Oxford House was established in 1884, the first university 'settlement'. The inspiration behind it came from Keble College, Oxford University. It was built as a home for graduates, tutors and those intending to enter the church, so that they could learn at first hand about the problems of disadvantaged areas and provide practical support for the local community.
Originally based on Christian principles, Oxford House is now a value-led organisation, providing projects, activities and resources for all sections of the community.
Today's settlements are based around communities and neighbourhoods, and are multi-purpose, locally-managed and relatively independent in terms of their funding. A typical settlement will run a variety of projects and activities including education programmes, youth work, community arts, advice work and social programmes.
Oxford House was the first settlement to open its doors. Within two years there were four other settlements in London and one in New York. The settlement movement grew rapidly and by the 1930s there were settlements in most urban centres in the UK, and in the USA and Canada.