Welfare Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection consists of the books and papers of Charles Webster, Official Historian of the National Health Service. The main core comprises files containing the working documents that formed the basis of Webster's substantial two volume History of the NHS (1988, 1996). Papers include a comprehensive record of Cabinet discussions and working documents from other Government Committees. Supporting materials on the NHS include a series of official reports (including all relevant green and white papers), an extensive collection of press cuttings, plus books and pamphlets relating to health policy since World War II. Supplementing this is a variety of political works that give context to this period.

Additional to all of this are a variety of titles on pre-twentieth century medical history plus a collection of items on early modern intellectual history, focusing predominantly on seventeenth century culture and ideas.

Administrative / Biographical History

The National Health Service came into effect on 5 July 1948. The Minister of Health responsible for the formation of the NHS was the Welsh Labour Politician Aneurin Bevan. The NHS provides free healthcare to UK residents, although there are charges associated with eye tests, dental care, prescriptions, and many aspects of personal care. NHS services are funded from national taxation, although NHS services in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are managed separately.

Conditions Governing Access

Before your first visit to the Special Collections Reading Room please complete a Reading Room registration form. The form is also available from the Headington Library Enquiry Desk. Internal staff and students will be asked to show their University ID card, and external applicants should bring proof of address

Applicants are bound by the Reading Room regulations.

The Reading Room is open between 1pm and 5pm, Monday to Friday, during the University semesters (dates available here) and researchers can visit by prior appointment outside these times; Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm. Please email us to arrange a visit or if you have any queries: libraryenquiries@brookes.ac.uk

Other Finding Aids

The files of working documents have not yet been catalogued but a box list is available.

The books and pamphlets in the collection have been catalogued; please use the library catalogue to search for this material.

Archivist's Note

Collection level description by Eleanor Possart, 2008.

Custodial History

Previously housed at All Souls College, Oxford.