Series 49 - The College Mission

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GB 1859 SJCR/SJCS/49


The College Mission


  • 1883-1955 (Creation)

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6 sub-series. Paper.

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Archival history

Some of the files were originally stored with the tutorial papers of the Rev'd JT Ward (College Tutor) but the decision was taken to place them with the mission documents as they clearly were part of the mission collection.

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Includes records concerning the St. John's College Mission at Walworth, South London (c.1883-1920) and Hoxton, North London (c.1920-1940), such as annual reports, committee documents, financial records, and subscription lists.

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See Finding Aids Folder 1

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The College Mission was begun in 1883 following an exhortatory sermon by Rev. A. Whitworth in SJC Chapel. (See The Eagle vol 30, March 1909, pp183-188).

Discussions about the formation of a College Christian mission in London began in the early 1880s, with the official establishment of a mission in the parish of the Church of the Lady Margaret at Walworth ratified in 1883. The parish of the Lady Margaret was created out of St. John’s Parish Walworth, South London, in 1890. Throughout the course of its long history, the College Mission relied on the charitable support of its subscribers, who helped to fund its many missionary activities. Such activities ranged from organising public lectures, community groups and clubs for children, through to the provision of more immediate relief in the form of food and clothing.

In 1914, the legacy of Mrs Elizabeth Cobb to the Walworth Mission (who also left the Hermitage, Silver St., Cambridge to the College) brought £8,100 to expand the work, but this was deferred by the war. After 1918, and in light of the generous legacy left to the Walworth Mission by E. L. Cobb, it was decided that the College should cease its activities at Walworth and instead establish a new mission elsewhere in London.

From 1920, the chief beneficiary of the College Mission was the Maurice Hostel, Hoxton. The Hostel was originally founded by the Christian Social Union in 1898 with the intention of providing a boys' club for poorer families. In a similar vein to the Walworth Mission, the Hoxton Mission gave members of the College an opportunity to support its activities through assisting with the day-to-day running of the Club, as well as participating in fundraising events, summer camps and Whitsuntide visits to Cambridge.

By the late 1930s, the case for continued investment was under review and the disruption caused by the Second World War (1939-1945) made it increasingly difficult to sustain the work of the College Mission. In particular, the Blitz and mass evacuation of London, together with the College's own wartime concerns in Cambridge, meant that it was no longer possible for the Maurice Hostel to carry out its normal activities. The College Mission was therefore suspended in 1941.

Following an appeal to the College by the Warden of the Trinity College Mission in Camberwell for the work of Cambridge House there, from 1964 regular grants from the Hoxton fund (renamed the Cambridge House Fund) were made for this purpose.

From 1984 substantial annual grants were authorized to Cambridge House and Talbot (the House had added the name of the Talbot Settlement), and to the University Mission in Bermondsey. During the 1950s the Church Commission incorporated the parish of the Lady Margaret into its reorganization scheme for South London parishes.

The Lady Margaret Church was closed for worship at Easter 1977. Some of its records are held by the London Metropolitan Archives (P92/LDM). In 1979 the parishes of Lady Margaret and St. John’s were united, and the Lady Margaret Church was put up for sale in 1980.


The College's chapel community still travels to Walworth at the end of Michaelmas term each year to help with the advent activities and children's work in that first weekend of the Christmas vacation.

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