home page to
web site Bunhill Quakers Home Page - Bunhill and beyond blog
Olive Yarrow's memories   Local timeline
Collectivised writings   Bob Saunders on the church
Quaker Quiet - Methodist Hymns

Quakers around Shoreditch

Alphabetical index A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Oranges and lemons
Say the bells of St Clements
You owe me five farthings
Say the bells of St Martins
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey
When I grow rich
Say the bells of Shoreditch
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney
I'm sure I don't know
Says the great bell at Bow"

Maybe the children of London made up the song to sing the character of its districts [history link]. The Parish of Shoreditch was known for its poverty. Standing north of the Bishopsgate on the Roman Road from the Thames to Cambridge, it looked south to the City of London, where the Quaker bankers lived, north to Stoke Newington and Tottenham, where the Quaker middle classes withdrew, west to Islington where Charles Lamb peered through the curtains at Quaker women, and east to affluent Hackney and its dissenting academies. But in the immediate area of Shoreditch was a different Quakerdom: the inner city missions of Spitalfields, Hoxton, and Bunhill.

Baptist and other dissenters preceded the Quakers, but in 1647 George Fox (1624 - 1691) began preaching around Leicestershire:
Click on the picture to visit the history of Quakers
by David M Murray-Rust of Birkenhead Meeting. "Now was I come up in a spirit through the flaming sword into the paradise of God.

All things were new and all the creation gave another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter."

In his vision, the Light, or Holy Spirit, guides us in our actions individually and together as a continuing revelation. Fox made "convincements" in the East Midlands, where he and his companions called themselves "Children of Light", but they ran into trouble with the authorities, and found a new name:

"This was Justice Bennet of Derby that first called us Quakers because we bid them tremble at the word of God, and this was in the year 1650."
Travelling North through Yorkshire and Lancashire, in 1652, Fox found "a great people to be gathered" around Westmorland and Furness, where people called "Seekers" were much in sympathy. Margaret Fell, wife of judge Thomas Fell, gave particular support at her home, Swarthmoor Hall, where a base was established for an organisation.

In 1654 the "Valiant Sixty" were sent around the country to spread the word. Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough were delegated to London. They worked hard, speaking and publishing constantly.

In his testimony to his companion's life, Howgill describes the characteristic silence of Quaker meetings:

    The Lord of heaven and earth we found to be at near at hand, and, as we waited upon him in pure silence, our minds out of all things, his heavenly presence appeared at our assemblies, when there was no language, tongue nor speech from any creature . . . We came to know a place to stand in and what to wait in . . .
Burrough himself described the inspiration this led to:
    While waiting upon the Lord in silence . . . our mouths opened, and we spake with new tongues, as the Lord gave us utterance, and his spirit led us, which was poured upon sons and daughters.


1. General Advice

Advised, that friends be tender to the principle of God in all, and shun the occasion of vain dispute and janglings, both amongst themselves and others: for this many times is like a blustering wind, that hurts and bruises the tender buds of plants.

1676. (Book of Discipline 1834 page 84)

Disunity and conflict - Quakers and John Bunyan

The people who formed different movements within christian thought in the 17th century read the 1611 English Bible dilligently - and reached different conclusions. In the following passage, from Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners in a Faithful Account of the Life and Death of John Bunyan (1666), Bunyan, a Baptist, explains how he considered the Quakers had misinterpreted the scriptures. A Quaker defense of their interpretation of scriptures is included in An epistle from the Quakers to the Governor of Barbados in 1671. The debate between Bunyan and the Quakers was carried out by pamphlet war between 1856 and 1657 - Now made availabale on the web by Larry Kuenning.

[123]. Also besides these teachings of God in His word, the Lord made use of two things to confirm me in this truth; the one was the errors of the Quakers and the other was the guilt of sin; for as the Quakers did oppose this truth, so God did the more confirm me in it, by leading me into the scripture that did wonderfully maintain it.

[124]. The errors that this people then maintained, were:-

1. That the holy scriptures were not the word of God.

2. That every man in the world had the spirit of Christ, grace, faith, etc.

3. That Christ Jesus, as crucified, and dying sixteen hundred years ago, did not satisfy divine justice for the sins of the people.

4. That Christ's flesh and blood were within the saints.

5. That the bodies of the good and bad that are buried in the church-yard, shall not arise again.

6. That the resurrection is past with good men already.

7. That that man Jesus, that was crucified between two thieves, on mount Calvary, in the land of Canaan, by Jerusalem, was not ascended above the starry heavens.

8. That He should not, even the same Jesus that died by the hands of the Jews, come again at the last day; and as man, judge all nations,' etc.

[125]. Many more vile and abominable things were in those days fomented by them, by which I was driven to a more narrow search of the scriptures, and was through their light and testimony, not only enlightened, but greatly confirmed and comforted in the truth: And, as I said, the guilt of sin did help me much; for still as that would come upon me, the blood of Christ did take it off again, and again, and again; and that too sweetly, according to the scripture. O friends! cry to God to reveal Jesus Christ unto you; there is none teacheth like Him.

Go to Bunhill Fields The memorial to John Bunyan in the Dissenters Graveyard at Bunhill Fields. Edward Burrough, his Quaker antagonist, lies unmarked in the nearby Quaker Burial Ground. Their rancour is dead, the glory of God in their visions lives on.

Quaker Women

Until the 20th century, men and women sat separately in Quaker meetings. (See Gracechurch Street 1770 and The Presence in 1916). They were also organised into separate meetings for discipline. In worship and church affairs, women left their families and became a semi-autonomous collective.

The separation of men and women was linked to the idea of a role for each. Quakers were organised into men's meetings and women's meetings and each had its responsibilities. . In the mid-nineteenth century, American Quaker women helped generate the Women's Rights Movement when they expected to take part in inter-denominational affairs.

Women played an important part from the beginning, and spoke prominently at Quaker meetings. Paintings attributed to Egbert van Heemskirk show a Quaker woman preaching on a barrel: this representation was originally satirical, as the very idea was considered ridiculous, although in different versions the amount of caricature varies. It was adapted for anti-Quaker literature: here the woman's inspiration is shown as a temptation of the devil.

One of the earliest regular Quaker meetings was held at the house of Sarah Sawyer, at Rose and Rainbow Court off Aldersgate (roughly the site of the Museum of London), even before the Bull and Mouth rooms were taken in 1655. When she married and moved out in 1675, it became a dedicated meeting house, used mainly for the women's meeting known as Box Meeting, which looked after Quaker poor relief.

One of the most important Quaker printers (although not, herself, publicly a Quaker) was Tace Sowle (1665?-1749) of London, who carried on her father's business from 1691. (external link).

Massachussetts 1656:
Quaker women missionaries searched for signs of witchcraft.
1669: Deborah Wilson
York 1725:
Mary Tuke, Quaker spinster aged 30, started a tea business. She handed the business over to her nephew, William Tuke in 1755. It became part of Twinnings after the second world war. (information from Alan Davis).
Tottenham 1790s: Priscilla Wakefield wrote children's books to compensate for her husband's shaky finances.
"Every Quakeress is a lily"
London 1817: Elizabeth Fry set up a school in Newgate Prison.
Tower Hamlets 1926: Mary Hughes: Christian Socialist

Go to crime
time Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845)

Elizabeth "Fiver" Fry was Britain's best known Quaker long before 2002 when her picture on the five pound note made her common currency. The Queen's head on the other side is a reminder that Elizabeth Fry's moral life was a struggle between her determination to be a "Plain Quaker" and her pleasure in the high society recognition that made her a Royal favourite. From 1818, Quakers counselled their younger members about the spiritual dangers of benevolent works.

Once described in Parliament as "the genius of good", and written about as "Angel of the Prisons", her visits to the women in Newgate Prison made her famous in the early nineteenth century. She lived at St Mildred's Court, near Gracechurch Street, from 1.11.1799, when she moved in above the counting house of her banker husband, Joseph Fry.

1806 Elizabeth Fry was visited by members of a Quaker committee established to visit friends suspected of being delinquent in the training of their children. (See 1795 minute on family government)

Elizabeth first visited Newgate in January 1813, at the request of the Quaker evangelist, Stephen Grellet, but her visits only began in earnest in January 1817. The following extract from her diary for 24.2.1817 reflects some of her concerns:

"I have lately been much occupied in forming a school in Newgate for the children of the poor prisoners, as well as the young criminals, which has brought much peace and satisfaction with it: but my mind has been deeply affected by attending a poor women who was executed this morning. I visited her twice. This event has brought me into much feeling, attended by some distressingly nervous sensations in the night... This poor creature murdered her baby; and how inexpressibly awful to have her life taken away! The whole affair has been truly afflicting to me; to see what poor mortals may be driven to, through sin and transgression, and how hard the heart becomes, even to the most tender affections."

3.12.1828 Bailiffs occupied the Fry family home as Joseph Fry's bank had closed its doors unable to pay a rush of customers wanting to withdraw money. He was made bankrupt and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) formally disowned him in the spring of 1829. Elizabeth remained an active Quaker and in 1836/1837 Joseph Fry was reinstated in membership.

As a prison reformer, Elizabeth Fry aroused hostility as well as admiration. Some other prison reformers disapproved of her unorthodox methods, and the irregular authority of her lady prison visitors.

It has been said that to see her reading to the prisoners of Newgate was considered "one of the sights of London".

"It was stated by mistake in some of the newspapers, that on the 31st of January, when His Majesty the King of Prussia visited Newgate, Mrs Fry read to the prisoners from some religious work, what she selected that day being the 12th chapter of Romans, and one of the Psalms. It is an inevitable practice, not only of Mrs Fry, but of all the ladies in connection with the several prison committees, when reading to the prisoners, to confine themselves entirely to the truths contained in the Holy Scripture." The Times 10.2.1842)

By the time of her death (12.10.1845), Elizabeth Fry was a kind of Quaker saint. Far too good, the Bishop of Norwich told her memorial meeting, to have a tomb amongst the "emblems of heathen mythology" that disgraced Westminster Abbey. Lord Ashley chaired the meeting on Wednesday 18.6.1846 that resolved to spend the four thousand pounds raised in her memory on a more fitting memorial:

"a suitable asylum to be called The Elizabeth Fry Refuge, for the temporary reception of repentant females on their release from the metropolitan gaols" (The Times, Thursday 18.6.1846 Mrs Fry's Testimonial

195 Mare Street, Hackney, is a house set back from the road which is now the Lansdowne Club, but a Hackney Council plaque at its gate tells everyone that from 1849 to 1913 it was the Elizabeth Fry Refuge "to help women in need".

Quaker women who were active in their own church affairs sought to be active in the affairs of inter-denominational associations they joined (such as slavery abolition groups). In the United States this resulted in some Quaker women being founders of the Women's Rights Movement. Harriet Taylor, in 1851, wrote

"some of the most eminent names of the present age, have made emphatic protests in favour of the equality of women. And there have been voluntary societies, religious or secular, of which the Society of Friends is the most known, by whom that principle was recognized".

From the autobiographical sketch of Lucretia Mott (1793-1880), a Quaker woman from Phildelphia, USA:

In 1840, a World's Anti-slavery Convention was called in London. Women from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, were delegates to that convention. I was one of the number; but, on our arrival in England, our credentials were not accepted because we were women. We were, however, treated with great courtesy and attention, as strangers, and as women, were admitted to chosen seats as spectators and listeners, while our right of membership was denied--we were voted out. This brought the Woman question more into view, and an increase of interest in the subject has been the result. In this work, too, I have engaged heart and hand, as my labors, travels, and public discourses evince. The misrepresentation, ridicule, and abuse heaped upon this, as well as other reforms, do not, in the least, deter me from my duty. To those, whose name is cast out as evil for the truth's sake, it is a small thing to be judged of man's judgement

About Lucretia Coffin Mott at the Lucretia Coffin Mott Papers Project


14.8.1841 Josiah Hunt, a Quaker farmer in Somerset, wrote to The Farmers Magazine about "An Important Experiment - Harvest Work Without Strong Drink". In his experiment cocoa or tea sweetened with sugar or treacle and skimmed milk were drunk instead of alcoholic drinks. This was much cheaper and the money saved was spent on nutritious food.

about 1860? Josiah Hunt opened cocoa-houses at either end of Almonbury Tunnel.

1874 British Workman Coffee House opened by Quakers in Bristol.

7.7.1877 The Spectator on "Coffee-Taverns"

Bunhill Coffee Taverns Ltd

Dew Drop Inn

Adult Schools

"The first 'adult school' is said to have begun in Nottingham in 1798 to meet the needs of younger women in lace and hosiery factories. It was independent of any other organization and run by William Singleton (a Methodist) and Samuel Fox (a Quaker)" (Mark K. Smith, 2004 "Adult schools and the making of adult education" The encyclopedia of informal education

After 1870 the Friends' Adult School in Mason Street, Hull became important, with one of the largest attendances of any in Yorkshire.

The Adult School at Bunhill started in 1879

her lice were her glory
Comrade Mary Hughes

Judge Thomas Hughes, (author of Tom Brown's Schooldays) was associated with Charles Kingsley, Frederick Denison Maurice and the Christian Socialists. [For more information on Thomas, visit
Tom Brown's School Museum in Uffington, Oxfordshire]

In Vallance Road, Tower Hamlets there are flats named Hughes Mansions in honour of Thomas Hughes.

Opposite the flats is a Blue plaque put up in 1961 honouring his daughter's name.

In her youth, Mary Hughes (1860-1941) took part in work on behalf of the poor and unfortunate. You drove to that work in a carriage and when the work was done you drove back to a beautiful house.

Mary became deeply convinced that her class was unjustly privileged and felt convicted of its sins against society. She decided that she did not want to visit the poor. She wanted to be with the poor and be poor herself. Choosing to live in the East End, she became a "shabby and sometimes verminous women" living the ideals of Christian Socialism in a direct way.

In 1895 she went to live with her sister and brother-in-law, curate of St Jude's in Whitechapel, and in 1915 moved to Kingsley Hall in Bow, set up by Quakers (Stephen and Rosa Hobhouse, and Muriel and Doris Lester), and named after Charles Kingsley. (Visit Kingsley Hall web site)

Mary Hughes became a Quaker in 1918, influenced by the Society's conscientious objection to the war, but continued to attend Anglican services. She was an early example of what some have called the "Quanglicans", who value the traditions of both churches.

Dew Drop Inn
for education and joy
the inn to drop in Mary's Dew Drop Inn was set up in 1926 in an old pub (previously Earl Grey's Castle) at 71 Vallance Road. (map link) This was converted by the Quaker architect, Malcolme Sparks. In 1928 it was again adapted by the Anglican architect, S. Grylls Wilson, who continued to care for it during Mary's life.
Mary, who lived there, was described by George Lansbury as its "founder, manager, and administrator". The punning name meant it was somewhere you could drop in. People came with every sort of problem, and many stayed there.

"At the end of a long day, if the rest of the hostel was full, the old lady would push papers and old clothes aside and sleep in a bed-chair."

As well as rooms for 'lodgers' there was space for trade union meetings and, on Sundays, Christian Socialist religious services. The upper rooms were intended primarily for students of "sociology", studying at first hand how the poor lived.

the blue plaque that
should have been red

After the defeat of the General Strike (1926) and Ramsey MacDonald's cuts in unemployment benefit (1931), Mary's attachment to the Labour Party weakened and her sympathies with the communists grew, although she strongly opposed their appeals to violence. The plate glass windows of the Dew Drop Inn "were pasted up with every sort of propaganda, communist, pacifist, and religious".

Mary was tireless, exasperatingly eccentric and greatly loved: George Lansbury said, "Our frail humanity only produces a Mary Hughes once in a century". She was pictured (with stick) on Gandhi's visit to London in 1931, at Muriel Lester's house, and the Quaker Tapestry have made a panel commemorating her work.

The main building of Bearsted Memorial Hospital (Jewish Maternity Hospital at 22-26 Underwood Road, Whitechapel E1 (just off Vallance Road) was opened in 1927. When it moved to Stoke Newington, Stepney Council bought the premises (shortly after the second world war) to set up an ante- natal clinic, day nursery, nursery for the care of premature infants, hostel for nursery nurses and school treatment centre. The new project was named the Mary Hughes Centre and Day Nursery. The project was continued by Tower Hamlets Council, and ran for almost 50 years. It closed about 1996. It is now called the Mary Hughes Building and houses a variety of children and adult services for local people.

Black Tuesday 27.3.1945 Last V2 rocket attack on London. The rocket hit Hughes Mansion in Vallance Road, Bethnal Green. 133 people died. All but 20 of them were Jewish. It was the second largest death toll of the V2 campaign. A remembrance service was held on Sunday 26.3.1995 in the Brady Centre, Hanbury Street, just off Brick Lane. After Psalms were read, Montague Richardson, former chair of the Brady Boy's club, intoned the memorial prayer, the Kaddish. (Hackney Gazette 23.3.1995) weblink to the names of the Jewish dead

Information composited from many sources, including Shoreditch Quakers' exhibition, from Christian faith and practice in the experience of the Society of Friends (1959), from emails from Tracey Marks who worked at the day nursery for eleven years, before it closed, and is organising a reunion, and from material collected by Tracey Marks in her research for an exhibition at the reunion. If anyone has pictures or information, could they please contact Andrew Roberts.

We know of a book and a booklet about Mary Hughes:
Rosa Hobhouse, 1949 Mary Hughes: her life for the dispossessed
London, Rockliff. (Forward by Howard Spring)
Hugh Pyper, 1985, Mary Hughes a booklet published by the
Children and Young People's Committee of Quaker Home Service.

Friends in the truth

Jesus says he will not call us servants, but friends, for whatever he hears of his father he will share with us. (John 15:15) So we should do one with another. We are called to be friends in the truth.

He also said that we should love one another. (John 13:34+35)

Racial justice

7½ Coleman Street

Adult Schools

William Allen



William Beck

Bedford Institute


William Bingley

biscuit making


Braithwaite House

James Bull

Bull and Mouth

Bunhill index

Bunhill Fields

Bunhill Mission

Bunhill Quaker Garden/s

Bunhill web

John Bunyan

John Clark

clerks of meetings


Coffee Tavern

City Quakers

Clerkenwell Workhouse


De La Rue

Devonshire House


George William Edwards


Elizabeth Fry

Family History

Farrand Radley

fossilised dung

Friends House

Friends in the truth

Friends Neighbourhood House

George Fox

William James Gibson

George Gillett

Gracious Street

James and Catherine Hain

George Frederick Hart

hat homage


Hope for All

Hoxton Hall

Luke Howard

Mary Hughes

Iron Room

Jenkins folk

John Woolman Settlement

Charles Lamb

Mary Lamb

William Ward Lee


Love and Unity

William Mead

Meeting for Sufferings

naked as a sign

National Dwellings Society

neighbourhood work

William Isaac Palmer

Peabody Estate

Peel Meeting

William Penn


Pond family

Arthur Pond

Frederick Pond (two)

Henry and Rosa Pond

Quaker beginnings

Quaker Court

Quaker Women


Quaker Social Action

Quaker Street


Ratcliff Meeting

Recording Clerk

Royal connections: Penn, Quire, Bevan, Allen, Fry,

Royal Sufferings


Six Weeks Meeting

slave owners

Solomon Eagle or
Solomon Eccles


Stoke Newington

Sufi Teaching



Tuke family

George Whitehead

Winifred White

Priscilla Wakefield and family

Bunhill Coffee

    This web page is built around the exhibition Quakers in Shoreditch held in Shoreditch Library, Hoxton by the Outreach Committee of Devonshire House & Tottenham Monthly Meeting in 1998. Many of its words were originally written by Lisa Bowers Isaacson for Quakers in the City, a pamphlet illustrating a walk in January 1991 that commemorated the tercentenary of the death of one George Fox. Any criminal or disciplinary responsibility for the page rests entirely with Andrew Roberts.

    I always like hearing from people about anything that interests them on my web page - or about their Quaker connections or other historical research.

    Try Friends House web site for more information. The Library part has is some advice about tracing Quakers in the family which includes a library guide to genealogical resources. This is also interesting about the history and organisation of the society.

    Particularly useful may be The Quaker Family History Society, which was formed in 1993 and is a member of the Federation of Family History Societies. Its aim is to encourage and assist anyone interested in tracing the history of Quaker families in Britain and Ireland.

Social history weblinks

what made
some Quakers rich?

    "when I grow rich"
    may not be a very appropriate tag for Quakers in business - Quakers in business such as the Bevans were well-off to start with.

Quakers and the political process weblinks

Quaker asylum

    According to Harriet Martineau, "Quaker lunacy, being seldom caused by ... the violence of the passions, usually proceeds from some deeper and more unmanageable cause"

Quaker Street blog
There are links from this to blogs run by other Quakers - Including Under the Green Hill and Lauraxpeace

Friendlink: A message board for young Quakers

Bunhill Quaker Garden

City Quakers

The map shows the position of three City of London Meetings: Bull and Mouth, Gracechuch and Devonshire House, and three Meetings outside the old London wall: Peel, Wheeler Street and Bunhill. Of these, only the newest, Bunhill, still meets.

Bull and Mouth

Howgill and Burrough reached London in July 1654, and took rooms at the Bull and Mouth Inn, off St Martins le Grand, using them for "threshing meetings" at which new people were attracted to Quaker beliefs. These were not silent meetings - the crowds could be rowdy and the preaching had to be robust.

By March 1655, when George Fox arrived in London to speak with Oliver Cromwell, Howgill and Burrough had established a permanent Quaker base at the Bull and Mouth Inn. The Inn was destroyed in the great fire of 1666, but it was rebuilt and Meetings continued here until 1740. After the fire, Quakers bought another Inn, off Gracechurch Street, and established another City Meeting.

Royal Sufferings - Newgate and the Tower

Cromwell's regime was not ideal for Quakers, but after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 the situation of Quakers (and Baptists) worsened as Charles 2nd sought to stabilise the country around a common approved religion. The Quaker "Peace Testimony" 1661 was part of a letter to the new King explaining that the Quakers would not resist his regime by force. (as the 5th monarchists had just tried to). It was

"given forth from the people called Quakers to satisfy the King and his Council, and all those that have any jealousy concerning us, that all occasion of suspicion may be taken away and our innocency cleared"

This "declaration from the harmless and innocent people of God, called Quakers, against all plotters and fighters in the world" was signed "in behalf of the whole body of the Elect People of God who are called Quakers" by George Fox, Gerald Roberts, Henry Fell, Richard Hubberthorn, John Boulton, John Hinde, John Stubbs, Leonard Fell, John Furley Jnr., Francis Howgill, Samuel Fisher, and Thomas Moore - (external link to the declaration)

In 1662, the Act of Uniformity required both use of the Book of Common Prayer and an oath of allegiance.

