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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleRecords of the National Council for One Parent Families
Ref No5OPF
Box Fetch NoBox 001-111, Box 113-123; 128-133; PC 6.6
LevelCollection
Date1917-2002
Extent125 A boxes
Admin Biographical HistoryThe National Council for One Parent Families (NCOPF) (1918-fl.2006) was originally established in Feb 1918, under the name the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child (NCUMC). Its primary concern at that time was infant mortality and the welfare of unmarried mothers and their illegitimate children. The organisation was formed following a National Conference organised by the Child Welfare Council of the Social Welfare Association for London, which was held at Mansion House on 14 Feb 1918. The conference was the result of a Child Welfare Inquiry, which had been established by the Social Welfare Association in London in 1914.

The first Council meeting in Apr 1918 appointed a Chair, Hon. Secretaries and an Executive Committee. The original functions were: 1) To obtain reform of the existing Bastardy Acts and Affiliation Acts; 2) To secure the provision of adequate accommodation to meet the varying needs of mothers and babies throughout the country, with the special aim of keeping mother and child together; 3) To deal with individual enquiries from, or on behalf of, unmarried mothers.

Funds were acquired via public funding and voluntary donations. On 4 Jan 1946 the Society was incorporated.
The Second World War saw a huge increase in the number of women turning to the Council for assistance. The election of a Labour government, after the war, saw the expansion of the Welfare State following the findings of the Beveridge Report. This changed the focus of the Council away from providing direct aid towards explaining the complexities of the benefit system.

The 1960s and 1970s saw the Council return to its original function as a pressure group. The change of name to the National Council for One Parent Families occurred in 1973. It had been proposed in Feb 1972 and the new name reflected the Council catering for all lone parents. With the election of a Conservative government in 1979, the Council's priorities changed and a Back to Work strategy was launched that promoted employment opportunities for lone parents. In 2004 the Council aimed to promote the welfare of lone parents and their children by helping to overcome the poverty, isolation and social exclusion faced by many. In 2007 National Council for One Parent Families and Gingerbread merged to become one organisation. From c.2009 they took the title Gingerbread for both organisations.
DescriptionThe archive consists of proof of status and policy documents; minutes of committees and working parties, 1918-1995; annual reports, 1918-1989; ledgers and associated accounts; case books and related papers, 1918-1947; fundraising and appeals, 1925-1993; correspondence, including with government and associated bodies (1918-1995); publications, draft bills, acts and legislation, details of Friends and Members.

Additional papers were deposited in 2012 and 2018, including:
- a history of The National Council for the Unmarried Mother and Her Child to 1962 by Mrs de l'Hopital (in 5OPF/13)
- Annual accounts, 1988-94 (in 5OPF/13)
- Annual reports, 1996/7, 1997/8, 1998/9, 2000/01, 2004/05 and 2005/06 (in 5OPF/13)
- AGM minutes for 1997-99 (in 5OPF/13)
- Publications, papers and ephemera, 1950s-2007 (in 5OPF/14 and 5OPF/15)
- Papers of Margaret Bramall (Director of the National Council for One Parent Families, 1962-78), including biographical information, papers by her and subject files/background papers (in 5OPF/15-18).

PLEASE NOTE: The collection does not include any individual case files, nor have historical case files been retained by Gingerbread.
Related MaterialThe Women's Library holds the Records of Gingerbread (5GNB), the Records of Mothers in Action (5MIA), the Records of Maternity Alliance (5MAL) Papers of Amelia Scott (7ASC), an interview recorded with Mary Bennett, daughter of Lettice Fisher (8SUF: Oral evidence on the suffragette and suffragist movements), and Lone Parent Families: oral history interviews and photographic portraits created for the exhibition Sinners, Scoungers, Saints (8LPF); Papers of Helen Franks (7HEF).
The Women's Library Printed Collections also hold publications by the National Council for One Parent Families, including their newlestters and annual reports.

In 2007/2008 The Women's Library held an exhibition 'Sinners Scrounger Saint' about lone parents in collaboration with the National Council for One Parent Families. Please contact The Women's Library for more details.

London University: London School of Economics Library, Archives Division holds the Committee on One Parent Families (Finer Committee) 1966-1974 (15 boxes).
The records of One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) have been placed at Glasgow Caledonian University Archives.

The UK Web Archive, provided by The British Library (with input from The Women's Library) preserved 'snapshots' of the National Women's Register website from 2006 - see http://www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/collection/98537/page/1
Related Record5GNB
8SUF/B/016
5MIA
7ASC
8LPF
5MAL
7CCF
7HEF
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsThe majority of this collection is open to researchers. However some individual files containing personally sensitive information have been closed in accordance with the Data Protection Act. The dates these files will become available have been indicated in the relevant sections of the catalogue.
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