The reports and documents made on a child in care during the 1960s.
13 Years Old.
11.03.70 Report of Child Care Officer.
I called to see the mother and Philip, primarily to ask them about a holiday in the summer for Philip.
The mother thinks it most unlikely that she could get away, even for a week, as apart from the house she must look after her mother.
I mentioned that it was possible that Philip could go on a short holiday. He would again stay in a Children’s Home at Dinas Powis in South Wales for two weeks.
It was soon decided by Philip that he would like to go to Dinas Powis again. I said that we hoped to arrange this holiday and I would let them know details nearer the time.There did not seem to be any reluctance on the part of Philip on returning to the children’s home again, although last year there had been a few upsets for some of the children including Philip.
Philip has become very interested in woodwork; he showed me a bedside lamp he had made at school and a bagatelle board that his uncle had helped him make at home. He is still keen on his stamp collection and he never seems to be at a loss for something to do.
When I ask him about school he was not over enthusiastic: he is now in the ‘B’ stream and his mother said that he had some good examination results and had come 10th in a class of 36.
The mother seemed more settled than on some of my previous visits and there were no complaints.
103. 29.05.70 Report of Child Care Officer.
I called to see the mother and Philip chiefly to ask if she could contribute something towards Philip’s holiday in the Children’s Home in August.
The mother readily agreed to do this and will try and let us have something between Three and Five Pounds. She will be responsible for getting to Bristol by train where he will join the Mini-bus. Philip is looking forward very much to the holiday and thrilled to know it will be for two weeks.
The care report that was made during his previous holiday will be passed on to the staff that are looking after the children this year.
He is reasonably settled at school but he is never very enthusiastic about it; he just says that it is all right. I will make a school visit before the end of this term to ask about his progress.
104. 05.06.70 Note to Child Care Officer from Holiday Organiser.
I have just realised that to pick up from Bristol will mean a detour for the group who will be travelling to Wales from Reading on the M4 route. Would you care to telephone the Swansea Branch to see whether he prefers Chippenham as being more convenient to both. He will be picking up at Reading at 1pm.
105. 20.07.70 Report of Child Care Officer.
I called to see the mother to make final arrangements for Philip’s holiday at Dinas Powis.
Philip is to join the group at 2.30pm at Chippenham railway station on Saturday 8th August.
The trains and buses to Chippenham are not very frequent but the mother will take Philip on the train, which arrives Chippenham at 1.35pm. I said that I would be there about 2.15pm and I would look out for them.
Philip was not home from school when I arrived, but his mother was so pleased to tell me that he had done very well at school and had come 4th in his class: but Philip hoped that he would not be put up into the A class next term.
The mother said that Philip was looking forward very much to the holiday at Dinas.
106. 12.08.70 Receipt from NCH Bristol to Financial Secretary.
I enclose herewith Five Pounds received from Philip’s mother as her contribution towards her son’s holiday in the Children’s Home at Dinas Powis. I shall be grateful if you would forward this receipt to the mother.
107. 13.08.70 Report of Child Care Officer.
The mother had taken Philip to Chippenham by train and I met them at the Railway Station.
Philip was most enthusiastic about his holiday and the mother said how lucky he was to be going.
We had about an hour and a half to wait for the Mini-bus.
Philip and Russell made a good relationship with each other; it looked as though they were going to be good friends.
The mother was just able to see Philip into the Mini-van before her train back to Swindon came in. She handed me an envelope containing a contribution towards the cost of the holiday; there was Five Pounds, which I later handed over to the Bristol Office. I said I would let the mother know about the arrangements for Philip’s return journey.
108. 13.08.70 Letter to Child Care Officer from Mother.
Thank you for your letter, I have had three cards and a long letter from Philip, he sounded delighted with everything at Dinas Powis, and pleased to find he was the oldest boy. I will be at Chippenham Station on Saturday 22nd about 10.30am to meet Philip. Thank you very much indeed for arranging this holiday.
109. 27.08.70 Report of Child Care Officer.
I met Philip at Chippenham Railway station on the 22nd; he had come in the mini-van from Dinas Powis.
Philip looked very well and said he had thoroughly enjoyed the holiday.
The mother told me that she would meet Philip at the station at 10.30am but she had told Philip that if she was not there when the coach arrived to wait for her. Philip assured me that he would be quite all right waiting on his own. I therefore left him at the station in order to take Russell to Salisbury to catch a train to Weymouth.
As I was visiting Swindon on the 24th, I went to the village where Philip lives to enquire if he had to wait very long for his mother, on Saturday.
I met Philip in the street: he was on his bicycle on his way to the Post office. He said that his mother had arrived at the station as we were leaving so he had no time to wait on his own. I did not go to the house to see the mother, as the purpose of my visit was to make sure that Philip had arrived home safely.
110. 12.10.70 Report of Child Care Officer.
There is always a good welcome here; the mother is grateful for the interest we are continuing to keep in Philip.
As the mother was busy in the shop, first I had a good talk with Philip on his own. He had thoroughly enjoyed the holiday at Dinas Powis again, but with two reservations; they had all felt that rather too much of their time had been organised, although he had appreciated all the visits they had made; Philip would have preferred it if there had been more young people of his own age as when the little ones had gone to bed there was not much that just three or four could do.
Philip is still keen on stamp collecting and he showed me his British stamps; he has a wide collection and spends most of his pocket money on these. He earns a little extra delivering leaflets once a fortnight and this money is being saved for a bicycle tyre for Christmas.
He is not very enthusiastic about school, it is tolerable! But he seems to be keeping up with the work. He has a number of friends in the village and also in the town where the school is situated.
His mother joined us and she said how very much Philip had enjoyed his holiday and how wonderful it had been for him. She was most grateful to the NCH for arranging everything: she would like to write to the staff concerned to thank them for all they did. As I did not have the correct address of the Swansea Branch with me, the mother will send her letter c/o the Regional Office.
When the mother was on her own, I explained to the mother that the reports by the staff over Philip had been generally good, but again he appeared to have some night problems. The mother told me that on his return from the holiday he had liked the Home, and did not realise that there still were still a few problems of bedwetting. I told the mother that as Philip had seemed to get over the matter, it possibly was best not to bring the matter up unless he became upset again. There had been reports of some of the other boys starting to wet the bed again.
111. 21.12.70 Report of Child Care Officer.
I called briefly to take a Christmas gift for Philip on 17th December. He was looking forward to breaking up from school on the following day, a day earlier than expected because of a conference. The mother said that he had made a very nice salad bowl in woodwork, Philip prefers the practical subjects at school and hopes to make a table skittle set next term.
Philip had done all his Christmas shopping and wrapped all the presents. He seems to organise his time very well and is rarely at a loose end. Both Philip and his mother were delighted to have heard from Harpenden and the mother was gradually getting a letter written in her reply as she has been busy helping in the shop and checking the stock etc.
112. 06.01.71 Letter to Mother from Bristol NCH.
Owing to reorganisation of regional boundaries, in order to line them up with Home Office and Local Authority regional boundaries, it has been necessary for us to transfer supervision of all administrative matters concerning Philip to the South-East region. All matters concerning his welfare and about which you normally wrote to this office should now be addressed to Highbury.
The Child Care Officer has also been transferred to the South-East Region and will continue supervision of Philip. These changes came into effect on 1st Jan 1971.
14 Years Old.
113. 01.03.71 Report of Child Care Officer.
I went to visit Philip and his mother on 26th February, she seemed pleased to see me: she and Philip always give me a welcome. The mother said that he was reasonably happy in the village but she found life rather monotonous and village life was very quiet.
Philip does not enjoy school very much but he evidently worked well as he had come 3rd in his class; his report had been very satisfactory but the general remark had indicated the comment that he must learn to stand on his own two feet.
This apparently referred to the fact that he gets very down when some of the boys call him ‘wog’ or ‘chocolate boy’ but he does not retaliate.
We talked about this together and he seemed to cheer up, as he had been particularly upset on that day. On the other hand he has many friends from both school and in the village.
Philip asked about Russell and if I had seen him lately: he and Russell had become good friends when they were on holiday together at Dinas Powis last summer. There is no doubt that Philip very much appreciated this holiday and I hope that it will be possible to arrange something for him this year.
114. 17.03.71 Family Aid Review.
The health of both Philip and his mother is very good.
The mother and Philip have a good relationship with each other and the family appear to be happy.
