Research Collections


One Parent Families Scotland Archive

Reference codes, titles and dates of Archive

Reference Code: GB 1847 OPFS
Records of One Parent Families Scotland
Date of creation of material:
1939 – 1995 (predominantly 1970-1990)
Level of description:
9.5 metres

Administrative history

Name of Creator: Scottish Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child, Scottish Council for Unmaried Mothers, becoming The Scottish Council for Single Parents from 1973Single Mothers: the first years cover, and One Parent Families Scotland from 1 April 1995.
Administrative history: During the Second World War, pressing problems faced social workers with regard to the needs of children born out of wedlock. In 1940, the first conference was held in Scotland to consider those problems, primarily arising from the sharp drop in the number of available foster mothers, the closure of some homes and the increase in the number of illegitimate births. Social workers met in Edinburgh under the auspices of the Standing Committee of the National Council of Social Service. A Scottish Committee for the Unmarried Mother and her Child was then formed, and became in 1942, the Scottish Committee of the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child, which had been working in England since the First World War. By 1945, the Scottish Committee (with the approval of the National Council) decided it was time to develop into a Scottish Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child. It was accordingly set up in May 1945, still affiliated to the National Council, but a distinct body appropriately, because of the differences between Scottish and English law and administration (a pamphlet entitled Some Points in the Law in Scotland affecting Unmarried Parents and Children whose Parents are not married to each other had been issued in March 1945).

Five objects of the Council were set forth and adopted in the first year and a sixth added in 1948:

To bring together for consultation all bodies in Scotland concerned with the well-being of children whose parents are not married to each other and with the guidance of those parents.

To watch the trend of laws which affect such children in Scotland and to work for any adjustment that may be necessary for their welfare.

To maintain the principle that wherever possible the mother should be encouraged and assisted to care for her own child and that the putative father should be required to assume a share of personal responsibility.

To encourage the provision of adequate accommodation to meet the varying needs of these mothers and their babies throughout the country, with the special aim of keeping mother and child together.

To act as a link between those needing advice and assistance and the organisation able to provide the guidance and help required.

To arrange for the Training of Moral Welfare Workers in Scotland.

In 1947, a sub-committee had been set up to consider a possible training scheme for Moral Welfare Workers in Scotland, with the help and advice of the Social Study Departments of the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. A booklet edited by Anne Ashley was published in 1955, entitled Illegitimate Children and Their Parents in Scotland.

1967 brought about change and expansion in the work undertaken by the Scottish Council by virtue of a grant from the Scottish Home and Health Department. It enabled the Council to become the recognised authority on unmarried parents and their children in Scotland. Miss Julie-Ann Macqueen was appointed Secretary and Social Worker for the Council on 1st February 1967 (later to become Director). In November 1973, The Home that Jill Built cover the Council changed its name to the Scottish Council for Single Parents (some apprehension was expressed that there might be a dilution of services, but on the whole, the change was made in response to changing needs; "Unmarried mothers sounded out of date and restrictive"). A research project started in 1971 resulted in the publication of Single Mothers The First Year by Angela Hopkinson in 1976. The sequel to this book The Home That Jill Built was written by Judith Lamotte (in collaboration with Julie-Ann Macqueen) in 1981. In 1983, a Training Officer was appointed. The SCSP moved into providing more direct and more varied services. The total number of staff in 1984 was 35 (plus those employed in special projects). On 1st April 1995, the name was changed to One Parent Families Scotland, and under its new title continues at time of writing (2003) to ‘provide vital help to thousands of Scottish lone parents through our national helpline, local services and publications.’
Archival History:
Retained by organisation over the years.
Immediate source of acquisition
: Transferred from One Parent Families Scotland, summer 2001.

What is in the Archive

Scope and Content Abstract: The basis of this Archive is made up of the following series -

  • Meeting and Sub-Committee minutes (1970 –1992)
  • Campaign correspondence (1978 –1993)
  • Publications (1939 –1990)Information literature (1973 –1993)
  • Policy and legal issue papers (1958 –1990)
  • Training materials (1974 –1993)
  • Annual reports (1961 –1965 NCUMC) (1967 –1974 SCUMC)
  • Research case studies (1971-1986)
  • Referral lists (1961 –1986)
  • Mother and baby home files (1967 –1988)
  • Sitter service applications (1984 –1992)
  • Conference papers (1956 –1973)

Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling Information: This material has been appraised in line with GB1847 procedures.
: Not known.
System of Arrangement
: The archive has yet to be arranged.

Getting & using the Archive

Conditions Governing Access: Owned by One Parent Families Scotland. Access to be arranged.
Copyright/Conditions Governing Reproduction:
Applications for permission to quote should be sent to University Archivist. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.
Language of Material
: English.
Physical Characteristics:
None that affect the use of this material.
Finding Aids
: Box list at folder level.

Other collections of similar subject matter

Location of Originals: This material is original.
Existence of Copies:
No known copies.
Related units of description:
Part of Glasgow Caledonian University Research Collections - 

Further details of related material can be found on the appropriate links page.

Publication note: Angela Hopkinson, Single Mothers – the first year: a Scottish study of mothers bringing up their children on their own (Edinburgh, SCSP, 1976)
Judith Lamotte, The Home that Jill Built, (Edinburgh, SCSP, 1981)

Archive contact

Carole McCallum (University Archivist)
Telephone - +44 (0)141 273 1188
Email -  

Notes relating to the preparation of this description

Description Compilation Details: Compiled by Elva McLean, 12 February 2003.
Description Alterations:
Carole McCallum, University Archivist, 21 February 2003.

Last Updated: 18 August, 2009
Edited by:

Logo: One Parent Families Scotland