FREUD, Anna (1895-1982)
Plaque erected in 2002 by English Heritage at 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, London, NW3 5SX, London Borough of Camden
ANNA FREUD 1895-1982 Pioneer of Child Psychoanalysis lived here 1938-1982
Museum open to the public. Plaque to Sigmund Freud also at this address.
The pioneer of child psychoanalysis, Anna Freud, lived and worked at 20 Maresfield Gardens in Hampstead for 44 years. Her plaque now sits alongside that of her father, Sigmund Freud.
Born in Vienna, Anna Freud was the youngest of Sigmund and Martha Freud’s six children and at a young age had a reputation for mischief. Freud wrote to his friend Fliess in 1899, ‘Anna has become downright beautiful through naughtiness’.
She left school early and, after teaching at a primary school in Vienna, became her father’s secretary, companion and pupil. In 1923 she began her own psychoanalytical practice with children and, in 1925, was appointed to teach child analysis at the Vienna Psychoanalytical Institute. From 1927 to 1934 she was General Secretary of the International Psychoanalytical Association, ran a child analysis practice and organised seminars and conferences as well as helping to look after her father. In 1935 she became director of the Vienna Psychoanalytical Institute. She worked closely with her father throughout this time and later wrote: ‘We felt that we were the first who had been given a key to the understanding of human behaviour.’
Following the absorption of Austria into the German Reich in 1938, Anna and her father escaped the Nazis by moving to London, settling into 20 Maresfield Gardens in Hampstead. It was to remain her home until her death there in 1982.
After the death of her father in 1939 and the outbreak of the Second World War, Anna set up the Hampstead War Nursery which provided foster care for over 80 children of single-parent families. With Anna as director from 1952 until her death, the nurseries developed into the Hampstead Child Therapy Training Course and Clinic. The clinic, now called the Anna Freud Centre, offered psychoanalysis for disturbed children and established the world’s first full-time training course in child psychotherapy in 1947.
Anna Freud’s reputation stands high internationally. She made important contributions in the field of psychology and is regarded as a pioneer in the field of child analysis. She explained, for example, how children learn self-defence through the repression of impulses. Her most important works include The Ego and Mechanisms of Defence (1937), Normality and Pathology in Childhood (1965), and Beyond the Best Interests of the Child (1973).
In 1986 Anna’s home at Maresfield Gardens was, as she has wished, transformed into the Freud Museum.