Another Act of 1662 has been called the Quaker Act. Joseph Besse, in his "Collection of sufferings of the people called Quakers..." (1753), describes it as follows:

ANNO 1662 In the Beginning of this Year the first Act against Conventicles came in force, by which it was enacted, that if any Person should refuse to take an Oath, when by Law required, or should maintain the taking any Oath unlawful, or if the Persons called Quakers should meet for religious First Exercise after the 24th of March 1661 [1662?], being thereof convicted, should forfeit for the first Offence £5 for the second Offence £10 to be levied by Distress; and for want of such Distress to be imprisoned for the first Offence three Months, and for the second six Months: And upon Conviction for the third Offence, he or she should abjure the Realm, or otherwise the King and Council might cause him or them to be transported to any of the King's Plantations beyond the Seas. In Consequence of this Act, on the 11th of the Month called May, five Persons were taken from a Meeting in John 's Street by one Philip Miller, Commitment of 5 to Newgate. and a Rabble attending him, without any Warrant, and by a Justice of the Peace committed to Newgate." (external link)

It was possibly as a reponse to arrests under the Conventicle Act that some Quakers took to appearing naked or pouring blood on alters as a sign

The Conventicle Act of 1664 made it penal for any person to attend a conventicle. The punishment for the first offence was three months imprisonment. The Five Mile Act in 1665 punished dissenting preachers with a 40 pound fine if they came within five miles of towns.

Quakers arrested at City and East London meetings were imprisoned in nearby Newgate prison or the Tower of London. Conditions were horrific.

Edward Burrough was arrested in 1662 at a meeting and died after eight months in Newgate, aged 29. His writings were published in 1672 under the title The Memorable Works of a Son of Thunder and Consolation.

Colonials and slave owners

In the years of suffering for their dissent, many Quakers sailed for the new world to help build colonies in such places as Barbados - Carolina - New Jersey - and Pennsylvania. In the process some became the prosperous owners of black slaves. Whilst accepting, and benefiting from, the ownership of slaves, Quakers were sensitive to a tension between this and "being tender to that of God in all". It was this that precipitated one of the founding doctrinal statements, a letter of 1671 from Quakers to the Governor of Barbados, in which they set out the Christian responsibility of including slaves and natives in the family of God.

In 18th century England, Quakers were part of the triangular trade in slaves, and part of the crisis of conscience (conviction of sin) that led to its abolition. (See John Woolman)

Quakers usually emphasise the society as the pioneer of slave liberation. See external links: "Quakers and the Abolition of Slavery" and ">Keeping it under their hats"

1665 The last great plague of London. Some natural philosophers argued that God established nature by laws and so plagues were not a direct action or a sign of his wrath. Quakers would have none of this. In his A Journal of the Plague Year (1722), Daniel Defoe wrote: "...the Quakers had at this time also a burying ground set apart to their use"... and the famous Solomon Eagle, who... had predicted the plague as a judgment, and ran naked through the streets, telling the people that it was come upon them to punish them for their sins, had his own wife died the next day of the plague, and was carried, one of the first in the Quakers' dead-cart, to their new burying ground". An early Quaker victim of the plague was Henry Stokes, Spittlefields baker, who died on 24.4.1665. James Stokes, a descendent, has written his story.

Solomon Eccles (born 1617? buried Bunhill 1682), also known as Solomon Eagle, was a real person, even though most of what we think we know about him is a mixture of fiction and fantasy with fantasy and fiction! He was (apparently) arrested in May 1665 in Southwark. He is said to have run naked through Bartholomew and Smithfield in 1665 as a religious warning respecting the plague. Pepys witnessed him running naked through Westminster Hall in 1667 (I have not seen the entry).

However, Solomon's signs may have started in 1662. Katie King (archive) traces the information in the following passage back to the (manuscript) Great Book of Sufferings maintained by Quakers. Katie King's paper analyses "going naked as a sign" as a more general category of behaviour which includes plain speech and all the social "rudeness" (my word) of early Quakers.

In response to the passing of the first of the Acts known as the Clarendon Code, the Quaker Act in 1662, [Phyllis] Mack recounts "The day after one government raid, Solomon Eccles passed through Bartholomew Fair as a sign, 'naked with a pan on his head full of fire and brimstone, flaming up in the sight of the people, crying repentance among them, and bade them remember Sodom.' The following Sunday two women appeared at St. Paul's, one 'with her face made black, and her hair down with blood poured in it, which run down upon her sackcloth which she had on, and she poured also some blood down upon the altar and spoke some words.'"

William Penn

In 1670 William Penn and William Mead were arrested when the way in to the meeting house was barred but they continued to worship in the street. The jury found them guilty only of "speaking in Gracious Street" and refused to change their verdict even after two days spent in prison. This established the primacy of the jury's decision in English law.

William Penn (1644-1718), eldest son of Admiral Sir William Penn, first encountered Quakers in Ireland. His father's rival Pepys records in 1667:

While imprisoned in the Tower for writing a pamphlet, he continued writing one of his great works, No Cross,No Crown.

In 1681 he accepted land in America in payment of a debt Charles II owed his father, but he made special treaties with the Indians of Pennsylvania, as he knew his "Holy Experiment" needed their respect and friendship.

Gracious Street

"Gracious Street" or Gracechurch Street meeting house began as an inn like Bull and Mouth, acquired after the 1666 Great Fire, but was rebuilt as something more like our idea of a meeting house.

George Fox died at a house next door, after a meeting here on 13th January 1691 in modern reckoning. After his funeral at the meeting house, some 4,000 people accompanied his body to Bunhill Fields for burial.

"January 1691" in modern reckoning was the 11th month of 1690 because, until the calendar changes of 1750 the new year in England started towards the end of March. Quakers numbered the months to avoid using heathen names and Fox's (19th century) tombstone shows his death as the 11th month of 1690.

Gracechurch Street became one of the most important Quaker Meetings, and the neighbourhood around it became the centre of the Quaker business community in the city. By the eighteenth century 20-25% of the immediate population were Quakers. City Friends mingled piety with prosperity and earned reputations as sober, honest tradesmen. Some, like the Barclays, Lloyds, and Gurneys, made fortunes in trade and banking. Quaker financial knowhow and investment was important to the success of Pennsylvania.

On 8.6.1772 the Yearly Meeting of Ministers and Elders was shocked by a man of peculiar appearance and manner who arrived half an hour after the start of meeting, presenting a letter of introduction from America. In ministry one Quaker counselled him to return there immediately. The stranger was John Woolman who, through his loving ministry, won the support of the Yearly Meeting. He died at York on 7.10.1772.

Elizabeth Fry, a Gurney, lived in St Mildred's Court - referred to as "Mildred's Court", as Quakers' refusal to use titles like "Mr" extended to sainthood.

Another Quaker peculiarity involved hats, which were not taken off out of deference to persons in authority. This caused William Penn and William Mead to be fined for contempt of court, at the same time as the jury in their case was imprisoned. In the seventeenth century, refusing to take one's hat off before someone in authority was a highly offensive act implying complete lack of respect for the social order. Equally offensive in families was that when young men converted to Quakerism they kept their hats on in the company of their fathers. Dishonour to one's father also had political implications at a time when Royalist theory derived the legitimacy of the king from the fifth commandment. Before about 1660 the hat insult and calling everyone by the familiar "the and thou" were two signs taken to mean that Quakers were turbulent and possibly revolutionary people. (See also 5th monarchists and going naked as a sign) Gradually, as Quakers distanced themselves from these implications, with the Peace Testimony for example, refusing to pay hat homage and using the and thou, along with the Quaker dress, just became peculiarities that set Quakers apart.

The same Quakers who kept their hats on when talking to rich and powerful humans, took them off when offering prayer in a meeting for worship, or "ministering".
This picture of Gracechurch Street Meeting c.1770 shows Isaac Sharples of Hitchin on the "facing bench" for Elders, standing with his hat hung on a peg behind him.

Note also that women and men sit in separate halves of the meeting. They worshipped together, but there were separate men's and women's business meetings until the end of the nineteenth century. In the gallery looking on are some non-Quakers, or "the world's people", in brighter clothing. By the time of the picture the Society of Friends had become more inward-looking and "quietist".

Quakers met in Gracechurch Street continuously until 1821, when there was a fire. Gracechurch St was rebuilt, but the new Gracechurch Street meeting house closed in 1850. One of the reasons for the decline of the meeting house was the migration of Quakers to leafy Stoke Newington

Devonshire House

The Bull and Mouth was lost in the Great Fire. Before it was rebuilt Friends took a lease on a house on Bishopsgate owned by the Earl of Devonshire.

After extensions in 1794, Devonshire House was used for the Yearly Meeting, previously held mostly at Gracechurch Street; also for the executive body, called Meeting for Sufferings because it arose from a system of reporting anti-Quaker persecution. The Recording Clerk recorded the Sufferings, and became the general administrator of the Society.

Meetings for Sufferings archives include The Great Book of Sufferings, 1659-1793 - 29 volumes containing names of Quakers prosecuted, distrained or otherwise `suffering' for the sake of Quaker testimonies. Each volume is indexed and covers a group of counties for a particular year. In most cases the names of informers, priests, constables and justices are indexed.

Devonshire House came to house the Recording Clerk's office, and also the Library, set up in 1673 when it was decided to collect two copies of everything written by Quakers, and one copy of everything written against them.

Devonshire Street faced across Bishopsgate to a street called Old Bethlem (see map). A short walk along this led to the famous Bethlem where lunatics were on public display. The Yorkshire Quaker family of Tuke (see below) were, at this time, developing new methods of confining and treating insane Quakers, which later generations were to adopt in public asylums

It was here, at Devonshire House, that, every Whitsun, the Quaker women whitened the streets as lilies, and here, in the 19th century, that the printed works of Quaker collective discipline were written under the supervision of the Clerk of Yearly meeting, whose minutes summarised the "feeling of the meeting".

In 1738, the Quakers had begun:
Christian and brotherly advices given forth from time by the Yearly meeting in London, alphabetically digested under proper head
Quaker ABC - 1738
to 1834
as handwritten volumes made available to the clerks of the Quarterly and Monthly meetings, in which Quaker meetings were organised in regions and districts .

The first printed book was Extracts from the Minutes and Advices of the Yearly Meeting of Friends held in London from its first Institution, which was agreed by the yearly meeting in 1782 and provided with a preface by Meeting for Sufferings on 24.1.1783. (William Tuke was appointed Clerk to yearly meeting in 1803). A second edition was issued in 1802.

Samuel Tuke (1784-1857) was Clerk to yearly meeting when the 'Beacon' controversy divided it. The author of A Beacon to the Society of Friends (1835) wanted more emphasis on the authority of written words of God (the Jewish and Christian Bible), whilst traditional Quakers like Tuke put the emphasis on the workings of the spirit. [All held the then Quaker belief that Jesus is the word of God, as stated in John's gospel]. Tuke had devoted much of his time to the third edition of Rules of Discipline of the Religious Society of Friends, with Advices: Being Extracts from the Minutes and Epistles of their Yearly Meeting, held in London, from its first institution, printed and published by Darton and Harvey, Gracechurch Street, in 1834 with a long introduction "On the origin and establishment of our Christian discipline", written for the occasion by Samuel Tuke.

The 1834 book was still an ABC of Quaker Discipline in which one could look up Books (a warning) before Love and Unity (a first principle). But, after this, the Society put aside its alphabet.

In 1861, book chapters were grouped into three parts: Christian doctrine, Christian practice and Church government. And then, in 1883, yearly meeting finalised what was to be the last revison of the whole book for over a hundred years: The Book of Christian Discipline of the Society of Friends in Great Britain

The Devonshire House premises came to be increasingly cramped and dismal, until the offices moved to the newly built Friends House in 1926, opposite Euston Station. Devonshire House was demolished, but is still part of the name of the local Monthly Meeting to which Bunhill and Stoke Newington belong. (Devonshire House & Tottenham Monthly Meeting))

Friends House, Euston Road

1922: Euston Square Gardens (South), and their trees, removed by property speculators. Charlotte Mew's first poem of grief at the loss ("murder") of the trees. (Published January 1923)

1923: Quakers by part of the site for £45,000 and appoint a Quaker Architect, Hubert Lidbetter, to build their central offices and meeting rooms.

"Hubert Lidbetter (1885-1966) established his own architectural practice in London after the First World War... he responsible ... for a large number of Quaker meeting houses, one of his most ambitious being that on Euston Road, built 1927 (listed Grade Two)" In 1950 was joined in practice by his son Hubert Martin Lidbetter (1914- 1992).

7.5.1926 The first Meeting for Sufferings to be held at Friends House

May 1927 The first Yearly Meeting to be held at Friends House

Ratcliff Meeting

Ratcliff Meeting began when in 1655 Captain James Brock of Mile End opened his house to Quakers. At this time Ratcliff was one of the rural hamlets east of the Tower of London, close to the industry of the river Thames.

By about 1666 land was bought for a meeting house in Ratcliff between Wapping and Limehouse. Numbers grew and in 1700 a sister meeting was established at Wapping. Wapping was part of Ratcliff Monthly Meeting for nearly a hundred years.

1821 Junction of Ratcliff and Barking brought Plaistow Particular Meeting into the monthly Meeting

17.5.1832 " James Bull of Whitecross Street in the Parish of St Lukes (so called), London, Mddx, son of Daniel Bull of Ramsden Bell House in the County of Essex, farmer and Sarah his wife and Mary Ann Radley of Purleigh in the county of Essex, farmer and Mary his wife, took each other in marriage, in a public assembly of the people called Quakers in Brook Street, Ratcliff in the County of Middlesex.

The Meeting declined in the nineteenth century, and the Bedford Institute took it over. In 1935 the building was declared a dangerous structure and had to be demolished; various plans for replacing it were overtaken by the war. Ratcliff still has no building of its own. For many years, the meeting was held every Sunday at Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial St, London E1. (External link to history of Toynbee Hall

In autumn 2003 they moved to:
Trinity Chapel,
Key Close,
London, E1 4HG
Sundays 11.00 a.m. to 12
(map link),

Quaker Street

Wheeler Street meeting house in Spitalfields was on the corner of Westbury Street, which became known as Quaker Street instead. (modern map)

It started in 1656 in the upstairs of a house; as crowds grew, a tent was erected in the yard, and then a meeting house. Sir John Robinson, Guardian of the Tower, was locally powerful and anti-Quaker. After many arrests, he might have closed the Meeting, but Gilbert Latey, who owned the property, acted quickly and installed a tenant so that it became a dwelling and not subject to the law on places of worship. This strategy was soon adopted for all Quaker meeting houses.

The building was not very strong, and suffered badly in the great storm of 1703 (which destroyed the Eddystone Lighthouse). Despite repairs, fewer Quakers worshipped there, and the Meeting closed in 1740, five years before the building finally fell down altogether.

Benjamin Lay

Benjamin Lay attended the Wheeler Street Meeting, but what he described as his own "forward zeal" led him to interrupt the ministry of Zacheus Routh, for which he was disowned by the Monthly Meeting in 1721. He moved to Colchester, where something similar occurred. He redeemed himself by travelling to Barbados and Carolina as an early campaigner against slavery.

The Bedford Institute Quaker Social Action

In the early nineteenth century Quaker interest in this area of Spitalfields was revived by Peter Bedford (1780-1864), a silk merchant of 28 Steward Street (modern map) Peter Bedford was particularly concerned with poverty and crime among young people, and formed the Society for Lessening the Causes of Juvenile Delinquency in the Metropolis. With others from Devonshire House Meeting, he set up a Working Men's Club and First Day School in Quaker Street, which opened in 1865 just after his death.

The Bedford Institute, named after Peter Bedford was built on the corner of Wheeler Street and Quaker Street in 1865. The work based here, running adult schools and alleviating the results of poverty, spread to other Quaker sites in the area, including the Peel and Ratcliff meeting houses, as well as the Bunhill Memorial Buildings, and later also Hoxton Hall.

The original Quaker Street premises were rebuilt in the 1890s.

1917 In considering the annual report of the Bedford Institute Association, London Yearly meeting were "impressed anew with the need of men of all races and classes for the salvation of Jesus Christ". The report began by saying that its work had been maintained "in each of its nine centres" although "severely handicapped in many ways by the effect of the war". Work included "religious services which are regularly held every week in no less than twelve different buildings. Seven Meetings for Worship are also held every Sunday morning"

Bethnal Green was one of the Bedford Institute buildings, and was in Harts Lane. The street was later renamed Barnet Grove, which became the name of the Quaker meeting established there. (modern map)

Friends Neighbourhood House in Lonsdale Square, Islington, was run by the Bedford Institute Association in the early 1970s to support what was then a poor area, with nurseries, adventure playgrounds and other facilities.

Friends and Neighbours in Islington: The story of Friends Neighbourhood House by Hope Hay Hewison. Published London: Race Relations Committee of the Social Responsibility Council of the Society of Friends, 1972. 4 and 26 pages: illustrated with a map.

Friends Neighbourhood House: A Quaker project in Islington 1967-1978 by Sam Clarke and Paul Henderson (1942- ). Published London (Friends House, Euston Rd., NW1 2BJ) : Friends Community Relations Committee (Social Responsibility Council), [1978].iv and 52 pages

1972: Re-launch of the Bedford Institute Association, giving rise to projects concerned with ex-offenders and employment training.

Late 1980s Activities of the Bedford Institute Association began to grow rapidly.

The Bedford Institute Association was renamed Quaker Social Action in 1998

Until February 2006, Quaker Social Action had its offices at Bunhill. It has now moved to 18 Victoria Park Square Bethnal Green

The following list of projects relates to about 1999

HomeLink works with homeless people who do not have access to public housing. Each year over 150 people are housed. We help them find a flat in the private rented sector, advance a month's rent (which we can then claim back) and indemnify the landlord against theft and damage. Clients are offered a trained and supervised volunteer support worker to reduce the chance of them drifting back into homelessness. Refugees make up a significant proportion of HomeLink's clients.

New Life Training equips unemployed people for work in the expanding vending industry. We train people for the industry's vacancies and an agency markets trainees on completion of the course. Trainees' previous length of unemployment averages 15 months.

HomeStore, our community furniture project, offers essential goods to over 2000 people each year who are unable to afford to buy from commercial second hand shops. All clients are referred to us by social service departments and a wide range of other agencies. People with learning disabilities have always been part of the team, either undertaking deliveries or restoring wooden furniture.

In November 1998, HomeStore moved into new premises in Stratford, opened by Tony Banks MP.

New Life Electrics renovates and guarantees cookers and other domestic electrical goods for HomeStore's clients, thus ensuring that electrical equipment is safe. Training is given in domestic appliance repair to NVQ standards. We also collect thousands of fridges and, if these cannot be reconditioned, we remove the harmful CFC coolant and dispose of it safely.

The Garrett Centre, in Unitarian premises in Bethnal Green, offers an expanding range of activities for the local community, bringing local people together so that they can improve the quality of their lives.

For the future, several exciting projects are being considered including:

* a micro-credit scheme for women starting their own business

* traditional community development work especially with women at the Garrett Centre

* further development of our new HomeStore premises for employment generation, e.g. a computer "practice firm", or Large Goods Vehicle driver training project.

Bunhill Visit

Before Bunhill - "Our burial grond under Bunhill": 1661 and burial index - 1682 Solomon - 1687 extension - 1689 extension - 1691 Fox - 1696 extension - 1708 extension - 1740 Map and extension - 1750s - 1789 extension - Coleman front and 7½: 1798 and 1799 extension - 1827 map - 1839 extension - 1841 house in census - 1840s Chequer school - 1845 extension - 1851 census - 1850s - 1861 census - Site for a mission: 1866 Chequer alley - 1868 map - 1869 - 1870 Chequers - 1871 census - 1873 - 1874 - 1876 - 1878 - trees and Foxstone- 1880 - 1881 census - 1881 building drawing - 1883 Peabody - 1888 building drawing - 1889 - 1891 census - 1896 - 1900 - 1901 census - 1908 building plan - Hymns and songs - 1911 census - 1914 - 1917 - 1924 history 50 years and tercentenary - 1925 - 1930 building plan - 1936 - 1937 - New role for the cottage: 1940 - 1941 - 1942 - 1945 - 1952 tercentenary, garden opening and history - 1953 - 1956 - 1965 flats arise - 1966 - 1968 - 1969 flames - 1970 healing starts - 1971 photograph - 1973 history and proposals - 1974 - 1976 - 1986 1979 - 1987 community - 1989 - 1990 photographs - 1991 tercentenary and history - 1996 - 1997 - 1998 - Shoreditch exhibition - 2005 new gardens - 2006 new meeting - 2007 - 2008 tree preservation - 2010 - 2011 photographs - 2012 - 2013 - 2015 - 2016 -

Bethlehem churchyard by Bishopsgate

John Lilburn died in Eltham, Kent, on 29.8.1657. Beck and Ball page 332) say his corpse was carried from the Bull and Mouth Meeting to be buried in a graveyard now under Broad Street railway terminus. Andrew Sharp in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography says he was "taken for burial in the Quaker burial-ground at Bethlehem churchyard by Bishopsgate". He refers to two scuffles "over whether a velvet pall should be thrown over his coffin".
Ogilby and Morgan's Large Scale Map of the City As Rebuilt By 1676

Bunhill Fields (Quaker) Burial Ground Visit

Bunhill Fields burial ground was the first freehold property owned by Quakers, bought in 1661 and used until 1855 for 12,000 burials. It predates the more famous non-denominational ground across Bunhill Row, although the area ("Bone Hill") was long associated with burials. First known as Chequer Alley, this appears to have been the first graveyard of significant size for protestant dissenters anywhere in England and Wales.

10.11.1661 "Sir Reginald Foster, bart., and Dame Blandina, his wife, in consideration of the sum of £270, devised to Amor Stoddart, 'for the use and service of the elect people of God in scorn called Quakers,' that extreme western portion of the ground" [as it eventually became]" measuring about 90 feet square". "A portion of this plot was re-sold to Sir Reginald for a time, but ultimately came again into the possession of Friends." (Beck and Ball page 332)

Amor Stoddart was an ex-army officer and a long-time friend of George Fox.

Buried at Bunhill (Chequer Alley)
1663 - 1665 - 1682 - 1691 - 1715 - 1723 - 1724 - 1725 - 1745 - 1814

1663 Edward Burrough (died 14.2.1663) buried at Bunhill. Also buried at about this time Samuel Fisher and Richard Hubberthorne "and about ninety other martyrs ... carried from the prison.

new purchase Beck and Ball (page 332) say that in February 1665 "Friends increased their territory in an easterly direction by buying tow messuages and gardens in Coleman Alley, now Coleman Street, For this addition £210 was paid".

1665 Among the many buried at Bunhill during the plague (1665) were 27 Quakers who died still in harbour on the ship Black Eagle "when under sentence of banishment for the Truth", as the burial register entries read.

1665 Elizabeth Eccles buried at Bunhill

1665 Ann Austin is said to have been a victim of the plague and buried at Bunhill.

1667 original six weeks meeting formed. A "very different body" than it became in fifty years.

1682 Solomon Eccles (Solomon Eagle) buried at Bunhill

Solomon Eccles (1617?-1682), musician and Quaker missionary, was probably baptized 14.9.1617 at Hatfield, Hertfordshire, the son of Solomon Eccles, a musician. Solomon the Quaker appears to have lived at Spitalfields for most of his life. His first wife Elizabeth died in 1665. He died at Spitalfields on 2.1.1682 and was buried at Chequer Alley. (Caroline L. Leachman Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

This drawing of Soloman from the imagination of George Cruikshank appeared in 1835. Other artistic representations include Solomon Eagle by Paul Falconer Poole 1843 (in Sheffield) - "Solomon Eagle Denouncing the City" by John Franklin 1847 - "Solomon Eagle striding through plague ridden London with burning coals on his head, trying to fumigate the air" Chalk drawing by Edward Matthew Ward, 1848.

Meanwhile: 1672 John Oakley, a Quaker weaver and silk merchant from Spitalfields, purchased an acre of land at Winchmore Hill with a house and barn. In 1682 he gave the property to the local Quakers on condition that he and his wife could live in the house until their deaths. Oakley died in 1684 and his wife, Elizabeth, died two years later. They were the first burials in the grounds. The barn was already being used for Quaker Meetings before Oakley's death. In 1687 the Quakers moved on to the site and made a decision to build a permanent Meeting House. A year later the new building was finished. The present Winchmore Hill Meeting House replaced this one in 1790.

Meanwhile: 1687: Whitechapel burial ground

"This burial-ground was under the particular care of Devonshire House, and a very large number of Friends who dwelt in the eastern parts of the Metropolis were buried there; but it would seem that ministers and persons of note were almost always buried in Bunhill Fields" (Beck and Ball page 334)

1687 and 1689 extensions eastwards at the cost of £85 and £100.

1689 Alexander Parker (died 8.3.1689) buried at Bunhill

1691 George Fox buried at Bunhill to the north of Alexander Parker

1692 Stephen Crisp buried at Bunhill on the east side of George Fox. [George Watts was buried to the west]

1698 Francis Bugg's The Pilgrim's Progress from Quakerism to Christianity badly upset the Quakers. Its illustration of what it calls "The Quakers' Synod" has become famous. Of the leaders named, William Bingley and George Whitehead were buried at Bunhill. I do not know where Benjamin Bealing the Recording Clerk from 1689 to 1737 was buried.

1696 extension eastward at the cost of £400

1708 extension eastward at the cost of £190

Map 1740s includes land to east south of Coleman's Alley. If Fox was buried where tradition says, I think it would be near the "rou" of "Ground".

1715 William Bingley (1651-1715) buried at Bunhill. He died in Tottenham, on 11.8.1715, and was buried in the Quaker burial ground in Bunhill Fields, London, on 15.8.1715.

1717 Fifty years after the six weeks meeting was formed its remaining duties were "To inspect the condition of the several meeting-houses and tenements belonging to Friends in the City, and to order the building, rebuilding and repairs thereof; to take care of burial grounds, repairing their walls, &c.; to make purchases for the general service of Friends in the City; receive the rents of tenements and parts of meeting houses let out; pay taxes for the same; the clerk's wages, and the expenses of public Friends' horses; to provide for the casual poor; - also such other contingencies as affected the Society in general, including the distribution of testimonies of denial to the various Monthly Meetings" (A quotation in Beck and Ball page 100)

13.1.1723 George Whitehead buried at Bunhill. He died 8.1.1723 aged about 87. Buried in "Friend's burial grounds, among many of his ancient brethren, next to George Fox; his burial was attended by a very large number or friends and others". (Monthly meeting at the Devonshire house)

1724 Daniel Quare, clock and instrument maker who died 21.3.1724, buried at Bunhill.

1725 John Bellers buried at Bunhill

"ROCQUE 1740"
(Pencilled on the back of photocopy)

1745 John Nickolls, collector and antiquary, buried at Bunhill

Graves were unmarked, as monuments were "of no service to the deceased". [See death] There are two stories that suggest some "marking" underground.

    In the 1750s, Robert Howard, Quaker tinplate worker of Old Street, uncovered a stone labelled G.F. in the Bunhill burial ground. He called it Nehushtan (2 Kings 18.4) and it was hammered into rubble.

    At about that time, it is reported that when a wall was being removed a lead coffin was found, inscribed with George Fox's initials and age. The body was reinterred but the site was not marked until 1881.

1789 The western part of the graveyard was considerably widened by presentation of ground by John Eliot in 1789 and the purchase of land at various dates up to 1845 (Beck and Ball page 332)

Coleman Alley/Street Frontage

1798 - 1799 The Coleman Alley (later Coleman Street) frontage on the burial ground was obtained by buying seven houses and gardens in 1740, 1788 and 1799. Houses and gardens can be seen on Rocque's map. The metal (iron) notice below is believed to have been moved about 1881 from the wall that was built in 1799 facing Coleman (Alley or Street) . It says

" This wall and seven inches of the ground on the north side are the property of the Society of Friends 1799"
It is now fixed to the wall behind the meeting house which separated the memorial gardens from the coffee tavern in 1881.

The date on the wall suggests to me that this was also the date of the new entrance. If Quakers built a cottage/house at the new entrance (rather than adapting an existing property) 7½ Coleman Street would seem to have been built between 1798 and 1827

1806 See James Bull

1814 Joseph Gurney Bevan (died 12.9.1814) buried at Bunhill

1814 Birth of William Brass whose firm William Brass and son built the memorial buildings


1.7.1823 William Ward Lee, architect of the memorial buildings born to Mary and William Lee. He was baptised at the Old Church, Saint Pancras,London on 27.8.1823. When he died on 26.4.1885 his address was 91 Lordship Park, Stoke Newington.

12.8.1823 Rachel, wife of Richard Low Beck, a Quaker wine merchant, gave birth to William Beck at 3 Token House Yard, St Margarets Lothbury, City of London. William was a member of six weeks meeting from 27.11.1848. An architect (Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects from 1845 to 1877). Six weeks meeting surveyor from sometime after 1848 until 1874. In 1851 he designed a high density housing development in Stoke Newington (?? really ??). 1862. 1865: Bedford Institute. 1869: Beck and Ball. William Ward Lee and William Beck were associated in the architects firm of Beck and Lee of 33 Finsbury Circus from 1868 or earlier into the 1870s. They designed schools, industrial housing, associated road widening and similar public works. 1874: hospital. His visit to Australia in 1874/1875 appears to mark the end of his professional career as a christian architect. The work was carried on by William Ward Lee.

1827 Extract from Greenwoods map. Original images Mark Annand
The entrance for coaches appears to be along Coleman Street from Bunhill Row to the The House of the Society of Friends Coleman Street, which is symetrically designed.

1837 De La Rue printing firm "founded in Bunhill Row, London in 1837, manufactured Christmas and other social stationery, playing cards, stamps and railway tickets, and undertook security printing." (Reading University specialcolections)

1839 Land bought and added to the graveyard at the western end by Westminster meeting with money left by Richard Hawkins.

1841 Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes founded at a public meeting chaired by Rev. Henry Taylor, Rector of Spitalfields. (Christian architecture).

Study of plans of the 1881 memorial buildings (see 1908 and 1930) shows that this blocked door at Bunhill would have had no function in 1881 or later. In 1841 it could have been the back entrance the part of the building demolished in the 1870s
Sunday 6.6.1841 "The House of the Society of Friends Coleman Street" in the 1841 Census is likely to have been the one depicted on the 1827 map. It is at the same position in Coleman Street as the present (2015) Meeting House and, according to the notes of George Edwards and Farrand Radley, it could be in part the same building. From 1851 it is entered as 7½ Coleman Street. The building on this site is also known, at different times, as the cottage and the caretaker's cottage.

No census gives the occupation of the resident as caretaker, but before 1881 references elsewhere to the "caretaker" possibly refer to the resident of this house/cottage. After 1880 the two people who have been identified as caretakers lived on the Peabody Estate and the cottage was lived in by the Coffee Tavern manager and family until the mid-1930s.

In 1841 the lived in cottage might have had an entrance at the front in the present position and the western part of the building might have been meeting rooms with separate public entrances at back and front. Internal staircases could have provided the 'caretaker' with direct access.

The people in the house on
census night 1841 were John Clark aged about 50, an accountant. - Maria? Clark aged about 45 - Mary Deane aged about 75 - and Elizabeth? Barney aged about 55.
See subsequent entries: 1851 - 1861 - 1871 - 1881 - 1891 - 1901 - 1911 -

"Hope for All" - the Methodist School

Beck and Ball (1869 page 334) say an unused portion of the Bunhill Graveyard was let in 1840 on a building lease to a William Greig. A "British School" was erected which, by 1869 was "being worked by a general committee under the name of Hope Schools for All; it is doing good service to the children of the dense population around". Beck and Ball continue:

"It serves also to show how much use might be made of a large open ground such as this if thrown open, under proper regulations, as a recreation ground for the occupants of the working homes around."

1841 "Miss Macarthy", a Methodist from [Wesley's Chapel] began visiting Chequer Alley to hand out Methodist tracts. Later she was able to begin Sunday preaching in a small hired room and these services expanded to include a Sunday School, Day School, and classes for adults wishing to join the church. (Metropolitan Archives)

I think 1844-1852 applies to a Sunday school.

The British School, Bunhill Row, Chequer Alley, Finsbury was opened in 1844 It was a Board School by 1897: Accommodation for 1166 students. Average attendance 701 (30) - Boys and Girls.

1846 School enlarged by taking a house and creating one room from the two on the ground floor. (p.54 of 1866)

1851 A new and more influential management committee for the school. (p.54 of 1866)

1852 Day School. (p.60 following of 1866)

See 1864 (map) - 1866 (book) and 1870

Chequer Alley and Bunhill Row "Hope for All" Ragged School. 1872. National Archives Reference: ED 4/76

See 1876

Bunhill Row Chequer Street Council School. 1876-1915. National Archives Reference: ED 21/11408. School No: 15,154

1845 Last purchase of land extending the graveyard (widening western end)

1848 Artisans' Home in Deal Street designed by by William Beck erected for the Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes. It was a lodging house for 234 men, with a U shaped plan, and four storeys high. The ground floor contained communal rooms:- kitchen, library and reading room, coffee room, and living accommodation for a superintendent and cook.

30.3.1851. In the census, 7½ Coleman Street occupied by James Bull "Housekeeper", his wife Mary Ann Bull and their nine year old daughter Emma. Emma was born in St Lukes.

From graveyard to memorial

During the 1850s the (largely) overcrowded churchyards and burial grounds of inner London were closed. Many burial registers for parish churches in inner London cease by 1855 or 1856. Burial grounds could be closed by order of the Privy Council under the Burial Acts 1852 and 1853

"As a consequence of the Burial Act of 1853, one after another of the London burial grounds had to be closed. When it came to the turn of Bunhill Fields, at the end of 1854, Friends appealed to Lord Palmerston, arguing that hey had recently spent much money on enlarging the ground and it would be hardship if they were not allowed to continue burying there. But they had no success, and Six Weeks Meeting had to appoint a committee to examine the possibilities outside the now-prohibited central zone. Longford Monthly Meeting had its own ground at Isleworth, and Sarah Angell had given them an addition to this in 1824; it was agreed that the new piece might be used for burials of Friends from any part of the Quarterly Meeting. Other ground was bought in Barking. When Croydon ground was reported nearly full in 1871, it was agreed that most future burials should be made in the public cemetery there". (White 1971 pp 55-56).

1857 Thomas Sterry Norton appointed with Joseph Gurney Barclay and others one of the trustees of the meeting houses, burial grounds and other freehold property of his Quarterly Meeting. Fifty years later, on the decease of Richard Smith, he was left with William Beck as his sole colleague, later still, before the converyance to new trustees was effected, he was left in sole possession, but tranferred the properties to himself and others newly appointed in the autumn of 1908. The Annual monitor... or, Obituary of the members of the Society of Friends in Great Britain and Ireland.

Caprolite = fossilised dung

1861 Census. Frederick Pond, a caprolite digger in Cambridgeshire is recorded with his wife, Eliza, and children Hannah (6), Frederick (4) and Alfred (2). In 1871 the family live in the High Street of Hesslingfield, Cambridgeshire and almost every family in the street is part of the caprolite industry. Henry Pond (9) is still at school. The two Frederick's had taken up fossil digging by 1874.

1861 Census. James Bull 55 at 7½ Coleman Street entered his occupation as "House Proprietor". His wife Mary was 54 and daughter Emma 19. 5 Coleman Street is on one side, with the large working class family of William and Elizabeth Chambers, and 10 Coleman Street on the other which is the home for horse keepers.

1862 Death of Wyatt George Gibson (born 28.7.1790), Quaker banker who owned Saffron Walden and North Essex Bank. His legacy funded the Saffron Walden Hospital, designed by William Beck, and the hospital in Hackney Road, designed by William Ward Lee

1862 Decided that six weeks meeting should have its own paid secretary. Edward Marsh was appointed at £80 a year. He attended meetings, but did not take part in discussions. William Beck, the surveyor, received a small remuneration for professional services. (White 1971 p. 73).
1864 Stanford's Library Map of London and its Suburbs shows the Sunday School in Chequer Alley

1866 Chequer Alley: A story of successful Christian work by the Rev. Frederick W. Briggs. With an introduction by the Rev. William Arthur, published London : Hamilton Adams & Co., Paternoster Row. [Wesleyan Methodist]

Hospital Committee 125 Hackney Road 17.8.1868: William Beck - R.N. Fowler - John D. Fry - Edmund Pace - Nathaniel Tregelles -
Ladies Committee Mrs Alsop - Miss Pace - Miss Mary Elizabeth Phillips - Miss Ellen Phillips
Treasurer John Phillips
Honorary Secretary John D. Fry
Consulting Physician Dr Morrell Mackenzie
Consulting Surgeon Johnathan Hutchinson
Medical Officers Alexander Fox - Dr W.B. Woodman

source - See 1874

From Edward Weller's map of London believed to have been updated to 1868.

Beck and Ball wrote in 1869 that

""The ancient entrance to this burial-ground was by a court from Whitecross Street; subsequently it was approached from Chequer Alley, and in more recent time by the present chief entrance in Coleman Street".

In 1869 Beck and Ball wrote:

"Bunhill Fields burying-ground has been closed for internment since the year 1855. It remains in our day a broad walled-in space, surrounded by a teeming population mostly composed of the poorer classes. It would afford an admirable site for the erection of a Mission Hall, with Schools etc, and what fitter memorial could be raised over the graves of those zealous dead... for the extension of the kingdom of Jesus?

Although closed by order of the Privy Council, the ground is far from full, and some portion has not been used at all for internment.."

The dead and the living

"... the silent population of the graveyard is within a thousand of the whole number of the Society of Friends in England and Wales. The names of persons registered as buried as buried here is very close upon 12,000. Allowing for unrecorded funerals at the commencement, and during the confusion at the time of the plague" [etc] Beck and Ball page 331

1869 The London Friends' meetings: showing the rise of the Society of Friends in London; its progress, and the development of its discipline; with accounts of the various meeting-houses and burial-grounds, their history and general associations. : Compiled from original records and other sources, by William Beck and T. Frederick Ball. Published London by F. Bowyer Kitto, 5, Bishopsgate Street Without. iii-xi and 396 pages and 2 folding plates.

1870 First of the Education Acts which brought in a national system of compulsory elementary education.

The Terrible Sights of London and Labours of Love in the Midst of Them by Thomas Archer. London, S. Rivers. 1870 [Thomas Archer, author and journalist, lived from 1830 to 1893 in Hackney].


"Chequer-alley means a whole zigzag neighbourhood, an agglomeration of alleys and courts, intersecting as wretched and poverty- stricken a district as can be found in all London-a puzzle-map of poverty, a maze of misery, in which the unaccustomed visitor might grow heart-sick and dizzy in the effort to find his way amidst the tangle of hovels and close yards; of which a key is not to be found in any map that I know of; the names of which are probably unsettled by any board of works, local or metropolitan; a vast sty in the midst of this Great City where 20,000 human beings herd together in a condition so wretched, that had a traveller to some distant land sent back a description of a native colony disclosing such destitution, vice, and ignorance, we should at once have asked why no missionaries had been despatched to remedy a state of things more repulsive than many narratives of heathen life which have claimed and found immediate response from Christian effort.... never, in any single unbroken area of such extent, have I seen so much suggestive of utter poverty, so much privation of the ordinary means of health and decency, as in a journey up and down the Chequers" "

Online edition (provided by Lee Jackson)

Inhabitants of the house on the site of the present Bunhill Fields Quaker Meeting House 1871-1939

1871 Census. James Bull 65 at 7½ Coleman Street now lives alone. He is entered as "no occupation/has house property". 5 Coleman Street is now occupied by the family of a mattress maker [?] and 10 Coleman Street by that of a gas fitter. James Bull died (apparently at home) on 23.12.1871. It is possible that Eli Radley moved into 7½ Coleman Street after him. James and Catherine Hain were at this location in 1891, with a large family. Shortly afterwards they were replaced by the much smaller family of Henry and Rosa Pond, who remained until 1930. The Hains and Ponds were in charge of the Coffee Tavern. After the Ponds retired, electoral registers (1931, 1933, 1934) show Elsie Lily Rose Reeve and Frederick Kingsford Reeve at 21 Roscoe Street plus Frederick Bevan Braithwaite and about 18 single men, declining to 9 in 1934. No one is registered there in 1935. Horace Swithenbank and Annie May Swithenbank (and no one else) are registered there in 1937, 1938 [and 1939?].

12.4.1872 The Engineer started an article about Huntley and Palmer's Biscuit Factory at Reading. "Civilisation and biscuits go together. It is only in very highly civilised countries that biscuits are made although we are unable to call to mind the name of any nation, civilised or savage, by which they are not more or less highly appreciated".
William Isaac Palmer bought Hoxton Hall in 1879. Baker and sons created biscuit making machinery for Huntley and Palmer.

Joseph Bevan Braithwaite junior - Founder of the Bunhill Mission

Joseph Bevan Braithwaite junior was the son of Joseph Bevan Braithwaite (senior) [Right] 1818-1905 and Martha Braithwaite [born Gillett].

Joseph Bevan Braithwaite (senior) was a theologically conservative and evangelical Quaker who did not leave the Society in 1841 (See Book of Discipline). He was sometimes known as the Quaker Bishop because of the way he dressed.

Braithwaite senior: Bishop Braithwaite.
See Gilkin's Geegaws

5.10.1855 Joseph Bevan Braithwaite born in St Pancras, Middlesex to Martha Gillett, age 32, and Joseph Bevan Braithwaite, age 37. Martha died 27.3.1895 in Islington, aged 72. His father died 15.11.1905, aged 87.

Joseph Bevan's sisters and brothers were Mary Caroline (June 1857 - 1935) - Elizabeth (September 1858 - 1946) - Rachel Barclay (December 1859 - 1946) - George was (5.3.1861 - 1931) - William Charles born in Islington (23.12.1862 - 1922) - Catherine Lydia (September 1864 - 1957).

1861 After ten years at 65 Mornington Road, Regent's Park, London, the family moved to 312 Camden Road, Islington. Martha's banker brother George Gillett and his family moved to 314 Camden Road.

Joseph Bevan junior was 19 when he started the Bunhill mission in 1874 (Lisa and Paul Bowers Isaacson, 1991 leaflet).

Joseph Bevan junior's brother William Charles Braithwaite [left] "was associated with the work at Bunhill Fields, until his removal to Banbury in 1896" (50th anniversary history 1924).

William Charles was a lawyer who entered the family bank of Gillett and Co of Banbury and Oxford (now part of Barclays). Banking gave him more time for Quaker studies than legal work and he wrote a history of early Quakers. See Gilkin's Geegaws

In 1880 Joseph Bevan Braithwaite junior was arranging the finace for the Anglo-American Brush Electric Light Corporation

In Spring 1881 the family lived at 312 Camden Road, London. Joseph Bevan Braithwaite senior was a barrister. Joseph Bevan Braithwaite junior (25 years old) was a broker. William Charles Braithwaite was a law student.

On 27.7.1881 Joseph Bevan Braithwaite junior married Anna Sophia Gillett in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Anna Sophia was born 27.7.1881 in Banbury. She died 10.10.1899, in Barnet, Hertfordshire, at the age of 43. They had been married 18 years. Their children were

Jonathan Frederick [Fred Braithwaite] born 9.8.1883 - died 29.12.1962

John Bevan born 22.11.1884 (died 1973) -

Alfred Lloyd born 5.10.1886 (died 1967) -

Dorothy Anna born 17.4.1889 (died 1974) -

Harold Wilson born on 11.8.1890 (died 1990) -

Joseph Gurney born on 24.5.1895, in Somerset (died 1958)

1882 Joseph Bevan Braithwaite junior opened an Adult School on Burnham on Sea, Somerset, where he had a holiday home.

1895 Joseph Bevan Braithwaite junior opened Life Boat Coffee Tavern and Restaurant on the site of the Masons Arms in Burnham. (Capture Burnha)

September 1897 Richmond Declaration (USA) largely drafted by Joseph Bevan Braithwaite senior

March 1901 Joseph Bevan Braithwaite [junior], Dorothy, Harold, Joseph, a governess, a cook, two housemaids, a kitchen maid, a nurse, a nursery maid and a charwoman lived in Barnet, Hertfordshire in . He was a stock and share broker and an employer. He married his second wife, Margaret Grace Moscrip (1866-1947) in June 1901 in Islington, Middlesex, when he was 45 years old.

1914 Joseph Bevan Braithwaite [junior] suported the first world war

7.2.1926 Olive Jenkins born. Sitting in meeting as a child she would compare the picture of Joseph Bevan junior on the meeting house wall with the real man who sat at the front. It was one way to while away the silent tedium.

In 1926 Joseph and Margaret lived at Leawood in Woodside Avenue, N5. In 1933 Joseph and Margaret still lived at Leawood, which was now next to Woodside Hospital, but they now lived with Janet Cranston Moscrip, Hazel Audrey Honor Amelia Yeo, and Violet Weeks.

30.11.1934 Joseph Bevan Braithwaite died at his seaside home, Belncathra, Burnham on Sea, Somerset. He was 79 years old.

The tree Mystery and romance surround the age of the large London Plane tree that stands in the middle of Quaker Gardens. Some stories take it back (almost?) before such trees existed, others claim it is the oldest in London. The tree is at the centre of a square formed by four other plane trees. The oral tradition (via Olive Yarrow) that I think most likely to be true is that all these plane trees were planted sometime after the closure of the burial ground in 1855. The neighbouring dissenters burial ground was also set out with plane trees (1867), for the benefit of the public:

4.10.1867 Bunhill (Dissenters) Burial Ground opened as a public open space by the Lord Mayor of London. This involved the landscaping of the burial ground, tree-planting, seating, gardens, and restoration of note worthy monuments. (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia: "The nearby Quaker Burial ground was similarly landscaped. It became maintained at private expense by the Quakers"

The Quaker burial ground lay unused until 1874.

In this picture, Eli Radley sits on a new garden bench admiring the new stone for George Fox, fixed in the ground in front of the site of the present tree. Where is the tree? Is that it, posed for its photograph on the bench before it is planted?

