Cambridge House (organisation)

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For the mansion in central London, England, see Cambridge House. For the grammar school in Northern Ireland, see Cambridge House Grammar School.
Cambridge House logo

Cambridge House is a voluntary organisation in Southwark, London.[1]

The charity’s mission is to tackle the injustice of poverty. It offers a variety of direct and indirect services to residents of Southwark and the wider London area. Direct services include: a law centre; advocacy; youth empowerment; education; projects for people with learning difficulties; and employability training. Indirect services include: office and meeting space for hire; local neighbourhood resource; and support for the voluntary sector. [2]

Operating from a modern building in Walworth, the charity supports children and adults, families and communities and is a home to a number of other charities and community groups. In the financial year 2012-13 the charity supported 45,000 people. [1]


Cambridge House began life in 1889 in the Settlement Movement.[3] Founded by graduates and undergraduates from Trinity College Cambridge and Magdalene College Cambridge, it was set up to tackle poverty and deprivation in the poorest parts of South London. By 1897 Cambridge University as a whole was involved.[4]

University graduates and undergraduates lived at Cambridge House and performed voluntary work for the local Southwark community. The residents were involved with the direct relief of poverty; "the provision of country holidays for city children; the organisation of boys clubs; educational and recreational activities; a free legal service; involvement in a range of public bodies."[5] In 1900 a women's settlement called Talbot was set up nearby, focusing on helping women and children. The two settlements worked side by side until 1972, when they joined to form Cambridge House and Talbot.[4]

In 1894 Cambridge House and Talbot established the UK’s first free legal advice service (now called the Law Centre). In the early 20th century they set up the UK’s first Labour Exchange in response to mass unemployment and by the 1930s were providing skills workshops for the unemployed. In 1963 they set up the first Adult Literacy Scheme, which led to the Right to Read Campaign for adults.[6]

Services provided[edit]

Cambridge House provides the following services:[1]


  1. ^ a b c Charity Commission. "Cambridge House Annual Accounts 2012-13" (PDF). Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Cambridge House website. "Our Work and Impact". Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Cambridge House website. "About Us". Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Baker, Leila; Romayne Hutchison; Ben Carris (June 2009). "From Settlement to Community Anchor: The Enduring Value of Cambridge House" (PDF). IVAR - Institute for Voluntary Action Research. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Rochester, Colin (1989). Cambridge House: The first hundred years 1889-1989. Forward by John Posford. London, England: Cambridge House and Talbot. Retrieved 10 August 2009. 
  6. ^ Cambridge House website. "About Us: Timeline". Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Law Centres Network. "About Cambridge House Law Centre". Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  8. ^ One Big Community. "Cambridge House powers youth group". Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Hire Space. "Cambridge House venue page". Retrieved 1 April 2014. 

External links[edit]