Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The archive of the CSP provides a comprehensive record of its activities and development, dating back to its foundation - with two press cuttings books of the 1894 'massage scandals' (P.1), and Council minutes from 1894 onwards (B.1). Current records - those less than approximately five to ten years old - are still held by the CSP offices, and will be transferred to the archive periodically.

The core of the collection is formed by complete runs of minute books for the various committees. There are no committee working papers or correspondence files other than those bound with the minutes. The central body - the Council - has run uninterrupted since the formation of the Society, but all other committees, such as the Policy and Resources Committee, the Executive Committee and the various examination committees, have undergone periodic reorganisation, dissolution or changing of their terms of reference. In cataloguing the archive, the minute books for dissolved committees have been arranged in series with the minutes of their successor committees.

Education and examination has always been a central activity of the CSP, and pertinent records include minutes for all the major committees and sub-committees (C.1), as well as material relating to the actual administration of examinations: syllabuses, examination papers, result books and reports (C.2).

Records relating to membership include membership registers 1895-1975, published lists of members 1920-1986 and minutes and registers of the fund and prize committees 1949-1957 (D). Records of some branches and special interest groups within the CSP can be found in section J.

The CSP acted to protect and improve the status of its members within the medical profession. Material relating to this activity can be found in section F, especially in connection with the debates on the place of physiotherapy within the NHS - training, conditions of service and its existence as a profession distinct from others such as occupational therapy. These topics are also discussed in publications (N). Other publications illustrate specific physiotherapy and lifting techniques and advertise physiotherapy as a career.

Section P contains 'historical' material relating to the early years of the Society: the 'massage scandal' press cuttings, and correspondence re the Harley Institute massage school 1912-1914. Section P also contains material relating to the writing of the Society's commissioned histories, and personal papers and reminiscences, including a group of papers and photographs relating to Olive Guthrie-Smith and the Swedish Institute, (later St Mary's Hospital School of Physiotherapy), 1904-1939.

There is a substantial photograph collection (Q.1), dating from 1900-1990s, illustrating many aspects of the Society's work as well as specific treatments and hospital departments. There are also sound recordings (Q.3), posters (Q.5) and a video cassette produced by the CSP (Q.6).

The collection includes the archives of three other organisations. The Physiotherapists' Association Ltd amalgamated with the CSP in 1970, and its rather sparse records include Executive Committee minutes and publications 1949-1970 (K). The Society of Remedial Gymnasts amalgamated with the CSP in 1985, and its extensive papers, 1946-1986, include Council, AGM and Committee minutes, membership registers, discussion of training schools, and a complete series of its journal (L). The East Surrey Mobile Physiotherapy Unit Ltd records include a full run of Committee of Management minutes from 1942 until 1984, when the Unit was integrated into the East Surrey Health Authority. Its other records include annual reports and accounts, and photographs 1942-1978 (M). The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women's Health (R) amalgamated with the CSP in 1957 and became a Society Special Interest Group. The collection contains a complete run of official minutes and other committee papers along with material relating to education, Association newsletters/journals, historical and AV material and a box of equipment.



Physical description

355 boxes, 18 oversize items, 2 objects, 1 reel of film 6 o/s folders 6 boxes of audio cassettes


The collection is divided into sections as follows:

A AGM, Annual Reports and Year Books, 1920-1991

B Council and Central Administrative Committees, 1894-1983

C Education and Examinations, 1906-1985

D Membership, 1895-1986

E Journal and Public Relations, 1915-1987

F Industrial Relations and Liaison, 1915-1989

G International Affairs Advisory Committee, 1953-1987

H Legal Documents and Property Administration, 1918-1969

J Branches and Special Interest Groups, 1929-1989

K Physiotherapists' Association Ltd, 1949-1970

L Society of Remedial Gymnasts, 1946-1986

M East Surrey Mobile Physiotherapy Unit, 1942-1982

N Publications

P 'Historical' Material, Reminiscences and Personal Papers, 1894-1983

Q Audio-Visual Material

R The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women's Health

Acquisition note

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy deposited its papers with the library at Wellcome Collection in November 1994.

A few items from the CSP's 'old books' collection were accepted by the library at Wellcome Collection's Modern Medicine collection. Others duplicated those already held and were dispersed elsewhere.

Accession 2047 was donated by the ACPWH in January 2014.

