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For the past 100 years the Tavistock and Portman has been working to serve its community 

The Tavistock and Portman changes lives. For 100 years, we have proudly been at the forefront of exploring mental health and wellbeing. Over the last hundred years, the work of the clinic has continually evolved to reflect new learning and develop new methods.

Key tenets that have guided us throughout are a developmental approach, thinking contextually, and reflective practice. The Tavistock and Portman has and continues to make a substantial contribution to therapeutic practice, social work, the justice system, education and organisational consultancy.

100 years on from when we saw our first patient, our centenary is a chance to celebrate our influence and consider what our contribution might be across the next hundred years.

Find out more about the key figures who have shaped the Tavistock and Portman, see a timelines of our history and make sure to sign up to our Centenary Festival talks and events.

“For decades, the Tavistock’s work has helped shape how we see ourselves, as persons and as a society. Much thinking that has entered the mainstream emerged from its challenging, interdisciplinary research and practice”

– Hilary Mantel

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  • The founding of the Tavistock Clinic

    51 Tavistock Square illustration

    The Tavistock Clinic, or Tavi as it is more colloquially known, was founded  on 27 September in 1920 by Hugh Crichton-Miller. In the beginning it was the home of a small band of seven doctors. In addition to Hugh Crichton-Miller, the Honorary Director, there was: Dr JA Hadfield, Dr Mary..Read More

  • The Tavistock Clinic sees its first patient

    51 Tavistock Square illustration

    The Tavistock Clinic saw its first patient, a child, on 27 September in 1920. The first patient  was seen by Dr Hamilton Pearson on 27 September 1920 and this is where we take the date of our founding from. The second patient was an adult and was seen by Mary..Read More

  • Grace Pailthorpe starts her research into criminology

    Grace Pailthorpe

    In 1922, Grace Pailthorpe began her study of women offenders in Birmingham Prison under Britain’s first criminologist, Dr M. Hamblin-Smith. This work was later extended to Holloway Prison in London and other institutions.

  • The mid-20s

    Tavistock Clinic Lecture Theatre 1920

    During the 1920s the Tavistock Clinic grew. Speech Therapy and Social Work were added to the services provided by the Clinic and towards the end of the decade a hostel was opened for patients from outside London. Education and training at the Clinic grew at a considerable rate. In the..Read More

  • Not enough space

    Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology

    By the end of the 1920s the building on Tavistock Square was no longer big enough. JR Rees, who had been deputy director since 1926, established an extension fund, called the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, to raise money for new premises and on 9 August 1929 it was formally..Read More

  • The founding of the ASTC

    Grace Pailthorpe illustration

    On 22nd July 1931 Grace Pailthorpe formed the Association for the Scientific Treatment of Criminals (ASTC), which subsequently became the Institute for the Scientific Treatment of Delinquency (ISTD). Along with Grace Pailthorpe the other founders of the ASTC were: Dr M. Hamblin-Smith, Dr David Eder, Dr Edward Glover, Dr James..Read More

  • The Tavistock Clinic moves to Torrington Place and Malet Place

    Malet Place 1932

    In November 1932 the Tavistock Clinic moved into a new building on the corner of Torrington Place and Malet Place. It was positioned alongside the University of London and renamed the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology. The building had previously been the stables for a Tottenham Court Road department store,..Read More

  • The ASTD becomes the ISTD

    8 Portman St 1938

    In a meeting at Dr Jensen’s flat at 56 Grosvenor St, London on 29 November 1932 Dr Jennings White proposed that the name of the organisation be changed from the Association for the Scientific Treatment of Criminals (ASTC) to the Institute for the Scientific Treatment of Delinquency (ISTD), which went..Read More

  • The founding of the Portman

    The West End Hospital for Nervous Diseases

    The Portman Clinic was founded by Edward Glover in 1933 as the ‘Psychopathic Clinic’, with a consulting room n the West End Hospital for Nervous Diseases at 73 Welbeck Street. On 18 September they saw their first patient: ‘a woman, 47 years of age, noted as having a violent temper,..Read More

  • The Tavistock goes to war

    JR Rees in the military

    On 1 September 1939 Hitler’s tanks rolled into Poland and World War 2 began. JR Rees was appointed as consultant psychiatrist to the Army at Home, responsible for the mental health of approximately three million people. Many key figures from the Tavistock Clinic joined him in the army, becoming what..Read More

  • The Tavistock Clinic on the home front

    Westfield College in Hampstead

    As with many organisations, the war years were a test of survival for the Tavistock Clinic. The story for those who did not join up was very different to those who did. The Tavistock Clinic was evacuated to the Westfield Women’s College in Hampstead on 3 September 1939 and during..Read More

  • The Tavistock Clinic in the Blitz

    The original Tavistock Clinic at 51 Tavistock Square waas destroyed during the Blitz

    In 1940 the Germans began an intense bombing campaign against industrial targets in Britain. On 7 September they changed their strategy and the Blitz came to London. The Tavi’s move to Hampstead justified itself as 51 Tavistock Square was reduced to pavement level. Then in the spring of 1941 the..Read More

  • The Portman is bombed during the Blitz

    The Portman Clinic in the Blitz

    On 19 September 1940, The Portman Clinic destroyed and Portman Street closed after being bombed during the Blitz.

