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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): LCC/WE/H
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1896-1962
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 38.84 linear metres
Name of creator(s): LCC | London County Council x London County Council


Administrative/Biographical history:

In 1948 the poor law, after an existence of almost 350 years, was abolished. Those among the poor whose financial needs were not met by national insurance were given material help by the National Assistance Board. Local authorities were delegated some responsibilities by the Board, for example the provision of reception centres for the temporary accommodation of vagrants and persons without a settled way of life. In addition the National Assistance Act, 1948, required local authorities to make residential provision for the blind, disabled, elderly and infirm. However, under the Act these services were not to be provided free as a kind of official charity. Persons receiving help were to pay according to their means, even if their means were no more than a retirement pension. The Council's responsibilities in all this related therefore to the provision of establishments of various kinds. At the end of the Second World War there were public assistance institutions (formerly the old workhouses), casual wards (where tramps were put up for the night), three lodging houses, and, left over from wartime activities, the rest centres and rest homes. The Welfare Department was responsible for the organisation and management of the various residential homes, temporary homes and institutions for the assistance of the poor.

The National Assistance Act, 1948, required local authorities to provide 'residential accommodation for persons who by reason of age, infirmity or any other circumstances are in need of care and attention which is not otherwise available to them'. The Council's policy was to provide establishments smaller in size and with a less spartan atmosphere than the old poor law institutions. However, the severe shortage of accommodation after the Second World War made this difficult and certain larger institutions were adapted for use, such as Luxborough Lodge, whichheld 1,200 residents. These larger homes were gradually phased out of use.

In addition to old people's homes, the Council provided mother and baby homes for assisting unmarried expectant and nursing mothers. With the postwar rise in unmarried mothers, the Council found it necessary to provide one home for mothers and babies where girls could stay for several weeks before and after confinement, an ante-natal unit and two mother-and-baby units, as well as a working mothers hostel.

Casual wards provided temporary board and lodging for vagrants. After the war they were replaced by reception centres. The Camberwell Reception Centre had accommodation for nearly 700 men. They were provided with food, a bed and washing facilities, and they were expected to help with domestic duties before leaving. Welfare officers of the Council and the National Assistance Board helped them to rehabilitate themselves and to find employment.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the London County Council Welfare Department relating to homes and institutions, 1896-1962, including reports, religious ministration, administration, nursing and medical, staffing, building works, finance, workshops, inventory, log-books and information about residents for homes including Alexandra House, Brockle Bank, Bromley House, Camberwell Reception Centre, Carisbrooke Lodge, Dale Mead Old People's Home, Fulham Road Hostel, Ladywell Lodge, Luxborough Lodge, Newington Lodge, Norwood House, Orchard Lodge, Princes Row, Southern Grove Lodge and Saint Peter and Saint Paul Home for Babies. Also case papers for small homes, large homes and out of county homes. Please note that files may be closed for Data Protection purposes.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Alphabetically by home/institution.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired with the records of its parent body, the London County Council. Additional accession of case files received in 1955 (AC/55/078, AC/55/095).

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

For further information on the history of the LCC please see Achievement: A Short History of the London County Council by W Eric Jackson (1965), LMA Library reference 18.0 1965, The London County Council 1938, LMA Library reference 18.7 SER 4, and The Youngest County: A description of London as a county and its public services, 1951, LMA Library reference 18.0 1951.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
April to June 2009

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