The mother looks after her mother and does all the housekeeping.
No financial assistance is required apart from help with a summer holiday for Philip. Material help is not required but emotionally, the mother does appreciate visits and discussions about Philip from time to time.
115. 31.03.71 Letter from Harpenden NCH to London NCH.
I enclose herewith a letter I have received from the mother of Philip, which is self-explanatory. We haven’t the Birth Certificate on our file, and I can only conclude that it will be at Chief Office. I would be grateful if you could reply to the mother direct.
MY ANSWER. The reason for the request for my birth certificate is so that I can show it to some of the boys at school, and finally prove to them that I was born in London and I’m not a foreigner. This might be the only way I can put an end to the constant teasing over the colour of my skin.
116. 24.03.71 Letter from Mother to Harpenden NCH.
May I please have the Birth Certificate of Philip, if it is still at the office, he was at Highfield 1965-68. I left it at the office on his arrival.
117. 01.04.71 Letter to Mother from NCH London.
Thank you for your letter of 24th March, please find enclosed the birth certificate of Philip, would you please be kind enough to sign the attached receipt and return it to me at your convenience.
118. Report of Child Care Officer.
As always I was given a very friendly welcome by both Philip and his mother.
Philip was looking very well; he talked more happily about school and seemed to be doing well. He had been given a patch of the garden at home to cultivate and he was keen to show me the variety of plants he was growing.
The mother also seemed more cheerful and she showed me, with pride, the improvements, which her brother-in-law had made in the garden.
Philip would very much like to go on holiday again. This year he will go to the Swansea Children’s Home. This would be for two weeks 14th to 28th August. The mother expressed her gratitude that we were again giving Philip this opportunity; he would not otherwise get a holiday away from home. I agreed to let them know details about traveling nearer the time.
119. 19.07.71 Report of Child Care Officer.
I called to see the mother and Philip with details of the traveling arrangements for the Holiday in Swansea.
I had previously discussed the train times as to which trains the London party will be traveling on, this train does not stop at Swindon.
Philip will travel to Swansea on the train that leaves Swindon at 11.15 am. and arrives at Swansea at 1.40pm. He will be met at Swansea station; further details have yet to be arranged. The details for Philip’s return journey have also yet to be finalised; he will probably travel on the train that leaves Swansea at 9.20 a.m. and arrives in Swindon at 11.41 am.
I agreed to let his mother know as soon as this was settled.
Philip had ‘broken up’ from school on the day I called: his mother had seen his report which had been returned to school; it had been a good report, Philip had come 4th in his class and had made good progress. I asked if Philip had any idea what he wanted to do when he left school. At present his chief interest is in postage stamps and he would like to get a job with one of the big firms in London.
His mother is quite agreeable for him to think along these lines; she would be happy to obtain work as a housekeeper. However, this will not be for another two years.
Philip is looking forward to his holiday in Swansea and his mother again expressed her appreciation that we were giving Philip this opportunity.
120. 10.08.71 Report of Child Care Officer.
I called to let Philip know what he is to do when he arrives at Swansea station on Saturday 14th August.
As arranged in consultation with the London party, Philip is to wait just outside the station by the ticket collector where he will be met.
The mother said how much Philip is looking forward to the holiday and counting the days. She is most grateful to us for giving Philip the opportunity of a holiday and she gave me seven pounds, which she had saved up as a contribution towards the cost.
Philip came in with his grandmother just as I was leaving and so I was able to have a brief word with him.
I will send the seven pounds to the office.
121. 23.08.71 Letter to Secretary from Office.
Swansea Holiday Project. I enclose the cheque for seven pounds in respect of contribution received from Philip’s mother in respect of his holiday in Swansea. Will you please send a receipt to The Child Care Officer who will pass it on to the mother.
THE NCH REPORT ON THE HOLIDAY.
Twenty children whose ages ranged from 10 to 15 years, spent two weeks holiday at Killay House, Children’s Home, Swansea, from August 14th to 28th. The children were all either in NCH or Local Authority care under the Family Aid scheme.
Sister Stephanie Hall was in charge of the party at Swansea. The physical structure of Killay House in its beautiful grounds was ideal for the holiday plan.
