution. Jones 1971 is an essential study of relations among the classes in London. Harris 2008 reviews the development of social work during key periods of transformation in social policy.

                          • Fraser, Derek. 2009. The evolution of the British welfare state: A history of social policy since the Industrial Revolution. Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

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                            A useful overview of the main developments in the welfare system for over one hundred years. It refers to a range of other useful texts and resources that map the general history of social policy in Britain as well.

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                          • Harris, John. 2008. State social work: Constructing the present from moments in the past. British Journal of Social Work 38.4: 662–679.

                            DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcn024Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            This paper considers the transformations and developments in social work during five key moments of political change: 19th-century liberalism, postwar policy, the Seebohm report of the Committee on Local Authority and Allied Personal Social Services and the reform of health and social services, New Right politics, and New Labour politics.

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                          • History and Policy.

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                            This website has excellent papers and resources on social policy and welfare themes pertinent to social work. BBC History Magazine is another interesting general history resource providing free access to back issues and substantial podcasts focusing on different aspects of the past and what we can learn from them.

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                          • Jones, Gareth Stedman. 1971. Outcast London: A study in the relationship between classes in Victorian society. Oxford: Clarendon.

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                            This study by an economic historian examines the nature of relations among the social classes in London and attempts to understand the nature of deprivation and demoralization. A seminal text.

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                          • Workhouse.

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                            A lively and informative site on the workhouses in the United Kingdom under the Poor Law. It includes visual as well as written documentary sources and is easy to navigate and access for local and general information.

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                          Research

                          The role of research in social work is a less recognized theme in history, and the selected readings in this section, such as Cree 2008, provide some important insights. Diner 1977 discusses the history of scholarship in social welfare, and Shaw 2008 examines the history of research in social work. Skehill 2007 and Martin 1995 are commentaries on the practice of researching the history of social work, offering two methods, oral history and history of the present. Research and commentaries based on service users’ perspectives have become particularly influential; Mayer and Timms 1970 was one of the first works to address the issue of service users’ views. Sainsbury 1975 on work with children and families influenced what has become a strong user-involvement voice within social work research, education, and practice.

                          • Cree, Viviene. 2008. Researching social work: Reflections on a contested profession. Edinburgh: Univ. of Edinburgh.

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                            An interesting account of the role of research in social work from a historical perspective that emphasizes the importance of research in social work.

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                          • Diner, Steven J. 1977. Scholarship in the quest for social welfare: A fifty-year history of the Social Service Review. Social Service Review 51.1: 1–66

                            DOI: 10.1086/643470Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            This paper, written in the 1970s, gives excellent insight into debates about research for social welfare and social work at the time. It shows the persistence of a concern for social study and an evidence base within the profession.

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                          • Martin, Ruth R. 1995. Oral history in social work. London: Sage.

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                            A book dedicated to researching the history of social work specifically through oral histories.

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                          • Mayer, John E., and Noel Timms. 1970. The client speaks. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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                            This is one of the earliest texts dealing explicitly with service user and provider perspectives. Groundbreaking at its time, it highlights the importance of listening to the client perspective and contributed to the critical debate that emerged around power and professionals such as social workers.

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                          • Sainsbury, E. 1975. Social work with children and families. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

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                            This book details an in-depth study of social work with children and families involving twenty-seven families. The study examined the process of intervention, the nature of relationships, and the perception of what constituted “good social work.”

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                          • Shaw, Ian. 2008. Merely experts? Reflections on the history of social work, science, and research. Research, Policy, and Planning 26.1: 57–65.

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                            This paper is one of the few that reflect specifically on the history of research in social work. It provides a stimulating discussion on how research has influenced social work practice and highlights the importance of a historical perspective when considering research in social work practice. Available online.

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                          • Skehill, Caroline. 2007. Researching the history of social work: Exposition of a history of the present approach. European Journal of Social Work 10.4: 449–463.

                            DOI: 10.1080/13691450701356895Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            An example of a methodology for studying the history of social work is provided in this paper. It documents the use of Michel Foucault’s “history of the present” methodology in researching the history of social work.

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                          LAST MODIFIED: 02/15/2010

                          DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195389678-0051

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