Collection AR402 - Croydon Mothers and Infants Welfare Association

Identity area

Reference code



Croydon Mothers and Infants Welfare Association


  • 1916 - 1937 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

24 items [5 boxes]

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Croydon Mothers and Infants Welfare Association had five main goals: to give ante-natal advice; to provide care during and after pregnancy; to help mothers during the first weeks of their childs life; to provide care during childs first year of life[including medical, close observation and treatment]; and to continue medical supervision of child to school age.

It was previously known as the Mothers Dinner Committee. The Association established a number of localised Welfare Centres to help mothers with children throughout the borough. In 1918 they acquired 49 St James Road West Croydon where they opened St Marys Maternity Hospital maintaining 17 beds. These beds were on a means-tested basis.

Built about 1869 no.49 St James Road West Croydon was originally named Argyll House. Later it became no. 135 and by 1890 had been renumbered to no.49. It remained a private residence until 1900 when the St Agnes Home for Crippled Girls moved there from 97, Sydenham Road. By 1901 they had moved to 7, Wellesley Road. After being unoccupied for a while, the house once again, became a private residence until 1918 with the opening of St Marys Maternity Hospital.

An extension was opened on 27 September 1930 with the original building becoming the administration block. The number of beds was then increased to 32.

The Association also provided convalescent care to any mothers, children and expectant mothers needing it. It further helped unmarried mothers with grants for the support of babies up to school age, and gave some financial help in the home during confinement [late stages of pregnancy]. It aimed to help provide support for children born into diminished circumstances, reduce infant mortality and educate mothers in child-rearing. The local Welfare Centres each had a medical officer, a nurse or a health visitor to advise and assess users health needs.

Baby Welcomes were established in January 1916. These were local committees responsible for ensuring there was a nurse at each Welfare Centre to weigh babies and teach mothercraft. Mothers were charged a penny a time. These sessions were followed up by a personal visit, where necessary. The Association aimed to promote the good health of mothers and children via conferences and other public events. An AGM was held every year, during which the principal officers were elected. The first AGM was 10 May 1916.

On 01 April 1937 the Association handed over the administration of St. Marys Maternity Hospital on St Jamess Road to Croydon Corporation [County Borough of Croydon Minutes vol. LV part 1, November 1936 - October 1937; Public Health Committee 13 April 1937 p.885] The Corporation having already taken over the assessment and collection of payments by mothers.

Under the National Health Service Act of 1946, most of the work carried out by the Association [with the exception of Family Planning Clinics] would be carried out by the Corporation. Therefore the Association was wound up and handed its assets to the Corporation. In 1948 St. Marys Maternity Hospital was transferred to the newly created National Health Service. The hospital closed in October 1985. It is currently the Westways Adult Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit.

There are a number of Annual Reports for the Croydon Mothers and Infants Welfare Association held in the Local Studies Library at S70(362)CRO covering the period 1929-1946. A quote taken from the report of 1937 [June 1937 p.6 ] conveys how successful the association was as a fore-runner to modern day mother and baby clinics;

It has always been the aim of Organisers to make mothers very welcome at the Centres and so successful have they been that many mothers attend every week for the sake of having a friendly chat with the helpers and one another, whether their children really need skilled supervision or not

Archival history

The collection was originally donated to Croydon Library. At some point it was added to the Local Studies Library collection from where the bulk was later transfered to the Archives and accessioned in March 1999. A number of items were retained for the Local Studies Library and can be found at S70 (362) CRO. They are listed under related material.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Accession Number: A402

Croydon Mothers and Infants Welfare Association records

List on accession file

Item date: 1916 - 1938

Accession date: 27/11/1999

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection consists of minute books for the various committees and miscellaneous documents relating to the Croydon Mothers and Infants Welfare Association. They are; Executive Committee Minutes [AR402/1] Convalescence Committee Minutes [AR402/2] Nursery Schools Committee Minutes [AR402/3] St Marys Maternity Hospital Committee Minutes [AR402/4] Baby Welcomes Committee Minutes [AR402/5] Home Helps Committee Minutes[AR402/6] and Hostel Committee Minutes [AR402/7]. In addition there are miscellaneous items [AR402/8] which include a Baby Week Sub-Committee Minute Book, several loose pages in a binder including memos and leaflets and a volume listing names and addresses for which the purpose is not clear.,

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

The collection follows an initial box listing, evidently carried out when the collection was first received, and is arranged in eight series. The first seven of which relate to the individual committees and the last to include miscellaneous items. Within each series the items are arranged chronologically.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Some of the records in our collections contain sensitive and personal data that we have a legal responsibility to control access to. In these circumstances, staff may search the collection on your behalf, having received consent or proof of death of the individual concerned.

Please contact us at for further information regarding the particular collection you wish to access.

You can make a request for information which may be in a closed record under the Freedom of Information Act, 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations, 2004. For more information about making a request, see the Croydon Council website ( Making a request does not guarantee access to the information you ask for, as there may be a valid exemption from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Language of material

  • English

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Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

The Local Studies Library holds a box of related material at S70 (362) CRO. The box contains a number of annual reports spanning the years 1929-1946 with some gaps, a copy of the Constitution, Scheme and Regulations and a flyer advertising the Mother Health Campaign Open Conference held at the Croydon Town Hall on Thursday May 17th. Although no year is given on the flyer it is believed to be c.1926-1928.

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