OXFORD CITY MORAL WELFARE ASSOCIATION/ SKENE WELFARE ASSOCIATION

Scope and Content

The Oxford City Moral Welfare Association was a Christian organization, affiliated to the Oxford Diocesan Council for Moral Welfare, later the Oxford Diocesan Council for Social Work, but with representatives from other denominations. The OCMWA carried out both rescue and preventive work. The Mission House at 11 Clark's Row was retained after reorganization and 12 Clark's Row was also purchased.

The 2 buildings were adapted to form a combined refuge, shelter and training home, which was named Skene House; it was opened on 1st December 1938. The OCMWA had its own social worker and carried out an educational programme of talks and lectures, emphasising the importance of a single moral standard for both men and women. The Social worker visited unmarried mothers and their babies and, where possible, unmarried fathers as well. To begin with, she also arranged adoptions and maintenance agreements.

During the period covered by the records there were two social workers: Florence Caley (1938-1955) and Clare Holman (1955-1966). By 1966 most of the Association's case work had been taken over by local authority social workers. In 1968 the Association changed its name to the Skene Welfare Association, in commemoration of Felicia Skene (1821-1899), a pioneer Oxford social worker, who had been associated with the House of Refuge and had also worked with women prisoners.

Skene Welfare Association was eventually wound-up in 1998 and its remaining property was transferred to Oxford Citizen's Housing Association.