  • Operation Phoenix

    Wilfred Bion

    After the war a new Interim Medical Committee was elected by the whole of the staff with Wilfred Bion as Chair to take the Tavistock Clinic forward. Under Bion’s leadership ‘Operation Phoenix’ was put into action. Radical democratic processes were instituted in the way that the Clinic was run that..Read More

  • The Tavistock Centre at 120 Belsize Lane opens

    Princess opens the Tavistock Centre

    In 1965 the foundation stone of the new building at Belsize Lane was laid by JR Rees and on 4 May 1967 it was opened by Princess Marina. The Tavistock Clinic (including the new Adolescent Department, which merged with the Young People’s Consultation Centre in Hampstead), the TIHR (which included..Read More

“When I nod my head, you hit it”: Leading and following even when it hurts

08 February 2021

Introduction This presentation and discussion will explore leading and following in music settings with the Principal Percussionist of the ENO orchestra. What can we learn about organisational life from the work and craft of the orchestral musician, and the complex management of authority over the instrument, over others, and in […]

Gina Southgate - Dyptich

Attachment and the Tavistock: A Story

30 November 2020

By Dr Myooran Canagaratnam ‘When people start writing they think they’ve got to write something definitive . . . I think that is fatal. The mood to write in is ‘This is quite an interesting story I’ve got to tell. I hope someone will be interested. Anyway it’s the best […]

Gina Southgate - Dyptich

A short history of group relations at the Tavistock

30 November 2020

by William Halton Based on a talk given at a Trust scientific meeting: ‘Group Relations at the Tavistock: Where from and where to?’ on 11 May 2020. Group Relations owes its origin to Kurt Lewin, a gestalt psychologist from Germany who emigrated to the United States in 1933. Lewin formulated […]

Gina Southgate - Dyptich

Michael Balint: A Tavistock Centenary Talk

10 November 2020

by Dr Andrew Elder, 25 September 2020 Michael Balint was a dominant figure in that particularly productive era of the Tavistock’s history just after the Second World War. He was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Budapest, the son of a GP. After qualifying in medicine in 1918, he […]

Gina Southgate - Dyptich

From doing as you are told to finding your own voice

10 November 2020

How our concept of discipline changed 1920-2020 By Sebastian Kraemer A hundred years ago – whether bringing up children or training soldiers – discipline simply meant doing what you were told, with the possibility of punishment if you did not. I tell a story about a few of the Tavistock […]

Gina Southgate - Dyptich

Women Pioneers at the Tavistock and Portman

15 October 2020

(or ‘What I meant to say at: The 100 years of the Tavistock and Portman: open day for staff, students, alumni, and friends’) Author: Glenn GosslingBased on the presentation on 27 September 2020 Introduction Over the last year or so I have been researching the histories of the Tavistock and […]

Gina Southgate - Dyptich

“Nobody thought they were doing anything wrong”

13 October 2020

At the end of September we launched ‘100 years of the Tavistock and Portman’ with award-winning poet, playwright and broadcaster Lemn Sissay. Sheena Webb Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Service Manager and Joint Clinical Lead for our Pan-London Family Drug and Alcohol Court Team reflects on the talk and its implications […]

From then to now

24 September 2020

By Irene Henderson, Race Diversity Champion at the Tavistock and Portman. Join us in celebrating the centenary of the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust.  Originally the Tavistock opened its doors on the 27th September 1920, the Portman Clinic opened its doors on 18th September 1933 and both organisations became […]

Gina Southgate - Dyptich

Marking our centenary
Looking back, looking forward

23 September 2020

By Paul Jenkins, Chief Executive of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust The 27th September marks the 100th anniversary of when the first patient, a child, was seen at the Tavistock Clinic.  While inevitably more muted, due to Covid 19, than originally planned, it remains a good time to […]

“The impact of the Tavistock on our social assumptions, its impact on education, business, the understanding of the family, the life of the arts and, of course, therapy, demonstrates beyond any doubt that it has genuinely been a culturally defining presence.”

– Dr Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury