Papers of: Family Planning Association

Scope and Content

Records of the Family Planning Association from its inception as National Birth Control Committee in 1930, until the major organisational changes following the 1974 NHS Act; records of predecessor bodies subsequently assimilated; records of affiliated clinics, including substantial collection of records of the North Kensington Women's Welfare Clinic; papers of Margery Spring-Rice and of Caspar Brook; photographs, pamphlets, ephemera, posters

Administrative / Biographical History

1877 Malthusian League founded; 1921 Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress (CBC), founded by Marie Stopes and Mothers' Clinic opened; 1922 Walworth Women's Welfare Centre opened; 1924 Society for Provision of Birth Control Clinics (SPBCC) founded; North Kensington Women's Welfare Centre opened (Walworth also run by SPBCC); Workers' Birth Control Group founded; May 1924 Deputation to John Wheatley, Minister of Health; 1927 Birth Control Investigation Committee (BCIC) founded [Chairman, Sir Humphrey Rolleston, Hon Medical Secretary, Dr C.P. Blacker] and established International Medical Group to investigate birth control in other countries; 1929 Birth Control International Information Centre (BCIIC) founded [President, Margaret Sanger]; Jul 1930 Ministry of Health Memorandum 153 MCW 'Birth Control' issued permitting contraceptive advice to be given in local authority maternal and infant welfare clinics to women for whom another pregnancy would be dangerous; National Birth Control Council (NBCC) founded. Premises at 26 Eccleston Street; Workers' Birth Control Group joined NBCC; 1931 Birth Control Investigation Committee joined NBCC; Jul 1931 NBCC changed name to National Birth Control Association (NBCA); 1933 Resignation of Dr Marie Stopes from Governing Body; 1934 Ministry of Health circular 1408 extends grounds on which local authority clinics can give advice; Feb 1937 Deputation to Sir Kingsley Wood, Minister of Health; 1938 Society for Provision of Birth Control Clinics and Birth Control International Information Centre amalgamated with NBCA; Feb 1938 NBCA moved to 69 Eccleston Square [HQ of Eugenics Society]; Feb 1939 Dissolution of BCIC. Replaced by Scientific Advisory Committee; May 1939 NBCA changed name to Family Planning Association (FPA) and introduces new constitution; 1947 FPA branches grouped into regional federations; Oct 1949 FPA moved to 64 Sloane Street; 1954 Death of Lady Denman, chairman; succeeded by Mrs Margaret Pyke; 1955 FPA Silver Jubilee, Lady Denman Memorial Fund established to provide clinics in rural areas, First official visit by Minister of Health [Iain Macleod]; Jul 1957 Oliver Bird Trust founded and established Council for Investigation of Fertility Control (CIFC); Oct 1957 Publication of The Human Sum [for FPA Silver Jubilee]; 1959 FPA Holdings Ltd incorporated, BBC Appeal by Bishop of Southwark, Birthright film premiere; 1960 Organisation Working Party established [Chairman, Professor Fran?ois Lafitte, Birmingham University]; 1962 Family Planning International Campaign [later `Countdown'] launched; Feb 1963 FPA moved to 231 Tottenham Court Road; Sep 1963 Family Planning in the Sixties Report of Organisation Working Party published; 1965 Re-organisation of FPA branches. 500 clinics grouped into 52 branches, Press and Information Department established, Theodore Fox appointed as director; Oct 1965 Interim National Council established; 1966 FPA incorporated as a company, Margaret Pyke Memorial Trust established, 1967 National Health Service (Family Planning) Act extends conditions under which birth control can be provided, FPA Holdings Ltd disbanded; Jun 1967 National Council formally established; 1968 Caspar Brook appointed as director; Oct 1968 FPA moved to 27-35 Mortimer Street; Apr 1970 Oliver Bird Trust/CIFC wound up. Remaining funds to Margaret Pyke Memorial Trust to continue annual lectures; Jun 1970 1000th clinic opened at Thamesmead, London; 1974 NHS Act fully incorporates birth control services into the National Health Service; 1975 Most FPA clinics handed over to NHS Area Health Authorities.


