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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4060
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1801-1996
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 7.14 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Field Lane Foundation | charitable organisation


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Field Lane Foundation started out in 1841 on the 7th November as the Field Lane Sabbath School accommodating 45 boys and girls crowded into a small room in Caroline Court. The School was soon moved to Saffron Hill, an area of great poverty near Holborn, but was regarded with much suspicion and hostility by the locals. The teachers persisted and by 1842 the founder Dr. Provan had a staff of 7 voluntary teachers who helped lay plans for the future of the school.

The school was maintained by contributions from the teachers but by 1843 the committee decided to seek financial help with the aid of a Times advertisement. Help came from Lord Shaftesbury who served as President of the School until his death in 1885.

In 1847 the Field Lane Free School opened. The school opened from 9.30am to 12 noon and from 2pm to 4pm with an average attendance of 40 growing to 70 within the year. Curriculum was limited but in addition to the Day school evening classes were started such as the Girls' sewing class.

The school soon moved to larger premises and in 1851 the committee widened its activities to assist with poor mothers by providing suitable clothing and bedding for babies. Further help came with the opening of the Night Refuge giving accommodation to 100 men. In 1857 a similar refuge for destitute women and girls was opened in Hatton Gardens.

In 1865 a piece of land was purchased on Saffron Hill and a new building erected to accommodate all the branches of activity undertaken. This meant with increased space a Day Nursery and Youth Institute could be established.

The 1870 Education Act placed the Field Lane Ragged School under the management of the School Board for London. However in 1871 Field Lane opened 2 Industrial Schools for boys and girls. These were designed to educate and train orphans, destitute and deserted children. The schools moved out to Hampstead, the boys to Hillfield and the Girls to Church Row away from their original city site.

In 1908 Field Lane was incorporated under the Companies Act. In the post First World War years, the Field Lane Schools admissions dropped substantially with the introduction of the Probation Service and in 1931 the Hampstead Schools closed. During this time, the work of sending children and families to the seaside or country for holidays had developed to the extent that in 1939 Eastwood Lodge near Southend was purchased as a Holiday Home. Further development was disrupted by the outbreak of war and much of the work in London came to a standstill.

With the introduction of the welfare state many of the Field Lane services became state responsibility so the Institution turned to helping the aged. Eastwood Lodge was re-opened and in 1947 a house in Reigate known as Dovers was purchased and opened as a residential home for 21 able bodied elderly people. Along with Dovers, Holly Hill, Banstead was opened as a "half way" convalescent home and in 1951 the Institution took over The Priory, West Worthing which became another residential home. In 1953 the Field Lane Institution inherited another holiday home, 'Singholm' at Walton-on-Naze, from the Home Workers Aid Association and converted it to a residential home for 43 old people.

All these homes have been involved in programmes of modification and extension to the buildings to increase access and accommodation. The Field Lane Institution also continued its London work in the form of Community Centres with the upgrading of Ampton Street Baptist Church near Kings Cross.

The Institution became the Field Lane Foundation in 1972 and continues in its work today.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Field Lane Foundation. The earliest records date to 1842 in its incarnation as the Sabbath School. These comprise management committee minutes which run as a continuous series to 1984 and reflect the change from Sabbath School to Ragged School in 1850.

Important series include the deeds and papers of Field Lane dating from 1801 to 1961. There are also series relating to each of the major homes and organisations associated with or run by the Field Lane Association including the Home Workers Aid Association and the 5 holiday or retirement homes: Eastwood, Dovers, The Priory, Holly Hill and Singholm. There is also a set of annual reports from 1847-1996 and a series of printing blocks used for many of the Field Lanes' publications.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records have been sorted into the following groups:
Administration LMA/4060/A;
Finance LMA/4060/B;
Field Lane Foundation Organisations LMA/4060/C;
Printed Material LMA/4060/D;
Ephemera LMA/4060/E;
Photographs/Printing Blocks LMA/4060/F.

Conditions governing access:

The records are all open for consultation.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in April 1998.

Allied Materials

Related material:

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:
June to August 2010.

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