Blog > From Victorian Gap Year to Community Hub

From Victorian Gap Year to Community Hub

Itumblr_inline_n20isnTWgM1s16cfk’m often asked what is Oxford House and has it always been here?

Depending on how much time you have, I have a mini-lecture and hopefully an amusing and informative one on 130 years of Bethnal Green, Oxford, social policy, community and leaking old buildings.

However, if you are short on time read on. Oxford House was the first settlement house where volunteers lived and helped provide response to the effects of poverty on the Bethnal Green population. Think 1884 and grim conditions of overcrowding, poor health, little or no schooling and erratic employment. Think the equivalent of a modern gap year.

The first settlers lived nearby in St Andrews Church. Think the penalty spot in Weavers Field as it is long demolished.

There is however much more to this story if you have a bit of time to spare. 130 years of life in Bethnal Green is a rich heritage that includes world wars, several economic depressions, new communities, cinemas, swimming pools, the oddly named ‘Welsh experiment’ and much more.

Oxford House is a constant in all this and we want to tell this story. Our heritage project– From Victorian Gap Year to Community Hub; heritage and community at Oxford House – hopes to do this. It is a project combining research and story-telling with building works to safeguard our Grade II listed building.

Keep in touch with regular updates in this blog. Do email us at if you have and stories or photos memories of the House and Bethnal Green life. We would love to hear from you.