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This article explores a little-examined but highly influential Church of England religious settlement, the Docklands Mission in Canning Town. Employing a methodology focused on the spatial materiality of the Settlement – its creation and renovation through the efforts of volunteers and the patronage of royalty and social elites – it argues that attention to the physicality of the Settlement also enables interrogation of the philosophies that underpinned the mission’s late-Victorian foundation (and their rearticulation in the 1920s). Moreover, reconstructing the Settlement’s contemporaneous reputation, as an extension of Malvern College’s civic initiatives and the efforts of its charismatic warden, Reginald Kennedy-Cox, enables better contextualization of Anglican urban mission and youth work initiatives after World War II. In the construction of these leisure spaces and their utilization by East End boys and girls, it is possible to interrogate the ways in which gender and class relations, ‘civilizing culture’ and ‘active citizenship’ were understood in the interwar period.


Journal article


Material Religion: the journal of objects, art and belief






60 - 85

Total pages