Historical resources

Further resources are featured here for anyone wishing to delve deeper into the history of physiotherapy and a quick steer for those engaged in family history.


We regret that we are not able to undertake family history research. However, you are welcome to book an appointment to visit the CSP Learning Resource Centre to access historical materials which may be of interest.

Oral History Project

The CSP Retirement Association have completed ninety five interviews with many of the leading lights of physiotherapy in the 20th century. The interviews and interview summaries are now deposited with the libraries. They will be publically accessible in November 2015. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Retirement Association Oral History Project will be catalogued in the British Sound and Moving Image online catalogue at the British Library: http://sami.bl.uk . The unique reference number for the collection in both libraries is: C1586 Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Retirement Association Oral History Project.

The recordings can be accessed onsite at the British Library at St Pancras, London and Boston Spa, Yorkshire ( see www.bl.uk/listening if a member), and via the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Library, email lis@csp.org.uk. The collection provides a valuable resource of evidence for learning about development and change in the UK physiotherapy profession for researchers of physiotherapy, social historians, and others.

History of Society's Founders' Lecture

The Founders' Lecture was instigated in 1914 as a token of respect to the Founders. The attached document gives details of all traced Founders' Lectures since 1914 including publication details or source of data: The History of the Society's Founders' Lectures from 1914.

History of the Society’s Conferences and Congresses 1917 – 2013

The information in this document is drawn from the programmes of the meetings either published in the Society’s journal or from a separately published programme:

Many of the papers were not subsequently published in full, or may have been published elsewhere. Where the programme details end with a red line, the programme continues. For details you should then refer to either the published programme or the programme as published in the journal. All the journals and programmes are available in the CSP Learning Resource Centre.

Historical images

We have digitised a number of historical images of physiotherapy techniques, people who made significant contributions to the profession or the Society, and physiotherapy in a variety of settings. These images are drawn from a number of sources including the Society’s archive, which is held by the Wellcome Library.

Copyright has not been identified for all of the pictures. We welcome information on copyright or copyright holders.

Contributing historical images

If you have period photographs of physiotherapy up to about the 1950s and would like to add them to the collection, please email CSP Library and Information Services.

We would like to have copies of the photograph(s) as either prints or as digital JPEG images. When contributing photogrpahs please supply as much information as possible.

Dates or approximate dates, location, description, and the names of individuals. Copyright and original publication details are also useful. If you want your photograph(s) returned, please clearly state a return address. If not, all images will be sent to the Wellcome Library.

The Wellcome Library

The CSP Archive is deposited at the Wellcome Library. Records can be consulted there during library opening hours. Dating back to the society's foundation, the archive provides a comprehensive record of the CSP's activities and development, including two press cuttings books of the 1894 'massage scandals' and council minutes from 1894 onwards. 

Current records (less than five years old) are held at the CSP offices, and are transferred to the archive periodically. At the Wellcome Library archives there are few details on named physiotherapists. The full catalogue record for the collection can be consulted by using the online database link on the Wellcome Library.

The CSP holdings alone can be searched using the keywords ‘Chartered Society of Physiotherapy’ or by typing SA/CSP in the Reference box. All the Wellcome Library’s physiotherapy holdings can be searched using a subject search on the term ‘Physical Therapy’ or ‘Physical Medicine’ typed into the Subject box, or ‘Physiotherapy’ in the Any Text box.

Those wishing to use the CSP archive and other physiotherapy material at the Wellcome Library are advised to make an appointment with the Duty Archivist for their first visit, preferably by emailing arch+mss@wellcome.ac.uk

All new readers are required to register as a Library user on arrival, for which formal identification must be shown. Archives and manuscripts are ordered and consulted in the Poynter Room. Please note that only pre-ordered archives may be consulted during evening and Saturday morning opening.

Procedures, opening hours and other details can be found on the Wellcome Library or by contacting the Archives and Manuscripts team at: arch+mss@wellcome.ac.uk 

Other resources

AIM25: Archives in London and the M25 area

AIM25 offers collection-level descriptions of archives from over ninety higher education institutions and learned societies within the Greater London area, some of which feature physiotherapy resources: http://www.aim25.ac.uk/.

Archives Hub

A national gateway to descriptions of archives in UK universities and colleges. A number of collections containing information on physiotherapy are listed: http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk/.

British Library Sound Archive

The British Library Sound Archive contains a selection of recordings, some featuring physiotherapists talking about their experiences of the profession. For further details and to search, visit: www.bl.uk/reshelp/bldept/soundarch/.

National Archives Catalogue

The National Archives hold many records on physiotherapy, including a list of books and journal articles about the history of physiotherapy and the CSP: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk.Family history

The CSP recognises the growing interest in family history research. However, the CSP Library and Information Service team is small and its priorities are supporting members in providing evidence-based practice, and assisting with their professional education and continuing professional development.

This means that the Library and Information Service is not able to undertake family history research on behalf of CSP members, or non-members.

Recognising the needs of family historians, the Library and Information Service has assembled a list of books and journal articles covering the history of physiotherapy.

Members that have made an impact or played a key role in shaping and steering the Society and the profession may have been featured in the Society's journal, now known as Physiotherapy.

Established in 1915, the journal carried obituaries of key members. From 1995 this news aspect was moved to being reported on in the Society’s twice monthly magazine, Frontline. The CSP Library and Information Service has a complete collections of both the Physiotherapy journal and Frontline magazine.

Until the end of 1994 the journal featured the names of members who had passed various physiotherapy examinations, and also carried news of appointments to positions of employment.

During the First World War, the journal featured the names of all the members of the Almeric Paget Military Massage Corps (often including their place of work).

If you have the bibliographic details of a specific obituary or article featured in the Society’s journal or in Frontline, you can apply to the Library and Information Service for a photocopy of this resource.

See more information about our copying service (including details of charges) and information about visiting the CSP Learning Resource Centre.

Last reviewed: