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National Council of One Parent Families

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 106 5OPF
Held at: Women's Library
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Full title: National Council of One Parent Families
Date(s): 1917-2002
Level of description: fonds
Extent: 124 boxes
Name of creator(s): National Council of One Parent Families
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The National Council for One Parent Families (NCOPF) (1918-fl 2006) was originally established in Feb 1918, under the name the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child (NCUMC). Its primary concern at that time was infant mortality and the welfare of unmarried mothers and their illegitimate children. The organisation was formed following a National Conference organised by the Child Welfare Council of the Social Welfare Association for London, which was held at Mansion House on 14 Feb 1918. The conference was the result of a Child Welfare Inquiry, which had been established by the Social Welfare Association in London in 1914.

The first Council meeting in Apr 1918 appointed a Chair, Hon. Secretaries and an Executive Committee. The original functions were: 1) To obtain reform of the existing Bastardy Acts and Affiliation Acts; 2) To secure the provision of adequate accommodation to meet the varying needs of mothers and babies throughout the country, with the special aim of keeping mother and child together; 3) To deal with individual enquiries from, or on behalf of, unmarried mothers. Funds were acquired via public funding and voluntary donations. On 4 Jan 1946 the Society was incorporated.

World War Two saw a huge increase in the number of women turning to the Council for assistance. The election of a Labour government, after the war, saw the expansion of the Welfare State following the findings of the Beveridge Report. This changed the focus of the Council away from providing direct aid towards explaining the complexities of the benefit system.

The 1960s and 1970s saw the Council return to its original function as a pressure group. The change of name to the National Council for One Parent Families occurred in 1973. It had been proposed in Feb 1972 and the new name reflected the Council catering for all lone parents. With the election of a Conservative government in 1979, the Council's priorities change, a Back to Work strategy was launched that promoted employment opportunities for lone parents. In 2004 the Council aimed to promote the welfare of lone parents and their children by helping to overcome the poverty, isolation and social exclusion faced by many. In 2007 National Council for One Parent Families and Gingerbread merged to become one organisation.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the National Council of One Parent Families including proof of status and policy documents; minutes of committees and working parties, 1918-1995; annual reports, 1918-1989, ledgers and associated accounts; case books and related papers, 1918-1947; fundraising and appeals, 1925-1993; correspondence, including with government and associated bodies (1918-1995); publications, draft bills, acts and legislation, details of Friends and Members.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records have been arranged to reflect the function of the organisation. Original order has been maintained where appropriate.

Conditions governing access:

The majority of this collection is open to researchers. However some individual files containing personally sensitive information have been closed in accordance with the Data Protection Act. The dates these files will become available have been indicated in the relevant sections of the catalogue.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The archive was deposited by the National Council for One Parent Families in 2001 and 2002.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The Women's Library holds the Records of Gingerbread (5GNB), the Records of Mothers in Action (5MIA), the Records of Maternity Action (5MAL) Papers of Amelia Scott (7ASC), an interview recorded with Mary Bennett, daughter of Lettice Fisher (8SUF: Oral evidence on the suffragette and suffragist movements), and Lone Parent Families: oral history interviews and photographic portraits created for the exhibition Sinners, Scoungers, Saints (8LPF).

The Women's Library Printed Collections also hold publications by the National Council for One Parent Families, including their newlestters and annual reports.

In 2007/2008 The Women's Library held an exhibition 'Sinners Scrounger Saint' about lone parents in collaboration with the National Council for One Parent Families. Please contact The Women's Library for more details.

London University: London School of Economics Library, Archives Division holds the Committee on One Parent Families (Finer Committee) 1966-1974 (15 boxes).

The records of One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) have been placed at Glasgow Caledonian University Archives.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
This document was generated by Javascript from an HTML form which structured the input according to the elements of ISAD(G) Version 2. Collection description and catalogue by Maxine Willett, Assistant Archivist, The Women's Library, Nov 2003. Edited for AIM25 by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
In compliance with ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description - 2nd Edition (1999); UNESCO Thesaurus, December 2001; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Dec 2008

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