The Buildings of Toynbee Hall


By Andrew Caunce

In addition, a series of extensions were built on the existing tennis court in the 1960s alongside the north and east sides of the original building comprising of a library, archive and increased student accommodation, Attlee House was completed in 1971 and was opened by the Queen. In 1984 further flats were made available on the redeveloped Booth House site and were known as College East.

The buildings today

In early 2016 Toynbee Hall embarked on a regeneration of the estate and
buildings. The regeneration will work to conserve the crumbling Halls and
courtyard, reconfigure Mallon Gardens onto one level thus increasing visibility and accessibility and will see the demolition of Profumo, Attlee and Sunley House. Profumo House will be rebuilt as contemporary office space and will provide purpose built spaces for the advice and wellbeing services. The Halls will provide space to showcase the heritage of Toynbee Hall and Attlee and Sunley Houses (including College East) will be rebuilt as private residential apartments.

Aerial view
Aerial view of Toynbee Hall, 1984
Toynbee Hall's library after bomb damage

Bomb damage

In March 1941 a large bomb narrowly missed the ‘new building,’ damaging doors and windows and wrecking the adjoining school. In May 1941 the Wardens lodge, the library and several bedrooms were destroyed by fire caused by incendiary and high explosive bombs. The Warden moved into Booth House which was slightly damaged and the housekeeper grew tomatoes and lettuces on the floor of the bombed out library. Unsafe walls were pulled down and windows were reinstated.

In addition, the warehouses which screened Toynbee Hall from the bustle of Commercial Street were lost, owing to their stock of flammable merchandise, leading to the hard landscaping of Mallon Gardens in the 1970s, which allowed Londoners a full view of the building from the road.

Initially using the war damage compensation funds Toynbee Hall embarked upon a programme of construction throughout the 20th century. The warden and his family were living in the cramped students accommodation and were moved to a spacious three bedroomed flat in the Gate House (renamed Profumo House) upon its completion in 1965-67.

Toynbee Hall decorated for the Queen's Silver Jubilee, 1977