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Timeline :: LSE begins social work education

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The London School of Sociology merged with courses already established at the London School of Economics in 1912, to form the Department of Social Science and Administration offering social work education.  The course it provided was for 'those who wish to prepare themselves to engage in the many forms of social and charitable effort...expereince will be afforded by association with Children's Care Committees...Labour Exchanges, Committees of the COS, Rent Collecting, Provident Visiting, Club Management...' (Smith, 1953 and 1965: 61-62). Clement Attlee (later to become Prime Minister from 1945 to 1951), was appointed as a lecturer.

Clement Attlee had worked as manager of Haileybury House, a charitable club for working-class boys in Stepney, in the East End of London between 1906 and 1909. He later worked as secretary of the university settlement, Toynbee Hall, before going to LSE where he remained until he became an army officer following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. After the war, Attlee became mayor of Stepney, and during this time wrote The Social Worker, in which he affirmed the idea that voluntary action would never be enough to eradicate poverty: "In a civilised community, although it may be composed of self-reliant individuals, there will be some persons who will be unable at some period of their lives to look after themselves, and the question of what is to happen to them may be solved in three ways – they may be neglected, they may be cared for by the organised community as of right, or they may be left to the goodwill of individuals in the community" (1920: 30).

References: Attlee, C.R. (1920) The Social Worker, London: G Bell & Sons; Smith, M. J.  (1953 and 1965) Professional Education for Social Work in Britain, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd; University of Chester, Riverside Museum.