By Celia Toynbee
As a young student Arnold Toynbee spent summers in Whitechapel to see first-hand how the poor lived. He was a powerful speaker described by an Oxford friend as “the most eloquent man I have ever met”. He became involved in a wide range of philanthropic activities. From working as a Poor Law Guardian to campaigning for free libraries and workers’ housing. After Toynbee’s death in 1883 the Barnetts attended a packed memorial service at Balliol Chapel. It was then that Henrietta was struck by the idea of naming their innovative East End Settlement in his honour.
As I sat on that Sunday afternoon among the crowd of strong-brained, clean-living men, the thought flashed to me let us call the Settlement Toynbee Hall...our new Settlement received its name before a brick was laid or the plans concluded”
To learn more about Arnold Toynbee and his life and work read the full booklet here.