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Celebrating our Heritage: An evening of Victorian Architecture

Published: 8 Dec 2014


2014 marks 130 years since Henrietta and Samuel Barnett first opened the doors of Toynbee Hall. For the following 130 years Toynbee Hall has been at the centre of learning and social action across the East End and further. Our Grade II listed halls stand at the centre of our estate, they have provided a place for the community to come and receive support, a venue for debate, and discussion and are an ongoing symbol of our heritage.

As we look back at our 130 year history, it seemed fitting to celebrate the architectural heritage of the buildings that have supported our work particularly as we have just received a grant from the HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) of £1.7m that will go towards the regeneration of the Toynbee Hall estate and the preservation of the halls. This project will enable us to engage 29,000 people in heritage based learning and by preserving our unique legacy whilst building a modern top class facility, we can continue to extend our community services and play an ever increasing role in fighting social injustice for another 130 years.

Our evening of heritage and architecture started with Blondel Cluff, Chair of the HLF for London, speaking of the importance of Toynbee Hall as an institution and her admiration of the public service it has provided. Charles O’Brien, Editor of the Pevsner Architectural guides, then gave a meticulously detailed presentation of the history of Philanthropic Architecture in the East End. Our final speaker, Richard Griffiths, architect for the forthcoming regeneration, focused on the heritage of the halls themselves and brought the evening to close by looking to the future regeneration of Toynbee Hall.

Heritage Lottery Fund