Biographical note

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy began life in 1894, after a series of 'massage scandals' in the popular press prompted nine nurses and midwives to form a council of trained masseuses. In February 1895 this was officially launched as The Society of Trained Masseuses. The Society set examinations and educational standards, inspected training schools, and quickly embraced wider methods of treatment, including medical gymnastics, hydrotherapy and electro-therapy. It also acted to protect and improve the status of its members within the medical hierarchy. The Society became incorporated in 1900, and in 1920 amalgamated with the Institute of Massage and Remedial Exercises, changing its name to the Chartered Society of Massage and Medical Gymnastics. In 1943 the name was changed again to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, and amalgamation with the Incorporation of Physiotherapists took place in 1945. Further amalgamations occurred in 1968 - with The Faculty of Physiotherapists, with The Obstetric Physiotherapists' Association in 1957, with The Physiotherapists Association Ltd in 1970 and with the Society of Remedial Gymnasts and Recreational Therapy in 1985. In 1976 the Society registered as an independent trade union. By 2015 the Society had over 53,000 members, working and teaching both within the NHS and privately.

The CSP has commissioned two histories: The growth of a profession, Jane Wicksteed, London, 1948 and In Good Hands, Jean Barclay, London, 1994. Both are available in the Wellcome Library.

An outline chronology follows:

1894 'Massage scandals' reported in newspapers

Nine nurses and midwives form a council of trained masseuses

Oct 1894 'Massage notes' supplement published monthly in Nursing Notes

Feb 1895 The Society of Trained Masseuses formed by Rosalind Paget and Lucy Robinson

Seven certificates awarded to examined candidates

Oct 1895 First Committee meeting

Feb 1896 First AGM

Jun 1900 Incorporation: becomes The Incorporated Society of Trained Masseuses, annual subscription introduced

1905 First male candidates (from RAMC) examined, but not admitted to membership

Examinations in Dublin

1908 Employment of paid secretary

1910 Examination in Swedish remedial exercise

Jul 1911 Examination for teachers of Swedish remedial exercise

1911 Lecture centres opened outside London

1912 Northern Examinations Centre, Manchester, established

Headquarters established at Mortimer Street

1913 Practical experience becomes essential part of training

Examination of teachers of massage and medical gymnastics

1914 Founders' Lecture instituted

Almeric Paget Massage Corps and United Services Massage League formed for war service

Inspection of training schools instituted

1915 Examination in medical electricity

Journal of the ISTM launched

ISTM badge introduced

1916 Queen Mary becomes Patroness

Examination of blind candidates

Branch office, Manchester established

1919 Masseurs, physical training college certificate holders and blind persons admitted to membership

Course for teachers of medical electricity

1920 Royal Charter granted: change of name to The Chartered Society of Massage and Medical Gymnastics, amalgamation with the Institute of Massage and Remedial Gymnastics

Conjoint (massage and Swedish remedial exercises), light and electrotherapy examinations introduced

1922 Association of Teachers of the Chartered Society formed - first special interest group

1927 Conjoint examination established as minimum qualification for membership

1928 Headquarters move to Tavistock House

Lecture Centres replaced by Branches; Central Branches Committee established

1929 Examination in light and electrotherapy

1936 Massage Corps established for war service

1938 Armorial bearings granted

Branches Organisation established

1943 Change of name to The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

1945 Amalgamation with the Incorporation of Physiotherapists

1947 Inauguration of NHS

Integrated three-year training course introduced

1951 World Confederation for Physiotherapy inaugural meeting, Copenhagen

1953 Queen Elizabeth II becomes Patroness

1960 Professions Supplementary to Medicine Act

1962 State registration introduced for professions supplementary to medicine

1966 Purchase and rebuilding of headquarter offices in Bedford Row

1968 Amalgamation with The Faculty of Physiotherapists

1970 Amalgamation with The Physiotherapists Association Ltd

1976 Certification as an independent trade union

First degree course, Ulster Polytechnic

1977 The Department of Health memorandum HC(77)33 establishes professional autonomy for physiotherapists.

1978 The Privy Council agrees a change to the Society's bye-laws to allow physiotherapists to treat patients without prior medical referral.

1981 Fred Frazer is the first member to gain a PHD.

1985 The Society of Remedial Gymnastics and Recreational Therapy completes a merger with the CSP.

1986 In order to involve them in the development of the Society, student physiotherapists are admitted as members.

1992 Physiotherapy becomes an all graduate entry profession.

1993 Joins the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

1994 Assistants become associate members.

1995 Injection therapy comes within the scope of physiotherapy.

2001 Under the newly named Health Professionals' Council, the CSP work to attain legal protection for the titles "Physiotherapist" and "Physical Therapist".

