The Children’s Society’s Medical History project continues with further funding from Wellcome Trust

I have good news to bring you today. Our Unexplored Riches in Medical History project has received a second grant of £102,309 from the Wellcome Trust’s Research Resources scheme.

The project, now in its second year, has been making great advances in cataloguing and conserving the records of the residential homes that The Children’s Society ran for almost 100 years up until the 1970s and the case files of the children who stayed in them.

In particular we’re focusing on the wealth of information about child health and the effects of poverty contained in these records. This will help to shed light on the history of childhood diseases, treatments, medical care and social health in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Four nurses, wearing face masks, feeding babies, c1940s

In the first part of the project, we’ve found that before the establishment of the NHS, many families had to seek help from charities such as The Children’s Society as they couldn’t give their children vital medical treatment, and some families were pushed into poverty directly because of medical costs.

Historically, The Children’s Society helped to provide medical treatment for these families, and the records shed light on the experiences of children with diseases such as tuberculosis, rickets, pneumonia and heart conditions among others.

By creating an online archive catalogue and through conservation work the records will be widely accessible to medical, social and academic researchers the post-care community and the general public among others.

Thanks to the recent grant from the Wellcome Trust, which takes the current total funding from the Trust to £211,124, we can build on what has already been completed. Through the project, we will be able to open up access to The Children’s Society’s valuable records and promote important research into medical history, social history, and the history of childhood poverty and neglect.

UPDATE: This information has now been posted on the Wellcome Trust’s website.