Discovering medical history and childcare at the Child Care History Network Conference 2014

“Healing the Wounds of Childhood” That was the name of the conference we attended two weeks ago. It was the annual Child Care History Network conference and this year the focus was on children’s medical history.

You can listen to the talks from the conference, including my own, on the Child Care History Network website.

The conference venue, Buckerell Lodge Hotel in Exeter

The conference was held at the Buckerell Lodge Hotel in Exeter, and as we were still in the last throes of summer (despite the fact that it was October!) the day was warm and sunny. What better time to go to Devon?

There was a whole day full of speakers talking about medical history. First up, though, was myself!

Janine speaking about the Unexplored Riches in Medical History project at the conference

I gave the delegates an overview of what we’re doing in the Unexplored Riches in Medical History project, explaining how we’re cataloguing and conserving our records relating to medical history so that they can be used for medical history research. It was also a great excuse to show off some of the fascinating records we have here at The Children’s Society Archive, including a medical book listing the day-to-day medical care given to children at St Cuthbert’s Nursery in Darlington, County Durham, in 1966; and the case file of Annie, a girl who came into care in 1907 aged thirteen, and the struggle of medical professionals to diagnose the condition that left her seriously ill in 1909.

Want to know more? The good news is that you can now listen to my talk and see my slides on the Child Care History Network website. Hopefully video recordings from the conference and slides from some of the other talks will go up in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for them!

The other talks on the day were really interesting. We heard about the Charity Organisation Society and its 19th Century involvement in healthcare in Oxford. There was a lot of discussion about 20th Century views on children’s healthcare and development, including the child guidance movement, and the work of people such as Truby King and John Bowlby. We heard about historical views on adoption and its effects on children. Finally, we learned about modern practice and how art therapy can be used to help treat mental health problems.

It was all fascinating stuff, as were the conversations held during the tea and lunch breaks about people’s research interests and backgrounds in child care or medical practice. On top of all that, as with the previous conference we went to, we had a stand with leaflets about the Unexplored Riches in Medical History project, where we could talk to the delegates about the project in more detail.

All in all, it was a great day. But you don’t have to take my word for it! Visit the Child Care History Network website to listen to the talks for yourself. And as I said, more slides and hopefully video recordings will go up over the coming weeks so make sure to keep checking the webpage for more.