Essays in the history of youth and community work
Discovering the past
Edited by Ruth Gilchrist, Tony Jeffs, Jean Spence and Joyce Walker

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This book is a contribution to the emergent history of youth and community work. It aims to introduce contemporary practitioners to the richness of the knowledge gained within past practice in a profession which can date its origins to the beginnings of industrialisation.

For over two hundred years, youth and community workers have used methods which continue to be recognisable and distinct, and leading practitioners have exercised considerable influence upon the social and organisational policies which helped shape welfare structures in Europe and the USA. This history has important lessons to reveal in terms of current policy initiatives and the relationship between practice and policy-making. Loss of historical memory has condemned successive generations of youth and community workers to continuously recreate theory and practice, without the advantage of learning from previous successes and failures. The contributors to this book draw out some of the lessons of the past in the hope that these can inform present practice. This makes an important contribution to the maintenance of the distinctive professional identity of youth and community work, helping to restore it to its place alongside the related welfare professions of social work and teaching.

Paperback. 368 pages. 9781905541454. Published 2009. £29.95.


All those who work with young people - youth and community workers, social workers, teachers - as well as students, researchers, lecturers, tutors.


Why history? Mark K. Smith
'The playground of today is the republic of tomorrow': social reform and organised recreation, 1890-1930s Linnea M. Anderson
From knowledge of the world to knowledge of self: perspectives on the professional training of youth leaders, 1942 - 1948 Simon Bradford
Chartism, education and community Barry Burke
The transition from girls clubs to girls clubs and mixed clubs: UK youth, 1934 - 1944 Michael Butterfield and Jean Spence
'Why did they take that game away from us?' The rise and fall of girls' basketball in U.S. Dan Conrad
Cardijn versus Baden-Powell: The methodical turn in youth work history Filip Coussť
The rise and fall of community and youth work courses at Westhill College John Holmes
Starting out: origins of Newcastle YMCA Tony Jeffs
Familiar rooms in foreign fields: placing the 'BB Atmosphere' in The Boys' Brigade's Recreation Hut, Rouen, France, 1915 - 1919 Richard G. Kyle
T. R. Batten's life and work George Lovell
Long walk from the door: a history of work with girls and young women in Northern Ireland from 1969 Susan Morgan and Eliz McArdle
The counter-cultural revolution and the Oz school kids issue: the establishment versus the underground press Keith Popple
Withywood youth club Sue Robertson
Club, class and clothes: the origins of scouting in Sunderland Jean Spence
'Forgotten corners': a reflection on radical youth work in Britain, 1940 - 1990 Tania de St Croix
Youth work and class: the struggle that dare not speak its name Tony Taylor
The origins and development of the National Youth Agency Tom Wylie


Ruth Gilchrist
is Education, Training and Development Officer at UK Youth.
Tony Jeffs teaches at Durham University, School of Applied Social Sciences, and is a visiting tutor at Ruskin College, Oxford.
Jean Spence teaches in the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University. All three are members of the Editorial Board of the journal Youth and Policy.
Joyce A. Walker teaches at Center for 4-H and Community Youth Development, University of Minnesota.


"I love these books. This is the fourth to emerge from the Durham History Conference dedicated to unravelling the many past aspects of youth and community work and providing an anchor for contemporary practice... The mix of contributions range from narrative reflection to more conceptual and philosophical analysis (and) focus on both influential people and projects and movements... They engage with the wider politics and religion that influenced the development of youth and community work." Howard Williamson in Youth Work Now.