Barbara Robb, her book ‘Sans Everything: a case to answer’, and her campaign to improve hospital care for older people (1965-1976)


  • Dr Claire Hilton

    Central and North West London NHS Trust

Project summary

I will investigate the first of many widely publicised, detailed reports concerning inadequate standards of care for older people in institutions in England. In 1967 allegations in ‘Sans Everything’ by Barbara Robb led to inquiries into NHS care. Preliminary archival searches about the book and the ensuing events have revealed a wealth of unpublished material, including: letters from the public, politicians, civil servants and lawyers; speeches; drafts of articles; notes; diaries; transcripts of phone calls and meetings; and other published material. Documents cover the period from 1965 when Robb became aware of the conditions for many older people in mental hospitals, until her untimely death in 1976, aged 62. 

This study uses standard historical methodology to explore archives, documents and oral history accounts. 

I will publish academic and informal papers for a range of audiences, give presentations to academic, governmental and professional organisations, and contribute to policy debate on improving care to avoid future episodes of abuse.