Celebrating100 Years OfSocial Work

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Celebrating 100 Yearsof Social WorkUniversity of BirminghamAnn Davis1968—19881908—19281948—1968

22008 was the year in which the University of Birmingham became thefirst University in the UK to reach its centenary of teaching andresearching in social work. With over four hundred social workqualifying, post qualifying and research students it continues to make amajor contribution to professional and academic excellence.This brief illustrated history was written to give readers a glimpse intowhat the University of Birmingham has contributed locally, nationallyand internationally to social work education and research. This is not an“official history” but is written by someone who has worked in socialwork research and education in the University of Birmingham for over30 years and brings to the telling of this story, her personal perspective.In compiling this publication for the celebratory seminar being held on10 December 2008 I have been assisted by a range of individuals andorganisations. In thanking them I would like to mention those withoutwhom this publication would not have been completed: Rachel Bentley, an outstanding research assistant andunflagging support Alex Davis, an informed editor and constant advisor Pam Newby, a meticulous and creative publication designer Staff in the University of Birmingham Library Services,Special Collections for their attentive servicing and permission to use sources Staff in the Central Birmingham Library Archives andHeritage Service for their help and permission to usesourcesAnn DavisProfessor of Social Work—Institute of Applied Social Studieswww.iass.bham.ac.ukDirector of the Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Mental Healthwww.ceimh.bham.ac.ukNovember 2008

31908—1928“If social work is going to take its place, as surely it ought to, as one of theprofessions, it is necessary to organize a system of training for it.”Professor John MuirheadForeword to the Equipment of the Social Worker (1925)On Tuesday 6 October 1908 the doors of The University of Birminghamwere opened to students enrolled on the new one year social studiescourse. The course was advertised as a training for social andphilanthropic work. Birmingham was the first UK University to giveaspiring social workers full status as students.From its founding in 1900 University staff had been actively involved insocial welfare and philanthropic work in the City of Birmingham.Through research into the employment and housing conditions of poorpeople in Birmingham and a series of evening classes offered to welfareworkers in 1905-06. John Muirhead, Professor of Moral Philosophy andWilliam Ashley, Professor of Commerce were at the forefront of thesedevelopments. Key too, was the Birmingham Settlement, established inAston, Birmingham in 1899 as a neighbourhood response to the povertyand disadvantage of individuals and families struggling with the rapidlychanging social and economic conditions of a growing and industrialising City. From its inception the Settlement Committee built strong linkswith the University.Birmingham at this time was a city whose poorest inhabitants lived andworked in appalling conditions. To address the consequences of theseconditions a range of charitable organisations and institutions haddeveloped. At a national level the welfare reforming liberal governmentwhich came into power in 1908 introduced a raft of legislation whichbegan to build administrative structures for delivering social welfareprovision.The 1914-1918 war saw a change of direction in social welfare, locallyand nationally, away from welfare reform to meeting the immediateneeds of a population at war. The City’s social welfare organisationssuch as the Birmingham Settlement, found themselves working with agrowing number of families needing financial and material help. The19081910UoB Social Studies course opensUoB Social Studies Committee set up

4University’s Aston Webb buildingsbecame the 1st Southern GeneralHospital which treated returningcasualties of war and the Universityfinished its academic years on 31 Marchso that staff and students could devotethemselves to the war effort. The optionof taking the social studies course parttime over two years was introduced tomeet wartime conditions and in 1916 and1917 in conjunction with theBirmingham Settlement, University staffran a short emergency course to trainwomen in munitions factories as WelfareSupervisors.Munition workers 1915The Great Hall 1914The recognition of the worth and standingof social work after the first world war wasrecognised nationally through theestablishment in 1918 of the JointUniversity Council for Social Studies(JUCSS). The aim of the Council was toco-ordinate and develop the work ofSocial Studies departments in Universitiesacross Great Britain. The first Chair ofJUCSS was Sir William Ashley. Birmingham’s launch of a two year Diploma in Social Studies in 1920 with increased opportunities for students to engage in practicalwork had a curriculum which showed thenational influence of JUCSS on its member Universities.There was a growth in social workers employed across diverse fieldsduring the 1920s as an increasing number of state agencies wereestablished to provide health and welfare services. The training role ofUniversities as well as the role of social workers themselves was givenmore official acknowledgement and encouragement. Although themajority of social workers, overwhelmingly women, remained unpaid atthis time there was an increase in the numbers who were being trainedand paid for their work.1914‐1918World War I1918Joint University Council for Social Studies established

