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Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 SA/CSP
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Date(s): 1894-1991
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 213 boxes, 12 oversize items, 2 objects, 1 reel of film, 3 boxes of audio cassettes
Name of creator(s): Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapists' Association
Society of Remedial Gymnasts
East Surrey Mobile Physiotherapy Unit
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy began life in 1894, after a series of 'massage scandals' in the popular press prompted nine nurses and midwives to form a council of trained masseuses. In February 1895 this was officially launched as The Society of Trained Masseuses. The Society set examinations and educational standards, inspected training schools, and quickly embraced wider methods of treatment, including medical gymnastics, hydrotherapy and electro-therapy. It also acted to protect and improve the status of its members within the medical hierarchy. The Society became incorporated in 1900, and in 1920 amalgamated with the Institute of Massage and Remedial Exercises, changing its name to the Chartered Society of Massage and Medical Gymnastics. In 1943 the name was changed again to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, and amalgamation with the Incorporation of Physiotherapists took place in 1945. Further amalgamations occurred in 1968 - with The Faculty of Physiotherapists, with The Physiotherapists Association Ltd in 1970 and with the Society of Remedial Gymnasts and Recreational Therapy in 1985. In 1976 the Society registered as an independent trade union. By 1994 the Society had over 26,000 members, working and teaching both within the NHS and privately.


Scope and content/abstract:

The archive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy provides a comprehensive record of its activities and development, dating back to its foundation - with two press cuttings books of the 1894 'massage scandals' (P.1), and Council minutes from 1894 onwards (B.1). The core of the collection is formed by complete runs of minute books for the various committees. There are no committee working papers or correspondence files other than those bound with the minutes. Papers relating to education and examination including minutes for all the major committees and sub-committees (C.1), and material relating to the actual administration of examinations: syllabuses, examination papers, result books and reports (C.2). Records relating to membership including membership registers 1895-1975, published lists of members 1920-1986 and minutes and registers of the fund and prize committees 1949-1957 (D). Records of some branches and special interest groups within the CSP can be found in section J.

Material relating to protecting and improving the status of its members within the medical profession can be found in section F, especially in connection with the debates on the place of physiotherapy within the NHS - training, conditions of service and its existence as a profession distinct from others such as occupational therapy. These topics are also discussed in publications (N). Other publications illustrate specific physiotherapy and lifting techniques and advertise physiotherapy as a career. Section P contains 'historical' material relating to the early years of the Society: the 'massage scandal' press cuttings, and correspondence re the Harley Institute massage school 1912-1914. Section P also contains material relating to the writing of the Society's commissioned histories, and personal papers and reminiscences, including a group of papers and photographs relating to Olive Guthrie-Smith and the Swedish Institute, (later St Mary's Hospital School of Physiotherapy), 1904-1939. There is a substantial photograph collection (Q.1), dating from 1900-1980, illustrating many aspects of the Society's work as well as specific treatments and hospital departments. There are also nine films (Q.5), 1942-1976, illustrating techniques, training and events; sound recordings (Q.3); and a series of tapes of oral history interviews recorded in 1992 (Q.4).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The collection is divided into sections as follows:
A AGM, Annual Reports and Year Books, 1920-1991 (In cataloguing the archive, the minute books for dissolved committees have been arranged in series with the minutes of their successor committees.)
B Council and Central Administrative Committees, 1894-1983
C Education and Examinations, 1906-1985
D Membership, 1895-1986
E Journal and Public Relations, 1915-1987
F Industrial Relations and Liaison, 1915-1989
G International Affairs Advisory Committee, 1953-1987
H Legal Documents and Property Administration, 1918-1969
J Branches and Special Interest Groups, 1929-1989
K Physiotherapists' Association Ltd, 1949-1970
L Society of Remedial Gymnasts, 1946-1986
M East Surrey Mobile Physiotherapy Unit, 1942-1982
N Publications
P 'Historical' Material, Reminiscences and Personal Papers, 1894-1983
Q Audio-Visual Material.

Conditions governing access:

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Anyone intending to publish extensively from the collection should contact the CSP for permission.

Finding aids:

The catalogue to this collection has not yet been fully converted to electronic form: for detail, and to order material, see hard-copy list available in the Wellcome Library. Copies of the catalogue are available on request.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy deposited its papers with the Wellcome Library in November 1994. A few items from the CSP's 'old books' collection were accepted by the Wellcome Library's Modern Medicine collection. Others duplicated those already held and were dispersed elsewhere.

Allied Materials

Related material:

In the Wellcome Library: Records of the Research Board for the Correlation of Medical Science and Physical Education, 1942-1956 (SA/RBC), the British Medical Association (SA/BMA), and Allan Broman (1861-1947), pioneer of medical gymnastics (GC/6), are all relevant. The papers of Grantly Dick-Read (PP/GDR) the natural childbirth pioneer, include correspondence with the CSP and individual physiotherapists 1941-1959. MS.8057 is a notebook on anatomy by E J Whitfield, a trainee masseuse.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Copied from the Wellcome Library catalogue 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:
JAn 2009

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