2005 Prescription rights extended to physiotherapists.

2009 First doctorate in physiotherapy awarded.

Related material

At Wellcome Collection:

Records of the Research Board for the Correlation of Medical Science and Physical Education, 1942-1956 (SA/RBC), the British Medical Association (SA/BMA), and Allan Broman (1861-1947), pioneer of medical gymnastics (GC/6), are all relevant. The papers of Grantly Dick-Read (PP/GDR) the natural childbirth pioneer, include correspondence with the CSP and individual physiotherapists 1941-1959. MS.8057 is a notebook on anatomy by E J Whitfield, a trainee masseuse.

Archived website

This organisation's website has been archived as part of the work of the UK Web Archiving Consortium (UKWAC) and can be consulted here:

Copyright note

Anyone intending to publish extensively from the collection should contact the CSP for permission

Terms of use

This collection has been partially catalogued and the catalogued part is available to library members. Some items have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records. Requests to view uncatalogued material are considered on a case by case basis. Please contact for more details.

Location of duplicates

The following photographs are held by Wellcome Images: SA/CSP/N.2/4, Leaflet 'Physiotherapy as a career' 1960s, L45053-54 SA/CSP/N.2/4, Leaflet, 'Physiotherapy: information for prospective entrants to the profession' 1960s, L45049-52 SA/CSP/P.1/1, Presscuttings re massage scandal, 1894, L0041611 SA/CSP/P/4/1/13/6, Copy of protrait of Olive Guthrie-Smith, c.1950, L0048846 SA/CSP/Q.1/1, Photo of open air treatment. City of London Hospital, E. (Victoria Park Hospital) for Consumption and Chest Diseases. Ladies and girls sitting outside, c.1900, L0067154 SA/CSP/Q.1/16a, Postcard illustrating "The Big Push." The Bliss Series of postcards, No. 5. W P Spalding, Cambridge. From a series of postcards depicting APMC treatments by A G Bliss, 1916, L0067153 SA/CSP/Q.1/35, Photo of electrical treatment for polio (Miss Phiillip Apr 1925. Nurse with boy patient. Queen mary's Hospital for Children, Carshalton, Surrey, 1925, L0067152 SA/CSP/Q.1/56, Photo postcard of 'Madame clara novello Davies inspecting the tonal physical class for children, given by Miss Morfudd Jeffreys Jones at Brompton Hospital London, c.1937, L0067155 SA/CSP/Q.1/132, Photo of a patient being taught to use lung after extensive operation, 1950s?, L0067149 SA/CSP/Q.1/133, Photo of men's exercise class, 1950s?, L0067150 SA/CSP/Q.1/150, Photo of St Andrew's Brine Baths, Droitwich Spa. Hoisting patient from remedial pool, c.1960, L0067156 SA/CSP/Q.1/152, Photo of St Andrew's Brine Baths, Droitwich Spa. General sunlight lamp treatment, c.1955, L0067151 SA/CSP/Q.1/435, Photo of physiotherapy students in hospital reference library, 1972, L32163 SA/CSP/Q.1/436, Photo of physiotherapy students learning to make a moulded collar for neck support, 1972, L32162 SA/CSP/Q.1/437, Photo of physiotherapy students learning how to apply paraffin wax, 1972, L32161 SA/CSP/Q.1/438, Photo of physiotherapy students practising massage techniques under supervision, 1972, L32160 SA/CSP/Q.1/439, Photo of physiotherapy students practising activities they will use later with patients, 1972, L32159 SA/CSP/Q.1/440, Photo of students giving short wave diathermy treatments to patients whilst supervised by their tutor, 1972, L32164 Master copies of the oral history tapes held as SA/CSP/Q.3/6 are lodged at the National Sound Archive (ref: C601, 1-16). See the descriptions of individual tapes for details of how to access these masters.

Accruals note

The following is an interim description of material that has been acquired since this collection was catalogued. This description may change when cataloguing takes place in future:

7 boxes received January 2000 (acc. 823), consisting of: Journal Committee minutes, 1979-1996; Journal of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, 1990, 1995-1998; Physiotherapy Frontline, 1997-1998; World Federation for Physical Therapy newsletters, 1991-1993; Annual Congress programmes, 1948-1995; brochures and leaflets; correspondence; Royal Charter and Bye-laws.

4 large cases, and 1 package of large exhibition posters received March 2001 (acc. 913), consisting of: posters depicting the Diamond Jubilee and centenary of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, plus a variety of images of physiotherapy through the years.

1 package received March 2001 (acc. 920), consisting of: 8 certificates of Winifred Jessie Yorke (nee Underhay), mainly Chartered Society of Massage and Medical Gymnastics, 2 badges. Also includes brief biographical notes, copies of photos and identification cards.

Large parcel received May 2001 (acc. 939), consisting of: Photographs of physiotherapists with patients.

1 box received August 2002 (acc. 1072), consisting of: Management committee papers.

