Blog > Oxford House in a Changing World

Oxford House in a Changing World

By the 1960s, Oxford House had found itself in a re-developed and depopulated East End borough. Once an overcrowded area with a cheerful communal chaos of the back-to-back terraces, Bethnal Green now faced new challenges such as isolation, seemingly an inevitable feature of modern high rise flatted housing schemes.

OH staff with familiesThe profound social changes found an echo also in Oxford House, which was in transition from a settlement to a community centre. Confident that the community’s affairs should be a lively concern of its people, OH encouraged local participation in its management and activities through the Community Association, established in 1950.

Under the headship of Revd John R. G. Ragg, the House engaged in social welfare also on the ‘scientific’ level. In 1961, it launched an innovative scheme to set up a training field station for Oxford students of social, industrial and public administration in collaboration with Barnett House, Oxford. Abandoned in 1964 due to the increasing financial struggles of the House, it was followed by another enterprise, the Oxford House Day Unit, which aimed to study the psychological aspects of children in family and social settings.Small.E2 Festival 1973

By the end of the 1960s, the House had almost come to a standstill. Left with no money to pursue its ambitious projects, its premises were used only by a couple of Community Association groups. A wind of change came in 1971 when Revd Andrew J. Smith became director. With the support and fundraising abilities of the newly appointed chairman of the Council, Peter Scott, he re-launched the house after a three-month closure.

The new projects addressed the deficiencies of housing, employment and education and put great emphasis on youth work. Summer play schemes, workshops and innovative programmes such as the Intermediate Treatment Scheme with young offenders found home in the red-brick building.

Oxford House retained its pioneering spirit and sensitivity to its surroundings also under the new director, David Clarke, who took office in 1976.

Text: Maja Bevk

1. The new Bethnal Green—modern flats grow up in the place of the little streets and tenements. New Horizons for Bethnal Green. Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives
2. Oxford House staff with families (director Andrew Smith is standing second from the right). Oxford House
3. E2 Festival in 1973. Oxford House



Oxford House in a Changing World Workers and Welfare: Living Conditions of the 1800’s East End On This Day... 30th November 1891 WANTED: Archivist for heritage project Fascism in the East End The Blitz The Original Oxford House Conscientious objectors The Welsh Schools The Excelsior The Effects of World War I in Oxford House War Memorial The Inauguration of the Oxford House Building 1892 From Oxford House to Local and International Stardom In the Spotlight: the Repton Boxing Club and Oxford House Hensley Henson, Oxford House leader The Kray Twins Alfred Soord, The Crucifixion. Oxford House Chapel Women and Oxford House Oxford House and its Clubs Why you should donate to save our secret chapel The Bethnal Green Tube Tragedy The Webbe Boys’ Club Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Super Kid (a.k.a. Eddie Marsan) Save Oxford House's 'Secret' Chapel Oxford House and Arthur Foley Winnington-Ingram Our resolution? Raise all the funds to start our major heritage project Post War Regeneration of Bethnal Green Weavers’ Fields and the Huguenots Guy Clutton-Brock: from Oxford House to hero of Zimbabwe WWI: Zeppelins or ‘Take me back to dear old Blighty’ The Hidden Gem: Oxford House Chapel History in the making Oxford House and Ben Uri Gallery The Chapel Oxford House Musical and Dramatic Association 1903 Oxford House Arms: Dominus Illuminatio Mea Why is Oxford House listed as Grade II Heritage? Heritage Lottery Fund - 'Oh! ‘wins’ the lottery' Who designed Oxford House? The Boys and Men’s Clubs in the 19th and early 20th century Why a new building in 1891? Rise under Rev. Winnington-Ingram How it all begun. Clubs and activities at Oxford House 1884 Who created Oxford House? What is a settlement? 130 Not out! Our pre-history: The Oxford Movement From Victorian Gap Year to Community Hub
archive categories
Oxford House
Derbyshire Street,
Bethnal Green,
London E2 6HG
020 7739 9001

Sign up for eNewsletter
© oxford house by bethnal green 2014 . copyright . all rights reserved . powered by devstars
Charity Number: 208582 . Company No: 59858 . VAT Registration No: 752 0306 67