See 1908

The picture does not have a date. It was collected from a branch of the Radley family in Canada by Eli's grandson H.A. Farrand Radley. Farrand Radley assumes it was taken in 1881. However, he says the authorities differ about the date of the stone. He has seen a statement in Robert Avery's files saying it was 1876 (not 1881). 1876 would fit with the fact that Eli was a patient in te Retreat in York from 1877 to his death. The stone is believed to have stood just north of the present large plane tree until the second world war

See also the murder of the trees in Euston Road: 1922

1873 Report of the Chequer Alley Wesleyan Home-Mission for 1872 : with list of subscribers and expenditure for 1871 and 1872 Published London : Printed by Hayman Brothers and Lilly, 19, Cross Street, Hatton Garden. 22 pages

Sketch by George W. Edwards 1981 shows School Board for London site compulsory purchased for £4,077. Date of portion of ground for playground 1874 [White says 1875]

The Gravemaker Caretaker cottage was 7½ Coleman Street - Later 21 Roscoe Street. [Part of Coleman Street became Roscoe Street in 1883. The other part became Baird Street in 1884 (Bruce Hunt's London street change list 2003)

The part relevant to the continuation (or otherwise) of a house is:
"Removing Caretakers Cottage and Wall 29.5.0
"Credit for old lead 12.14.0
"Adapting remaining portion of house 12.17.0

This is in George Edwards' hand. The note that 7½ Coleman Street was later 21 Roscoe Street was made by Ferrend Radley.

1874 A new hospital built at the corner of Hackney Road and Goldsmith's Row (formerly Goldsmith's Place), architect William Ward Lee of Finsbury Circus. Beck and Lee were architects to the Improved Industrial Dwellings Company in the 1870s. "The building was in a very stripped-down version of the Queen Anne style, faced with white Colchester brick, relieved by red brick banding and window heads and strips of terra-cotta ornament and with an ornamental crested roof over the stair tower. The basement area to Goldsmith's Row was enclosed by substantial cast-iron railings". (Neil Burton)

19.9.1874 William Beck left to go to Australia with a deputation of London Quakers. Six weeks meeting decided that the work he had been doing as surveyor and assistant to the Clerk, must be done in future by a surveyor and and assistant clerk regularly appointed. (White 1971 p. 65).

1874 Behind the large new factory of De La Rue in Bunhill Row lay the disused Quaker burial ground.

The drawing is from The Architect October? 3rd 1874. Sources
The Scrap Album and fotolibra
In the fancy? drawing above from The Architect there seems to be an ornate entrance on Coleman Street and a view of the school behind. In the much later photograph from De La Rue's history website the open space of the ornate entrance has been filled in with another building.

See also Grace's Guide

De La Rue appear to have been at 210 Bunhill Row for some time. Possibly from when the firm was founded in Bunhill Row in 1837. At the Paris exhibition of 1867 the address is given as 210 Bunhill Row and they are associated with stationary and technical instruments.

Bunhill Fields (Quaker) Mission, Social Centre, Meeting

In 1874 the Bedford Institute used the ground for a Gospel Tent, seating 300 people, to hold mission meetings. Later the tent was acquired by William Booth, who used it for his own meetings held on another Quaker burial ground in Whitechapel.

May 1874 At one of the devotional meetings held during Yearly Meeting, Jonathan Grubb of Sudbury raised his concern that some use be made of the disused burial grounds at Bunhill Fields and Whitechapel, closed for internments for many years and of which no use was being made.

"The concern, so far as it referred to Bunhill Fields burial ground, took hold of J.B. Braithwaite, Junr., who had recently been converted and was eager to find some opportunity of working for Christ"

J.B. Braithwaite, Junior was authorised to attempt to raise the necessary funds for the erection of a tent. He succeeded and the first meeting was held on 11.7.1874. Meetings were continued every night during the summer and the Loyal United Friends Hall in Banner Street was engaged for the winter and the meetings carried on there. The tent was used again in the summer of 1875. (Bunhill 1924 p.7)

Winter 1875 An "Iron Room" with seating for about 400 people was erected at Bunhill. The work continued here until the memorial Buildings were opened.

1876 "About my Father's Business": Work amidst the sick, the sad, and the sorrowing by Thomas Archer, published [London] : Henry S. King. vi and 286 pages. Chapter: "With the poor and needy" (pages 227-247) centres on Chequer-alley and Hope Schools for All and is critical of the effects of Board Schools and Model Dwellings.

Minutes in FRA: Photocopies from minutes of six weeks meeting, and from its "Property book 1844-1799", in the Farrand Radley archive for 15.5.1876 - 26.6.1876 - 25.7. 1876 - 23.4.1877 - 27.8.1877 - 8.3.1880 - 5.9.1881 - 17.10.1881.

Before May 1876 Part of land sold to De La Rue [East and south side]. Part of the land sold to the School Board [south-west corner].

Does anyone know when the "Bunhill Row Chequer Street Council School 1876-1915" . actually opened? [See Hope for All]

Now Chequer Court, 3 Chequer Street, EC1Y (shown) it has the shadow of where the old memorial buildings butted on on to it.

13.5.1876 Offer from National Dwellings Society Limited

26.6.1876 Committee "persuaded that improved dwellings for the working classes and the missionary work that would be carried on in the .... new building for which they suggest a piece of ground should be set apart, will tend greatly to improve the moral and religious condition of the inhabitants... ". "The Committee recommends that a portion of the funds to be realized by this sale should be devoted by the Six Weeks Meeting to the erection of a substantial and commodious mission hall with some for re- internment of remains, and a Tablet placed in some conspicuous part stating that near this building are interred the remains of George Fox and other worthies"

May 1876 Canadian Quakers Joseph Baker (1823-1892) and his son Joseph Allen Baker (10.4.1852 - 3.7.1918) stayed in Finsbury and attended Yearly Meeting at Devonshire Hall. By August they had decided Britain offered a good market for their "sifters and mixers" (food machinery) and Joseph Allen was left to start the branch. it prospered and enabled him to marry Elizabeth Balmer Moscrip in a United Presbyterian Church in the Scottish Borders on 27.2.1878.

25.7. 1876

31.12.1876 Henry Peter Hart, a baker, married Emily Margaret Clemenson (20 years od) in St John, the parish church of Hoxton. His father was a leather cutter and Emily's father was a bootmaker. However, Emily's family was headed by her mother (same name) who was a brace maker. Emily herself was a boot binder. From 1881 (or before) to 1891 (or later) Henry Peter and Emily Margaret lived at 3 Beckford Square, off Old Street, and Emily watched the developments on the Quaker site.



The Committee on Bunhill Fields and Whitechapel Burial Grounds report that the portion of Bunhill Fields ground to the sale of which this meeting has assented, has now been sold to the National Dwellings Society for about £6000 [figure not completely clear]


Richard Smith reports that he has recieced th purchase money of the portion of Bunhill Fields sold to the London School Board and paid it to Barclays and Co as per following statement...

31.12.1877 A deed made between (1) Edward Marsh - William Beck - Robert Horne - James Vaston Baynes - Thomas Sterry Norton - Joseph Gurney Barclay - George Lynes Neighbour - Henry Neighbour and Richard Smith and (2) Warren de la Rue and (3) Warren de la Rue and Warren William de la Rue and Thomas Andros de la Rue and (4) Edwin Williams

James Vaston Baynes died Reigate, Surrey, 30.12.1883 aged 70.

The children of Warren de la Rue were Herbert, Ernest, Thomas Andros, Warren William and Alice Georgiana.

1878 Joseph Baker and Ann ?? Baker came to London from Canada to join Joseph Allen Baker Three more of their seven sons at some time became partners in the business: William King Baker, George Samuel Baker and Philip Barton Baker (5.1.1865-17.4.1916) Joseph Allen Baker took over the running of the firm after the death of their father, William King Baker looked after the accounts, George Samuel Baker was inventive and took care of the technical side of the business and Philip Barton Baker travelled and won custom world-wide. (source)

In visiting bakehouses, Joseph Allen BAker was "was horrified at the conditions which he found. Night-baking with intolerably long hours, the workers sleeping in their kneading-troughs, the kneading done with bare feet, no proper ventilation or sanitary arrangements, cockroaches, mice, and sometimes even rats in untold numbers - these were things that seemed to him as wrong and dangerous to the public as they plainly were to the workers themselves." (p.48)

Philip Barton Baker "was associated with the Bunhill Adult School from his boyhood and gave much time to night school work in the days when the younger members of the school had fewer educational advantages than they have now" [1917] Another son ?? was Philip (later Noel) Baker.

1878 Baker and sons factory opened in Taberbacle Walk, Finsbury.

1878 Night school classes started in the Iron Room by Joseph Bevan Braithwaite junior and Joseph Allen Baker, twice a week, "teaching the three Rs to anyone who cared to come".

1879 Visit by Joseph Bevan Braithwaite junior and J. Osborn, junior to the Mason Street Adult School in Hull.

Sunday 11.5.1879 A men's adult school was started by Joseph Bevan Braithwaite junior and Joseph Allen Baker in the Iron Room. Baker wrote:

"I was wakened by E.B.B at 6.30 am, and after hasty dressing got away to the Iron Room at 7.15... The attendance was twenty-one, and they all seemed to have the cause so earnestly at heart. Some spent the first hour writing (texts of Scripture); others came to my class for reading... We divided into two classes, J.B.B. taking one class and I the other... We sang "Rock of Ages", and then W.K. closed the meeting with prayer for blessing on the work".

1880 Report of the St. Luke's Gospel Medical Mission, for the benefit of the sick poor of Olde Street, Banner Street, Bunhill Row, Chequer Alley, Whitecross Street, Golden Lane, etc., at the Friends' Mission Hall, Coleman Street, near Bunhill Row, St. Luke's London, E.C. London : Abraham Kingdon & Co. [printers] 11 pages. Held in the Society of Friends Library.

about 1880. In her early twenties and expecting her first child, Emily Margaret Hart watched men with wheelbarrows move bones from the hole that was to become the Mission Hall and tip them into another hole close to the Chequer Street school wall. The bone pit was eventually capped with concrete a sand and surrounded by a wall. Later, she told her son George Frederick Hart about this.


1881 Baker factory moved to larger premises at 58 City Road. The works main entrance was in Bell Yard, of Featherstone Street. Growth led to additional premises on the opposite side of City Road in Craven Street. It moved to Willesdan in 1890.

3.4.1881 The Census has a No 12 District in Finsbury which "covers from 1 to and from 12 to 1 Coleman Street - 83 to 81 Bunhill Row, 73 to 57 and from 21 to 1 Banner Street, North Place, 80 to 73 Bunhill Row, St Lukes Place, something Yard, Wakefield Place, 166 to and ending at 126 Old Street including Tilney Court. The Asylum for the destitute at no 213 Banner Street." However, this starts with a large lodging house at 1 Banner Street run by John W. Ford (37) and Elizabeth Ford (34) and has no entries for Coleman Street.

3.4.1881 Frederick Pond is now a "fossil digger" and his wife Eliza a "fossil digger's wife". (source). Frederick Pond junior was a fossil diggger when he died (aged 18) of typhoid or influenza on 28.11.1874. See account of Stoney Hill. The Cambridgeshire caprolite industry declined in 1878 and then recovered until 1885 when a final decline started. By 1900 there were virtually no mines left. By 1891 the whole Pond family had moved to London. Some members of the family, including Henry Pond, maintained a keen interest in science.

May 1881 Baker and sons had a considerable exhibit of flour sifters and mixers and of biscuit making machinery of various kinds at the firt International Exhibition of Flour Mill Machinery

According to the 1881 Memorial Tablet, in 1880 a compulsory purchase of land for road-widening enabled the Bunhill Memorial Buildings to be built with a coffee tavern, school rooms, a medical mission, and the first meeting house on the site.

The minutes of Six Weeks Meeting photocopied for Ferrend Radley (above) say nothing about road widening, but do say that the money from the purchase of land by the Peabody Trust should be used to build the Memorial Hall. However, "Some notes on the housing question in Finsbury" by Thomas Bean in 1901 shows that the road widening scheme and the construction of Peabody Buildings were inter-related.




The architect was William Ward Lee and the builder William Brass and son of 47 Old Street, EC.


This marble stone was originally fixed in an inside room of the memorial building. After the second world war it stood outside the cottage before 1990/1991 when it was moved inside to prevent further damage. It may, in fact, have suffered some more damage in the restoration of 2006. After that, it was fixed in its present position.

These buildings stand on part of the OLD BUNHILL FIELDS BURIAL GROUND: The First FREEHOLD possessed by LONDON FRIENDS used by them for BURIALS during nearly TWO HUNDRED YEARS it was closed to such purposes in 1855.

In 1880 The Metropolitan Board of Works purchased parts of the PROPERTY for widening STREETS from which and also from the Site of these Premises all remains of Internments being first carefully removed were re-interred in the GROUND adjoining And out of the PROCEEDS of such compulsory Sales these BUILDING with their HALLS COFFEE-TAVERN CLUB and COMMITTEE ROOMS HAVE BEEN BUILT.

Near this spot GEORGE FOX was interred in 1690 previously EDWARD BURROUGH and some NINETY other MARTYR FRIENDS Who died in LONDON PRISONS HAD BEEN BURIED HERE.

To the Memory of these Ancient Worthies and for the furtherance of RELIGIOUS MORAL and PHILANTHROPIC OBJECTS are these BUILDINGS now DEDICATED by the SOCIETY of FRIENDS in LONDON, in the hope thereby to promote the best welfare and happiness of the surrounding population

LONDON 10 Mo 1881

The Bunhill Coffee Taverns Ltd
Two views of a broken cup dug up in the cottage garden

The tavern and inn were a commercial venture. Their managers were the Hain family and the Pond family

Bunhill Coffee Taverns Ltd, 21 Roscoe Street
Other premises

1912: (Trade Directory) Bunhill Coffee Taverns Ltd (Arthur J. Lush Manager), East Barnet Road, New Barnet

1914 (Trade Directory): Burnham, Somerset. Life Boat Coffee Tavern and Restaurant. (Bunhill Coffee Taverns Limited, proprietors) High St and Victoria St.

1917 (Land Tax Records) and later: 86 Old Street. Bunhill Coffee Taverns Ltd. Shop.

1882 Provision was made (by six weeks meeting) for "a good and sufficient supply of annual and perennial roots each spring for the borders at Bunhill" from 1862. (White 1971 p. 57).

1883 Peabody Estate (East) replaced the maze of crowded streets and alleyways to the south of the new Bunhill Quaker recreation ground and mission. The plan is undated but before 1940. Members of the Bunhill people who lived on this estate included William James Gibson (T Block) and George Frederick Hart (S Block)

"To walk through EC1 is to take a journey through more than a hundred years of social housing. That journey starts with the Peabody Estate in Whitecross Street and Roscoe Street which was opened in 1883." David Green and Eoin Dunne "Public Housing Pioneers".

25.12.1885 George Frederick Hart born in Finsbury. His family were living at 3 Beckford Square in 1891, but ha moved to 17 Guest Street by 1901. 17 Guest Street became 17 R Block, Peabody Buildings R Block Peabody Buildings, Guest Street, Roscoe Street, London E C by 19111. In 1911 his family had three rooms there but George was living alone in one room at 23 R Block. He was at 23 Block S. Peabody Buildings in 1938. He started voluntary work at Bunhill when he was 17 (1903) and continued there until he was 70 (1956). He married Bessie E Chamberlain in the spring of 1956 and moved to Hertfordshire. He died in the autumn of 1974 in Hertfordshire.

George wrote that "Up to the first war Bunhill was a real live Quaker Centre in Finsbury but the war came J.B.B. went over to the Military and that split the work up, and when it was over Bunhill never recovered it. In what I saw and know was happening there is too bad to write about and it is best that a curtain be drawn over the years between 1920 and the passing of J.B. Braithwaite and W.R. Harvey".

1887 Philanthropy and five per cent: the National Dwellings Society, Limited, founded by A. T. Hawkins, for the purpose of providing improved dwellings for the working classes. National Dwellings Society

The Bunhill Fields buildings of 1881 were extended in 1888 with the Adult School, on the right of the picture. On the left is the Bunhill Coffee Tavern, and between them the meeting house. The small building at the far right (east) was the caretaker's cottage. It is all that remains, and is now where Bunhill Quakers meet. On 26.5.1888 sons of Joseph Bevan Braithwaite and Joseph Allan Baker laid two memorial stones for the extension. The extension was opened on 1.12.1888

20.1.1888 An Agreement relating to a wall on the Western boundary of the land made between (1) The Governors of the Peabody Donation Fund (2) The Trustees of the Six Weeks Meeting of The Society of Friends and (3) The Trustees of the Bedford Institute.

5.5.1889 to 31.10.1889 The Exposition Universelle in Paris celebrated the French Revolution of 1789. Its entrance was the new Eiffel Tower constructed of puddled iron, a form of purified wrought iron and was designed by Gustave Eiffel. Notable British Exhibits included food machinery manufactured by Joseph Baker and sons.

1.11.1889 Philip John Baker, sixth of seven children of Elizabeth Balmer and Joseph Allen Baker, born (at Donnington (house name) near Willesden?). He married married Irene Noel, a field hospital nurse in East Grinstead, in 1915 and they called themselves Noel- Baker. He died 8.10.1982,

About 1890 Arthur Pond (aged 21) bought the ironmongers shop he worked in at Old Street from the widow of his former employer. (Pond family tree)

Arthur Pond and his older brother Henry became friends of Joseph Allen Baker (Baker and Baker 1927 p.134)

25.7.1890 An agreement relating to footings and foundation of part of the wall on the southern boundary of the land made between (1) The Trustees of the Six Weeks Meeting of the Society of Friends and (2) The School Board for London.

Sunday 5.6.1891 The census lists the Memorial Buildings Adult School in Roscoe Street as uninhabited and Bunhill Coffee Tavern as inhabited. There were also several warehouses (uninhabited) in Roscoe Street. [I cannot find anyone living in Roscoe Street in 1891 apart from those in the Coffee Tavern/Inn. Those present in Roscoe Street: Bunhill Coffee Tavern were
James Hain, Coffee Tavern Manager, aged 42
Catherine Hain, his wife, Coffee Inn Manager aged 34
William W. (son) 14
Ellen Mary (daughter) 12
James Frederick (son) 9
Florenca Margaret (daughter) 5, born Herefordshire
Ellen F. born 27.7.1890 in St Lukes, London.
The following were boarders:
George Taylor 46
Alfred Baldwin 21
Frederick Jones 44
Edward Melton 38
Sydney Pickard 30
William H Brand 47
William Jackson 44
Waller Carey 28
Harry E Lissett 24
O S Smith 49
George V Kellick 43
William Edwin 23
Francis Gauld 61
William Shuttleworth 28
Charles S Reverie 38.
Sydney Pickard and William Jackson were Coffee Tavern Assistants.

Sunday 5.6.1891 Rosa Ann Brewer (24) was living with her brothers Alfred W., a carman (29), Edward, an iron-moulder (27) and John H., an errand boy (17) at 6 Watts Cottages, Mill Lane, St John, Hampstead. She is not "employed", which probably means she was looking after her brothers.
As Rosa Ann Pond, Rosa took part in Finsbury politics as a Liberal and when she left Roscoe Street in 1930 she was presented with a silver teapot in appreciation of her work.

Sunday 5.6.1891 Frederick Pond and his wife Eliza now live at 9 West End, Hampstead where he was the manager of the coffee shop. With them lived some of their sons: Henry Pond (29), an insurance clerk, Alfred Pond (19) Coffee House Assistant, Walter Pond (16) Ironmonger's Assistant and Edward Pond (13) Coffee House Assistant. They had all been born in Cambridgeshire

Henry Pond applied for the post of keeper of the Bunhill Coffee Tavern, in February 1889. He had to be a married man so this hastened the marriage to Rosa Brewer at the Emmanuel Church in West Hampstead on 29.10.1891 (Peter Pond, grandson, 2007)

about 1894 Henry and Rosa A. Pond had a son Frank H Pond. In 1894 Henry Pond was the only person in Roscoe Street entitled to vote in a Parliamentary election.

See 1901 and 1911

Henry and Rosa were still on the electoral register at 21 Roscoe Street in 1930 - as was Joseph Bevan Braithwaite. Henry and Rosa stayed in Roscoe Street until they retired in 1930 to Welwyn Garden City.

George Hart says "the Cottage... was the home of Mr Pond who was the Manager of the Coffee Tavern. The cottage contained 3 rooms and a small off room. The basement was the kitchen, the ground floor room was the sitting room and the top floor was the bedroom and the small off-room their son's room. There was a passage way from the cottage that took one into the Coffee House"


Monday 19.11.1894 Alfred Templeton Hawkins, J.P., remanded at the Mansion House on a charge of fraudulently applying to his own use a cheque of £1,200 belonging to the National Dwellings Company


1896 The establishment of a Preparative Meeting at Bunhill Fields was approved by Monthly Meeting on "16th of 7th month 1896, Women Friends being present". The first Preparative Meeting was held on 1.9.1896 and meetings have been held without a break since that date. (1973 Report)

On the east wall of the meeting room it said For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son

January/February 1896 Alfred Templeton Hawkins, director of the National Dwellings Society, convicted of four acts of fraudulent misappropriation of the company's money. Sentenced to five years. (The Teesdale Mercury Wednesday 2.2.1896).

11.4.1900 Philip Barton Baker acknowledged a minister by Devonshire House Monthly Meeting. He was a true minister of the Gospel... Perhaps the most remarkable of all was his power in prayer".

31.3.1901 Census for Memorial Building Roscoe Street - Coffee Tavern [and] Meeting House. South side:

Henry Pond 39 Coffee Tavern Manager
Rosa A Pond 34
Frank H Pond 7 - born St Luke, Old Street
Edward Brewer 27
David R Hemmings 23
William G Amgo 22
Thoophilis W Marie 47
Thomas Wyld 46
Robert Shattock 38
James Smith 41
Frederick Grainger 19
James J Heggins 54
James E Heggins 19
Frederick J H Garrott 30
William Lloyd 64
Arthur Brook 30
Herman Gsbeer 64
Frederick P Brans 24
John Jobson 35
George L Parker 43
George E Brook 33
James Gardiner 50
James Collins 39
Harry Pearson 21
Harris Goldman 52
Ernest H Park 19
Ernest V Cranton 20

1903 George Frederick Hart began voluntary work at Bunhill. Sometime between 1901 and 1911 his paid employment ceased being a packer and he became a store-keeper working in the motor car tyre vulcaniser industry.


Joseph Bevan Braithwaite junior became chairman of the City of London Electric Lighting Company which had one of its two power stations on the Regent's Canal at the City Road basin, near Bunhill. George Hart wrote about the Memorial Buildings that:

"The whole building was lit by gas until J.B.B. became the Chairman of the Electric light works in City road when he had the whole place wired by E. Leget and it was the first large place in Finsbury to have it in."

1908 plan of Bunhill Fields Meeting House

The new
De La Rue was purpose built in 1874. The recreation ground appears to fit in with it and I suspect that it was laid out between 1874 and 1876 and that this is when Eli Ridley was photographed with the bench, tree and stone.

The Bunhill Hymn and Song Books

The proper Quaker meetings for worship in Britain are songless. But not all Quaker meetings are proper meetings for worship. The Bunhill Mission had its silent meeting for worship, but around it were the Mission meetings - That needed hymn books and songbooks. Some of these survive.

  • Fellowship Hymn Book Published by The National Adult School Union and The Brotherhood Movement, Incorporated. The hymnbook was first published in 1909. There are two copies at Bunhill. One is the second edition of March 1933.

  • Fellowship Song Book (Part 1) Twelve copies survive. Stamped "J. B. Braithwaite. The Highlands, New Barnet". This contains 87 songs.. "for indoor or open-air singing" prepared "on behalf of The National Adult School Union, The Co-operative Holidays Association, The Holiday Fellowship, The Workers' Educational Association, The Home Music Study Union, and for the general use of clubs, social unions and public schools" by B H. Walford Davies, whose Preface is dated "Temple Church, E.C. June 1915"
  • 2.4.1911

    4 Rooms in 21 Roscoe Street
    Henry Pond 49
    Rosa Ann Pond 44
    Frederick Henry Pond 17
    George Whish 42 Boarder. Warehouseman Drapers. Born Lambeth

    23 Rooms in 21 Roscoe Street
    Frederick Herman Gehloen 38
    William John Carrigall 30
    George Louis Parker 54
    John Thomas Huckell 41
    George Herbert Geere 20
    George Walker 55
    Robert Arthur Hickes 40
    Reginald James Partington 42
    John Wingfield 28
    Maurice Marshall 18
    Richard Barraclough 40
    Walter Henry John Fletcher 21
    William Peters 44
    Peter Oneill 39
    William Gill 45


    William Braithwaite 1912 The Beginnings of Quakerism. Macmillan

    1914 Joseph Bevan Braithwaite supported Quakers fighting in the first world war. In a letter to The Friend he called upon the Society to recognise "that the use of force against evil [i.e., the Hun] is not only permissible but necessary." The issues are discussed by Thomas Kennedy- See 1921

    According to Ted Milligan (1986) Joseph Bevan Braithwaite Junior was "A Quaker from beginning to end, although during WW1 he put up a banner at Bunhill 'The British flag is the Christian flag - Join Up'"

    Segregation of men and women in a Quaker meeting. As far as I know, this was a feature of Quakerism and did not happen in other Christian Churches

    The separation of men and women was linked to the idea of a role for each. Quakers were organised into men's meetings and women's meetings and each had its responsibilities.

    "The Presence in the Midst" was painted by J. Doyle Penrose in 1916. The first time I saw it was above the mantlepiece at Bunhill in the 1970s. I did not see the figure of Jesus - only the Quakers sitting men on one side and women on the other. It reminded me of a friend who told me that, as a young woman about this time, she sat down in meeting and became aware of a weighty Quakeress above her who said "Thou art sitting with the men", and escorted her to the women's side. This is what people called "eldering". I only saw the figure of Christ when someone used the picture to minister against him. The picture was removed from the wall in a general purge of Bunhill pictures in the 1990s. I grieved. I liked Bunhill's pictures.

    1917: "Our Bunhill Fields Branch has suffered a severe loss during the year in the death of Philip B. Baker. Especially in the Men's School and the Meeting for Worship has this loss been felt" (Annual Report The Bedford Institute Association)


    William Braithwaite 1919 The Second Period of Quakerism. Macmillan

    1921 Paddling Pool on beach at Burnham on Sea built as a gift from John Bevan and Margaret Grace Braithwaite. A tablet was attached by the town that explains the gift:
    "The adjacent paddling and boat sailing pool was presented to the town of Burnham-on-Sea by Mr and Mrs J.B. Braithwaite as a thank offering for the safe return of their five sons from the great war and in proud and grateful remembrance of the local men who laid down their lives at the call of duty"

    Apr-May-Jun 1922 Registration of birth of Edward H Milligan in Coventry. Mother's Maiden Surname: Rowlands. Edward Hyslop Milligan (born 1922), also known as Ted Milligan, is a Quaker historian. He was responsible for the Library at Friends House, London from 1957 to 1985. He was succeeded by Malcolm J Thomas. See 1914 - Fox's stone 1940 and 1986 notes

    1924 Fifty Years' Work at Bunhill Fields. July 11th, 1874 to July 11, 1924. George Fox tercentenary. Born July 1624, Buried at Bunhill Fields, 1690, 300th Anniversary of his birth, July 1924 Published by the Society of Friends Bookshop, 140 Bishopsgate, London, EC2. Price Sixpence)

    "Jesus Christ is the solution of the problems of 1924 just as he was of the problems of 1874 and has been all through the ages" (50th anniversary history 1924)

    Jenkins folk
    1925 Bertie Jenkins applied for Quaker membership. Some members were uneasy about accepting him because, although he was a teetotaller, he was employed by a brewery. Bertie's wife was Beatrice, who also became a member. The family lived at 14 Kent Street, Haggerston, from 1922 (or earlier) to 1940.

    Photographed about 1929? Marjorie, Muriel and Olive Jenkins and the cat. Their grandfather called them Margarine; Pegtops and Olive Oil. Beatrice had five daughters: Marjorie was born in 1921, Muriel in 1923, Olive in 1926, Kathleen in 1933, and Patricia in 1935.
    Photographed about 1939? Patricia and Kathleen Jenkins, the youngest sisters.

    1927 J. Allen Baker, M.P. Member of Parliament. A memoir by Elizabeth Balmer Baker and P.J. Noel Baker London. The Swarthmore Press Ltd. Museum Street.

    1927 De La Rue moved their fountain pen factory from Bunhill Row, London to Strathendry Factory, in the Leven Valley, Fife, Scotland. Some thirty skilled workers were brought from London. source

    1930 plan of the Society of Friends premises in Roscoe Street

    (sometime Clerk of Six Weeks Meeting)

    "George Hart's description of the Memorial Buildings at the time of their destruction. G. Hart grew up at Bunhill and was present at the time when the bomb fell as he lived quite near he acted as the Caretaker (unpaid) and Gardener; he has since died. For several years he was a member of Six Weeks". (Transcription by G.W.E)

    There was a large Hall. Underneath was a Basement of about the same size. Then came the Coffee Tavern (Bunhill Coffee Taverns Ltd it was called) which held about 50 persons. Under this was their large kitchen. Above the Coffee Shop was about 5 rooms. One of these was known as J. B. Braithwaite's Private Room and it was in that room he slept every Saturday night on one of those old fashioned Bookcase Beds. It looked like a bookcase in the day, but at night it could be turned round and then a bed let down into the room. He slept in this room and not in the cottage because there was no room there for him to do so.

    In this room was held the Oversight Committee and all Committees connected with the work. I spent many an hour in that room. There were other rooms which were used by borders who lived and slept there and they had a large reading room. There was a large Lavt [lavatory] there for their use. You got to these rooms up a round about wooden stair at the back of the Coffee Tavern but later on another entrance was made that led out on the stone staircase which I will tell you about.

    At the back of the Coffee Tavern there was a room with window facing the burial ground and it was known as the Small Hall. This could hold about 70 P. [people]. Underneath this was an open store with stone steps that went up to the burial ground. This room was reached by a passage that came from the front door of Roscoe Street. From this passage there was another stone staircase that took one into the basement under the large hall.

    On top of the small hall were about 3 rooms that could hold 70. 50. 60 people and folk who used them had to go up a stone staircase to reach them. It was on this staircase that the Fire Exit door for the boarders rooms over the Coffee Tavern came out.

    Then came the Cottage which was the home of Mr Pond who was the Manager of the Coffee Tavern. The cottage contained 3 rooms and a small off room. The basement was the kitchen, the ground floor room was the sitting room and the top floor was the bedroom and the small off-room their son's room. There was a passage way from the cottage that took one into the Coffee House.

    This is all I can say about the the make up of the Memorial Buildings. Some 4 years after the M.B. was built the Extension Building was built at the back of the large hall. This building consisted of two small rooms just inside the front door that led into Roscoe Street. Then an open space and at the end was a large room which could hod about 70 people. Under the ground floor were the men's and women's Lavt [lavotaries] and the boiler house.

    It was in this room and ground floor that one of the first Medical Missions was held. Young Quaker doctors and nurses came and gave their time to it and Fred Braithwaite [was] Sec. [secretary] and Treasurer of it.

    From the ground floor there was a wide stone staircase which went up to the first floor where there was 2 large rooms. One room held about 70 to 100 people and the other 50. The stone staircase then went up to the next floor and there was there 4 rooms that could hold 70, 60, 20 folk.

    It was in this Extension that the BIA [Bedford Institute Association] started their Bunhill work. They had received a lease from 6 W. M. [Six Weeks Meeting]

    At the side of the Large Hall is the Main Building between that wall and the wall that was round the L.C.C. School was a mound of earth. Under this were the bones that were taken up from the Burial Ground when the Memorial Buildings was built. These were covered by about 6" of cement and then about 3 feet of sand on the top of it. My mother told me how she watched the men with wheelbarrows take these bones and dump them into the pit that was dug to put them in.

    The ground was surrounded by a brick wall. I am wondering now, now that the flats have been built there, if it is still there?

    I should also have said that there was a stone staircase that came off Roscoe Street and went down to the lower hall in the main building. There was also man's Lavt and kitchen at the back of the lower hall in the main building

    The whole building was lit by gas until J.B.B. [Joseph Bevan Braithwaite] became the Chairman of the Electric light works in City road when he had the whole place wired by E. Leget and it was the first large place in Finsbury to have it in.

    Now I come to [the end of?] my story of the Memorial Building its contents. I hope I have been able to help you but please excuse bad spelling etc as I am now a Reg Blind Person and my hearing is very bad.

    My wife is keeping fairly well but I am up and down but have been able to get into the garden at times when the find days and sunshine are about to do a little there. I hope you and yours are all keeping well and will continue so.

    I could tell you a lot more about Bunhill but I will not bore you. Up to the first war Bunhill was a real live Quaker Centre in Finsbury but the war came J.B.B. went over to the Military and that split the work up, and when it was over Bunhill never recovered it. In what I saw and know was happening there is too bad to write about and it is best that a curtain be drawn over the years between 1920 and the passing of J.B. Braithwaite and W.R. Harvey.

    I know that the Germans done a good service to the Quaker Church by destroying it. The cottage was saved by the efforts of Violet Alice Oliver and myself and I have often wondered whether we did the right thing or should have let it go up in flames with the other part of the building. I did my best to revive the Quaker work in the Cottage (with the help of some Friends)

    [George Hart then indicates tha the had problems with the "Jenkins folk"]

    John Woolman Settlement

    Charles Robert Simpson, born 1882, was a Barnsley miner. He married Agnes Annie Stimpson at the Wesleyan Reform Chapel in Barnsley 20.8.1904. Via his Trade Union he who went to study at Ruskin College in Oxford, and later studied at Woodbrooke, the Quaker college in Birmingham. In 1916 he set up the John Woolman Settlement in Islington, named after an American Quaker who pioneered ethical living. Charles Simpson was active in the Labour Party. He was elected to London County Council for Finsbury in 8.3.1928 and 5.3.1931 and was Mayor of Islington 1930-1931. In 1930 he and Agnes lived at 28 Duncan Terrace, St Peter's Ward. In 1931 the John Woolman Settlement moved to Bunhill, joining the existing adult education facilities provided by the Bedford Institute, but its activities took over much of the building, including use of the former coffee tavern as a common room.


    Hubert Lidbetter apointed surveyor to six weeks meeting. Martin Lidbetter, his son, succeded hin in 1957.

    1936 Bunhill Coffee Taverns Ltd, late of 21 Roscoe Street and 86 Old Street, London, EC1 went into voluntary liquidation (London Gazette 27.10.1936 pages 6852 and 6857

    1937 William Kent's An Encyclopedia of London (1937/1951) has an entry on the "Quaker Burial Ground in Bunhill Fields"

    1939 Frederick J. Hunt, clerk of six weeks meeting, died suddenly. [William?] Knight Dix [1873-1950?] and George William Edwards were the next clerks. (to 1951?).

    Fox's stone 1940-1986. The painted years

    Ted Milligan told Farrand Radley that "about 1940" he first saw the Fox stone against the wall in the back garden of the cottage. He said "it was painted green". In 1980, Douglas Wollan from Wesley's Chapel told Farrand Radley that the state of the stone caused criticism from visitors when he showed it to them. Farrand Radley wrote to George W. Bush, Secretary to Six Weeks Meeting, on 6.7.1980 "I had a look at it myself, and the bottom part of the inscription is quite illegible through tarnishing, the obvious result of neglect". On 18.8.1986 Six Weeks Meeting were "concerned to hear that the condition of the headstone is deteriorating". The Six Weeks Meeting surveyor, John Marsh, found it still suffering from a coat of paint and had it restored by a specialist surveyor. (Farrand Radley memo to Robert, G. Avery 29.9.1986).

    Bunhill becomes the rimless bowl

    Autumn 1939 Olive Jenkins evacuated to Hertfordshire. She returned in March 1940

    In September 1940 and again in December 1940 the Bunhill Row, London, works of the printers De La Rue & Co. received direct hits from bombs and the premises, which had been purpose built for the printing company in 1874, were destroyed.

    Photograph from the De La Rue's history website. The text says "On 11 September 1940 the company's Bunhill Row factories were destroyed in the Blitz. De La Rue quickly made arrangements to resume printing elsewhere and was able to honour all commitments".

    The Bunhill Memorial Buildings were bombed twice. Probably the same bombs that destroyed De La Rue and Company - but some people say in 1941. All that remains is the caretaker's cottage, still used today as the meeting house.

    "I know that the Germans done a good service to the Quaker Church by destroying it. The cottage was saved by the efforts of Violet Alice Oliver and myself and I have often wondered whether we did the right thing or should have let it go up in flames with the other part of the building. I did my best to revive the Quaker work in the Cottage" (George Frederick Hart)

    "In 1940 the large meeting house and school rooms were destroyed by bombing, as were many of the homes of Friend living nearby and the meeting became small in numbers" (Bertie Jenkins memorial 1971)

    September 1941 Possibly here that the Jenkins family returned from stay with an Aunt in Westbury, Wiltshire, "My father found us 82 Lenthall Road when we returned".

    "When we returned there were only a few Friends and attenders able to remain. These had made it possible to clear the cottage enough to hold morning and evening Meetings. The cottage was frameless, so they had to put up plastic at the windows, the roof being covered by tarpaulin. A few forms had been restored for use from the old Meeting. Many of the other users had salvaged and saved what they could and left the area. Most local people had left the area, as the war was in progress. We still kept Meetings and women Adult School going between air raids." (Olive 2011)

    George Davies 1942 Joseph Rowntree Gillett, A Memoir. George Allen and Unwin.

    Bunhill compensation funds Quaker meeting houses

    Six weeks meeting had paid for "War Damage Insurance" on Bunhill because a income-bearing (commercial) it was not registered as a place of religious worship. Compensation was received for both the premises and the site. In December 1969 George William Edwards wrote:

    "This money has ben used to make grants towards building new meeting houses and improving old meeting houses in districts where Friends" [Quakers} "now live. It has all been used".

    30.9.1947 Aerial photograph (from Britain from above) shows Bunhill caretakers cottage almost at the centre. The block of trees at the top is the Dissenters Burial Ground, below it can be seen the tops of two trees in the Quaker gardens, the cottage and (to the right) the school and Peabody Estate. Most of the buildings on Banner Street and Roscoe Street have been destroyed. The rubble has been cleared and Bunhill's little building and gardens stands at the edge of a flat plain. The full picture, below it, shows how the rubble had been cleared and consolidated on other bomb sites.

    Buildings were slow to fill the spaces. It was almost twenty years (1966) before the tower block Braithwaite House and the two storey Quaker Court joined the Meeting House to make the square around the gardens.

    The Bunhill collection of books and archives

    Bookcase in the basement room has a brass plate "Presented by Bunhill Womens Adult School 1949"

    Upstairs, a women's adult school met under tarpaulins. They bought a bookcase for the books that had survived and this formed the library in the cottage that had now become a meeting house

    The collection was catalogued by Molly Porter in 1976

    Braithwaite 1912 - Braithwaite 1919 - Baker and Baker 1927 - 1942 -

    1950 At Bunhill: "In view of the growing danger to him by stone- throwing, by catapult and hand by the young life of the district who object to being told to refrain from damaging etc our property" the caretaker had said he could no longer give oversight to more than the cottage and the garden. Monthly meeting premises committee were "unable to find another Friends to underate this service under the present dangerous conditions". (White 1971 p. 112).

    Table in memory of "William James Gibson 1859-1952"

    1.1.1952 Death of William James Gibson

    In 1911 William James Gibson was "caretaker of a Mission Hall (non-residential)". I think it is reasonable to assume that this was Bunhill - He and his family lived at 11 T Block Peabody Buildings Guest-street London EC1. This was his address when he died on 1.1.1952. Probate London 26.1.1952 to George Frederick Hart retired shopkeeper. Effects £398 16s 3d.

    In July 1931 the family of Joseph Allen Baker gave William Gibson a copy of J. Allen Baker, M.P.

    William James Gibson 9.3.1859, baptised 27.3.1859 at St Giles Cripplegate, London. Parents John and Hester Gibson. -

    Wednesday 6.2.1952 Death of George 6th - birth of the new Elizabethan age

    1952 Repairs to the cottage - a stone - a garden

    £869 spent on repairs

    1945 - 1957 - 1963 - 1965 - 1967 - 1968 - 1969 -

    16.7.1952 The Quaker Garden opened as a public garden by the Mayor of Finsbury, Alderman E.F. Johnson, J.P.. Present were J. Frederick Braithwaite (who spoke), Joseph Gurney Braithwaite and John Bevan Braihtwaite. "Another speaker was George W. Edwards, Clerk of the Six Weeks Meeting, which has leased the ground to the Council at a peppercorn rent for 21 years. Later in the evening an exhibition game was played on the renovated tennis court by the Wimbledon players, P.J. Brophy (Australia) and S. Stockenberg (Sweden). The ground is now known as "The Quaker Garden". Its memorial slab of Westmoreland slate [was] designed by Hubert Lidbetter" [The Friend 25.7.1952]

    In 1952 a new memorial stone of Westmorland slate was placed near where George Fox is thought to be buried. 1952 was the 300th anniversary of George Fox's meeting with the Seekers in the north west of England on 13.6.1652 which is sometimes taken as the start of organised Quakerism.

    "This garden is on the site of Bunhill Fields burial ground which was acquired by the Society of Friends Quakers in 1661. The remains of many thousands of Friends lie buried here including George Fox the founder of the Society of Friends who died 13th January 1691"

    Notes in Farrand Radley archive) says cost of stone put at £1,000 by George William Edwards in May 1981.

    The 1881 memorial stone to George Fox was moved and now stands along the brick wall in the meeting house garden.

    Olive Yarrow wrote "In 1952 the Burial Ground was handed over to the Finsbury Council as an open space. A granite stone was placed where it was thought George Fox was reinterred giving some of the history of Quakers. As Six Weeks Meeting were guardians of Meeting Houses, etc, they arranged the change. The our Elder died and at the same time the Friend who had become Elder left us so he could get married." ["Then" apparently includes 1952 to 1956]

    George William Edwards, sometime Clerk of Six Weeks Meeting, was born on 8.8.1892 and died 27.12.1983. His first wife, Irene Llloyd born 1897, died 12.1.1957 in Bermondsey. In 1964 he married Edith M [probably May] Simmons in Bromley, Kent. Their address on 2.1.1981, when he wrote to Farrand Radley, was 15 Westland Drive, Hayes, Bromley, Kent, BRZ, 7HE. His papers are in the library at Friends House.

    The Quaker Burial Ground, Bunhill Fields, London by George W. Edwards. Four pages printed by Headley Brothers Ltd, 109 Kingsway, London WC2 and Ashford Kent. No date. Open Library reference OL21840218M. Open Library gives date as 1950, but this is inconsistent with mention of [1952?] memorial stone:

    "As Friends had not allowed memorial stones to be placed on individual graves it is not possible to identify any particular grave, but tradition has always said that George Fox was buried about where the memorial stone has recently been placed. The stone of greenish colour comes from a quarry near to Swarthmore Hall, the home of George and Margaret Fox, often called "The Cradle of Quakerism". It commemorates all who are buried here."

    George William Edwards told Farrand Radley on 2.1.1981 that "I wrote the pamphlet in response to a request by Bunhill friends when we were handing over to local council" and "the flat green edged Memorial Stone near entrance gate was put there by Six Weeks when we leased the ground to Local Council."

    By 1940 the character of the district had changed so that when the premises were destroyed during the 1939-1945 war, the Bedford Institute asked to be relieved of their liability.

    The local Borough Council had given notice of their intention of zoning the area for residential purposes and refused to allow any other re-building. As the caretakers house had survived it was fitted out for use of the Meeting for worship, and the remaining land leased to Finsbury Council as a Garden of Rest for elderly folk, and a part laid out again as a tennis court for younger people.

    The Six Weeks Meeting, which was the Finance and Property Committee of London and Middlesex Quarterly Meeting, who have always been the owners of the burial ground, still retain the freehold.

    24.1.1953 Marriage of Ernie Yarrow and Olive Jenkins on the top floor at Bunhill - whish was then used for meetings. They then lived at Greenwood Road until 1966 when they moved to South Woodford.

    "In January 1953 I myself got married to Ernest Yarrow in the upper floor of Bunhill. There were about a hundred family and friends at the service. I was told later the floor of the building could have caved in as the beams of the cottage were damaged in the fire. So as the women of the Adult School who used this floor for their meetings were shaken they left the Meeting House." (Olive 2011)

    "Kathleen Derbyshire came to Bunhill sometime in the 1950s. I am not sure of the date of her arrival, but she arrived and was very friendly and fitted in with us. She was teaching somewhere near Buckingham Palace" (Olive)

    1956 Olive became Clerk to Bunhill Fields Meeting. "It was a small meeting, so I had to wear many hats."

    "our Elder died and at the same time the Friend who had become Elder left us so he could get married. We held a meeting to see if we could keep going, so my father, Bertie Jenkins, became Elder, Mother became Overseer, I became Clerk to Meeting, and Kathleen, my sister, was the Treasurer. My other sisters helped where they could, and Kathleen Wigham began to get help from other Meetings."

    1956 to 1959 Reginald Yates clerk to six weeks meeting. He was thanked for having organised social gatherings to mark the retirements oh Hubert Lidbetter and Stanley J. Forward, and gatherings to welcome George William Edwards home from a trip to America in 1958. (White 1971 p. 88).

    1957 £393 spent on renewal of external brickwork, plaster and redecorations.

    6.5.1957 A Transfer of land made between Friends Trust Limited and The Mayor Aldermen and Councillors of The Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury

    17.3.1962 In her 40s, Kathleen Derbyshire married Wilfrid Southall Wigham, a Quaker and a member of the Independent Labour Party. He died fifteen years later

    1963 Considerable correspondence, discussion and exchange of minutes. £795 spent on repairs to counteract dampness in the walls and basement, and improvements to the lavatories and kitchen

    1965 Repairs: £265 spent on removing the wooden floor in the basement and replacing it with a concrete floor. [But this seems to need doing in 1968!]"

    The flats arise around the garden

    Up till 1965 Finsbury was a separate borough but after the reorganisation of London local government it was amalgamated with Islington, although as a place name Finsbury is still currently used and recognised by older local residents and remains much in evidence on the street signs present in the district. source

    1.4.1965: The 1963 London Government Act came into force. Kenneth Campbell was housing architect the London County Council and its successor, the Greater London Council, from 1960 to 1974. Building.co.uk speaks of his department using "bold combinations of high-and low-rise blocks". The design background to London County Council/Greater London Council's housing schemes around Bunhill can be read about in "London County Council architects" (active between about.1940 to 1965) by Elain Harwood.

    1966 First tenants move into Quaker Court and Braithwaite House. Quaker Court is a two storey range of flats, some constructed on the actual site of the 1881 Memorial Building and Braithwaite House is an almost twenty-storey tower block. [See picture 1971].

    "The Quaker burial grond with its trees forms a green oasis in the centre of the site". (1973 Report 1.1]

    Different figures exist for Braithwaite House. It may be 55 metres high with 19 floors and 108 dwellings

    "Quaker Court 2, Finsbury, London, GLC Architects, 1967" has been tagged by Simon Phipps (who photgraphed it from the Podium) as "Quaker Court Finsbury GLC Architects GLC post war public housing modernist modernism modernist architecture brutalist brutalism brutalist architecture architecture" in a blog posted 15.6.2015

    1967 Violet Kray moved from 178 Vallance Road Hackney to a flat on the ninth floor of Braithwaite House.

    8.5.1968 Reginald and Ronnie Kray arrested in a dawn raid on the flat of their mother, Violet, in Braithwaite House (BBC)

    30.12.1968: Tony Back wrote to the borough architect, who replied

    "The adjoining Burial Ground is in fact leased to the Council as a public open space, and is zoned as such in the Initial Development Plan for Islington. This zoning also covers the existing meeting house and garden and, although the Council has at present no plans to implement the zoning, I am of the opinion that it is unlikely that planning permission for the rebuilding of the meeting house would be forthcoming"

    Let us be reasonable. We cannot afford to maintain Bunhill for the benefit of a handful of eccentric Quakers who do not even live in the district!

    16.12.1968 Minute of Six Weeks Meeting:

    "The matter of Bunhill premises has been discussed many times in the past and it is now the view of this meeting that the number of Friends residing in the neighbourhood does not warrant the provision of a new Meeting House, nor the heavy expenditure on the maintenance of the upkeep of the old cottage, which is at present used for Meeting for Worship."

    Dear God...

    Bunhill: Memorandum from Bunhill Fields Preparative Meeting June 1969. To all interested Friends. Signed Kathleen Wigham.

    Bunhill Concern June 8th 1969 New Barnet. K. Wigham spoke.

    Memorandum in Olive Yarrow's handwriting:

    "The last few months have brought some anxious moments to us at Bunhill. But in our Meetings for Worship and at other times away from our Meeting we have become more aware of a growing power of prayer that has surrounded us through our difficulties. We have become increasingly aware that there is in our Society, as a whole, a fervent feeling that Bunhill is cherished not just because of its historical position (on the first freehold land to be bought by Friends in this country) but because it is held reverently in the hearts and minds of so many people as we have come to learn by the letters in The Friend and from the influx of visitors over the past few weeks. Some comments have been expressed thus 'An oasis of peace' 'A rimless bowl'. Appeals to carry on have been numerous. We have been greatly moved by the increasing interest in our beloved Meeting House and we would appeal to Friends present here to join with us to increase this rimless bowl of prayer, for it is in this power that we feel we can maintain our Meeting House and we have faith that the means to do so will be forthcoming. We are deeply thankful especially for the loving devotion of two people of our Meeting known to us as Mother and Father and known to others as Beatrice and Bertie Jenkins. Their long service to Bunhill Meeting is immeasurable. Some Friends at Yearly Meeting thought that Bunhill should at least be maintained as an historical monument. We believe that it would be the faith of all the thousands of Friends and others buried there to carry on. How this will be done we hope to discuss further. Whether to repair the present building or to rebuild on the garden and later remove the present cottage and lay the garden on that spot. The strength of Quakers in prayer has led Friends for many years to do great things. We believe as Friends of Bunhill we are being led in the right direction not for ourselves but in maintaining a Quaker stronghold in the City of London."

    28.6.1969 London and Middlesex General Meeting allowed time to discuss Bunhill at their meeting at Wandsworth Meeting House.

    Unilateral Declaration of Independence.
    Note the recourse to traditional Quaker dating practice.

    First Day 29.6.1969 Minute of Bunhill respecting above.

    Minutes of Special Preparative Meeting held 1st Day, the 6th of Seventh Month 1969: Bunhill Field's Friends are not prepared to continue the discussion with our Monthly Meeting and Six Weeks Meeting concerning the matter of our Meeting House... It would appear clear from the deliberations that have so far taken place... that they... have their own clear and strongly held views and we have our own. Any further discussion we feel therefore would only lead to more ill feeling and disunity.

    6.7.1969 Letter from Kathleen Wigham to Clifford Haigh, The Editor of The Friend, enclosing copy of Monthly Meeting Newsletter. Kathleen Wigham's Papers

    6.7.1969 Circular letter from Tony Back to members of Bunhill asking that he and Kathleen Wigham could visit in their homes for worship and discussion.

    15.12.1969 Bunhill Fields Premise Report signed by Francis M. Waywell. Manuscript notes of George William Edwards say the other six weeks meeting representatives were Arnold Burnell - George William Edwards - Frank Edmunds and Harold Hassel and make the following points from 14.11.1969 inspection: joists 8" x 2.5" - stairs: damp rot - walls damp - roof: charred beams - no fire escape - woodworm.

    Bunhill memories of George Frederick Hart written for George William Edwards probably about 1969/1970 as he says that he has heard the Bunhill Preparative Meeting has sent a minute to Meeting for Sufferings. George Frederick Hart lived at 23 Block S. Peabody Buildings, Guest Street, EC1 in 1938. No one else registered there. His memories give the most detailed description we have of the buildings known collectively as the Memorial Buildings and have largely been reproduced on this website under the 1930 plan of the buildings. As well as descriptions of the buildings, the memories include brief but contentious notes on the phases of Bunhill's history.

    " the Germans done a good service to the Quaker Church by destroying it." [in 1940] "The cottage was saved ... I have often wondered whether we did the right thing or should have let it go up in flames"

    In 1970 the Peter Bedford project was established under the sponsorship of BIA. Arose from the concern of Michael Sorensen for some of the many men who drift aimlessly beteen prison, psychiatric hospitals and common lodging houses. By 1970 the Bedford Institute had begun to restore its connection with Bunhill.

    May 1970 "Memorandum for consideration by Friends concerned with the future of BUNHILL FIELDS MEETING HOUSE at a meeting to be held at Friends House on Tuesday 5th May 1970 at 6pm"

    April 1971 Bertie Jenkins had a stroke from which he never fully recovered. On 17.9.1971 he died in a Westminster Hospital. It was after this that proposals to develop Bunhill were developed by Michael Sorenson. The meeting before this time (and for a while after) was on the top floor: the one that had been used for Olive and Ernie's wedding

    November 1971. Getting to Know Our Meeting. A Lesson Scheme for a Wide Age Range published by Friends Education Council. The picture on the front is taken from the balcony of Quaker Court, looking across Bunhill Meeting House and the trees to Bannister House.

    The Good News Club

    A Mr Short and his banjo ran a Tuesday evening children's group in the Bunhill premises for local children in the early 1970s. It was called The Good News Club.

    The Child Evangelism Fellowship, who run Good News Clubs, started working in East London in the early 1960s.

    1971 Six Weeks Meeting, 1671-1971: Three hundred years of Quaker responsibility by Winifred M. White ; illustrated by David M. Butler. Published London : Society of Friends. Six Weeks Meeting. vi and 119 pages, illustrated with maps.

    "Bunhill References have already been made to the demolition of the Bunhill Memorial Buildings during the war and the compulsory purchase of some of the land. The caretaker's cottage, which remained, presented many difficulties: it seemed unsafe for the numbers who occasionally used it, yet adequate repairs and upkeep would be very expensive to London Friends as a whole - and the faithful at bunhill were very few. The solution of that problem seems likely to await the fourth century of Six Weeks Meeting" (White 1971 p. 90).

    August 1973 "BUNHILL FIELDS MEETING - A report by Friends appointed in response to a minute of Meeting for Sufferings held on 1st November 1969, and asked to consider the future of the Meeting premises at Bunhill Fields and to seek 'a solution acceptable to all Friends concerned'"

    "We were frequently reminded that an interest in the history of the site is shared by Friends in all parts of the world, and that each year many visitors come to the spot. All would be sad if it were necessary to abandon the premises".

    Bunhill Fields Meeting House London four page history and development proposal sponsored by F. Arthur B. Braithwaite, Elfrida Vipont Foulds and Eustace S. Gillett

    I (Andrew Roberts) photocopied this in January 1993 and wrote on the back of the copy that it was about 1974 and may have been written by Michael Sorenson. "The plan fell through because the plague pit at the back means a regulation that foundations can not be dug very deep".

    In 1945 the Bedford Institute withdrew from Bunhill and the only active connection of Friends with the site for the next 25 years was through Bunhill Preparative Meeting, which carried on in the surviving building. The devastation around was gradually cleared and housing block were put up by the local authority on three sides (the Peabody Trust buildings on the southern side had survived the bombing), their names recalling the area's Quaker connections - Quaker Court, George Gillett House, Braithwaite House and so on.
    But although the district revived, and although Friends began to move into the district as the Barbican was rebuilt, the Friends' building deteriorated, and as the Meeting was a small one an opinion grew which favoured clearing the building away and leaving the area for good.

    About 1976 Molly Porter began attending Bunhill (from Blackfriars settlement). In 1976 she typed a list of Bunhill Fields Friends Meeting Library Books 1976. In 1976, Bunhill finished some kind of renovation and Leo and Marguerite became Wardens. Succeeded (1979) by Martin and Judith Ward, Tim and Jenny, Paul and Lisa.

    1978 Michael Sorenson died [Born 1919. Wife Jenny]

    1979 Martin and Judith Ward became wardens at Bunhill. Followed by Tim and Jenny, then (1987) Paul and Lisa.

    October 1982 Article about meeting houses in The Junior Friend illustrated by a picture and short history of Bunhill.


    28.9.1986 Elsa Dicks, chair of the Bedford Institute Association opened the Quaker Garden. This is the fenced of area at the back of the meeting house. Farrand Radley (22.2.1990) suggested calling this "The George Fox Garden". Paul Bowers-Isaacson (27.2.1990) suggested calling the whole are "Quaker Gardens". Farrand Radley, chair of the Bedford Institute trustees "set the historical scene". "Michael Sorensen ... sent his widow Jenny, with thanks to the retired wardens Judith and Michael Ward for having implemented his plan for a railed-in garden as a place of rest and enjoyment for all". The day concluded with "A Punch and Judy show followed by an ample tea and distribution of balloons to the children."

    Bunhill Fields: Notes by Ted Milligan, sometime FH [Friends House] Librarian, 27 Sep 86 These are typed notes by FarrandRadley of a conversation he had with Ted either on 27.9.1986 or on 28.9.1986. The handwritten notes are also in the archive.

    October 1987 Paul and Lisa Bowers-Isaacson employed as wardens at Bunhill by the Bedford Institute.


    Recent developments, connected with the Bunhill Fields Meeting House suggest the possibility of a closer involvement with the community.

    Braithwaite House This is the GLC [Greater London Council] tower block, 16 storeys high, which stands opposite the windows of the Meeting House. The GLC named the block after Joseph Bevan Braithwaite Jnr who had undertaken much community in this immediate area over half a century up to the 1930s. Recently the B.I.A. [Bedford Institute Association] development worker and a local community worker carried out a survey among the residents. They found an overall majority of tenants would like a Tenants Association and that they would also like improved facilities for their children in Quaker Gardens. Help in producing a community newsletter would be welcome. Certainly, they could be better linked with the larger world of the London Borough of Islington, particularly regarding public transport.

    Briefly the recommendations of the report are for the community workers to go ahead with forming a tenants association, and with refurbishing the 'community room' - near the entrance to the block - and the B.I.A. has asked its new wardens to support this work.

    The better use of Quaker Gardens is also to be taken up with residents, local Friends [Quakers] and the Recreation Department of Islington who lease the Garden from Six Weeks Meeting.

    (Bedford Institute Association Annual Report 1987 Extract in Farrand Radley archive)

    September 1989 Olive Yarrow ceased being Clerk, owing to ill-health. She had been Clerk for nearly 33 years. Lewis Edwards took over and then, when he left, Paul Bowers-Issacson.

    One of a group of photographs taken in 1990 by Paul Bowers-Issacson to record the position of buildings and monuments.

    This one shows the meeting house over the general memorial stone.

    The following three show the position and condition of the Fox stone.

    The last one here shows the Chequer Street school through the branches of the central tree and the holly trees that then stood at the end of the cottage garden.

    1991 Quakers in the City by Lisa Bowers-Issacson. A pamphlet/guided walk to commemorate the 300th Anniversary of the Death of George Fox. Commissioned and published by the Bedford Institute Association. (Revised, expanded and illustrated edition published 2001)

    FRA: Farrand Radley archive Farrand Radley's Bunhill Fields archive about 1980 to about 1991. Bunhill Fields Meeting House archive.

    Herbert Arthur Farrand Radley was born 16.6.1916 in Lancashire to Helen Louise Howell and John Charles Radley. His address at the time of the archive was 157 Holland Park Avenue, London, W11 4UX. He married Laura Richards in January 1997 in Brentford, Middlesex. He died 16.10.2010 aged 94.


    'Friends in Christ separated from Britain Yearly Meeting in (or about) 1993 in response to the call to worship explicitly as followers of Jesus. They write: "that of God in everyone" is not just "a little bit of niceness in everyone", but "the revelation of Christ in all of us which can be nurtured or denied". Meeting for worship is not, for them, a sharing of concerns, but "the apocalyptic event of waiting upon the Lord". Their separation need not be seen as factious. They quote Jesus "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you" (John 15: 14) and say that although they are separate from Britain Yearly Meeting as a body, they are not separate from any of its members. For all of us they feel only warm Christian love. We are in their thoughts and prayers, and they in ours. Friends in Christ have just started a small Quarterly Journal: The Call. Tony Back-Adams is their Yearly Recording Clerk, for the time, and his address is 1 Castleford House, Castle Road, Okehampton, EX20 1HZ. (Bunhill newsreport: Spring 1997)

    1996 Paul and Lisa Bowers-Isaacson ceased being wardens at Bunhill and "B.I.A. Quaker Social Action" decided not to replace them. Both remained as active members of the meeting.

    Lisa was Assistant Clerk of Devonshire House and Tottenham Monthly Meeting from 1992 to 1996. She was then Clerk from 1997 to 2001. She was Newsletter Editor from 1991 to 1996. In 1999 she was an Elder of Bunhill Meeting


    On Thursday May 22nd [1997] we laid to rest in Greenwich Cemetery the earthly remains of our faithful friend, Marjorie Hall. Marjorie, the eldest daughter of Beatrice and Bertie Jenkins, was born in 1921. Bertie Jenkins had joined the Quakers after military service in the First World War had convinced him that God's calling to him was a ministry to peace. He and his wife were both members of our meeting, which at that time was several hundred strong. To attend meeting for worship, at 11am, one had first to attend the adult school that met at 8am under the supervision of Joseph Bevan Braithwaite (junior). Marjorie and her younger sisters, Muriel, Olive, Kathleen, often worshipped at Bunhill in the morning and went to Hoxton Hall for afternoon Sunday School and evening meetings. The youngest sister, Patricia, was too young for Sunday School. Marjorie worked as a secretary and, when a second world war broke out, she was sent, as a conscientious objector, to work as a nurse in Hackney Hospital. Her health prevented her from continuing. After the war she married Roy Hall, a soldier who she had met through a friend in The Quest Club at Hoxton Hall. This was a club for over 16s which had a programme of sports, dances, swimming, music and discussion. Marjorie kept in touch, by post, with many of the people she met in the Quest Club and Olive Yarrow will write to them to tell them of her death. Roy and Marjorie have lived in Blackheath since the 1950s. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in September 1995. Their daughter, Lesley Ann, is a member of our meeting, as are nine of the family mourners at Marjorie's funeral.

    In worship, Molly Porter was moved to speak of the warm welcome that she had received from Margaret and her family when she came to Bunhill in the 1970s. Our meeting, once hundreds strong, was just the Jenkins family and a few others when Molly first came. The sisters and their families travelled from Blackheath, Southgate and Woodford to keep meeting for worship. Molly was going through a very bad patch at that time, and Beatrice Jenkins gathered her into her family like a lost chicken. When Margaret was not able to travel as far as Bunhill, she went to Blackheath meeting.

    John West and Paul Bowers Isaacson were the elders at the funeral and Peter Daniels and Wangari Waweru attended with Molly. Marjorie's sisters: Olive Yarrow, Kathleen Hooker and Patricia Veale, all members of our meeting, attended with their husbands, children and grandchildren. Patricia and Harry Veale, who live in Plymouth, stayed overnight with Olive and Earnest Yarrow in Woodford. Bunhill meeting would like to express our special condolences to Roy and Lesley Hall. Our thoughts are with you. Greenwich and Bexley Cottage Hospice cared for Marjorie Hall in her last days and the family would like any donations that people wish to make to be made to the Hospice. Paul Bowers Isaacson has reminded us that the light that God kept alive through the Jenkins family is the light that we take into the future.


    Exhibition "Quakers in Shoreditch" presented in Shoreditch Library, Hoxton. This web page (Quakers around Shoreditch) began as the text for the exhibition. The orginal text is preseved as Quakers in Shoreditch.

    5.12.1998 Marriage of Wangari Waweru and Andreas Wellmer. Marriages are infrequent events at Bunhill. The previous one was of Olive Jenkins and Earnest Yarrow on 24.1.1953. But, within a short space of time we were again blessed. Karl and Helen Gibbs' wedding took place at Bunhill on Sunday 10.2.2002

    1999 EC1 New Deal for Communities started. See National Archive

    1999 The Quaker Meeting Houses of Britain: An account of the some 1,300 meeting houses and 900 burial grounds in England, Wales and Scotland, from the start of the movement in 1652 to the present time; and research guide to sources Text and drawings by David M. Butler. Published London: Friends Historical Society: Distributed by The Quaker Bookshop 1999. Illustrated with maps and plans. "An appendix is added, with essays... on various aspects of the subject such as facing benches and burial grounds, with transcripts of itemised building costs, a list of architects, and an index of places and alternative place-names..."-(Introduction). 2 volumes, Volume 1. Bedfordshire-Northumberland. Volume 2. Nottinghamshire-Scotland. Includes bibliographical references (volume 1: p. ix-xiii) and index (volume 2)

    November 1999 James Grant created the Bunhill website. The earliest archive is dated 22.1.2000. It was well received:

    Email from Harvey Gillman, Outreach Secretary, Quaker Home Service:-
    Dear James,
    I am very very impressed. The page is colourful and accessible, almost, dare I say it?, fun. I have not read all the details. The one question I would put is whether Faith & Practice is a statement of orthodoxy. I cannot see how an anthology can be described in that way. To me it is better described as a statement of modern mainstream Quaker thinking and practice. That is an important quibble, but I remain impressed with the site.

    Email 3.11.1999 from Maxwell Steer, Salisbury Meeting
    The site is sexy and direct. And full of life.

    Email 4.11.1999 from Peter Eccles, Cheshire Monthly Meeting
    Thank you for the information about your new website which is attractive and loads quickly.

    Email 7.11.1999 from Peter Devine, Walthamstow Meeting
    I think it (the website) is excellent - very much in keeping with Quaker philosophy - simple but effective. I particularly like the larger print text on a white background which is so much easier to read than the typical web page using oversmall coloured text on a coloured background.

    Email 7.11.1999 from Judith Roads, Barking and Ratcliff Monthly Meeting
    It looks all the things that were recommended at the Woodbrooke conference in July...We are some way behind you. but will copy your ideas shamelessly!

    Summer 1999? An assortment of Quakers pose on the steps of the old cottage garden.

    The photograph may have been taken by James Grant, who used it on the Bunhill website (1999, but first archived 21.10.2000). Elizabeth Duke is standing at the front. Olive Yarrow is centre front and on either side of her a family whose names I do not recall. Viv Lawrence is the gentleman in the white shirt immediately behind Olive. The three ladies behind him are Molly, Lisa and Bridget. Peter Daniels is behind Molly. Paul Bowers-Isaacson is behind Peter. I do not recall the names of the other gentlemen at the back.

    Elizabeth Duke was General Secretary of the Friends World Committee for Consultation from 1998 to 2004.

    The cottage garden was cut in half by a fence for a few years. These pictures possibly the same date as the one with Elizabeth Duke.

    Bunhill Quaker Gardens

    2005 EC1 New Deal for Communites recycling pilot schemes on Quaker Court and Braithwaite House.

  • Quaker Court - bring banks with provision of reusable bags for recyclable materials and door to door collection of food waste with on-site composting;

  • Braithwaite House - collection points on each storey for recyclable materials and door to door collection of food waste with on-site composting.

    February 2005 Beginning of the destruction of Bunhill Park (otherwise known as Quaker Garden) and the little cottage garden of the Bunhill Meeting House. Carnage recorded by David Jennings in his blog (beginning Wednesday 16.2.2005 - Continued Saturday, 19.2.2005)

    "The good news is that when the work is over - in June or July - we'll have an even better public space, including a 'quiet garden' under the beautiful old plane tree (some branches of which are visible on the left of the picture)" (David Jennings)

    David Jennings captures a moment of beauty looking at Braithwaite House through the branches of the central Plane Tree.

    Later in the year he photographs children in the new playground

    A new garden

    The autumn flowers were taken by Nigel Edward Kielczewski of Tottenham Meeting in September 2005, soon after the present garden was established. The white flowers are, I think, Feverfew, otherwise known as Tanacetum or Chrysanthemum parthenium . Can anyone identify the various leaves?

