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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4196
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1945-1969
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 3.65 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Smith | Muriel | fl 1942-1979 | social worker


Administrative/Biographical history:

Muriel Smith began her career as an Assistant Warden and Youth Leader of a purpose-built community centre outside Reading. In 1942 she trained in social work at Liverpool University and attended Reading University part time where she completed a degree in Philosophy and Psychology.

From 1949 to 1969 Muriel Smith worked with the London Voluntary Service Council (LCSS) as the head of the Community Development Department and was involved in the administering of grants from the LCC and GLC. She was also involved with the Central Housing Advisory Committee and a member of the Parker Morris Subcommittee which produced the report Homes for Today and Tomorrow. Her work brought her in touch with some of the major charitable trusts, in particular the City Parochial Foundation and the Gulbenkian Foundation in which Muriel was a member of many committees leading to various Gulbenkian publications.

In 1969 Muriel Smith was seconded to the Home Office as a consultant to the Community Development Project which was " attempt to research into the better understanding and comprehensive tackling of social needs, especially in local communities within older urban areas, through closer co-ordination of central and local official and unofficial effort, informed and stimulated by citizen initiative and involvement.", and later to the Voluntary Service Unit.

Muriel Smith was involved with the setting up of the Association of London Housing Estates and the Kenilworth Group.

Even after her retirement in 1979 Muriel Smith continued to be active in social work. She was responsible for three long-term Manpower Service projects, one sponsored by Toynbee Hall, were she helped with the preparations for their centenary year and gave a years voluntary service at their social centre working with mainly Bengali and Somali mothers and babies. The other two projects were sponsored by members of the Bengali local community who elected her as their organising secretary, as well as being a member of the Tower Hamlets Association for Racial Equality, and the subcommittee on education.


Scope and content/abstract:

This collection consists of the working papers of Muriel Smith. They cover the period of the 1950's to the late 1970's when Muriel Smith was working at the London Voluntary Service Council and the Home Office before her retirement in 1979.

The papers include Registry Files consisting of a series of subject files relating to the early work of Muriel Smith from 1952 to 1967 and include files on the Central Housing Committee, the Kenilworth Study Group, Housing, Playgrounds and the Association of London Housing Estates; Community Development Project Files which cover the period 1959-1974 and are mainly concerned with Muriel Smith's work at the Home Office; Voluntary Service Unit papers; correspondence including letters to Ilys Booker (a friend and fellow community development worker); papers relating to The North Kensington Project, Association of London Housing Estates, Tower Hamlets, and the Danilo Dolci Fund; and material produced by Ilys Booker relating to projects that Muriel Smith was also involved in.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Registry Files LMA/4196/01;
Community Development Project Files LMA/4296/02-03;
Voluntary Service Unit LMA/4196/04;
Correspondence LMA/4196/05;
Projects LMA/4196/06-09;
Ilys Booker Papers LMA/4196/10 and
Miscellaneous files LMA/4196/11.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The working papers of Muriel Smith were deposited as a gift by her family in February 1998.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Further records relating to Muriel Smith and related organisations may be found among the records of the London Council for Social Services ACC/1888, and the National Council of Voluntary Organisations LMA/4016.

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:
August to October 2010.

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