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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): LMA/4607
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1818-2009
Level of description: Collection level
Extent: 4.26 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Saint Giles Christian Mission x The Young Men's Society for the Relief of the Poor
Arundel Institute | social club, Barnsbury


Administrative/Biographical history:

In 1860 the Saint Giles Christian Mission was founded by George Hatton, a member of the Bloomsbury Baptist Chapel. Originally called 'The Young Men's Society for the Relief of the Poor' and funded with help from the Bloomsbury Baptists, their object was to evangelise the district known as the Seven-Dials. Although their start was slow and difficult, in spite of the evangelical revival in the City, the persistence of the young men paid off and the original premises quickly became too small for the growing congregation. They achieved great success in work within the neighbourhood, undertaking home visits, teaching on thrift and temperance and assisting with gifts of bread, meat and coal bought with money raised from subscriptions.

By 1867 the Mission became independent from the Bloomsbury Chapel and continued its work at The King Street Hall Chapel until 1874, when one of the Deacons of the Chapel informed Mr Hatton that there was work to be done in Wild Street. The chapel in Wild Street was in a bad way and the Deacon thought it would be well - as Mr Hatton was carrying on good work - to take over the chapel and carry on his activities there. The property was conveyed to the Mission and after a successful fund raising, enough money was found to put the chapel into good use.

During this time another young man, William Morter Wheatley saw George Hatton preaching and was drawn to the work of the Mission after finding his own personal salvation at the meeting. He threw himself whole heartedly into his work and was instrumental in starting the probation work for which The Mission came to be known.

In 1877, what was known as Prison Gate work was started. The Mission set up huts outside Holloway, Pentonville and Wandsworth Prisons where newly discharged prisoners were offered breakfast and assistance often in the form of travel money to get home, clothing, and assistance with employment, as well as encouragement to take the temperance pledge. This work was highly commended by the press and helped spread the reputation of The Mission work as well as boosting funds and subscriptions. Work among first time offenders continued with the opening of a series of hostels and homes between 1880's and 1900. These catered for young offenders who were encouraged and supported to find work or enter the armed services.

As well as homes for young men and boys, The Mission opened homes for homeless and destitute women, particularly around the Seven Dials, Drury Lane area of London.

By 1894, The Mission had branched out and was opening holiday and convalescent homes and orphanages. A seaside home for convalescents in Hastings, a children's home in Southgate and a large ten bedroomed house with land to expand in Maldon, opened in 1899. Known as The Retreat, it started out as a children's holiday home and orphanage, and by 1909 included a convalescent home for children, an adults' holiday home and a home for aged Christians. The home continued until 1938 when partly due to pressure of funds and partly pressure from the children's department of the Home Office the various functions of the Retreat were separated out and rehomed in other more suitable places. The Retreat itself was sold in 1939 and with the proceeds of the sale properties at Herne Bay ('Fairlawn'), Castleham in Hastings and Crawley ('Heathersett') were bought.

During World War Two many of the properties were used by the Military or Civil Administration for air raid shelters or accommodation for army personnel so much of the work of The Mission was scaled back, although they continued to provide Christmas parcels, and to care for the homeless. Over the next ten year the welfare side of The Mission gradually wound down as post war costs of refurbishment and lack of manpower took their toll. Much of their work was taken on by the newly created National Health Services and it was felt that they should concentrate more on the non-secular aspects of the Mission.

The Mission's other work revolved around the Chapels in Wild Street and Arundel Square. The Wild Street Chapel opened in 1874 and was the heart of The Mission. The Wild Street Chapel continued until 1902 when it was acquired by the London County Council for the Kingsway Improvement. In a complex legal procedure the chapel was 'sold' to the LCC, however it was discovered that the Trustees of the chapel had no power of sale so an agreement for the purchase by the LCC of the existing chapel was made at a price that was equal to the site proposed to be conveyed to the Trustees together with the cost of building a new chapel. The purchase price was paid into court and the court sanctioned a petition by the trustees of the purchase of the new site. The new chapel was then built in 1905 on the new leased land and a piece of land at the side of the chapel, also leased from the LCC for the erection of a Boy's Home and ran by William Wheatley. The home and chapel remained until 1928/9 when they transferred to Islington. The home reopened at 29 Pemberton Gardens approved by the Home Office as a Probation Hostel, and the chapel moved to Arundel Square, Barnsbury where it opened in 1935, along with the Arundel Institute.