    Sunday 19.2.2006 Bunhill Quakers met, for the last time for several months, in the Bunhill Meeting House. We had been moved out (two weeks notice) whilst the building was re-furbished. Our friends, the Methodists, gave us a home in the Foundry Chapel, in Wesley's Chapel, on the other side of the dissenters' graveyard. For several glorious months we listened to them singing on the other side of the wall, and joined the Methodists afterwards for refreshments. On Sunday 30.4.2006 we were even allowed to provide the refreshments. We came back to the refurbished Meeting House on Sunday 4.6.2006. On Sunday 22.10.2006 Methodists and Quakers met in the meeting house for a joint meeting of quiet and hymn singing.

    September 2006 The Final Report of the Bunhill Fields Burial Ground Conservation Management Plan envisages Quaker Gardens, Bunhill Dissenters Burial Ground and Wesley's Chapel on a historic green pathway, with improved signs, improved street scapes, signage, educational initiatives and joint marketing.

    Image: Racial Justice
    Racial Justice Sunday

    Racial Justice Sunday is held on the second Sunday of September in every year. Click on the picture to find out more about this event which involves many Christian churches and, sometimes, other faiths. Bunhill Quakers held a meeting for learning to prepare our minds for Racial Justice Sunday after Meeting for Worship on Sunday 3.10.2006. These are the notes in preparation for the meeting. Beneath them will be found links to other local churches and faiths.
    Questions and issues for discussion are based on reading the Racial Justice Sunday Pack Each of three topics has been prepared by a different person. As you can see, we do not agree with one another on some points.

    What can Bunhill do? - Immigration and Asylum - Education and Employment

    Questions based on a sheet that quotes James 2:26: "Faith without actions is dead" by Andrew Roberts

    As Quakers do not have a church calendar, how can we make Racial Justice Sunday part of our routine? How can we make racial justice a living issue throughout the year?

    Why do our Bunhill Quaker Meetings not appeal to people from a diversity of backgrounds? Do other Quaker Meetings have a broader appeal? If so, why? If we fail to respond to that of God in everyone, is it because we lack imagination?

    Should we renew our imagination by linking with some other faith groups in our area with a different kind of membership and different forms of worship? What forms could such links take?

    Bunhill borders London's most culturally and ethnically diverse areas. Could we use our premises for meetings of people of different cultures and faiths to learn about one another and work together on practical issues in Islington, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and the City?

    In 1991, British Quakers received an epistle (open letter) from "Black, white, Asian and mixed-heritage Friends". Two extracts from this epistle are now included in Quaker Faith and Practice. The first is in chapter ten on Belonging to a Quaker meeting - Our community [item 10.13]. The second is in chapter 29 on Leadings [Item 29.15]

    Summary and reflections on Racial Justice Sunday Information Sheet 2 on Immigration and Asylum by Christopher Vincenzi

    Immigration Myths and their Consequence

    Immigration is a subject that has generated myths over many years, some based on genuine fears, others on supposed illogical and contradictory 'facts', such as that immigrants come here to take our jobs, and to work long hours for low wages, while at the same time, failing to work and drawing large amounts of social benefits. Such attitudes often seem to be most strongly held in areas where there is no contact with people who have come from abroad. However, it would be wrong not to recognise that the arrival of foreign workers and their families can change an area in a way that causes disorientation to some people, particularly the elderly.

    These fears can be exploited by political groups, and sections of the tabloid press, and this can result in hostility, aggression and violence. The response of even mainstream political parties in power has been to tighten immigration controls and impose unjust laws which can harm very vulnerable people - people fleeing rape, torture war and environmental catastroph.

    Some facts

    Only about 8% of the poulation of the UK was born outside the country or to parents who were. People who move to the UK, according to Home Office research, provide 10 % more in tax revenues than they take out using public services. More than 53 % of the people who come here have academic qualifications, and many do jobs where it is difficult to recruit British nationals with similar skills. The 280,000 refugees living here constitute only 0.4 % of the population.

    About a third of those claiming asylum are granted it. Some times it takes a very long time to process their claims. While they are waiting, they are not allowed to work until they have been here for more than a year. They cannot claim mainstream benefits, and are liable, with their families, to be detained at any time. Having sometimes been through terrible experiences before getting here, many have to rely on churches and other voluntary agencies for food and accommodation. On top of it all, they have to live in a climate nourished by sections of the press in which the term 'asylum-seeker' has become a term of abuse.

    The role of the Churches

    As the atmosphere of hostility to asylum-seekers has grown over the years, churches and religious groups have worked hard to provide practical support and friendship to destitute people and those in need of advice, informing the public about the realities of immigration and asylum and campaigning to make the law more compassionate. Groups involved in this work include : Immigrant Women Advisory Service, London, Merton Churches Asylum Seekers Support Group, London, Bridging the Gap, Glasgow, Challenging Unjust Procedures in Immigration Law, Birmingham and Winchester Visitors Group for Refugees.

    Some Conclusions

    Immigration has always aroused some fear and hostility, but this country has shown a remarkable flexibility in adapting to, and adopting foreign cultures and making them our own. We have an obligation towards refugees and are bound in in international law and humanity to welcome and help them settle here. Racism is a denial of our testimony of justice and equality, and we should oppose it with all our strength. However, there should come a time when we should question whether or not immigration is an unqualified good, and whether it is right for us to attempt to attract some of the brightest, best qualified and most highly motivated people to this country. Many come to develop their careers, but others come because our economic policies and the effects of global capitalism have driven them here, and they have left their own economies in decline. stagnation or worse.

    Summary and reflections on Racial Justice Sunday Information Sheet 3 on Education and Employment by Ruth Vincenzi

    What are the challenges?

    There is strong statistical evidence to suggest that people from minority ethnic backgrounds are not doing as well as they should in the labour market. For young people, although they are likely to remain in full time education and to get good results, graduate unemployment is higher than the average. A Cabinet Office report (2003) suggests that many factors were involved, including the fact that many live in deprived areas with poor public transport and few available jobs, but that discrimination also plays a part.

    A graphic example of this was shown in a survey for BBC Radio Five Live published in July 2004. Applications for a variety of jobs based upon similar qualifications and experience were made using fictitious traditional 'white' names, Muslim names and black African names. Almost a quarter of the applications received from 'Jenny Hughes' and 'John Andrews' resulted in interview offers but only 9% for 'Fatima Khan' and 'Nasser Hanif' and 13% for 'Abu Olasemi' and 'Yinka Olatunda'

    What are the Churches doing about them?

  • Set up the Race Equality in Employment Programme to encourage good practice among employers.

  • Supported the Commission for Racial Equality in campaigning for and enforcing anti discrimination law.

  • At national and regional levels have worked to develop their own codes of practice on racism in schools and work places.

  • The Scottish Council for Minorities Edinburgh runs a drop-in resource and development centre.

  • The Methodist Centre, Liverpool offers facilities for young people all aimed at breaking the cycle of deprivation and unemployment.

  • Mentoring for All, Cardiff, provides mentors who work to provide academic and social support.

  • Mupe Fasi (second chance) Project, London, aims at rehabilitation for young women who have been in prison.

    One Race, the Human Race. Where do Quakers stand?

    "Do we strive, as individuals and as a Society, to overcome the narrowness of our cultural inheritance? Do we seek God's forgiveness for the pain we have caused others in the past, in order to go on and change?"
    Quakers and Race Newsletter no 19. 1996

    Is the challenge for Quakers today not so much about trying to attract minority members - although being strong in the belief that we do have something to offer everyone - but about being actively aware of the causes of inequality? Should a good education be seen as the means by which an individual can succeed in a labour market which depends upon world wide social injustice? Should we not be standing firmly, shoulder to shoulder, with others seeking to control capital, cancel debt, invest ethically, transform the World Trade Organisation and protect the earth?

  • Friends in the truth - some of Bunhill's links

    City churches - St Giles's Cripplegate: Our anglican parish - Wesley's Chapel and Leysian Mission - St Joseph's Church: Our Roman Catholic Parish - Friends House, Euston Road - Some Quaker meeting internet links - Devonshire House and Tottenham Monthly Meeting - Ratcliff and Barking Monthly Meeting - Quakers in North-West London - some Friends in Christ - Nida Trust: Calling Communities Together - Landmark London Mosques - St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace - 78 Bishopsgate - FACT: Faith and Citizenship Training - The Inter Faith Network for the UK - Board of Deputies of British Jews - Hindu Council - Hindu Forum - Sanaton Association - Thursday's Child - St Casimir, Lithuanian Church, Hackney Road - St John on Bethnal Green - St Thomas the Apostle, Oldhill Street, off Clapton Common - Dialogue for cultural literacy

    28.6.2007 Top floor of Bunhill Meeting House became the offices of the newly established charity Solar Aid. Solar Aid grew and moved to larger offices in White Lion Street, Angel in the autumn of 2008.

    16.8.2007 Draft 2 of Leases A and B between Friends Trusts Limited and The London Borough of Islington. Lease A relating to "Garden adjoining The Meeting House, Quaker Gardens, London EC1. Lease B relating to "land consisting of the Main Garden Site, Quaker Gardens, London, EC1.

    28.9.2007 Quaker Court tenants concern about vandals. Islington Tribune. Pat Freeman, a tenant of Quaker Court for 41 years, said: "I've seen the estate go down the pan since all the security funds went to the other estates. All their problems have been shifted here." EC1 New Deal said it believed anti-social behaviour is better tackled with environmental improvements.

    25.1.2008 Islington Council put a Tree Preservation Order on the five mature trees in Quaker Gardens. This is to prevent anyone, including Quakers, from cutting branches off the trees or in any other way mutilating them. The trees now have preservation numbers and are described in relation to the memorial (monument) to the Quakers buried underneath:

    2009 Completion of the One History: EC1 in the making project

    2010 Islington Council: Two Islington's Understanding the Problem

    "Despite the pockets of affluence for which it is known, the London Borough of Islington is the eighth most deprived local authority in England"

    17.10.2010 Top floor of Bunhill Meeting House became the School of Sufi Teaching.

    8.6.2011 TQ3282: Bunhill Fields Meeting House (Society of Friends), off Banner Street, EC1, near to Shoreditch, Islington, Great Britain. Photo's author Mike Quinn
    8.6.2011 Plaque on the Bunhill Fields Meeting House by Mike Quinn

    See the Memorial Buildings 1881.

    The cottage on which the plaque is fixed may be older.


    Photographs front and back of the Meeting House taken for the Quinquennial Survey

    November 2011 Glyn Robbins succeded Tony Fernandes as Estate Manager at Quaker Court.

    18.7.2012 Memorandum of Understanding between North London Quaker Meeting ('Area Meeting') and Bunhill Fields Quaker Meeting ('Bunhill') approved by Bunhill Fields Quaker Meeting and signed by Ruth Vincenzi as Clerk.

    Sunday 7.7.2013 11am-12 Bunhill meeting for worship followed by our meeting for friendly worshipful business and Bunhill's gardening Sunday
    Brigid will open the meeting house.

    The gardening session will be from 12.30pm to 3pm with a bring and share lunch as usual.

    Brigid's seasonal message: At present the garden is looking lush and the accompanying bird song is a delight as we garden. Honey bees are foraging amongst the flowers. More and more people come to talk to us about the garden and their enjoyment of it. We always ask for ideas and views. A large group learning about food foraging came by our garden one June Sunday!

    Plants are getting established and self sowing where they find it congenial. There is now a great variety of wild geraniums which means that their overall flowering period is longer. Gradually we are seeing what plants will thrive where in our dry shade. Plants originally sown from seed like St John's Wort, feverfew, wormwood, sweet rocket and honesty are now making a significant contribution. This year I have sown seeds of pansy, wallflowers, and dwarf curly kale at home which will be planted out in the garden in the autumn. The biodiversity does help to reduce insect and slug and snail damage to our fruit and veg.

    The work to be done on July 7th could include tidying the beds and the compost heaps, and watering. It would be good to give attention to the scythe bed in the wild woodland garden so that the more invasive plants are taken back and the original planting can thrive. From where we were five years ago with dry compacted soil and never a worm to be seen in the whole garden all the beds have come on wonderfully.

    The soft fruit is ripening and some may be ready for harvesting.

    For your diaries - we have invited my fellow Garden Organic Master Gardener Elsa Dicks to come on the September 1st gardening and give a short practical talk on on the benefits of herbs and weeds based on her course at the Mary Ward Centre, which she has found so fascinating. If David Jennings and family and friends come we could also include a mini beasties hunt at the same time.

    8.10.2014 Quaker Court described as "a rapidly changing council estate in Islington". Glyn Robbins told the Big Issue reporter that tiny one-bedroom flats, originally sold to tenants under the Right to Buy policy, are being rented out privately for £300 a week. "With remaining council tenants, the narrative is now, 'How dare these people live here, in the middle of London on a discount?'. Glyn said "It's social displacement by stealth. And the city will be a lot less interesting if it becomes a playground for the privileged."

    10.9.2015 Form completed for "Quaker Meeting Houses Heritage Survey 2014-2016" (offline)

    Bunhill Quaker Gardens Community Heritage Year

    2016 is the 120th anniversary of Bunhill local meeting, the 50th anniversary of the first tenants moving into Quaker Court and Braithwaite House, the tenth anniversary of Bunhill Quakers meeting in Wesley's Chapel, and the tenth anniversary of the new meeting house and official opening of the new garden.

    See previous maps, plans, pictures: 1740s - 1868 - 1883 - 1908 - 1930 - 1971 - 1974 - 1989 - 2005 -

    Hoxton Hall

    Hoxton Hall was a classic English music hall opened in 1863, but it lost its license in 1871 because of "Police complaining". New owners applied for a license in 1876 without success, and the building came up for sale again. This time a Quaker, William Isaac Palmer, bought it on behalf of the Blue Ribbon Gospel Temperance Mission. Palmer (1824-1893) was a younger son of the Huntley and Palmer biscuit family, and spent more than his fortune on good causes - after his death his brothers had to pay out the rest of his promised donations themselves.

    William Isaac Palmer left the Hall to the Bedford Institute and, in 1895 it became their eighth centre. The Girls Guild of Good Life was a major part of the activities.

    After the second world war, as well as support for social need in Hoxton, an arts and recreational programme developed: The building continues today as an important community arts centre for the area, and the old music hall is much valued as a theatre space.

    The Plough Court Pharmacy

    In 1715 an elite pharmacy was established at 2 Plough Court, near Lombard Street, in the City of London by Silvanus Bevan, a young Quaker who had just completed his apprenticeship as an apothecary. Silvanus was a man of means whose marriage to Elizabeth Quire at Gracechurch Street on 10.11.1715 was attended by nobility and foreign dignitaries as well as by their fellow Quakers

    The Plough Court Pharmacy is the business origin of the pharmaceutical firm Allen and Hanbury.

    William Allen (1770-1843)

    William Allen (the Allen of Allen and Hanbury) was born in Spitalfields on 29.8.1770. He was the eldest son of Job Allen (1734-1800), a prosperous Quaker silk manufacturer, and Margaret Stafford (died 1830), previously of Cork. Peter Bedford was Job Allen's assistant, and, on his retirement, took over the business. William Allen had chosen to go into chemistry, having been fascinated by science since his schooldays.

    In 1792, William was employed as a clerk by Joseph Gurney Bevan in in Plough Court. Business hours were long, and Quaker meetings demanding, but William found time to attend lectures at Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals and the meetings of scientific societies.

    "I have attended some of Higgins's lectures - learnt something of shorthand and the new system of chemistry and instituted a plan for my future studies"

    he wrote in his review of 1773

    On 2.4.1794 he became a member of the Chemical Society of Guys Hospital.

    Joseph Gurney Bevan retired (aged 40) in July 1794 and the business was run by Samuel Mildred. In January 1795 the firm became Mildred and Allen

    On 3.7.1795 he became the student of a Physician at St Thomas's Hospital, and in October 1796 a member of the Physical Society at Guys Hospital. In addition to his chemical business he was now lecturing and experimenting at Guys.

    A "little philosophical society" met for the second time at Plough Court on 28.3.1796. The Askesian Society continued for twenty years. It was a group of young chemists who met at Allen's home and used his chemical factory for scientific experiments. The society's purpose being to elucidate by experiment facts already known or newly discovered. The first members were Samuel Woods (a senior who was President), William Allen, Richard Phillips, Luke Howard, Joseph Fox Henry Lawson, Arthur Arch and W.H. Pepys.

    Luke Howard (1772-1864), described it in a letter to the German poet Goethe

    "My friend Allen and myself belonged to a select Philosophical Society which met every fortnight during the winter, each member being required by the rules to bring in an essay, in turn, for discussion, or pay a fine. It was the obligation thus contracted, which occasioned me to present to that society the Essay on Clouds. The papers deemed worth of publication by this Society were inserted in Tilloch's Philosophical Magazine, the editor being one of our members".

    On 13.11.1796, William married Mary Hamilton, the daughter of J and E Hamilton of Redruth. Mary died ten months later, two days after the birth of a daughter, who was also named Mary. Mary Allen married Cornelius Hanbury, but died herself after the birth of a son in 1823.

    After August 1797, Mildred and Allen became Allen and Howard. Luke Howard, William's friend and partner established a laboratory at Plaistow where the manufacture of new chemicals by Joseph Jewell could be carried on with greater safety than at Plough Court. Joseph Jewell (born 1763) was the porter at Plough Court under James Gurney Bevan. He became head of the laboratory.

    "He appears to have improved the existing methods of making salts of mercury, and to have commenced the manufacture of chemicals formerly purchased from outside sources. On two occasions, fires, caused by his experiments, which might well have destroyed the Old Plough Court Pharmacy, were averted through the promptitude of Luke Howard and William Allen. It was soon realised that more space and better conditions were essential in manufacturing such preparations as Nitric and Sulphuric Acid, Liquid Ammonia and Mercurial Salts"

    In a 1797 famine, William Allen was instrumental in establishing a Soup Society in Spitalfields, "the first thing of the kind in England".

    In December? 1802 Luke Howard established the classification of cloud formations in a paper he read to the The Askesian Society "On the Modifications of Clouds". - external link 1   external link 2: Within the complexity of changing skies, we can identify simple forms or categories - Cumulus (Latin for heap) - Stratus (Latin for layer) - Nimbus (Latin for rain) - Cirrus (Latin for curl) - and intermediate forms - Cirro- cumulus - Cirro-stratus - Cumulo-stratus.

    William Allen became an intimate friend of Humphrey Davy, who on 24.1.1804 gave the introductory lecture to a course on natural philosophy at the Royal Institution.

    On 6.5.1805, William was elected to the Committee of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.

    Allen and Howard became two firms in 1806. Luke Howard's firm, which had moved to Stratford, became Howard, Jewell and Gibson in 1813 and Howards of Ilford and Stratford in the 20th century.

    After his second marriage (to Charlotte Hanbury) in 1806 he divided his time between Plough Court and the pleasant village of Stoke Newington.

    On 13.11.1807 Davy, Dr Babington and William Allen establish a geological society and on 20.11.1807 Allen became a Fellow of the Royal Society.

    On 24.6.1808 Allen had an interview with Joseph Lancaster, who had established an economic system of educating children using a factory style organisation. Allen and Joseph Fox and others rescued the system financially. In 1810 the Royal Lancastrian Society was founded, with Allen as Treasurer, and this became The British and Foreign School Society in 1814, again with Allen as Treasurer. This body was the main non-conformist organisation for school education during the 19th century. In the early days, teachers were sent to France, Denmark, Germany, Russia, America and the free island of Haiti.

    Allen became acquainted with James Mill, not later than 1810, and secured his active co-operation in a literary enterprise - a quarterly journal, called the Philanthropist, published for seven years at Allen's own risk. The first volume of the Philanthropist was published in 1811. The magazine published, amongst much else, articles by James Mill and by Jeremy Bentham

    In 1810 William Allen and Tregelles Price were among the first ten members of the Peace Society

    On 25.12.1812 Allen made a list in his diary of his activities:

    "Overseer Gracechurch Street Monthly Meeting, Lancastrian Schools, Spitalfields Local Association for the Poor, Spitalfields School, superintending the Philanthropist, lectures, General association for the poor, the Bible society."

    January 1813 Confessions of a Drunkard printed in The Philanthropist

    On 31.12.1813, William Allen, Joseph Fox, Joseph Foster, Michael Gibbs and John Walker "men of marked piety, and members of different Christian denominations" became Robert Owen's partners in the purchase of New Lanark. Another who invested in New Lanark was Jeremy Bentham (I think on the advice of James Mill).

    "Tired at last of the restrictions imposed on him by men who wished to conduct the business on the ordinary principles, Owen formed a new firm, who, content with 5% of return for their capital, were ready to give freer scope to his philanthropy (1813). In this firm Jeremy Bentham and the well- known Quaker, William Allen, were partners. In the same year Owen first appeared as an author of essays, in which he expounded the principles on which his system of educational philanthropy was based." (1911 Encyclopedia)

    In 1815, Allen established both a scheme for rescuing "young Bedouins of the city" who lived from theft, and one for establishing a savings bank for the people. It may also have been in 1815 that he became trustee of the Duke of Kent's financial affairs.

    In 1816 Charlotte and William visited the Continent, where Charlotte died on 28.9.1816 at Sacconet. She was buried there.

    From 1818 to 25.2.1820 Allen toured the Continent with the Quaker evangelist, Stephen Grellet, who had first taken Elizabeth Fry to Newgate.

    On 7.5.1823, Mary and Cornelius Hanbury had a son, but on 16.5.1823, Mary died. Elizabeth Fry suckled the baby.

    In 1827, William married Grizell Birkbeck, a wealthy widow who was older than him. This provoked some ridicule, and his motives were read as avaricious. A cartoon by Robert Cruikshank showed disappointed Quaker women in Stoke Newington. But William and Grizell were genuinely close, and other cartoonists defended him. Grizell died in 1835 and, for the rest of his life, Allen was looked after by a niece.

    "After a long period of friction with William Allen and some of his other partners, Owen resigned all connection with New Lanark in 1828." (1911 Encyclopedia)

    10.5.1831: Report in The Times (page 4):

    "The annual meeting of the British and Foreign School Society was held yesterday at Exeter-hall; William Allan, esq. in the chair. The report represented the society to be yearly extending its useful labours and; as a consequence, the blessings of religious instruction among the less wealthy classes of society. His majesty had been pleased to take it under his special patronage, and to set down his name as an annual subscriber of 100l [100 pounds]. The announcement of this gracious conduct on the part of the King was received with loud cheers."

    In 1838 (1828?) there was a deed of dissolution of his partnership with Owen and two sons due to long standing unhappiness about Owen's opposition to revealed religion. [And, I think, opposition to Owen's idea that dancing was an activity to be encouraged in his adult school]

    In 1840 Elizabeth Fry, Samuel Gurney and William Allen toured the continent for five months.

    William Allen died on 30.9.1843

    Peel Meeting and Clerkenwell Workhouse

    Peel Meeting House, in St John's Lane, began in 1656. It was named after the sign of a baker's peel, the wooden spade for handling loaves in an oven.

    John Bellers (1654-1725) was a considerable thinker on social issues, and proposed a "College of Industry" to train and employ people. Although he disliked the term "workhouse", his ideas were taken up when the Quakers ran the Clerkenwell Workhouse from 1701, combining it with a school.

