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AEGIS (Aid to the Elderly in Government Institutions)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0097 AEGIS
Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science
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Full title: AEGIS (Aid to the Elderly in Government Institutions)
Date(s): 1946-1976
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 83 boxes
Name of creator(s): AEGIS | Aid to the Elderly in Government Institutions


Administrative/Biographical history:

AEGIS (Aid to the Elderly in Government Institutions) was a pressure group set up by Barbara Robb (d 1975) to campaign about the treatment of elderly people in the psychiatric and geriatric wards of British hospitals, following her personal involvement in the case of Amy Gibbs, a patient at Friern Barnet Hospital. AEGIS was founded in November 1965, and the publication of Sans Everything: a case to answer (Nelson, London, 1967) by Robb led to government debates and the setting up of Committees of Inquiry into the conditions at several hospitals in Great Britain. The first reading of the NHS Reorganisation Bill took place in 1972, and a Health Ombudsman was appointed in 1973. Robb died in 1975.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the pressure group AEGIS (Aid to the Elderly in Government Institutions), 1946-1976, comprising the following.
Group of material arranged by Barbara Robb and entitled 'Record of a Campaign', 1964-1975, notably a narrative by Robb illustrating the key events in the AEGIS campaign, including detailed accounts of meetings with ministers, care workers, journalists, members of hospital management committees, complainants and others, with leaflets, press cuttings, and correspondence from members, press and supporters, 1964-1966; material relating to AEGIS' activities, 1966-1973, notably a memorandum outlining the aims, methods and organisation of AEGIS; material relating to AEGIS' advisors, 1967-1972, and organisations in contact with AEGIS, 1965-1971; papers related to articles written for the AEGIS campaign, 1973-1975; files of documents relating to general events of the AEGIS campaign, 1967-1975; background material for public talks by Robb, [1962-1975]; material relating to patient and community care, and nurses' campaigns inspired by AEGIS, [1967-1972], including articles, press cuttings, extracts from official publications, and Nursing Times Occasional Papers; accounts of various hospital inquiries, 1964-1968; press cuttings, correspondence and memoranda related to Project 70, AEGIS' housing scheme for the elderly, 1966-1971.
Group of material arranged by Barbara Robb and entitled 'Sans Everything', 1964-1975, including documents related to the publication of her book Sans Everything: a case to answer (Nelson, London, 1967), 1966-1967, such as an original manuscript of the work, and correspondence with publishers, agents, lawyers, the media, and various MPs and government officials; material relating to a proposed book entitled 'That which should accompany old age', [1966-1967]; background material on the subjects discussed in Sans Everything, 1966-1974, including press articles, cuttings, interview transcripts and correspondence relating to Parliamentary debates on the care of the elderly, the Health Ombudsman, and the NHS Reorganisation Bill, with a narrative by Robb concerning the 'Sans Everything' Government White Paper.
Group of material arranged by Barbara Robb and entitled 'No Serious Deficiencies', [1967-1975], comprising a large collection of press cuttings relating to the AEGIS campaign, conditions in various hospitals across Great Britain, geriatric and psychiatric nursing, Government debates on health, the Ministry of Health, inadequacies in medical funding and training, reviews of Sans Everything, the National Health Service, and nursing shortages; notes and summaries by Robb on the collated press cuttings.
Research material collected for AEGIS' campaigns, 1964-1975, arranged by Barbara Robb, mainly relating to hospital inquiries and comprising correspondence, press cuttings, memoranda, transcripts of interviews and evidence, reports and cassettes.
Complainants' letters, 1965-1974, written to Barbara Robb and David Montague de Burgh Kenworthy, 11th Baron Strabolgi, regarding the abuse of geriatric and mental health patients in NHS hospitals and homes, from friends and relatives, doctors, hospital staff, and patients themselves, often containing lengthy reports on individual cases, press cuttings and copies of correspondence with hospitals, local and regional health authorities and the Ministry of Health.
Research material gathered by Barbara Robb and other members of the AEGIS organisation, 1966-1974, notably on attitudes of healthcare professionals and the public to geriatric nursing, the Hospitals Advisory Service, the Briggs Committee, Richard Crossman and the NHS Reorganisation Bill, euthanasia, the Davies Committee and complaints procedures, the NHS under the Conservative government, the National Association for Mental Health, care of the elderly in other countries, and the Ministry of Health.
Publications, 1946-1975, including official publications relating to parliamentary debates on matters of concern to AEGIS, particularly the NHS Reorganisation Act (1973); reports and memoranda produced by the Ministry of Health and Regional Health Boards, Committees of Inquiry and others; and papers, articles and books relating to the care of the elderly.
Administrative material of AEGIS, [1965-1975], including office diaries, notebooks and contact details for the various bodies contacted by the organisation.
Additional material relating to the AEGIS campaign compiled by Robb for Cecil Hewitt Rolph, editor of the New Statesman, 1964-1976, including papers relating to individual cases, correspondence and press cuttings.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Barbara Robb arranged the AEGIS papers into several large groups, which she identified in a letter to her solicitor as 'Record of a Campaign', 'Sans Everything' and 'No serious deficiencies' (sections 1-3 in the handlist). These groups were divided into volumes and bound into ring binders. Within the binders, the pages were arranged chronologically, subdivided into sections, and each page was numbered, allowing the pages to be easily searched. A table of contents appears at the start of many of the volumes, complete with explanatory memoranda. The papers have been removed from the ring binders for conservation purposes, but the original structure of the volumes has been maintained. The remainder of the collection is arranged as follows: campaigns, correspondence from complainants, research material, publications, administrative material, and additional papers given to Cecil Hewitt Rolph of the New Statesman.

Conditions governing access:

Open, though some confidential files remain closed. Apply to the Archivist for details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright retained by the depositor and their heirs.

Finding aids:

Printed handlist and online catalogue available.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Given by Brian Robb, via Coutts and Co, executors, in 1980.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

There is material relating to AEGIS in the papers of Cecil Hewitt Rolph held in the BLPES (Ref: Rolph/AEGIS).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Barbara Robb, Sans Everything: a case to answer (Nelson, London, 1967); Cecil Hewitt Rolph, 'Protecting the Insane', New Statesman, 11 Feb 1966.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: British Library of Political and Economic Science catalogue. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

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:
Sep 2000

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