This chapter looks closely at one example of the marginalisation of philanthropic forms of authority as social work became increasingly professionalized in the welfare state. The establishment of local authority home help services was pioneered in the 1940s by the organizer of the Oxford WVS. While this could be understood within a Whiggish narrative of voluntary work operating as an advance guard of an expanding welfare state, the chapter argues that this would be to underestimate the degree to which WVS leaders sought to resist the professionalisation of the service and experienced its eventual take-over by trained social workers, not as a vindication of the pioneering role of voluntarism, but as a defeat for their attempt to uphold the social leadership of leisured women as an integral part of the welfare state.
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