By section as follows: A. Records 1930-c.1975: A1 Administration (including accounts); A2 Annual general meetings and conferences; A3 Ancillary services; A4 Branches and federations; A5 Committees and councils; A6 Conferences (not associated with AGMs); A7 Contraceptive testing; A8 Parliament and central government departments; A9 Regional Hospital Boards and teaching hospitals; A10 International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); A11 Local Authorities; A12 Fundraising; A13 Organisations; A14 Correspondence with individuals; A15 Religious bodies; A16 Publications; A17 Publicity; A18 Royal Commissions; A19 Training and education; A20 Solicitors; A21 Foreign countries; A22 Research and surveys; A23 Miscellaneous, including photographs; B. Records 1965-1975: B1 Administration; B2 AGMs and national conferences; B4 Branches; B6 Conferences (non-AGMs); B8 General government; B10 Publicity (including press cuttings); B11 Accounts; B12 Population Countdown; [B16 publications to 1975 are in A16]; B17 Press Department; B19 Training; Misc published papers (non-FPA): X Regional files: X1-X6 Federations; X7-X58 Branches; NK North Kensington Women's Welfare Centre; SR [Margery] Spring Rice papers; CB Caspar Brook papers.

Access Information

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, by prior appointment with Archives and Manuscripts staff and after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking. Please note that access to several files (marked in the detailed list) is restricted. Readers wishing for access to such material may submit a formal application form to Archives and Manuscript staff.

Acquisition Information

These records were given to the Wellcome Library by the Family Planning Association in July 1988 (Acc No 290); Mr Steve Kinsett, Assistant Director, Cardiff University Population Centre in July 1988 (Acc No 291); Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists March 1989 (Acc No 304).

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued under the guidance of Margaret Howard, completed after her death by Sheila Himsworth, May 1976; catalogue revised by Penny Baker, CMAC, Wellcome Library, May 1992. Hard-copy catalogue index available in Wellcome Library.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Lesley Hall

Separated Material

Material held elsewhere: Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: microfilms and indexes of FPA training certificates, as part of Joint Committee on Contraception records held at College. Glasgow University Archives: archives of Greater Glasgow Health Board; some files relating to Scottish branches

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Custodial History

Beginning in 1970 the archives were brought together from storage in the basements of Margaret Pyke House, Mortimer St London W1 and Elsley House, Great Titchfield St, London W1, onto shelving in an open corridor in Elsley House, so that sorting and arrangement could be carried out. In 1975 there was another move to a secure basement seminar room in 23-25 Mortimer St. Following this sorting and listing, in 1976 the records were deposited in the David Owen Centre for Population Studies attached to Cardiff University. They were transferred to the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre at the Wellcome Institute from the Cardiff University Population Centre (formerly the David Owen Centre) in July 1988. A few items, found at the FPA national office in the course of a survey of later archives have also been incorporated. The papers of Caspar Brook, director of the FPA, 1968-1973, were stored in Cardiff with the FPA records and have been incorporated as the majority of the papers relate to his activities at the FPA. Additional papers of the Organisation Working Party, 1960-1964, were also located in the move and have been incorporated. Some files of individuals' correspondence were transferred to the CMAC from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in March 1989 and have been incorporated.


Additional accessions were received in Nov 1990 (Acc No 364) (box list only), March 1992 (Acc No 417), June 1992 (Acc No 428), January 1995 (Acc no 557) from Doreen Massey, retiring Director, April 1996 (Acc No 631), 162 boxes and box file in total. Uncatalogued (box lists).

Related Material

Material held by Archives and Manuscripts, Wellcome Library: Marie Stopes papers PP/MCS, Edward Fyfe Griffith papers PP/EFG, Helena Wright papers PP/HRW, Carlos Paton Blacker papers PP/CPB, Eugenics Society archive SA/EUG, Birth Control Campaign SA/BCC.