Graphical version

London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 A/TOY

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1884-1961

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 3.33 linear metres

Name of creator(s): Toynbee Hall


Administrative/Biographical 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).


Scope and content/abstract:

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.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The records have been sorted into an order which reflects divisions between the different functions and operations of the organisation and its administration.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival 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.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited in 1967.


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 note:

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).

DESCRIPTION NOTES 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.

Date(s) of descriptions: June to August 2010.

Adult education | Educational systems
Adult education institutions | Educational institutions
Charities | Charitable organisations | Associations | Organizations
Charity records | Documents | Information sources
Community centres | Community development
Poor relief | Social welfare
Social workers | Social work
Youth organizations | Associations | Organizations
Nonprofit organizations

Personal names
Barnett | Samuel Augustus | 1844-1913 | Canon of Westminster Social Reformer

Corporate names
Toynbee Hall

Whitechapel | Tower Hamlets | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe