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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): LMA/4057
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1927-1987
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 2.51 linear meters
Name of creator(s): Methodist Church of Great Britain x United Methodist Church x Wesleyan Methodist Church x Primitive Methodist Church


Administrative/Biographical history:

Hugh Price Hughes a Wesleyan Minister in London founded the West London Mission in 1887 as part of the Forward Movement in Methodism which stressed that faith had to be expressed in social and political as well as personal life. The Inaugural meeting of the then West Central Mission was on 21st October 1887 with the Sermon at St. James' Hall, Piccadilly preached by C.H. Spurgeon. The West London Mission remained at St. James' Hall which was a popular Concert Hall, until 1905 when it was demolished to form the Piccadilly Hotel. The Mission moved to Exeter Hall, another concert hall, in the Strand.

In 1906 the Methodist Conference gave the Mission its own building, the Wesleyan Chapel at Great Queen Street. The building was later condemned by the LCC and the Mission were temporarily housed in the Lyceum Theatre, while on Great Queen Street at the old site a new place of worship, Kingsway Hall, was under construction. Kingsway Hall opened in 1912 and enjoyed nearly 70 years of occupation until it was sold in the eighties after the amalgamation of the Kingsway Circuit and Hinde Street; the Mission returned to the West End to Thayer Street/Hinde Street.

In the early days, much of the day to day work went on in smaller chapels and halls in the middle of slum areas where social needs were great. These buildings such as Craven Hall at Fouberts Place were used for a wide variety of activities not just devotional but social, education and welfare. However, this use of smaller halls was dropped after the First World War in favour of the new Kingsway Hall premises.

Since its beginning the West London Mission has been involved with social work. One of its first services offered was a Crèche. There were also job registries and men's social department catering for the unemployed, dispensaries and free surgeries, a poor man's lawyer service, a Home of Peace for the Dying, a home for homeless girls - The Winchester House, and a clothing store. In the 1920s and 1930s the social work of the West London Mission expanded. They set up hostels for abandoned mothers and for girls in London without jobs and in 1923 a Mission Maternity Hospital was established. The Social work continued and now includes St. Luke's and St. Mary's Hostels for men and women, Emerson Bainbridge House for young offenders and the Katherine Price Hughes house set up in 1937 and which now provides accommodation for men and women on probation and bail.

Another aspect of the work of the Mission was Open Air Ministry. There were open air services on the streets every evening and in Hyde Park on Sundays which included the Mission brass band. One of the most well known open air preachers was the Reverend Lord Donald Soper whose outdoor work began in 1927 at Tower Hill and in 1942 at Speakers' Corner.

The Mission now has its home at 19 Thayer Street.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the London Mission (West) Circuit, 1927-1987, including administrative files consisting of material relating to Grove House Hostel for ex-borstal boys, Gilbert Goodliffe House for retired men and women, Saint Luke's and Saint Mary's House for men and women, Emerson Bainbridge House and Hopedene House for Mother and Babies; legal papers concerning legacies; material relating to Kingsway Hall Church including press cuttings and 10 volumes of Orders of Service; slides and photographs; and 106 exhibition boards of photographs and a brief history of the West London Mission created for the centenary exhibition in 1987 along with location maps from 1832 and 1987 showing activities of West London Mission.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections: Administration; Legal; Kingsway Hall Church; Photographs; Ephemera.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Received in 1998 (B98/146).

Allied Materials

Related material:

Other material relating to the West London Mission may be found at reference N/M/1 London West Circuit/Great Queen Street Circuit; N/M/2 West London Mission; N/M/5 Cleveland Hall; N/M/8 Kingsway Hall; N/M/43 Kingsway Hall; N/M/27 North-West London Mission; N/M/44 Hinde Street.

Records may also be found at Westminster City Archives. This is due to the amalgamation in 1972 of the Kingsway Circuit and the Hinde Street Circuit and the move of the Mission to Thayer Street which comes under the jurisdiction of Westminster archives. Material prior to 1972 will be found at London Metropolitan Archives. There are some later records which were retained in order not to destroy the continuity of particular series.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

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:
January to March 2009

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