5Of the 350 students who enrolled during these first two decades ofsocial work training at Birmingham, 239 succeeded in gaining acertificate. A survey of the employment outcomes for students overthese two decades showed that the posts taken up included:Public Departments, Central and Local Factory inspectors Inspectors under National Insurance and Trade Board Acts Inspectors of Boarded-out Children Sanitary Inspectors and Health Visitors Secretaries and Clerks to Employment Exchanges and to JuvenileEmployment Committees Organisers of Children’s Care Committees and JuvenileOrganisations Investigators of Old Age Pension Claims Managers and Rent Collectors under Local Housing Authorities Women Police Probation Officers Relieving OfficersVoluntary Bodies Welfare Workers in Factories and Commercial Undertakings Hospital Almoners Organisers or Secretaries of Councils of Social Welfare, CharityOrganisation, Child Welfare Agencies, Clubs, Social Institutes,Holiday Funds, Rural Associations, Social Activities of Churchesand Religious Organisations Settlement WorkersThere was an international dimension to this period too. A student wona scholarship to New Yorkand some visited agenciesin France and Belgium withBirmingham Settlementworkers. Connections withthe Theological colleges atSelly Oak also attracted anumber of internationalstudents to the University’sSocial Studiesprogramme.Guild of Undergraduate Committee, UoB, 19201920UoB 2 year Diploma in Social Studies begins

SOCIAL STUDYTRAINING FOR SOCIAL AND PHILANTHROPIC WORKThe following series of lectures has been arranged for the coming year. The morninglectures are ordinary University classes. Those in the afternoon and evening have beenespecially arranged for the scheme. Each set of lectures can be taken apart from the rest,and apart from the general scheme of training, on payment of the fee for the particularsubject. The composition fee for the whole group of lectures and demonstrations will be 6.6s.0d including Membership Fee of 1.1s.0d, which gives admission to the UniversityLibrary.THE BRITISH CONSTITUTION—Professor MastermanTwenty Lectures Fee 1.1s.0d.ENGLISH LOCAL GOVERNMENT—Professor MastermanTwenty Lectures Fee 1.1s.0d.INDUSTRIAL HISTORY—Professor AshleyTen Lectures Fee 10s.6d.ECONOMIC ANALYSIS—Professor AshleySeventeen Lectures Fee 1.1s.0d.METHOD OF STATISTICS—Professory AshleyTwenty Lectures Fee 1.1s.0d.INDUSTRIAL CONDITIONS—George ShannTen Lectures Fee 10/‐SANITATION AND HYGIENE—John RobertsonTen Lectures Fee 10/‐LAW FOR SOCIAL WORKS—Frank TillyardFive Lectures Fee 5/‐AIMS AND METHODS OF SOCIAL WORK—Professor MuirheadFive Lectures Fee 5/‐In connection with particular parts of the course arrangements will be made for visits un‐der competent escort to the following institutions etc:ADMINISTRATION(a) POOR LAW– Workhouse—Infirmary—Receiving House for Children—CottageHomes—Epileptic Colony—Home for Defective Children(b) EDUCATION—Infant and Elementary Schools—Schools for Defective, Blind, Deaf andCrippled Children—Technical and Art Schools(c) JUSTICE—Children’s Court—The Probation System—Reformatory and IndustrialSchoolsSANITATION AND HYGIENEHousing Improvements—Hospitals (General and Special)—Elementary Schools (Hygieneand Domestic Teaching)INDUSTRIAL CONDITIONSFactories—Industries and Domestic WorkshopsA certificate will be granted after examination on the completion of the curriculum. Inorder to encourage the attendance of suitable students of limited means, who might nototherwise be able to devote their whole time for a year to such a course of preparation, itis proposed to offer free tuition to a limited amount of students (no more than six).Applications for this remission should be accompanied by a confidential statement as toprevious career, aim of study, and means.Source: The University of Birmingham Calendar 1908-096

