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Toynbee Hall was founded in 1884, born out of the ideals of the settlement movement. This was a reform movement whose aim was to alleviate poverty through creating new communities, in which the rich and the poor lived closely together, sharing skills and knowledge.

Toynbee Hall was the first of the university settlement houses. It quickly became a model for others across Britain and the United States. Our archive documents the history of Toynbee Hall from its Victorian beginnings, up to the present day. 

What the Toynbee Hall archive contains

  • Annual reports
  • Journals 
  • Newsletters and other publications 
  • Correspondence  
  • Minutes and administrative records 
  • Photographs of buildings, events and people.
  • Publicity and campaigning materials.

How to access the archive

Our entire archive is held at London Metropolitan Archives. It is split across three collections:

LMA/4683 includes a full collection of Toynbee Hall’s annual reports, a large number of photographs, correspondence and minutes of meetings. Whilst this deposit is closed it is possible to make a request to view items, but access cannot be assured.

Click here for more information on how to view items in the London Metropolitan Archives’ collection. To make a request to view items from LMA/4683, email

From September, a selection of our archive material will be available on our new digital archive. Toynbee Hall’s research library will also reopen.

You can also contact with any research or copyright questions relating to Toynbee Hall’s archive. We are also keen to receive copies of any academic writing that uses sources from our archive via this email address.


Toynbee Hall’s ‘Revealing Social Reform’ project

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded Toynbee Hall a grant to move its remaining archive collection to London Metropolitan Archives and to run an outreach and learning project based on our archive. ‘Revealing Social Reform’ aims to bring the history of Toynbee Hall to new audiences, by developing an exhibition, learning resources and workshops for schools and communities.

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