Bangladeshi Innovators at Toynbee Hall


Since the 1960s, innovators from the Bangladeshi community have worked with and for Toynbee Hall to develop and run programmes that met the needs of the growing community. One of those was Captain Shiv Banerjee. He came to live at Toynbee Hall and later became its first Bangladeshi employee.

And what was Toynbee Hall like at the time?

ESOL Programme

I did a lot of outreach work. I bought in people who wanted to study more. I bought in ESOL was the most important part. Because I felt, that if you go into… that if people could speak English and they could say out things that they wanted to, I thought people can listen to them and maybe changes can take place but if you don’t hear what changes I want, you will not be able to help me to change things. I ran their interpreting classes and Toynbee hall for about four years running
A meeting of the Bengali Health Advisory Service, 1970s.  [Catalogue reference: LMA/4683/IMG/05/11/001]

Elderly Care

I had started a project, their off hours work from evening five, till morning nine, we were a group of seven volunteers and anyone could phone us up, we had three or four phone calls where we could go and help any elderly. the had lot of elderly people, if they have any difficulties, lights have gone off that means that fuse has gone off, by the time they called the electrician and all these things it would be taken there so one could remove the fuse and put in it fresh one. Television not working, maybe the plug fuse has gone off. Wheelchair is not moving because the wheel has come off, perhaps a little bit of mechanical work, some painting has to be done.
Children learning the Koran at Toynbee Hall  [Catalogue reference: LMA/4683/IMG/04/058]
English class run by Rahman Jilani
English class run by Rahman Jilani, 1970s
Group of people from Progressive Youth Movement AGM sitting at tables in Toynbee Hall
Progressive Youth Movement AGM at Toynbee Hall, c. 1970s  [Catalogue reference: LMA/4683/IMG/05/11/001]
Himangshu Goswami
Toynbee Hall’s Asian Music Club concert by Bangladeshi singer Himangshu Goswami, c. 1978.  [Catalogue reference: LMA/4683/IMG/05/10/008]
Oral history interview with Captain Shiv Banerjee, carried out by Eastside Community Heritage on behalf of Toynbee Hall.

Children learning the Koran at Toynbee Hall  [Catalogue reference: LMA/4683/IMG/04/058]