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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GUNN, John Charles (b 1937)
Level of description
Collection (fonds)
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
200 boxes or 2 cubic metres


Name of creator(s)

GUNN, John Charles (b 1937)

Administrative / Biographical history

Born 1937; MB ChB, Birmingham University Medical School, 1961; House Officer, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, 1961-1962; Senior House Officer, 1962-1963; Senior House Officer, Maudsley Hospital, 1963-1964; Registrar and Honorary Senior Registrar, Maudsley, 1965-1971; diploma in psychological medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, 1966; research worker, Institute of Psychiatry, 1967-1969; MD, Birmingham, 1969; lecturer, 1969-1971; Member, Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1971; Senior Lecturer in forensic psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, 1971-1978; Consultant Psychiatrist, Bethlem Royal and Maudsley Hospital, 1971-2002; Director, Special Hospitals Research Unit, 1975-1978; advisor, House of Commons Select Committee on 'Violence in marriage', 1975; Head of Forensic Psychiatry section, Institute of Psychiatry, 1978-1987; Fellow, Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1980.Member of the Home Secretary's advisory board on restricted patients, 1982-1991; advisor, Prison Medical Service, 1986; World Health Organisation specialist advisor in forensic psychiatry to China, 1987; member, Royal Commission on criminal justice, 1991-1993; consultant, European Committee for Prevention of Torture, 1993-; Chairman, Royal College of Psychiatrists' Faculty of Forensic Psychiatry, 2000-2004; member, Parole Board for England and Wales, 2006-.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The papers were placed in King's College London Archives by Professor Gunn between 2003 and 2008.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Papers of John Gunn, 1926-2002, including extensive correspondence, notes, memoranda, funding applications, lecture presentations and press cuttings. The collection includes: files concerning the administration of the Institute of Psychiatry and its Department of Forensic Psychiatry, 1975-2000 (including policy, planning, funding, assessments and staffing), and the running of the Denis Hill Unit forensic in-patient service, Bethlem Royal Hospital, 1985-1998; published articles, book, chapters and book reviews by Gunn, 1966-2001, on topics including epilepsy, aggression, sex offenders, mental health legislation and suicide prevention in prison; research and research applications, 1966-2001, on topics including epileptic offenders, violence, and the discharge and subsequent care of Special Hospital patients; psychiatric questionnaires and assessments, 1967-1988; files relating to the Home Office, chiefly 1966-2000, and relating to the treatment of mentally disordered offenders, also copy medical evidence given to the Wolfenden Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution, 1954, and papers relating to the May enquiry, 1989-1992, into the convictions for IRA bombings in Guildford and Woolwich, 1974.Prison Service correspondence and reports, 1975-2000, covering the provision of secure psychiatric units and psychiatric care of the general prison population; papers, 1975-2000, relating to the UK Special Hospitals (high security psychiatric hospitals), and to Grendon experimental prison for offenders with antisocial personality disorders; correspondence, meeting papers and background information on the impact of amendments and proposed amendments to UK mental health legislation, 1972-2000, including the Floud Committee on dangerous offenders, 1976-1981, and the work of the Parliamentary Mental Health Group in formulating policy to restrict the spread of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), 1987-1988; reports and correspondence, 1972-2001, relating to the conduct of psychiatry, psychiatric facilities and prison welfare in countries including Australia, China, Egypt, Greece, Ireland and Turkey; papers, 1967-1999, relating to the Effra Trust, founded by Gunn in 1974 to provide accommodation and support to homeless male ex-offenders suffering from physical or mental disability.

System of arrangement

Files have been grouped chronologically under predominantly thematic headings, with the exception of patient and personnel files, which are arranged alphabetically. There is considerable overlap between the content of the thematic groups, reflecting the nature of Professor Gunn's work.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Most of the collection is CLOSED. Some files are presently open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID. All administrative files are closed for review 30 years from the last date on file. Files containing personal data are closed for 80 years, and files containing medical data on named individuals are closed for 100 years. Access may be granted to researchers in certain circumstances, and upon signature of a special undertaking, providing such research is for purely statistical purposes and published data is anonymised such as to prevent the identification of individuals. Requests for access to the files must be made at least two weeks in advance, to allow time for file content to be checked for sensitivity.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archives and Information Management.

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

This collection description. A detailed catalogue is available online and in hard copy in the College Archives reading room.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

King's College London College Archives

Description control

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Kate O'Brien. Catalogued as part of the Wellcome Trust-funded Troubled Minds project. Sources: Who's Who; additional biographical information from the collection.

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

Mar 2010


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  • AIDS
  • Administration of justice
  • Administration of justice
  • Administrative tribunals
  • Diseases
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Health
  • Health
  • Health policy
  • Health services
  • Hospitals
  • Infectious diseases
  • Law
  • Legislation
  • Medical institutions
  • Mental diseases
  • Mental health
  • Pathology
  • Penal institutions
  • Penal sanctions
  • Prisons
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychopathology
  • Public inquiries
  • Social problems
  • Venereal diseases
  • Violence

Personal names

  • Gunn, John Charles (b 1937), Forensic psychiatrist

Corporate names

  • Bethlem Royal Hospital
  • Denis Hill Unit
  • Department of Forensic Psychiatry
  • Effra Trust
  • Institute of Psychiatry
  • Irish Republican Army (IRA)
  • Parliamentary Mental Health Group
  • Wolfenden Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution


  • Australia, Oceania
  • China, East Asia
  • Egypt, North Africa
  • Greece, Western Europe, Europe
  • Ireland, Western Europe, Europe
  • Turkey, Middle East

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