The original aim of the Mental After Care Association (MACA) was to provide an alternative to the workhouse for those discharged from mental asylums. Ex-patients were 'befriended' in the homes of private individuals, given advice, money and clothing, and assisted to find suitable work.
MACA was founded in 1879 by the Reverend Henry Hawkins, chaplain of Colney Hatch Asylum, as The After Care Association for Poor and Friendless Female Convalescents on Leaving Asylums for the Insane. It became The Mental After Care Association for Poor Persons Convalescent or Recovered from Institutions for the Insane in 1914, then becoming the Mental After Care Association in 1940. It continues its work as the UK national charity Together.
In the 1920s-1930s the Association provided cottage homes for convalescents. In the 1960s, as the large mental hospitals were closed in the UK, it began administering its own homes for chronic patients, as well as running community and respite care projects.
The MACA papers include administrative material such as minutes, annual reports and accounts. There is also material relating to the homes and hostels administered by the Association, including registers of homes in the South of England, property documents, correspondence and a large collection of photographs.
A collection of publicity, publications and ephemera, including some early scrapbooks, gives a picture of the activities of MACA before the annual reports and surviving minutes begin. The collection spans the period 1886-1994.
The original papers may be consulted at the Wellcome Library.
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