Association of Health and Residential Care Officers

  • Association of Health and Residential Care Officers
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The collection includes minutes, yearbooks, and files on conferences and on general organisational matters.

The records as received in 1985 were by no means complete. A number of significant gaps were filled in when Lionel Lewis subsequently gave the Wellcome Library a substantial collection of old Yearbooks and Bulletins and some associated material (Accession 787). However, because the records moved around the country from secretary to secretary some lacunae are inevitable. Some clearing out of files would seem to have taken place in 1969 (see letter from T. Crook to J. Dawber, 18 Aug 1969, SA/AHR/E.29). Minutes of the entire organisation survive only from 1915 and there is a large gap for the period 1933-1946, although there are earlier minutes from No 2 and No 4 Inspection Districts. Files relating to the organisation of, and proceedings at, Annual Conferences only go back to 1961.



Physical description

24 boxes


The collection is divided into sections as follows:

A. Minutes and committee correspondence

A.1-20 Minutes, 1915-1984

A.21-32 Committee correspondence, 1948-1980

A.33-34 Minutes of No 2 Inspection District, 1897-1929

A.35 Minutes of No 4 Inspection District, 1918-1936

B. Yearbooks, 1913-1978

C. General Organisational Matters

C.1-11 General correspondence of officers, 1956-1984

C.12-17 Constitutional matters, 1942-1978

C.18-19 District matters, 1966-1972

C.20-32 Pay, superannuation and allied questions, 1957-1973

C.33-36 Legislation affecting AHRCO members, 1970-1973

C.37-42 Publications, publicity, etc 1961-1980

C.43-46 Children's section, 1961-1968

C.47-50 Residential Care section, 1977-1984

C.51 Disputes involving members, c.1970s-1980s

C.52 Miscellaneous items, 1980s

D. Annual Conferences, 1961-1984

E. Other bodies: relations with

E.1-17 NALGO (National Association of Local Government Officers), 1932-1980

E.18-20 Whitley Councils, 1965-1972

E.21-46 Other bodies: various, 1958-1981

E.47 Reports to outside bodies: committees, commissions etc, 1963-1970

F. The Bulletin, 1933-1984

Acquisition note

These archives were received by the library at Wellcome Collection in June 1985, via the Science Museum (which holds memorabilia relating to the Association), from St Catherine's Hospital Birkenhead where they had been stored subsequent to the dissolution of the Association in 1984.

Biographical note

Originally set up to consider the duties, responsibilities and interests of Masters and Matrons of Poor Law Institutions (at the time a joint post held by a married couple resident on the premises), the Association underwent various alterations in structure, organisation and title as a result of changing attitudes and legislation. The names held by the organisation were as follows:
National Association of Workhouse Masters and Matrons (to c. 1915)
National Association of Masters and Matrons of Poor Law Institutions (c.1915-1932)
National Association of Administrators of Local Government Institutions/Establishments (1932-1948)
Association of Health and Welfare Administrators (1948-1970)
Association of Hospital and Residential Care Officers (1970-1982)
Association of Health and Residential Care Officers (1982-1984)

Its members were involved in residential care (mostly of children and the aged), and in hospital administration, throughout its existence. In 1944 the Association established a closer relationship with National Association of Local Government Officers (NALGO), the trade union representing local government officers, in order to have the resources of this larger body at their disposal. The differences in approach, and the fact that AHRCO was a small interest group within this much larger organisation, led to inevitable tensions, in particular over the question of industrial action.

Membership, once over 2000, declined to 400 by 1979, as a result of structural changes within the health and caring professions and changes in attitudes generally. It was thus decided to dissolve the Association as a formally constituted body in 1984.

Further details of the history of this Association can be found in Lionel Lewis, Association of Health and Residential Care Officers: A Short History (1898-1984) (L. Lewis, Faversham, [n.d.]), a copy of which may be found at SA/AHR/C.55.

Appraisal note

The first accession was received in a state of some disorder. In order to make the files more coherent, and more accessible to users, a certain amount of both separation and collation of material has taken place. Duplicates and ephemeral material have been weeded. Where old reference numbers existed, these have been indicated in the list.

Location of duplicates

A photograph of the title page of SA/AHR/B.1/1, the Handbook of the National Association of Workhouse Masters and Matrons, is held by Wellcome Images at L0041591


The catalogue is available on microfiche via the National Inventory of Documentary Sources (NIDS).

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