1 file received April 2003 (acc. 1144), consisting of: Badge belonging to Brigitte Tuchmann (later Dowling) and photograph of her training set at Guy's, 1945.

1 box received March 2004 (acc. 1227), consisting of: Council and Management Group papers.

1 file received June 2004 (acc. 1252), consisting of: Minutes and reports to be inserted into committee minute books, 1905-1963; report on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Centenary oral history project, 1993; Centenary (1894-1994) News sheets and poster; Chartered Society of Physiotherapy leaflet c.late 1970s; poster warning against unqualified persons practicing as physiotherapists, c.1990s.

1 file received October 2004 (acc. 1294), consisting of: Annual Report 2001-2002, and Media Handbook.

1 box received October 2005 (acc. 1388), consisting of: Signed committee and Annual General Meeting minutes of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in the Community (a Clinical Interest Group of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy), 1980-1998, and miscellaneous papers generated by the central organisation of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, 1970s-1990s.

1 file received November 2005 (acc. 1394), consisting of: A photograph of a Chartered Society of Massage banquet, 1934.

2 boxes received June 2006 (acc. 1436), consisting of: Signed Annual General Meeting and Executive Committee minutes of the Manipulation Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (a specialist sub-group of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy), 1968-2002.

1 box received March 2007 (acc. 1488), consisting of: Papers relating to the establishment of the Extended Scope Practitioners Clinical Interest Group (a specialist sub-group of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy), 1995-2001. Also includes minutes of executive committee meetings and Annual General Meetings, correspondence, reports, papers and newsletters, 1995-2002, Constitution updated September 1999, and minutes of 3rd Annual General Meeting 1999.

7 boxes received June 2007 (acc. 1517), consisting of: Audio cassettes of lectures on physiotherapy, 1966-1987; material on Standards of Practice, 1989-1999; miscellaneous publications of the Society, 1950-2002; Ethical and Regulatory Issues Committee, 1992-1999; Professional Practice Committee, 1997-2001; papers on Clinical Audit Development, 1995-1998; and papers of miscellaneous committees, 1971-2001.

19 boxes received July 2012 (acc. 1919), consisting of: Additional organisational papers of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, including papers of Council, committees, records of local branches, material relating to physiotherapy education and examinations and qualifications, publications, miscellaneous historical subject files, and material relating to schools of physiotherapy, 1930s-2007.

8 boxes received December 2012 (acc. 1957), consisting of: Additional organisational records of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and some historical material, including examination files, and files relating to individual physiotherapists; Education Committee files, early-mid 1990s; Fellowship Advisory Board, 1990s; papers relating to Joan McClaren. (including transparencies and audio material); Physiotherapy Assistants Board, Helpers Board, Trent Board Minutes, 1990s to early 2000s; Professional Practice Committee, 2003-2006.

8 boxes received January 2014 (acc.2047), consisting of: Papers recording the history and activities of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Womens' Health, from 1949 up to 2008, including minutes, newsletters and journals, operational and administrative files, annual reports and accounts, material relating to conferences, material relating to ACPWHcourses and tutor system, leaflets, posters and photographs.

23 boxes received 7 May 2014 (acc.2077), consisting of bound minutes of Council, 1975-2019, Management Group, 1999-2011, Policy and Resources Committee, 1987-1997, Salaries and Industrial Relations Committee, 1975-1981, Planning and Resources Committee, 1985-1989, Finance and General Purposes Committee, 1976-1985, Pre-Registration Committee, 1982-1986, and the Education Committee, 1975-1982.


Abbreviations used in the catalogue:

ACPWH Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women's Health

AGM Annual General Meeting

APMC Almeric Paget Massage Corps

BMJ British Medical Journal

CSMMG Chartered Society of Masseuses and Medical Gymnasts

CSP Chartered Society of Physiotherapists

DHSS Department of Health and Social Security

ESMPU East Surrey Mobile Physiotherapy Unit

IMRG Institute of Masseuse and Remedial Gymnasts

ISTM Institute of Therapeutic Masseuses

LCC London County Council

NHS National Health Services

POMR Problem orientated medical records

RAMC Royal Army Medical Corps

SRE Swedish remedial exercises

SRG Society of Remedial Gymnasts

SRGRT Society of Remedial Gymnasts and Recreational Therapy

STM Society of Trained Masseuses

WCPT World Confederation of Physical Therapy

Permanent link


Accession number

  • 545
  • 823
  • 913
  • 920
  • 939
  • 1072
  • 1144
  • 1227
  • 1252
  • 1294
  • 1388
  • 1394
  • 1436
  • 1488
  • 1517
  • 1564
  • 1919
  • 1957
  • 2047
  • 2077