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Social Work History Network


Social Work History NetworkWelcome to the Social Work History Network (SWHN).

SWHN exists to explore the nature and growth of social work in order to inform contemporary policy and practice.

Founded in 2000, it is an informal network of social workers, historians, archivists, researchers, educators, students, and social work policy makers.

The Network meets three or four times a year to discuss papers given by invited speakers.

Meetings are open to all.

More about SWHN | Recent meetings

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Social Work History Network is on Twitter

@SocWkHistory | hashtag: #swhn

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If you would like to be kept up to date with SWHN news & events please email:


18 June 2021 We have posted a bibliography by David N Jones on the site.

12 May 2021 In memory of Terry Bamford (video of BASW hosted event)

29 March 2021 Commonwealth Social Work History (video)

3 December 2020 Latest issue of the Bulletin published.

July 2020 A History of the Roles and Responsibilities of Social Workers; From the Poor Laws to the Present Day by Michael Burt (SWHN member) - published by Routledge.

9 June 2020 Publication of Social Work. Past, Present and Future (Eds. Bamford and Bilton). We are talking with Making Research Count and BASW about arranging webinars based on chapters in this book.

February 2020 David N Jones writes an appreciation of Terry Bamford, chair of SWHN, who died 9 February, 2020.

June 2019 The latest issue of the Bulletin was published 12 June 2019.

March 2019 News of June meeting: 6 June 2019 (at King's): 'Privatisation - in whose best interest', speakers to include: Ray Jones and Jonathan Stanley.

May 2018 Latest issue of Bulletin of the Social Work History Network published 9 May 2018.

May 2018 Video of the Radical Social Work meeting (Nov 2017) is now available.

April 2018 Joint meeting with Child Care History Network. Currently being arranged, this meeting is scheduled for 17 July 2018 at King's College London (an all-day meeting). Details to follow.

November 2017 SHAPING A PROFESSION: The historical development of social work education and training. Film of this meeting (September 2017) is now available.

October 2017 Call for Papers: Exploring the History of Settlements

October 2017 Child Care History Network: Seminar to be held on 1 November 2017 at 10.30 a.m. at Hinsley Hall, 62, Headingley Lane, Leeds, LS6 2BX on: ‘Children’s Homes: What were they really like? Have they a future?’

October 2017 Jonathan Dickens speaks about Attlee at this weekend event on 7 and 8 October 2017 in Rotherhithe.

July 2017 The latest issue of the Bulletin of the SWHN was published on 16 July 2017.

April 2017 SWHN members Angi Naylor and Guy Shennan are taking part in this month's Boot Out Austerity walk.

December 2016 The latest issue of the Bulletin of the Social Work History Network was published 19 December 2016.

November 2016 In Need Implementation Group (2016 reprint of 1991 pamphlet, with a new foreword by Terry Bamford and introduction by Jane Tunstill) 'The Children Act and children's needs: make it the answer not the problem', London: Social Care Workforce Research Unit, Policy Institute at King's College London.

November 2016 Changes on the website: these pages now host documents from the archive of the SWHN. The past meetings pages (now split into decades) have also been augmented from this archive.

October 2016 We have uploaded notes by Prof Jill Manthorpe, which she made at the Children Act 1989 event. There is now a link on the same page to an audio recording of the event.

July 2016 Professional Social Work (July/August 2016) reports on Children Act evening.

July 2016 The Child Poverty Action Group 1965 to 2015 by Pat Thane and Ruth Davidson was launched this month. Both authors contributed at the SWHN event on CPAG and social work on 24 September 2015.

June 2016 The latest issue of the Bulletin of the Social Work History Network was published 6 June 2016.

May 2016 Advance notice — SWHN member Viv Cree is putting together a resource on the story of social work education in the UK (the current website starts with social work education at Edinburgh University, which began in 1918). SWHN hopes to take part in an event on the topic in spring 2018 in Edinburgh, prior to the European Social Work Research Association conference.



The Social Work History Network is supported by The British Association of Social Workers (BASW), The Open University, the University of Chester, and the NIHR Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King's College London.

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