Uncovering history: private sector care homes for older people

Johnson, Julia; Rolph, Sheena and Smith, Randall (2010). Uncovering history: private sector care homes for older people. Journal of Social Policy, 39(2) pp. 235–253.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S004727940999064X


In conducting his research for The Last Refuge (1962), Peter Townsend visited 173 public, voluntary and private residential care homes for older people in England and Wales. Drawing on his data, now archived at the University of Essex, we traced the subsequent history of these homes and revisited a sample that were still functioning as care homes in 2006. In this article, we focus on the 42 private homes he visited, some of which remain open and were revisited by us in 2005–06. The pre-1980 history of private sector residential care provision for older people is an elusive and poorly charted topic. Drawing on the two data sets for then and now, this article contributes new insights into this area of UK policy and practice.

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