Records of Essex Road Women's Centre

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 5ERC
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      2 A boxes

Scope and Content

The archive consists of records relating to the information and advice services offered by the centre on housing, childcare, health, and work issues. It includes photographs of women in the workplace, minutes of the Housing Committee, and information from other organisations.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Essex Road Women's Centre (1973-1996) was established in Sep 1973, although it did not open to the public until 1974. The Centre had a dual purpose: it aimed to provide information and advice for local women as well as acting as a site for community action. The Centre focused its activities on four main areas; housing, work, childcare and women's health. It aimed to provide women with an alternative to the forms of help offered by the welfare state. It operated through a collective of women, and attempted to resist the hierarchical structures associated with local government. Founder members of the centre included the feminist writers and campaigners Lynne Segal and Sheila Rowbotham. It was involved in a number of campaigns, notably the Prebbles Campaign, which garnered local objection to the gradual gentrification of Islington and Camden. In its time the centre was the longest running Women's Centre of its day. The centre closed in Oct 1996.


The archive was arranged following its original order.

The following publications were removed from the archive as duplicates are held in The Women's Library Printed Collections:

* Women and top jobs : an interim report of a study now being carried on by PEP with the collaboration of the Tavistock Institute / by Michael P Fogarty, Rhona Rapoport and Robert Rapoport P.E.P, 1967 (Classmark as at Oct 2008: 331.4816584 WOM )

* Discrimination against women : a report on the position of women today to be presented to the 45th National Conference of Labour Women, Llandudno 2-4 April 1968/ National Labour Women's Advisory Committee London : National Labour Women's Advisory Committee, 1968 (Classmark as at Oct 2008: 305.420941 NAT )

* A survey of women's employment : a survey carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Labour by the Government Social Survey in 1956. Vol.1, Report/ by Audrey Hunt H.M.S.O., 1968 (Classmark as at Oct 2008: 331.40941 HUN )

* Proposals for a tax-credit system / presented to Parliament by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Social Services/ Great Britain, Treasury London : H.M.S.O., 1972 (Classmark as at Oct 2008: 305.420941 NAT )

* The family allowance under attack / Suzie Fleming Bristol (79 Richmond Road, Montpelier, Bristol BS6 5EP) : Falling Wall Press Ltd ; [London] : Power of Women Collective, 1973 (Classmark as a Oct 2008: 362.82820941 FLE )

* National welfare benefits handbook / edited by Ruth Lister 7th Edition London : Child Poverty Action Group, 1977 (Classmark as at Oct 2008: 361.60941 NAT )

* Family Income supplement for families with Children / Department of Health and Social Security/ Great Britain. Department of Health and Social Security London : H.M.S.O., 1971 (Classmark as at Oct 2008: 36hou2.8282 GRE )

* Healthright Vol. 2, no. 1 (Fall 1975)

Access Information

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit. One item (Ref: 5ERC/5/2) is closed under the Data Protection Act until Jan 2061.

Acquisition Information

The archive was deposited by Sheila Rowbotham in 1989 as an outright gift. One item (ref: 5ERC/1), originally donated by Elizabeth Wilson in 2002, was moved from The Women's Library Ephemera Collection and added to the archive in 2008.

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Related Material

The Women's Library also hold the personal papers of Sheila Rowbotham (7SHR) - former member of the Essex Road Women's Centre - and records of similar organisations in London: Hackney Women's Aid (5HWA ), Barnet Women's Place (5BWP), Mothers in Action (5MIA).