Catalogue description Working Lads' Institute and Home (later Whitechapel House, Tulse Hill and 3 Maples Place)

This record is held by London Metropolitan Archives: City of London

Details of ACC/1926/C
Reference: ACC/1926/C
Title: Working Lads' Institute and Home (later Whitechapel House, Tulse Hill and 3 Maples Place)

The records include management committee minutes, which deal with the day to day running of the WLI; a good series of Annual Reports which include reports on other aspects of the Missions work (see also ACC/1926/B/15); and admission registers of boys at the hostel, with details of their past history, and what happened to them once they left the WLI. Later records are closed for 30 years. There is also an extensive series of photographs of the lads on admission, and some photographs sent by old boys to show how they got on.

Held by: London Metropolitan Archives: City of London, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Administrative / biographical background:

The Working Lads' Institute was founded by Henry Hill, a city merchant, to give young working lads a place to go other than the music halls and public houses, and so to protect them from the vices which they were likely to encounter, eg alcohol and petty theft. The Institute had a library, ran a variety of educational classes, had a fully equipped gymnasium with qualified instructor, and a swimming baths. It opened in 1878 at 12 Mount Place, Whitechapel Road. In 1885 it moved to new premises at 137 Whitechapel Road. By 1896 the WLI was running out of money and was threatened with closure. A letter from Henry Hill printed in The Christian appealing for help to keep the Institute open was read by Revd Thomas Jackson. It was the opportunity he had been looking for to move back to Whitechapel (see ACC/1926/B/25).


The WLI had originally been opened to help lads already in work. Under Revd Jackson it was extended to help friendless and homeless lads who would otherwise be on the streets. Revd Jackson provided clothing for the boys and helped them to find work. He also had a number of beds to let to homeless boys. Many boys were sent to work on farms in Devon. Increasingly, boys were taken from Police and Magistrate courts, and Rev Jackson and Mr Kinchin were appointed probation officers. However, the probation aspect of the work was separated from the other work on the acquisition of Windyridge in 1938 (see ACC/1926/F). The WLI remained a hostel for boys not on probation and began to concentrate on the 17-21 age group, particularly once the hostel moved out of London 1943-1948 to Whitechapel House, Tulse Hill. Compulsory purchase of Whitechapel House in 1971 forced the Mission to move the hostel to other premises, and it moved back to Whitechapel, to 3 Maples Place. The hostel closed in 1973.

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