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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 A/KNW
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1936-1977
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.16 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Kensington Welfare Association | London Diocesan Council for Welcare x Kensington Association for Rescue and Preventative Work


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Kensington Welfare Association was a local branch of the London Diocesan Council for Welcare.

The London Diocesan Council for Penitentiary, Rescue and Preventative Work was founded by the Diocesan Conference of 1889 at the suggestion of Bishop Frederick Temple. There already existed numerous homes and refuges for 'fallen women' and 'endangered girls', including the Diocesan Penitentiaries at Fulham and Highgate, the Women's Mission to the Fallen, the Men's League for the Rescue of Harlots, the Lady Guardians' Committee helping unmarried mothers in workhouses and the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants carrying out preventative work with domestic staff. Much of the initial work of the Council was to achieve some sort of co-ordination of these different organisations. An office was established in Church House, Westminster, and a secretary was hired. The rapid expansion of the Council, from ten homes in 1893 to fifty homes and twenty-four local societies in 1900, was largely owing to the work of the Ladies' Committee.

The homes included Saint Mary's Home for younger girls in Bourdon Street, run by the Sisters of Saint Peter, which became known for innovation in the matter of general education and constructive practical training. The Blue Lamp Refuge, established in the 1890s, was open 24 hours, offering a place of safety for local prostitutes. In 1901 Saint Agnes House was opened as a training house for the Council's workers.

The Council also worked with men, through the Men's Committee. The main emphasis of their work was education in personal and public morality through lectures, sermons and the distribution of literature. Some of their pamphlets were described in annual reports as requiring 'the most delicate consideration', implying that they addressed matters of sexual behaviour. The First World War increased the work of the Committee and they lectured in military camps. However, after the war the Committee was disbanded and the work continued by another organisation, the White Cross League.

After the First World War the Council found itself in a poor financial situation, necessitating a move of offices, to Little Grosvenor Street, and the redundancy of their secretary. In addition the workers felt a growing feeling of depression, finding the girls increasingly difficult to influence. Generous but grants from the Ministry of Health for their 'voluntary maternity and child welfare services' helped to tide over this awkward period. The emphasis and balance of the work slowly changed, with fewer, but better, homes and more outside workers, some based in maternity hospitals and venereal disease hospitals, befriending and providing after-care for patients. Inter-diocese co-operation increased and regular meetings were held for the exchange of ideas, including the formation of the London and Southwark Diocesan Moral Education Committee. Work with prostitutes was gradually decreased, as the Women Police were seen to be undertaking this work. However, a drive for better sex education for both sexes was begun, with literature distributed and lectures held.

The Second World War brought problems for the Council, as several homes were destroyed by bombing and its workers were called away to war-work. This coincided with an increase in the number of illegitimate children. This led to a change in policy. Where previously the mother's right to keep the child and the father's duty to maintain it were stressed, more thought was now given to the welfare and future of the baby, which meant that where appropriate adoption was encouraged.

In 1943 the Ministry of Health placed statutory obligations on local authorities to provide for unmarried mothers and children. The Council therefore became more closely united with welfare services. Regular grants were paid by the London County Council, whilst the Diocesan Council made strenuous efforts to increase its own private income, firstly through the Women's Offering Fund and then through a periodical contribution according to the Diocesan quota.

The Council changed its name to the 'London Diocesan Association for Moral Welfare', in the 1970s changing it again, to the 'London Diocesan Council for Welcare'.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Kensington Welfare Association and other related welfare associations, 1936-1977.

Minute book of the Kensington Welfare Association, 1955-1966. Annual reports of the Kensington Association for Rescue and Preventative Work, 1936-1945. Annual reports of the Kensington Association for Moral Welfare, 1946-1966. Annual reports of the Kensington and Chelsea Deaneries Welcare Association, 1969-1977. Annual report of the Fulham Ruri-Decanal Council for Moral Welfare Work, 1949-1950.

Circular of the Deanery Association for Moral Welfare Work, 1955. Annual reports of the London Diocesan Council for Moral Welfare, 1959-1963. Annual reports of the London Diocesan Council for Wel-care, 1972-1977. Annual report of the London Council for Welfare of Women and Girls, 1965-1966.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in 9 sections according to Association.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Material received in two accessions in 1967 and 1978 (AC/67/070, AC/78/040).

Allied Materials

Related material:

See also records of other welfare associations: London Diocesan Council for Welcare (references A/LWC, ACC/1478, LMA/4178 and LMA/4299); Southwark Diocesan Council for Welcare (references ACC/2201, ACC/2538) and Enfield Wel-care (reference ACC/2776).

Publication note:

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:
July to October 2009

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