Sister June was in charge of the branch at the time of arrival, and the welcome she and the staff gave the early holiday staff arrivals, and the hard work they put in making up beds and explaining the working order of the House, before turning out of the house into the pouring rain to a wet camp field, went a long way to make a successful start to the holiday. Those who normally lived at Killay House were sent away to live in a field for the two weeks that Killay House would be occupied.
The children came from a variety of backgrounds but their real need appeared to lie in the fact, that they required a holiday where they could relax away from family tensions, and, if possible, be given an opportunity to express some of the feelings brought about by such tensions.
All the staff were introduced to the children by name, explaining who they were, what they were doing prior to the holiday, and their ages. It was agreed that the staff could be called by their first names rather than their normal titles.
We explained that there were no fixed bed times, but the children could please themselves what time they went to bed, as long as it was before the staff. They would be told the night before what time breakfast would be, and if they did not wish to have breakfast they could remain in bed until the day’s activities started. At first the children were very quiet about the house, but as they began to relax the house always seemed full of noisy chatter, and it must have been good for some of them to escape to their various rooms and places in the house and garden, where they could be on their own.
Towards the end of the holiday, settling down in bed became almost a ritual, when the children would ask that all the staff went to their rooms to tuck them up, kiss them good-night, and have a bedtime chat. These ‘chats’ were the times when the children shared with us their fears at night, such as the dark and bedwetting; also their feelings about the tensions in their family lives. The staff were sensitive to these times, and it was felt that a large part of the benefit of this holiday was achieved at these times.
At first, the staff who had had little experience of this kind of structure were themselves wary, looking for leadership and watching out for incidents or unruly behaviour. They were able to discuss these things in the evening gathering of staff, and the way they co-operated at every possible level was outstanding. The children formed holiday relationships with the staff and each other, and there was a great deal of emotion shown at parting from each other on August 28th.
122. 07.09.71 Report of Child Care Officer.
I called on 6th September to see Philip and his mother, to hear about Philip’s holiday in Swansea.
Unfortunately Philip had started school that day and as I called early in the afternoon I was unable to see him.
The mother said that Philip had thoroughly enjoyed his holiday; he had been pleased that there were several boys of his own age there including one whom he had met at Dinas Powis the previous year. Philip had thought it was grand to be allowed to call Sister Stephanie, Steve and the other members of the staff by their Christian names. This arrangement had obviously made the atmosphere less formal. Philip had been delighted to be able to spend a good deal of time on the beach and swimming; altogether he thought the holiday had been a great success. Apart again from a few wet beds.
The mother again expressed her gratitude to us for giving Philip the holiday.
123. 29.12.71 Report of Child Care Officer.
When I called to see Philip and his mother on 20th December, I was greeted with the news that they had moved to the South Coast.
The mother’s sister said that their mother had died in October after having another stroke. The mother had then felt that she was free to apply for a job, which would enable her to be more independent and to live on her own with Philip.
The mother had subsequently accepted a post as a housekeeper in a family house. I was given her new address. She had been asked to start before Christmas and therefore moved two days ago on Saturday 18th December.
The sister said that the job sounded very pleasant, but it would remain to be seen how the mother and Philip settled.
The sister is prepared to have her sister and Philip back again should this prove to be necessary, she said that her sister had written to us to inform us of her move
On 21st December the letter from the mother was received informing of her new address.
On 22nd December I called to see the mother and Philip in their self-contained flat attached to the main house. They are very comfortably housed but as they had only moved on 18th December it was early days to say that they were settled. The mother does all the cooking and some of the housework in the large house with a permanent family of three, but there are frequent and numerous guests.
The mother has an agreement with her employer that the situation is reviewed after two weeks.
This is a start to a new life for Philip and his mother; if the mother can cope with the work it should prove very satisfactory. The house is situated in an affluent residential part of the town about one mile from the centre. Philip will have some distance to travel to school and the mother was going to make enquiries at two schools after Christmas. The Headmaster of Philip’s school had given her two schools to which she should apply.
I asked the mother to let us know if after two weeks it was necessary to return to her sister. If we did not hear from her, I would call early in the New Year to see if Philip was settled in a school.
124. 21.12.71 Letter to Child Care Officer from the Mother.
Things are happening so fast here; I think I’d better let you know what’s afoot.
