75th anniversary of the Portman Clinic
1 December 2008
2008 brings the 75th Anniversary of the Portman Clinic. To mark its 75th Anniversary the Portman Clinic held a conference on 6-7 December focusing on the issues of sexual violence, internet pornography and paedophilia.
The conference hosted a debate/discussion focused on paedophilia, between a high court judge, a senior probation officer, a child psychiatrist, an Observer newspaper journalist and two clinicians working with paedophiles.
The clinic was originally set up in 1933 as the clinical arm of the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Delinquency (ISTD). It was first called the Psychopathic Clinic and took its current name in 1937 when the ISTD and the clinic moved into premises in Portman Street, central London. The Portman Clinic saw its first patient on 18 September 1933, “a woman, 47 years of age, noted as having a violent temper, charged with assault on her woman employer”.
In 1948, the clinic broke from its parent body and joined the new National Health Service, moving to an address in Mayfair which located it between a residence for nuns on one side and a brothel on the other.
In 1970, the clinic moved to its current premises in Fitzjohns Avenue, adjacent to the Tavistock Clinic. The two clinics came under the management of the Hampstead Health Authority and in 1994 jointly became an NHS Trust and in 2006 an NHS Foundation Trust. During the course of these years the nature of the clinical work referred to the clinic has changed from that of mostly criminality and delinquency to now mostly perversion and violence.