Participating Libraries


British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and gives access to the world’s most comprehensive research collection. The Library provides information services to academic, business, research and scientific communities. The Library has over 170 million items in its collection, which includes artefacts from every age of written civilisation; from manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, prints and drawings to music scores, patents, sound recordings, stamps and other philatelic items. The British Library keep the United Kingdom archive of printed and digital publications, adding around three million new items to its collection every year. Settlement House periodicals from the British Library included in this project demonstrate the philanthropic efforts of charitable organisations to improve education and welfare for the poor in society.

The National Archives

The National Archives is one of the world’s most valuable resources for academic research. As the official archive and publisher for the UK government, it is the guardian of millions of the UK's public records, the earliest dating back over 1,000 years. The National Archives’ role is to collect and secure the future of the government record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible and available as possible. The material from The National Archives’ collection included in this project focuses on the MH32 and MH33 record series from the Poor Law Office, documenting the official correspondence from the government commissioners as they administered relief and organised the workhouse system.

Senate House Library

Senate House Library – which opened in 1877 and moved to its current location in 1937 – is the central library for the University of London and the School of Advanced Study. Located in the heart of London, the library houses Arts, Humanities and Social Science Research Collections and Special Collections, with millions of books and journals available. The Family Welfare Association Library material included in this project and housed at Senate House Library provides an insight into various topics of welfare and social reform during the Victorian period and early twentieth century, in the form of books, pamphlets and public notices. 
The Family Welfare Association library was gifted to Senate House Library, University of London by the charity as it operates today: Family Action ( The Library and publisher are grateful to Family Action for their donation of the material, and for this opportunity to take the story of their pioneering charitable work to a global audience of researchers.