This record is held by Oldham Local Studies & Archives

Details of D-OCSS
Reference: D-OCSS
Date: 1917 - 1970
Related material:

Oldham Archives Service


A-PUO Oldham Poor Law Union: Board of Guardians


B-CBO 31 Oldham Borough Council: Public Assistance Committee


D-M13 Mary Higgs Collection


D-M44 Oldham Moral Welfare Council


D-LEE Lees family papers


Annual reports for Oldham CVS, 1976-1995, for which no related original records were available, have been transferred to Oldham Local Studies Library (Ref: OR75).

Held by: Oldham Local Studies & Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Oldham Council of Social Service, Lancashire

Physical description: 1 box
Immediate source of acquisition:

Accn 1996-024

Custodial history:

These records were donated by Oldham Council for Voluntary Service in 1996, prior to the winding up of the Service in March 1997. The Minute Books are bound exercise books, with entries in manuscript and typescript. Other papers and news-cuttings are both loosely inserted and pasted-in.


The printed Annual Reports give a most useful overview of the organisation's history. They list Council officers and representatives, summarise the Council's work, and include annual accounts, donations and subscriptions. Those for 1929-1936 include a Report for the Cripples' Aid Society, which finally disbanded in 1947. An Adoption Committee Report appears from 1946. From 1947, Reports of the local branches of SSAFA and the Forces Help Society (FHS) are included. From 1950, the Council Reports include an analysis of the types of enquiry made. The Report for 1963 contains an appreciation of the work of Marjory Lees, who served as Honorary Secretary almost continuously from 1917-1962. A separate report is given for the Citizens' Advice Bureau from 1964, reflecting its increased activity.


Some Minute Books have been rebound where this was required. Selotape has been removed from some papers, which have now been guarded-in. Other papers and newscuttings found loose within volumes have been gathered together and related to them. The Minute Books and Annual Reports are now in good condition overall. There are no special restrictions on access.

  • Oldham, Lancashire
Administrative / biographical background:

Oldham Council of Social Welfare was founded on 14th December 1917, "to promote Voluntary Endeavour and Social Service, and to provide a Bureau of Information on matters relating to Public Welfare". The first joint Honorary Secretaries were Clifford Atkins and Marjory Lees (q.v. D-LEE). Initially, 43 Representatives of Associated Bodies formed the Council. Their interests spanned the spectrum of social welfare in Oldham, from the Board of Guardians to the Beautiful Oldham Society. Related records for some of these bodies are also held by Oldham Archives Service (see below).


Management of the Council was delegated to an Executive Committee, and, initially, three sub-committees - the Case Committee; the Social Improvement and Education Sub-Committee (Hon. Secretary Mary Higgs (q.v. D-M13), - at whose home, Bent House, the Council for many years had its office); and the Juvenile Organisations Committee. By 1929, only the Case Committee seemed to be meeting regularly "so much work being other [Associated Bodies]".


In 1937, the Council affiliated to the National Council of Social Service. It agreed in 1939 to co-operate with that body to set up a local Citizens' Advice Bureau. There was immediately heavy demand for the new service. By the next year, the Bureau had its own Committee, and by 1942 its name was conjoined with that of the Council. Wartime imposed great burdens on the Council's voluntary services, which acted for the Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Families Association (SSAFA), dealt with evacuees, and assisted those affected by enemy bombing in the area.


The name of the Council was changed at the 1946 AGM from "Social Welfare" to "Social Service". This was intended to clarify the Council's role, rather than to indicate any change in its constitution or activities.


An Old People's Welfare Committee had been formed by this time, while an Adoption Committee was established in 1943. During 1960, this reformed as the independent Oldham Adoption Society, but retained affiliation to the Council.


The published Aims and Objects of the Council were revised from c1966, while still reflecting promotion of charitable work for public benefit, through co-operation between statutory authorities and voluntary organisations locally.


Council membership declined from c1968 and the Council seemed to wind up in 1970, although a formal dissolution is not recorded in the last Minute Book held. However, external evidence shows some continuity of administrative function. Oldham and District Community Council and Citizens' Advice Bureau was formed in 1972, "to help make best use of the new opportunities" of local government reorganisation. This body would cover the entire area of the new Oldham Metropolitan Borough. In 1976, this new voluntary body was re-named "Oldham Council for Voluntary Service", to bring it into line with the other CVS's nationally. CVS Annual Reports from 1976 follow on numerically from those of the earlier Councils. The organisation's 1917 origins are noted, with its aims and objects the same as those of its immediate predecessor.

Link to NRA Record:

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