The Institute's goal was to foster the social activities for people of all ages in the thickly populated area in Barnsbury. This included running a Sunday School, Boys' and Girls' Brigades, Young Men's and Young Women's gymnasium, Grandfather's Club and using the hall for lectures and concerts. In 1944 The Arundel Christian Fellowship was created to formalise the membership of the congregation. The Mission and Institute continued into the 1950's providing a great programme of social clubs and events to the community, as well as more regular weekly services along with the Sunday worship. However the Mission had started to reconsider its role and found it increasingly non-secular and by the 1960's had begun to re-emphasise the evangelical nature of its work - it still retained the social aspect but added to this, Youth Fellowship and bible studies, and short services in the evenings during the social clubs along with a friendly hour after the main evening service which included informal hymn singing.

The Mission has continued to adapt and change to its community, and is still active today, maintaining an evangelical ministry in North London from which social needs in the area continue to be addressed. Activities and meals for older folk are provided, youth work is undertaken and counselling given for both young and old, as well as running holiday clubs and day trips.

The objectives and activities below taken from Charity Commission show a strong connection with the original work of the Mission:
The Mission's principal aims as contained in its Memorandum of Association, the most recent revision having been adopted on 10th July 1998, are as follows: 'To proclaim the Gospel of the Grace of God through Our Lord Saviour Jesus Christ; to meet and provide meals for prisoners on their discharge from prison, to carry on all activities commonly called 'Prison Gate Work', to assist discharged prisoners to redeem their past and obtain honest employment and to provide them with requisite clothing tools and outfit; to house , maintain and care for juvenile offenders on probation and help to train them into and maintain them at Boys Homes maintained by the Mission; to render assistance in cash or otherwise to husbands, wives, children and dependents of prisoners; to receive into Homes and assist men, women and boys bound over under the 'Probation of Offenders Act 1907'; to visit the sick and relieve the distressed poor. To protect the young and aged and to succour the weak; to provide and maintain holidays and Holiday Homes for poor children; to provide and maintain Homes and Orphanages for children of prisoners and other destitute children and to bring up all such children in the Protestant Evangelical Faith and according to the Text and doctrine of the Holy scriptures; to provide the children in the Homes with all necessary and proper clothing and with Medical and Surgical treatment; to provide and maintain Convalescent Homes for the deserving sick poor; to provide and maintain Homes for the poor; to provide Christmas Fare and entertainments and New Year treats for children and deserving poor; to carry on Sunday schools, Bible classes, evangelical missions, savings banks, boys and girls clubs and brigades and other forms of social work to increase in all possible ways the spiritual and moral welfare of all those who attend the schools, classes, missions and social works of the Mission' together with the means to facilitate the pursuit of the above objectives.


Scope and content/abstract:

Minutes of The Committe and Council, General Committee and Finance Committee (1897-1987); balance sheets (1927-1947), accounts and investments (1926-1975), registers of legacies (1897-1951) left to the The Mission, some salaries and wages registers (1934-1978) and registers of donations and subscriptions (1927-1967). The Central Administration of The Mission covers Governance including Memorandum and Articles of Association and change of registered name in 1956; Membership registers (1928-2000); Annual Reports (1861, 1895-2009); Property covering deeds, agreements, rentals and inventories for property owned or rented by The Mission (1863-1962); Committee papers (1929-1983) including speeches given at annual meetings and reports and reviews of the work of The Mission; Correspondence (1883-1979); Registers of baptisms, marriages and burials held at The Mission (1943-1986) and Plans (1967-1988).

The records of the individual Mission churches Little Wild Street Chapel (1859-1962) and Arundel Square Chapel 1859-1948); Individual homes and hostels included are Wheatley Homes and Pemberton Gardens (1922-1947); 'The Retreat', Maldon (1928-1963); Eastlea Court, Frimlea (1945-1963); 'Fairlawn' Herne Bay (1939-1952); Chatfield House, Whetstone (1937-1940).

Printed material incldues fundraising and appeals (1898-1963); services (1944-1949) scrap books, cuttings and ephemera (1922-1973); histories and articles (1877-2010) and drawings and art work (1899-1948).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

LMA/4607/A: Minutes;
LMA/4607/B: Finance;
LMA/4607/C: Central Administration;
LMA/4607/D: Mission Church;
LMA/4607/E: Individual Homes and Hostels;
LMA/4607/F: Printed Material.

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 is held by depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in March 2012.

Allied Materials

Related material:

See also N/C/09 Arundel Square Chapel.

Publication note:

Further Reading: St Giles Christian Mission. The History 1860 - 1970 A Journey of Rev. David Page, 2010, published by St. Giles Christian Mission. A copy can be found in the collection ref: LMA/4607/F/04/011.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Catalogued by Sally Bevan.

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:
Added to AIM25 in October 2012.

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