RoSPA’s roots lie in a meeting held on 1st December 1916 when a group of people met in London to discuss an alarming increase in road accidents. At that meeting it was proposed that a safety council be set up to raise awareness of road safety and to work for the prevention of accidents, and so in January 1917 the London “Safety First” Council held its first session.
By April 1917, the scope of the group had widened to include industrial safety, and in 1932 safety in the home was also added to the interests of what was now called the National “Safety First” Association.
In 1941 the association changed its name to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and has continued under Royal Patronage up to the present day, with the Society’s 100th anniversary being marked by a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2017.
The rich history of the Society, and its campaign work to stop the needless devastation and heartbreak caused by accidents, is clear in the wealth of resources published over 100 years and preserved in the Archive:
- RoSPA’s famous safety posters (now housed in the Library of Birmingham Archives)
- Campaign Planning Guides for 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, showcasing the huge range of material which was issued to raise public awareness – including information leaflets, posters, storybooks, songbooks, films, badges, stickers, cards, handkerchiefs, napkins, pencils, beer mats and much more.
- Tufty Fluffytail - the squirrel who through the Tufty Club helped to teach the nation’s children about road safety and to think about safety in the home and water safety - inspired many resources including storybooks, annuals, games, jigsaws, knitting patterns and even a make-it-yourself ‘Tufty and friends’ pattern.
- Journals giving first-hand accounts of RoSPA’s work e.g. Safety News published from 1936.
If you are interested in visiting Infocentre to use the collection for researching aspects of safety and accident prevention since 1917 please email firstname.lastname@example.org describing your area(s) of interest. Where possible, Infocentre staff will then provide a list of relevant resources, to help you decide whether a visit would be worthwhile.