City Road, London, EC1. Photo © Roger Dean 2011
The Leys School was opened in Cambridge in 1875 with the aim of being ‘the Methodist Eton’.
The Mission was started in 1886 by former pupils of the School who were concerned about social and housing conditions in London’s East End. It’s first premises were in Whitecross Street, then in Errol Street but in 1902 the Mission moved into grand purpose-built premises on City Road. This striking building in terracotta and polished red granite cost £124,ooo and was designed by Bradshaw and Gass. The Queen Victoria Hall seated 2,000 persons and the building itself accommodated 125 rooms and four roof gardens together with shops at street level. It had vibrant evangelical and social ministries and encouraged alumni from the Cambridge school to give time to programmes that reached out to the poor. In the early days its services included a Medical Mission, a ‘poor man’s lawyer’, a relief committee, feeding programmes, meetings for men and women, and musical activities.
The building was Grade II Listed in 1987 and is now converted into apartments. R.D.