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Gift aid: SJC charity at Christmas

 

Times were hard in the 1930s for much of Britain’s working classes. The country was trying to struggle out of the Great Depression which followed the First World War. Unemployment was high and the financial assistance provided was less than adequate and short lived. Although Britain had a social welfare system in place from 1911 it was not robust enough to meet the demands placed on it during the 1930s.

Slum living and homelessness became common, with malnutrition and its associated illnesses rife in certain parts of the country.

In the early 1930s charities in the cities had to help the starving and homeless, many of them newly arrived from rural areas. But charities themselves were short of money so new means of support were required.  It was during this period that small community organisations sprang up to support those in need in their area or occasionally further afield.

From the 1880s the College had supported the establishment of a mission in the parish of the Church of the Lady Margaret at Walworth. 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.

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.

The chief beneficiary of the College Mission by 1920 was the Maurice Hostel in Hoxton, London.  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.

As part of its support for the Hoxton Mission, the College organised toy collections in 1936 and 1937. College members, students and businesses were encouraged to donate new and used toys for collection and distribution to needy children in the East End of London.

The documents below are a small sample of items related to the College's charitable activities. To find out more about the College's charities visit the "Gift Aid: a history of giving at SJC" exhibition from 4 December in the School of Pythagoras.