London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:

1884 - 1961

Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • Records of Toynbee Hall university settlement, including Education Committee minutes; Residents Meetings minutes; correspondence; annual reports; financial reports; memorandum and articles of association; educational syllabuses and evening courses; papers of clubs and societies; visitors' books; press cuttings; magazines; pamphlets; plans; photographs and slides.
Extent: 3.33 linear metres
Classification: CHARITIES
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • In 1873 Reverend Samuel Barnett and his wife Henrietta requested to be placed in a deprived parish so that they could participate in poor relief. The foundation of Toynbee Hall in 1884 was their solution to the poverty they witnessed. The Hall was a student's residence combined with a community centre. The Hall was open to young academics who were able to rent out rooms, on the condition that they contribute to the community work. The Hall was named after Arnold Toynbee, a social philosopher and economist and friend of the Barnetts, who had died the previous year aged 31, of meningitis caused by overwork.

    Although the idea that those studying poverty and unemployment should live among the poorer classes was not new, Toynbee Hall was innovatory because the students lived together like a college. This 'University Settlement' was the first of its kind in the world and the model for many others both in Great Britain and abroad. Clement Atlee and William Beveridge were among several influential residents.

    The Hall carried out varied work, offering legal advice, campaigning for the rights of immigrants, hosting lectures and providing adult education.

    Toynbee Hall is still active, situated on Commercial Street, E1 and providing support for the local community.

    See for more information (accessed August 2010).
Creator: Toynbee Hall
Custodial History: The records of Toynbee Hall were decimated by war damage; one wing of Toynbee Hall, including the library, received a direct hit during the Second World War.
Copyright: Depositor
Source of Acquisition:
  • Records deposited in 1967.
  • AC/67/034
  • AC/67/037
Access Restrictions: These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions
Physical Condition: Fit
Arrangement: The records have been sorted into an order which reflects divisions between the different functions and operations of the organisation and its administration.
Related Material: Further records of Toynbee Hall can be found at reference ACC/2486. Personal papers of Canon Samuel Barnett including correspondence, sermons and lecture notes have also been deposited in the LMA, reference F/BAR.

Records of other settlements held at the LMA include the Lady Margaret Hall Settlement (A/LMH) and the Mary Ward Settlement (LMA/4524).
Publication Notes:

For a detailed account of the history of Toynbee Hall searchers should consult J.A.R. Pimlott: "Toynbee Hall Fifty Years of Social Progress 1884-1934" (London Dent 1935).