Scope and Content

The two accessions forming this collection are 2305, deposited in July 1984, and 2957, deposited in May 1989. They appear to have come from the same source and have therefore been catalogued together. One further document (accession 6670), was added in May 2018 from ex-library stock.

These documents came from a safety deposit box opened at the National Westminster bank, 121 High Street, Oxford, on 29th July 1919, in the name of M. A. Whittaker (a Mrs Whitaker, became Treasurer of the LACFG. c.1919). They were kept by the Treasurers of the Association, particularly Miss Judith Merivale, Treasurer 1907-1919, and are thus a sub-group of the records of the whole organisation. It is hoped that other sub-groups might be found and deposited at a later date.

The Oxford LACFG was founded in 1883 and closed in 1920. The account of its work which follows is based on the reports in this collection, and may need to be modified if further material comes to light. The Association's aim was 'the help and protection of Girls and Young Women, and …. The prevention rather than the cure only, of the evils to which they are exposed'. Its work fell into two categories, preventive and rescue work, and sub-committees of the General Committee to administer these branches of the work are first mentioned in the annual report for 1899. The preventive work included the provision of a Clothing Club, a free registry for girls and young women seeking work as domestic servants, and a temporary training home for girls and young women needing temporary accommodation or requiring training for domestic service.

During the period covered by the reports (1893-1918), the training home was at 102 Walton Street (1893-1894), 116 Southmoor Road (1895-1900), 29 Leckford Road (1901-1907) and 108 Woodstock Road (1908-1914). It closed in September 1914 because of difficulties with fundraising following the outbreak of World War I. The rescue branch visited 'fallen' girls and in some cases arranged for their babies to be boarded out. Hope Cottage was opened as a home for unmarried mothers and their babies for an experimental period of two years from 1898-1900. In 1901 the Association rented 59 St John's Road, which they christened St Frideswide's Cottage, and opened as a similar home in October of that year.

In 1902 the Thame Society for Aiding and Protecting Girls amalgamated with the Oxford Ladies Association for the Care of Friendless Girls and became the Thame Affiliated branch. A joint annual report was issued from 1902 onwards.

By a resolution of the Special General Meeting held on 9 March 1915, the finances of the Rescue branch and Preventive branch/Training Home were separated and treasurers appointed for each branch.

There are no other records for the Oxford Ladies' Association in this repository. The Bodleian Library has an incomplete set of annual reports 1883-1920 (Shelfmark G. A. Oxon 8o 522) and a collection of miscellaneous papers, 1891-1912 (g. A. Oxon b. 156 (88, 89)).

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