71928—1948“All university departments exist in the long run to serve the community, butthe school of social study is in a special sense an amphibious body whichrequires two elements, not only for its full development but for its veryexistence. It belongs to the university and it belongs to the city.”Elizabeth McAdamThe Equipment of the Social Worker (1925)The students who the diploma course in 1928 held a wide range ofaspirations for their future careers. The course was designed for socialworkers in a range of voluntary, state, church and industrial settings aswell as those interested in working for trade unions, co-operativesocieties, or holding public office on local councils. Students had tomake visits of observation, record their learning on those visits andengage systematically in specified areas of practical work.1928 was a time of global economic depression. Unemployment acrossBritain was steadily rising—reaching a peak of 2.5 million in 1932. Theestablished range of social welfare agencies found that they wereunable to cope with the need generated by these conditions. Whilst thedevelopment of the motor industry in Birmingham provided protectionfor some, voluntary sector organisations were actively involved indeveloping initiatives to address the desperate material, social andemotional conditions of those with least. The social welfare policiesintroduced were a mix of reform, e.g. the 1929 Local Government Actabolished the Poor Law Board of Guardians but a stringent Means Testwas introduced in 1931 for those facing destitution.By 1939 most social workers, whether qualified or not were womenworking for relatively little pay. It was the experiences of the 1939—1945 war which shifted this pattern and profile of social work. The wargenerated a range of opportunities for social workers to prove theirworth and they emerged with a high positive profile in the eyes of thepublic and politicians. As in World War I, social workers were vital towork with individualised distress at times of crisis, linking individuals andfamilies to the resources they needed to survive. What was distinctabout this war, however, was that new initiatives had to be devised todeal with the devastating impact of enemy bombing on civilian populations. Social workers were involved in organising the evacuation of City19291931Local Government ActMeans Test introduced

8children to the country, working with homeless bombed families and thewelfare needs of those engaging in factory war work and much more.The welfare responses made to war also revealed the appallingconditions that had been faced for decades by families living in poverty.A Women’s Group on Public Welfare study about the concerningbehaviour and health of young evacuees described children who wereundernourished, inadequately clothed and who had never used toiletsbefore. The report highlighted the unhealthyconditions in which thesechildren had lived incities and asked questions about the acceptability of such poverty inan industrialised country.War time evacuationsalso brought to light theinconsistent and poorlevel of support for olderpeople left alone andtriggered schemes toBack to back housing, Birmingham, 1930provide home helps and mealson wheels.In responding to the problems of a country at war,social workers foundthemselves identifying andtrying to fill gaps in welfareprovision. In doing thisthey contributed to theevidence that WilliamBeveridge was reviewingas he wrote his report togovernment about theneed to establish newnational provision for thewelfare of citizens. TheBeveridge Report providedthe basis for major changes to welfare and social care legislationintroduced by the post war Labour Government.1939‐1945World War II

9Welfare State Foundations Education Act (1944): Introduced free primary, secondary and furthereducation and nursery schoolsFamily Allowance Act (1945): Provided a fixed weekly amount of benefitfor each child, after the first, up until the age of 16National Health Service Act (1946): Free health care for all and the intro‐duction of a national system of hospitals and general practitioners.National Insurance Act (1946): Entitlement to financial provision for all ofworking age except married women; on the basis of contributions paidwhile working. Sickness, unemployment and old age benefits and mater‐nity and death grantsIndustrial Injuries Act (1946): Compensation for those injured, disabled orkilled at work, and those suffering from industri

course. The course was advertised as a training for social and philanthropic work. Birmingham was the first UK University to give aspiring social workers full status as students. From its founding in 1900 University staff had been actively involved in social welfare and philanthropic work in the City of Birmingham. Through research into the employment and housing conditions of poor people in .

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