Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

Camberwell Council on Alcoholism

Camberwell Council on Alcoholism
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


This collection is a valuable source for the study of the developments in concepts of and treatment for alcoholism from the 1960s, while it also illustrates the growth and development of a body which, although firmly community-based, had national and international importance in the field of alcohol-related problems.

The wide range of the CCA's interests can be gathered by looking at the list of files in this collection, although it is by no means complete, e.g. there is little documentation on the Summer Schools on Alcoholism held during the 1960s. The broad divisions of the collection are as follows: Minutes 1963-1980; annual reports, 1970s; reports and research papers, 1973-1979; files on alcoholism, homelessness, licensing laws, drunken driving, etc, and re liaison with related bodies, 1961-1980.



Physical description

14 boxes


The basic sections of the collection are as follows:

1-3: Executive Committee Minutes, 1963-1980

4-10: Annual General Meetings, 1963-1975

11-14: Reports, 1969/70-1977/78

15-17: Early correspondence, 1961-1970

18-80: Subject files, 1961-1980

81-87: Other bodies, c.1968-1976

88-94: Reference items

95-100: Acc no 90: Women and Alcohol files and One Day Conference, c.1973-1979

101-104: Acc no 104: Correspondence, etc, of Elspeth Kyle as Secretary/Organiser, 1971-1973.

Acquisition note

The main bulk of this collection was received in February 1980 through the kind auspices of Shirley Otto, chairperson of the CCA Executive Committee, from the office of the South East London Consortium, Cambridge House, SE5, where they had been stored. A few further items were received from Elspeth Kyle in January 1981, and additional material from the offices of the CCA in October 1980, February 1981 and October 1981. (Accession numbers 18, 77, 83, 90 and 106.)

Biographical note

The Camberwell Council on Alcoholism (CCA) promoted preventive and diagnostic work in the study of alcoholism as a disease and in the treatment of alcoholics. Founded in 1963, it was the first of the community councils on alcoholism to be established in the UK. It was active in an area of south London where a very visible vagrant alcoholic problem met a growing interest among the doctors of the Maudsley Hospital in the problems of alcoholism as a disease: in particular Dr Griffith Edwards of the Maudsley was very active in setting up this local council. Recent theoretical developments concerning the problem (mainly from the USA) met the 1960s trend towards the development of community-based organisations to deal with social problems, committed to a self-help approach and involved in direct action, education of the public and campaigning. During this early period of the CCA's history the economic climate was favourable, with public money being available to fund projects such as these.

The CCA became involved in the problems created by alcohol over a wide field from the very obvious problem of the vagrant alcoholic to the unsuspectedly large problem of female alcoholism. The pattern of the CCA's activity was to set up groups to deal with a particular problem (e.g. provision of hostel accommodation for homeless alcoholics, setting an Alcohol Education Centre) and then withdraw as these groups became self-supporting ventures. It also liaised with other organisations doing related work.

The CCA became inactive in the early 1980s.

A list of key dates in history of CCA and contemporary alcoholism treatment follows. These events are classified under the following headings: Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry; CCA; Voluntary Organisations; and Statutory Services.


Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry: Paper on 2 year follow -up of Maudsley patients by Davis, Shepherd and Myers (QJSA)


Voluntary Organisations: West London Mission (St. Luke's) opened


Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry: Paper on return to normal drinking, by Davies (QJSA)


CCA: CCA founded

Voluntary Organisations: Helping Hand Organisation: Giles House opened


CCA: Information week; Skid Row conference

Voluntary Organisations: Alcoholism Information Centre opened

Statutory Services: Reception Centre management taken over by NAB from LCC


Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry: paper on London's Skid Row by Edwards et. al., Lancet

CCA: Hostels Conference

Voluntary Organisations: Alcoholics Recovery Project: Rathcoole House opened


Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry: Addiction Research Unit

CCA: Habitual Drunken Offender conference

Statutory Services: Home Office Working Party on Habitual Drunken Offender set up


CCA: Habitual Drunken Offender international symposium

Voluntary Organisations: Helping Hand Organisation: Kenmore Hall opened


CCA: 1st Summer School on Alcoholism

Voluntary Organisations: Alcoholics Recovery Project: shop front opened; Alcoholism Information Centre closed


Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry: Alcoholism Services Group

CCA: Information fortnight

Voluntary Organisations: Consortium: office opened

Statutory Services: DHSS national grant of £2 million to alcoholism services


Statutory Services Home Office report "Habitual Drunken Offenders"


CCA became inactive.

Appraisal note

A certain amount of rationalisation of the files has taken place but as far as possible they have been kept in their original relations to each other. Duplicates have been weeded, as have some ephemeral items (mainly orders and invoices for the CCA Journal on Alcoholism), and publications not directly related to alcoholism.

Accruals note

It was anticipated that further files would be deposited at approximately five-year intervals, but CCA became inactive before the first five-year deadline.

Permanent link