Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Research projects
  3. Oral history of Mental Welfare Officers

Oral history of Mental Welfare Officers

This Open University oral history research project in 2000 explored a little-known aspect of the history of social work - the history of mental welfare officers and their role in community care. The project carried out interviews with former MWOs and analysed both private and public documents to explore this history in East Anglia between 1946 and 1970.

Project findings were written up in two articles:

  • Rolph, S., Walmsley, J. and Atkinson, D. (2002) '"A Man's Job?" Gender issues and the role of mental welfare officers, 1948-1970', Oral History, 30, 1, pp. 28-41.
  • Rolph, S., Atkinson, D. and Walmsley, J. (2003) 'A Pair of Stout Shoes and an Umbrella: The role of the Mental Welfare Officer in delivering community care in East Anglia, 1946-1970', British Journal of Social Work, 33, 3, pp. 339-359.

Contact us

About the Group

If you woud like to get in touch with the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group, please contact:

Liz Tilley 
Chair of the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

About the website

If you have any feedback or would like to report a problem with the website, please contact