Memorandum titled "Request of Tavistock Square Clinic"
Gregg suggests that a "declination of the request of the Tavistock Square Clinic is probably in order."
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3 (188,400 Bytes)
1931-03-02 (March 2, 1931)
Original Repository: Rockefeller Archive Center. Rockefeller Foundation Archives
Reproduced with permission of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Director of Medical Sciences, 1930-1945
March 2, 1931
For Officers' Conference
Request of Tavistock Square Clinic
The Tavistock Square Clinic of London has presented a request for aid in maintenance of a center for the advancement of treatment,
graduate education, and research in the field of minor mental and functional nervous disorders. Aid requested is for a 5-year
period leading towards eventual endowment of the graduate education and research features of the plan.
The amount asked for is about $35,000 a year for five years as maintenance, and $500,000 for endowment at the end of that
time if in review of the work of the clinic the RF considers such a gift favorably.
The Tavistock Square Clinic is under the direction of Dr. H. Crichton-Miller, Dr. J. R. Rees, and Dr. H. B. Brackenbury. At
present a voluntary private organization doing a considerable amount of treatment and teaching in the field of minor mental
disorders, the research facilities and activities are distinctly subordinated to the teaching of graduate students and to
treatment. It has no university status and relatively few of its teachers possess such higher qualifications as the M.R.C.S.
F.R.C.P., commonly required of staff members of the teaching hospitals in London. Research work by its staff members has been
up to the present time almost insignificant, and it appears that the education of the medical profession in England in the
diagnosis and treatment of minor mental and functional nervous diseases has been the main objective up to the present. Plans
for the future include improved facilities for treatment and research and a marked expansion in instruction for graduates
in medicine. The research program includes "clearer clinical definition of disorders studied, physical and psychological
testing of various methods of treatment, correlation of data on various types of mind and body with effects of various forms
of treatment, specific tests of effectiveness of various forms of medical psychology in decreasing: sick leave, inefficiency
and other losses in industry."
The chief financial support of the clinic is from private donations (about 52%), treatment fees (about 36%), lecture fees
(8%). In 1929-30 expenses of operation totaled about $17,000 annually (about 56% in salaries of directors and physicians,
13% administration charges, 2% laboratory).
The aid of the Rockefeller Foundation is asked towards an eventual development requiring $1,515,000 and comprising a central
building $400,000, a hostel $65,000, homes for maladjusted children $200,000, a fellowship fund $350,000, and endowment (from
The immediate or eventual assurance of the Tavistock Square Clinic being able to meet RF endowment with any considerable measure
of local support is not clearly defined. The assets on March 31, 1930, were about $35,000 plus about the same amount in a
special extension fund. There is no revenue from local or national government. Consequently the future depends in large measure
on private donations, and increases in the sum received from patients.
Arguments in favor of the RF making the requested grant may be considered to be as follows:
1) Investigation and teaching in the field of minor mental and functional nervous disorders are of much importance and promise
in England as elsewhere.
2) The staff and advisory board contain several English medical authorities capable to judge the soundness and need of the
3) Growth and present activity of the clinic indicate an appreciation of services rendered. There are about 900 patients annually
and 300 on the waiting list. Training has been provided since the beginning (1920) for 51 graduate physicians.
4) Present and proposed location is favorable to the services offered by the clinic.
5) "Project is one which does not lend itself to popular appeal".
6) "Prestige of a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation will be of great aid in influencing the action of wealthy and
intelligent persons in England".
Against favoring at the present time the grant of aid requested are:
a) We do not possess adequate information on the status of efforts in the field of neurology and psychiatry in Great Britain
at the present time, and the circumstances are rapidly changing.
b) There is reason to believe that the type of service rendered by the Tavistock Square Clinic previously forbidden to Local
Authorities (city administrations) but now permitted by a new law, is being organized by the London County Council. Consequently
action by the RF might merely compete with government agencies supported by taxation in a larger and surer way than is possible
for the Tavistock Square Clinic. No decision should be taken until this possibility is thoroughly explored.
c) The Maudsley Hospital with university status, adequate quarters, a wider program, and organic relation to the outpatient
clinics and asylums of the London County Council may be in a better position for teaching and research work than the Tavistock
d) When partial or restricted programs are not necessary as the sole opportunity possible, it would be open to question whether
deliberate choice of an organization limiting itself to minor mental disorders, as a center for teaching and research work
e) Local financial support of the building program seems at the present time problematical, and a permanent endowment for
an organization with only the present facilities of the Tavistock Square Clinic would be unwise.
It is recommended that a decision be postponed until further knowledge can be obtained regarding the plans of the London County
Council, and that a declination of the request of the Tavistock Square Clinic is probably in order.