1. 1895-1940
  2. 1941-1990
  3. 1991 - Present day


Early Life

Children at Hampstead Nursery 1940
  • 1895: Born, December 3rd, in Vienna, Austria. Sixth child of Martha and Sigmund Freud.
  • 1914: Visits England for the first time. Begins her apprenticeship as a teacher.  
  • 1919: Volunteers at the radical Baumgarten Children's Home which aims to transform education and provides, food and shelter to Viennese Jewish war orphans.
  • 1927: Publishes an ‘Introduction to the Technique of Child Psychoanalysis’, creating the foundation for direct therapeutic work with children. Founds the Matchbox schools which lays the foundation for her later work, applying psychoanalytic theory to progressive education.
  • 1936: Publishes ‘The Ego and the Mechanisms of the Defence’, one of the most influential books in the history of psychoanalysis.
  • 1937: Establishes the Jackson Nursery for deprived toddlers.
  • 1938: Escapes from the Nazis, fleeing Vienna with her family to live in London


The breakthrough in practice

  • 1941-1945: Sets up the Hampstead War Nurseries in offering refuge for hundreds of children made homeless by bombing [picture used with permission of Freud Museum]. The Nurseries provide a unique opportunity for observational research into child development and study of the impact of the war on children (picture used with permission from Freud Museum).
  • 1945 - 1951: Child survivors from Theresienstadt concentration camp arrive in the UK in 1945. Anna Freud’s research into their experience will become a landmark study ‘An Experiment in Group Upbringing’ by Anna Freud and Sophie Dann, published in 1951.
  • 1952: Establishes the Hampstead Child Therapy Clinic and Course begins. The Hampstead Clinic opens at 12 Maresfield Gardens in 1951 and the Centre is granted charity status. The Clinic is dedicated to clinical practice and research in child analysis, and trains the first generation of child psychotherapists to work in the newly-established NHS.
  • 1954: Anna Freud opens a nursery providing pre-school education based on knowledge of child development. 
  • 1961: Anna Freud is invited to join the Yale Law School as a Visiting Lecturer. The relationship with Yale University continues to this day. Throughout the 1960s and 70s the clinic became a hub for scholarship, attracting academics and visitors from around the world and respected as a world leader in child mental health. 
  • 1965: Publishes her major post-war work, ‘Normality and Pathology in Childhood’, which helps to establish the new field of ‘developmental psychopathology’.
  • 1967: Appointed CBE by the Queen.
  • 1983: After a long period of ill health, Anna Freud dies on October 9th. 
  • 1985: The Centre pioneers some of the first scientific studies of the outcome of child analysis.


Children at the Hampstead Nursery 1940
Centre clinicians in the library

1991 - Present day

Her legacy: the Anna Freud Centre

Our Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge opens the Centre of Excellence
  • 1984: Hampstead Child Therapy Centre is renamed the Anna Freud Centre
  • 1987: The Centre pioneers investigating psychoanalysis with modern scientific methods.
  • 1993-1996: The Anna Freud Centre establishes a close link between University College London marked by the first joint Masters programme between the AFC and UCL
  • 1997-2003: The Centre strengthens its links with the NHS.
  • 2002: The Child Outcomes Research Consortium – a partnership between the Anna Freud Centre and UCL – opens.
  • 2003: A decade of modernisation and expansion begins, broadening the Centre’s therapeutic focus and quadrupling the Centre’s academic training programmes and research activities.
  • 2006: The Evidence-Based Practice Unit – a partnership between the Anna Freud Centre and UCL – opens.
  • 2014: The Family School (now Pears Family School), for children who are at risk of exclusion or have been excluded from school, opens
  • 2015: The Anna Freud Centre establishes its Northern Hub in Manchester
  • 2019: The Anna Freud Centre opens the Kantor Centre of Excellence in Islington.




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