Florence Estelle (Stella) Waldron
Lecturer PSW, 1946-1951
Stella completed an Honours degree in Sociology in the Faculty of Arts at Bedford College for Women, University of London, graduating in 1935 and went on to take the post-graduate course in Mental Health at the London School of Economics between 1936 and 1937, where her tutor was Helen Perlman, and her fellow-student was Marjorie Brown. As part of her training, she undertook practice placements at the Maudsley Hospital and at the Talbot Settlement (part of the LSE).
Stella worked as a psychiatric social worker at West Park hospital in Epsom then Chartham Canterbury hospital in Birmingham in 1938. During World War Two, she worked as a researcher in Reading and Birmingham; her paper on the incidence of neurosis amongst factory workers (funded by the Medical Research Council) is cited in Bailey and Brake (1975).
In 1946, Stella was appointed to a teaching job at Edinburgh University as a lecturer on the psychiatric social work course where she stayed until 1951; Megan Browne later got her job.
Stella went on to the United Birmingham Hospitals as a senior psychiatric social worker, then to the University of Birmingham in 1956 as Lecturer in Social Casework. Soon after, she travelled to the University of Chicago on a Fullbright scholarship from 1955 to 1956 where she met her life-long partner, Zelda Shutan, who was an Education Welfare Officer in Chicago. Stella returned to Birmingham University and continued there until 1961, setting up their graduate course in Social Work. She went back to Chicago, where she worked from 1962 to 1971 at the Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago. During this period, she had a spell back in the UK, when she worked in Nottingham with what was then known as ‘problem families’.
In 1972, Stella returned to England with Zelda and got a job at St Crispin’s Hospital, Northampton, as a hospital social worker. She retired in 1974, and she and Zelda continued to live in Northamptonshire until their deaths.
Publications include four book reviews on psychiatric and medical social work:
The Sociological Review, 12(2), 1 July 1964, p.222; Social Service Review, 42(4) 1 December 1968, pp.527-528; Social Service Review, 43(2) (Jun., 1969), pp. 223-224; British Journal of Social Work, 2(4) 1 December 1972, pp.536-537.
Source: University of Edinburgh, Department of Social Study & Training, Report for Session 1946-47, p. 7, reference code - EUA IN1/ACU/S2 (Acc.2011/002) and personal correspondence with her niece, Rachel Balen, formerly Principal Lecturer in Social Work, University of Huddersfield.