The sad news first, my mother died suddenly in October, she was quite well in the evening & I went in her room about 10.30 p.m., then about mid-night I heard her shouting, she was having another stroke which lasted until 4 a.m. when she died.
Now for happier things, Phil & I are off to the South Coast on the 18th. After waiting weeks & writing dozens of letters, the right job seems to have come along; I am to be housekeeper in a large beautiful house. We have our own flat, two bedrooms, bathroom, sitting room (with TV), it’s rather a pity Phil will have to change schools just in his last year, but I think this position is too good to miss.
I was invited to the prize giving at the school as Phil won his form’s Progress Prize, a nice book; he was twice rewarded as his aunt & uncle bought him a very smart radio for ‘good effort’. I do hope we will see you either before we depart or when we are at our new address.
15 YEARS OLD
125. 04.01.72. Report of Child Care Officer.
I called on 3rd January to see if Philip and his mother had settled in, and to hear how she managed all the Christmas arrangements.
As far as the mother is concerned, everything went satisfactorily and she is prepared to continue; the final decision naturally rests with her employer.
Philip will attend one of two schools; both are about one and a half miles away from where he is living. The mother said she had been advised to wait until Wednesday 5th January before making enquiries.
Philip hopes to leave school at the end of term, when he is anxious to work in one of the town’s stamp shops. Stamp collecting had been Philip’s one real hobby and he would like to make enquires fairly soon regarding a possible vacancy for an assistant. Philip already knows of four or five stamp shops.
I recommend that visiting continue for a few more months, possibly until Philip is settled in some work, when this case could then be closed.
126. 10.02.72. Report of Child Care Officer.
I met the mother by chance in town; she was out shopping and had just recovered from an attack of influenza.
She seems settled in her new job and as far as she knows everything is going satisfactorily. Her sister and brother-in-law visited and they were impressed with the present situation.
Philip is attending a boys’ school; he has been persuaded to stay on at school until he is 16 and to take examinations.
The mother said that there is strict discipline at the school and Philip has a good deal of homework. Philip has settled happily, and gets down to his homework without any trouble and appears to be working well.
I would recommend that consideration could be given to the possibility of closing this case at the end of March, after I have made one more visit.
127. 08.05.72 Report of Child Care Officer.
Visit of 04.05.72 The Mother is now very well settled in her job as housekeeper in the large private house.
Philip is doing well at school and had recently had a good report. He will be staying on until July 1973 in order to take several subjects in examinations. He maintains his great interest in ‘stamps’ and definitely wants a career in this line.
He thinks that the school will give him good help in finding a suitable job and will seek further advice from the Careers Adviser if necessary. Philip has already made some enquiries in the town about opportunities in the work he wants to do and is very hopeful of being able to find what he wants.
As both the mother and Philip are so well settled financially and materially, I suggested that they were no longer in need of our help and support. The mother thanked us for all that we had done for Philip as well as for her and for the interest we had taken in both of them.
In view of this satisfactory situation, I recommend that we close this case.
128. 22.05.72 Letter to Bristol NCH from London NCH.
We note your comments. This is receiving our attention. I should be glad if you would kindly let us have the main file in due course.
129 10.05.77 Letter to NCH London from Philip.
Asking if any records were held and would it is possible to have a copy of them.
130 17.05.77 Letter to Philip from NCH.
Replying to request to see file.
We do, of course, have records of your three-year stay at Harpenden, which are not possible to be copied.
You did come up to Highbury in October 1967 when you were rather unsettled at Harpenden and when it was felt that tests might indicate some other means of helping you. Of course, it was shortly after this that you returned to live with your mother, and as far as we could tell, this was what was required.
I do not know if you would wish to take this any further either by correspondence or by coming up to Highbury for a talk, but perhaps you will let me know how you feel.
MY ANSWER. The reply that they do have a file is interesting, but I was now twenty, I just did not feel like either writing to them or even going up to see them. How could I ask them about things that I did not know if they knew about? My three years in their care were a bit mixed up in my mind. I wanted to forget about the matter but I couldn’t. There are so many things that I would like answers to, but I would find it difficult to ask the questions.
It was twenty years later when I saw my file.
Posted by theirhistory on 2018-10-13 08:55:36
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