Records of Children 1st, children’s charity, Scotland, formally the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Scope and Content

The archive contains case records and associated documents from 1943 to 1976. Various office and committee papers are also held, together with ephemera, from 1889. The main records held are:

  • Referrals, case records, prosecutions and petitions for Glasgow, Dunbartonshire, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire (all variable coverage) 1943-1976
  • Finance files 1966-1972
  • Legacy papers 1950-1978
  • Complaints ledgers 1953-1965
  • Glasgow District Committee Minutes 1895-1963
  • Glasgow District Finance Committee Minutes 1903-1971’ Ladies Auxiliary Committee, Glasgow Branch, Minutes 1889-1900
  • Glasgow District Annual Reports 1973-1975, 1977
  • National Annual Reports 1885-1930
  • Various promotional materials relating to Scottish Children’s League of Pity, including City Sparrows 1925-1932
  • 4 boxes unsorted Glasgow Office papers, and 13 folders of assorted material relating to fund raising

Administrative / Biographical History

The Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (RSSPCC) grew out of a series of earlier organisations, the first of which was the Glasgow Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (GSPCC) founded by James Grahame in July 1884 . In 1889 , the GSPCC joined with two Edinburgh based societies to form the Scottish National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (SNSPCC). Following the passing of the Children Act in 1894 the Society in Scotland affiliated with the Society in England, and, in 1895 , changed it’s name to the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children: Scottish Branch. However, problems with the affiliation led to the Society in Scotland resuming its independent status, and in 1907  it reverted to its former Scottish National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children title. The Society continued to develop into a nationwide organisation and in 1922  it was granted a Royal Charter and became the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

The charity was originally set up to rescue children living rough and begging on the streets but it became better known for its investigation into cruelty and neglect. In the past the Society’s Inspectors, often referred to as the ’Cruelty Man’, investigated cases of abuse and neglect reported by the general public. In 1968, new legislation gave responsibility for investigating child abuse to local authority social work departments. The 1970s saw the Society adapt to take account of the increasing professionalisation of the social care and welfare sector; the accelerating change of emphasis from direct involvement to a role including research and lobbying intensified throughout the 1980s, culminating in the change of name to Children 1st in September 1995 .

In 2002, Children 1st’s aims were to support families under stress, protect children from harm and neglect, help children recover from abuse and promote children’s rights and interests. As well as children’s services, the charity also offered a parent’s support line, produced publications, ran a resource centre and awareness and fundraising campaigns.


The material is arranged chronologically by record type

Access Information

Bona fide researchers only. Written research proposals should be submitted for consideration by the Archive Conditions governing access Committee.

Acquisition Information

Transferred : RSSPCC Offices, Anfield Place, Glasgow : 1995

Other Finding Aids

PC database allowing a wide range of subject and descriptive access points for all records

Handlist of associated and ephemeral materials available in the searchroom

Further information is available via Glasgow Caledonian University Archives RSSPCC (Children 1st) Archive webpage at and via the Children 1st homepage at

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Research Collections Manager

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 1847 procedures

Custodial History

Held by the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children


None expected

Related Material

No related material


Lynn Abram, The Orphan Country (Edinburgh, 1998)

Additional Information

This material is original

Revised by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 10 October 2002

Geographical Names