    1702-1786: Friends School and Workhouse, Clerkenwell;
    non-parish workhouses on Peter Higginbotham's site, which quotes from Richard Hutton's Complaints Book. The Notebook of the Steward of the Quaker Workhouse at Clerkenwell, 1711-1737. The Clerkenwell Parish Workhouse opened in 1727
    1786-1825 Friends School Islington Road, Islington;
    1825-1879 Friends School Croydon
    1856 names instead of numbers
    1879: Friends School Saffron Walden

    1895 - 1896 Peel property redeveloped. The mMeeting-room had its gallery extended around three sides. A mission room and coffee-house were built next door at 31 St John's Lane. Numbers 65 and 67 St John Street were rebuilt.


    1861 Braithwaite family moved to 312 Camden Road, Islington

    1864 Laying of Holloway Meeting House foundation stone

    1869 George Gillett settled in London and became a frequent Minister at Holloway. He lived at 314 Camden Road, Islington, next to his sister

    1870 George Masterman Gillett born (1870 - 10.8.1939)

    1874 Joseph Rowntree Gillett born (1874-1940)


    In 1898 the Quaker family of Savory lived in Chapel Street, Pentonville. In the same street was Charles Lamb, a young City clerk and amateur poet, recently recovered from a mental breakdown, who had moved to Islington to be near his sister, Mary Lamb, who had been taken to an Islington madhouse after killing her mother. Charles Lamb later wrote

    "Every Quakeress is a lily; and when they come up in bands to their Whitsun-conferences, whitening the easterly streets of the metropolis, from all parts of the United Kingdom, they show like troops of the Shining Ones"

    Charles Lamb had fallen in love, at a distance, with Hester Savory

    "His tragic story was known to his neighbours, and though he and the Savorys were not 'acquainted', glances passed, looks were exchanged, of interest and pity on the one hand, of earnest and simple adoration on the other" (Janet Witney in Elizabeth Fry p.61)

    Charles Lamb had strong links with the Quakers. His essay on A Quaker's Meeting was published in the early 1820s, but his relationships with Quakers started in 1797, when one of his earliest friends and collaborators was the Quaker poet Charles Lloyd (1779-1835), who himself became a mental patient in 1811.

    Hackney - The Quaker absence

    In the 18th century, Hackney was the centre for a dissenting tradition very different from that of the Quakers. In the village of Homerton (near to where I write this web site) stood the large Hackney House with 200 acres of park and gardens. In 1786 this was bought by Calvinist dissenters who used it to set up Homerton Academy to train ministers. Its first Principle was Dr Richard Price and its second was Dr Joseph Priestley. Both were also ministers of the Gravelpit Chapel. Their influence spread far beyond the Academy, and amongst those who learnt from Richard Price, one of the most influential was Mary Wollstonecraft. William Godwin, who later married Mary, was refused admission to Homerton Academy in 1773 because of his theological views, but was admitted to Hoxton Academy later the same year.

    In 1796 the dissenters bought another old mansion in Homerton, and the old college was demolished in 1800. Amongst the Principles of the new college was Dr Pye Smith. The academy eventually became Homerton College, specialised in training teachers instead of ministers, and moved to Cambridge in 1894.

    Quakers kept themselves apart from such intellectual activity. Throughout the 18th century their yearly meetings warned against the reading of books apart from the Bible and the approved writings of Quakers.

    "To all masters and tutors of children, we affectionately address ourselves; that in a particular manner it may be your care to caution, and as much as in you lies to guard, the youth committed to your charge, against the dangers and allurements of evil communications, and the reading of profane and immoral writings, (those powerful engines of Satan), whether they be such as directly tend to defile the affections, or, with a more specious appearance, to subvert the doctrines of Christianity, by a presumptious abuse of human reason, and by vain and subtle disputations, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (1766. Book of Discipline 1834 page 195)

    "There having been, for many years past, a great circulation of vain, idle, and irreligious books and pamphlets, tending to lead the mind away from sober and serious duty, to infect the inexperienced and unwary with notions which promote infidelity and corruption, and to alienate their attention from the Spirit of God, under whose influence and holy keeping alone is safety; we earnestly request that parents, and all others who have youth under their tuition, will keep a constant eye over them..." (1769 Book of Discipline 1834 page 29)

    "We earnestly recommend to all, the frequent perusal of the Holy Scripture, according to repeated exhortations; and we at this time also recommend the writings of our faithful predecessors.." (1789 Book of Discipline 1834 page 29)

    At the end of the 18th century and during the 19th century, however, the industrial and philanthropic struggles of Quakers brought many into association with the rationalist tradition and some, like William Allen, played an important part in its development.

    Education could lead a young Quaker out of the Society. For an example of Quaker education and of an exit from the Society in the course of "worldly" education, see the biography of the pioneer psychiatrist, James Cowles Prichard

    It seems to me that the influence of much Quaker advice was anti-intellect, anti-art and anti-science. Nevertheless, some members of the society developed in these fields and modern Quakers tend to claim an affinity. The case for a positive Quaker contribution to science is made by Geoffrey Cantor, Leeds Professor of the History of Science.


    There was an early Quaker school at Shacklewell run by Mary Stott of Dalston, and later by Jane Bullock, to instruct young women in "whatsever things was civill & useful in ye creation".

    Peter Daniels' article Quakers in Stoke Newington. Part 1: to the mid-nineteenth century, which appeared in Hackney History, Volume 8 (2002) says:

    "When George Fox was in London he often found refuge from interruption to write in outlying places, including the home of the widow Mary Stott in Dalston, from where a number of his epistles are dated. [Penney ed. Short Journal note, p.305] Women like Mary Stott played an important part from the beginning, and spoke prominently at Quaker meetings. In 1668 Fox set up a girls' school at Shacklewell to be run by Mary Stott, "to Instruct younge lasses & maydens in whatsever thinges was civill & useful in ye creation". [Penney ed. Journal vol.2 p.119.] By 1677, and the Shacklewell school was run by Jane Bullock. A loan of fifty pounds was arranged for her to develop the school, as it appears to have been short of pupils [Six Weeks Meeting minutes vol.1 p.112 (1677) George Fox visits Jane Bullock in Shacklewell in 1683, though the school is not mentioned [Penney ed. Short Journal p.89]. Mary still lived in Dalston at the time, but by the end of 1684 had moved to Bethnal Green [Penney ed. Short Journal note, p. 305]"

    From the City to Stoke Newington

    In the early nineteenth century many prosperous city Quakers began to live in Stoke Newington. See William Allen, for example. Peter Daniels has identified Stoke Newington residents in the painting of Gracechurch Street (about 1770). "Samuel Hoare, who lived in Paradise Row: it was son Jonathan who had Clissold House built. His wife and three dughters are said to be on the opposite side benches. One of the daughters is Grizell, who married William Allen".

    A need was felt for a meeting house locally, and after the Gracechurch Street meeting house burned down in 1821 there was even more incentive (even though Gracechurch Street was rebuilt)

    Banks Farrand, London goldsmith "was involved in the Gracechurch Street Meeting and was on the committee that established the Stoke Newington Meeting". The other members of the committee were: Edward Harris, William Allen, James Foster, John Beck, Richard Low Beck, Frederick Janson, John Lister and John Sanderson. (Source: The London Friends' Meetings by William Beck and T. Frederick Ball, London: F. Bowyer Kitto, 1869, p.158.) (Christopher Farrand, emails 30.6.2006 and 5.7.2006)

    In 1827 a site was acquired in Park Street (now Yoakley Road), Stoke Newington. The new meeting house opened in 1828. Its architect, William Alderson, went on to design the Hanwell Lunatic Asylum

    The migration of city Quakers continued, until the new Gracechurch Street meeting house closed in 1850, and Stoke Newington became the largest concentration of Quakers in London.

    21.3.1872: A Quaker Marriage at Stoke Newington

    Alfred Bastin, son of Edward and Catharine Bastin of Stoke Newington and Catharine Tylor, daughter of Charles and Gulielma Maria Tylor of Stoke Newington in the county of Middlesex

    having duly made known their intention of taking each other in Marriage to the Monthly Meeting of Friends commonly called Quakers of Devonshire House in the County of Middlesex the Proceedings of the said Alfred Bastin and Catherine Tyler after due enquiry were allowed by the said Meeting, they appearing clear of all others and having consent of Parents. Now these are to certify, that for the accomplishing of their said Marriage, this twenty- first day of the Third Month in the Year One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy Two, they, the said Alfred Bastin and Catharine Tylor appeared at a public Assembly of the aforesaid People in their Meeting House, Park Street, Stoke Newington; and the said Alfred Bastin taking the said Catharine Tylor by the hand, declared as followeth, -- Friends, I take this my friend Catharine Tylor to be my Wife, promising through Divine assistance to be unto her a loving and faithful Husband until it shall please the Lord by death to separate us. And, the said Catherine Tylor did then and there in the said Assembly, declare as followeth; -- Friends, I take this my friend Alfred Bastin to be my Husband, promising through Divine assistance to be unto her a loving and faithful Wife until it shall please the Lord by death to separate us. And the said Alfred Bastin and Catharine Tylor, as a further confirmation thereof, and in testimony thereunto, did then and here, to these Presents set their hands.

    Alfd Bastion
    Catharine Tylor

    We being present at the above said Marriage have also subscribed our Names as Witnesses thereinto, the Day and the Year above written

    Edward R. Allen
    Ellen E. Allen
    Mary Allen
    William C. Allen
    Mary Emma Allen
    Edith Mary Allen
    Francis Allen
    Rob' Alsop
    Jno. D. Appleton
    Sarah Ann ------
    Rachel Beck
    William B. Tylor
    Mary A.? Thomas
    Will? Fred Nelle?
    Mary Anne Nelle?
    Elaya? Marsh
    Stafford Allen
    Alicia Ashworth
    ---- ------
    Sarah Ann Tylor
    ---- Allen Fox
    Eliza Tylor ----
    Annie ------- -------
    Mary Jane Morgan
    Mary E. Warton?
    Emily Jermyn?
    Mary Cahrlotte Sturge
    Henrietta Aleyande?
    Mary Jane Catlin?
    E. Burgess
    E. Philip Bastin
    Jane Bastin
    John Burnett Tylor
    Rachel Tylor
    Edmund Pace
    John Mayfield
    Henry Tylor
    Eliza Tylor
    Fanny Elizabeth Pace
    Elen Fry
    Alice Mary Pace
    Emma Tylor
    Anna Mary Tylor
    A. M. T------
    Charles Tylor
    Gulielma M. Tylor
    Edward Bastin
    Catharine Bastin
    Riah Bastin
    Elizabeth Tylor
    Joseph Sparks Tylor
    Ellen Bastin
    Robert L. Impey
    Rachel Savory Tylor
    A. J. Alexander?
    Anna E. Bastin
    J. Tylor Stewart
    Gulielma Tylor
    Theodore Tylor

    Alfred Bastin was a chemist and Catharine Tylor Bastin (and her daughters) wrote a great deal of poetry, some of which was published in "fluffy" periodicals in the 1920s and 1930s.

    American Friend 4.10.1902 "Our friend, Charles Tylor, of Brighton, England, has passed away at the age of 85. He was for some years editor of the (London) Friend, and when The American Friend was first published he was a frequent contributor to it. He was joint editor with Edward Backhouse of Early Church History"

    By 1900, when numbers were starting to go down, there were 221 Quakers living within a mile of the meeting house.

    During the twentieth century, and especially since the second world war, the meeting declined. Middle class Quakers moved further out to the suburbs, and the large meeting house was demolished, replaced with a new building in 1959. But the membership of the Meeting was not enough to continue, and the building was sold.

    There are now more Quakers in the area again. For many years they travelled to other meeting houses for worship, but can now worship together at the new Stoke Newington Meeting.


    1676 - 1689 - 1698 - 1712 - 1712 - Wakefield - 1772 - 1777 - 1790s - Susanna Crush - 1792 - 1794 - 1796 - 1802 - 1806 - 1807 - 1812/1813 - 1814 - 1815 - 1816 - 1825 - 1826 - Radley - 1833 - 1839 - 1840 - 1851 - 1869 - 1872 - 1890 - 1891 - 1879 - 1937 - 1956 - 1961 - - - - - - - 1999 -

    Keep going north from Stoke Newington, along the old Roman Road through Seven Sisters and you will come to Tottenham High Cross, carry on north and (with better directions than this) you may find the Quaker meeting sitting on the top of another building that (when I first knew it) was a supermarket. [It was not always as relevant as this.]

    Tottenham has been a centre for Quakerism since the 17th century:

    In 1676 there were 43 dissenters from the national church living in Tottenham. Many, it is thought, were, or were to become Quakers.

    1680: George Fox attended a meeting near the High Cross held in a hired house. At this time he was staying at Fords Grove House in Winchmore Hill, which was the home of his friend, Edward Mann.

    1689 "Bridget Austell moved her school from Southgate to Tottenham High Cross, where George Fox often stayed during the following fifteen months. Fox preached at large meetings and attributed the size of one to the attendance of many Londoners".

    1698: The Meeting was moved to a new hired house about half a mile north of the High Cross and near the Pound (?), rent being £3.10.0d per annum paid by the Six Weeks Cash Committee of twelve. This Meeting was held on alternate Sundays with Stoke Newington.

    "By 1712 there were two Quaker boarding schools and the number of Friends was increasing, partly, it was claimed, because of intemperate attacks by the vicar and others upon the former Anglican divine, Richard Claridge, who kept one of the schools and refused to pay tithe."

    1712: Notice to vacate the hired house being received, the Quakers decided to have their own premises. For two years, meetings were held at the home of Richard Claridge, school-master, and Alice Hayes, widow.

    "After a succession of houses had been licensed for worship, the site for a permanent meeting-house was bought, with help from the Six Weeks' Meeting, in 1714"

    20.11.1714: Purchase of a piece of land on Tottenham Street. [The site of the present meeting house] A meeting house was built for £200

    "Quakers continued to flourish during the 18th century, when Tottenham gradually replaced Enfield as the centre for the monthly meeting. Their meeting-house was apparently the only fixed place of worship for nonconformists in the parish until the 1790s."

    1750: Birth of Edward Wakefield, who later married Priscilla Bell

    1751 Birth of Priscilla Bell, daughter of Daniel Bell of Stamford Hill, a coal merchant, and Catherine Barclay. Originally her family had come from Westmorland near Kendal. She was a great granddaughter of Robert Barclay who wrote Quaker Apology in 1676. Priscilla wrote many educational books for children. Her diaries show that she needed to do this to compensate for the financial misfortunes of her husband, Edward Wakefield. She was active in bringing up her grandchildren, pioneered a lying-in charity, industrial school and frugality bank - The last at the time she was having to take her own family finances in hand. She is reported to have been a patient in a madhouse for a period. After this, her son, also Edward Wakefield, visited madhouses throughout the country and promoted the idea of a London Asylum based on Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon scheme. At the time of her husband's death, two of the grandchildren she had helped to bring up were sent to prison for three years for abducting an heiress.

    1771 Marriage of Edward Wakefield and Priscilla Bell. Edward had inherited a considerable fortune from his father, which (after the marriage) he lost in industrial ventures and financial gambles.

    Expansion: changing membership

    Tottenham Meeting's membership expanded as increasing numbers of Quakers settled in Tottenham. Other meetings in the Month;y Meeting area were declining.

    1772 The Meeting House found to be too small for the numbers attending. Those involved in the negotiations for enlargement included William Forster, Edward and Thomas Phillips and Daniel Bell. About here the birth of Isabella Wakefield, who married Jeremiah Head. Isabella died 1841.

    1774 Birth of Edward Wakefield, who married Susanna Crush (born 1767) [or Susannah]

    1777 Meeting House enlarged at the cost of £484 mostly collected from local Quakers plus £8 from the sale of old material. Tottenham Quakers attended Winchmore Hill and Enfield during enlargement.

    1777 Were the young ladies who made samplers in Tottenham in 1777 and 1782 attending a Quaker school?


    Life at Tottenham Meeting was getting so busy that by early 1778 it was decided to hold an additional Meeting for Worship in the afternoon.


    By 1786 attendance for worship at Enfield was low and the Enfield Meeting House was sold in 1803. South Mimms Meeting closed in 1788 and the Meeting House and burial ground were sold in 1820. It was a similar story at Waltham Abbey. Epping and Walthamstow Meetings survived.

    1790s Independents and Wesleyan Methodists established meeting houses in Tottenham, breaking the Quaker monopoly on dissent. "Quakers remained the largest sect... although by 1810 they were said to be diminishing."

    1791 Priscilla Wakefield formed the Lying-in Charity for Women

    Edward Wakefield junior was seventeen when he married Susanna Crush, the daughter of a well to do farmer at Felstead in Essex. Susanna's interest before her children were born was hunting. Edward and Susanna Wakefield lived at Bunham Hall, Essex. his "circumstances were by no means prosperous; he was, however, an active, zealous advocate for anything likely, in his opinion, to be useful to mankind" (Francis Place). After unsuccessful farming he set up as a land agent from offices at 42 Pall Mall in 1814. At this time, Edward and a Quaker architect, James Bevans, were promoting a scheme for a model lunatic asylum, and also the Lancastrian education system. Edward contributed to William Allen's Philanthropist. Edward and Susanna's eldest child, Catherine Gurney Wakefield [Kitty], was born in 1793. Edward Gibbon Wakefield was born 20.3.1796. Daniel Bell Wakefield was born on 27.2.1798. Arthur Wakefield was born in 1799. William Wakefield and John Howard Wakefield were both born in 1803. Felix Wakefield was born in 1807. Priscilla Wakefield was born in 1809. Percy Wakefield was born in 1810. Susanna died in 1816, Edward in 1854.

    1792 School for Industry founded on a site practically opposite the present Bruce Grove station.

    1794-1797 Priscilla Wakefield's Mental Improvement, or the Beauties and Wonders of Nature and Art (2 volumes)

    1795-1798 Priscilla Wakefield's Juvenile Anecdotes, founded on facts (2 volumes) London

    1796: An Introduction to Botany in a Series of Familiar Letters, with Illustrative Engravings by Priscilla Wakefield

    illustration for a bookseller's catalogue

    See the University of Michigan's Women in Botany Exhibition

    6.8.1796: Pricilla wrote: "The consideration of money matters depresses me, as I am certain our expenses exceed the limited sum". On 21.10.1796: "Pecuniary difficulties press hard upon my mind".

    October 1796: On looking after Kitty, Pricilla wrote: "that child requires the judicious attention and time of one person". In July 1799 she wrote "very little done except attending to Kitty whose mind is so much expanded that all my time might be well bestowed on its cultivation". Eight years later she wrote lessons with "my dear Catherine's great inattention and want of docility make but slow progress".

    1797 To compensate for the state of Edward's finances, Priscilla resolved to write, in order to make some income on which she can rely.

    1798 Priscilla Wakefield founded the first frugality bank in England, at Ship Inn Yard in Tottenham. Wrote Reflections on the Present Condition of the Female Sex

    21.1.1798: Priscilla recorded that Edward had more financial losses. It "threatens us with a view of poverty and dependence". On 16.4.1798 that while "E.W. has more favourable circumstances there remain sufficient reasons for me to continue writing".

    14.10.1799 Priscilla Wakefield wrote "Necessity obliges me to write".

    1801 The Juvenile Travellers; containing the remarks of a family during a tour through the principal states and kingdoms of Europe, etc. [With a map.] by Priscilla Wakefield. pp. iv. 357. Darton & Harvey: London, 1801. 12o.

    1803 Purchase, from Quaker Thomas Shillitoe, of the land that was to be used as a burial ground, there being no Tottenham Quaker burial ground before this date.

    1999 Exhibition text

    Burial ground

    Many early Quakers were buried in parish churchyards, often without a traditional church committal. Sometimes funerals were disturbed by unruly mobs. Most Quakers preferred not to be buried in the local churchyard and burial in a garden or orchard was common practice. This was not always possible and it became necessary to obtain land.

    The first burial at Tottenham was in 1802; that of Thomas Garman, aged seven years. Friends who died were interred in rows without distinction. Gravestones were disallowed.

    In 1816 at Tottenham, low oval-topped stones were erected. These were simply engraved with the Friend's name and dates of birth and death.

    Today, these stones are stood around the sides of the burial ground and the centre is grassed over. A plan has been kept of the spot where each Friend is buried.

    The last burial took place in 1893. In 1894 the Burial Ground was closed to burials, though scattering of ashes is still allowed.

    1804 A Family Tour through the British Empire: Containing Some Account of its Manufactures, Natural and Artifical Curiosities, History and Antiquities; Interspersed with Biographical Anecdotes; Particularly Adapted to the Amusement and Instruction of Youth by Priscilla Wakefield writing anonymously

    Ordnance survey map of Tootenham sometime after 1805.


    "Susanna's health had been detriorating, and in 1806... she became seriuosly ill; so this time, instead of only Edward and Catherine going from Burnham Wyck to their grandmother's at Tottenham, the whole family went." (Bloomfield, P. 1961 pp 23-24)

    At the beginning of 1807, four of Susanna's children, Edward Gibbon, Daniel, Arthur and William, were attending Mr Haigh's school in Tottenham. The other children were Catherine Gurney, John Howard and a new Priscilla. One child (Percy) was not yet born.

    February 1807: Priscilla was having problems with the education of her grandchildren Kitty and Edward Gibbon. On 5.2.1807 she wrote "my mind painfully engaged in the perverseness of dear little Edward - his obstinacy if he inclines to evil terrifies me". On 7.2.1807 she wrote that his "pertinacious inflexible temper makes me fear for his own happiness and of those connected with him" and on 7.2.1807, he "had a mind that requires delicate handling".

    1809 Perambulations in London, and its environs ... Designed for young persons by Priscilla Wakefield pp. xv. 503. plates: 4. Dorton & Harvey: London, 1809. 8o.

    1812 A Lancasterian school for boys was established in Tottenham. It was originally on the High Road, just south of White Hart Lane, but moved in 1813 to Church Road. Three years later a similar school for girls was opened on the corner of Reform Row and the High Road.

    Quakers were actively involved in the management of these schools and featured in the list of subscribers, including members of the Forster, Janson, Howard and Stacey families.

    In a single large room over 100 boys were taught on the basis of Joseph Lancaster's 'improved plan'. Each boy paid 1p per week.

    Joseph Lancaster had found that at his 'Lancasterian School' in Southwark one 'teacher' could teach say five boys one item of knowledge in reading, writing or arithmetic. These five boys would teach another five. These would teach five more. In this way education could be provided very economically.

    1812/1813 At about this time, Priscilla Wakefield may have been a patient in Whitmore House. A Description of the Crimes and Horrors in the interior of Warburton's Private Madhouse... says that Mrs Wakefield, a well known authoress, was, by her keeperess, "dragged by the hair and beat her head repeatedly against the wall, and then tying her legs, flogged her as children are flogged at school, in the presence of half a dozen monsters in the shape of men" [Compare this to her son's favourable account of the house in 1815]

    December 1813: draft of a letter from William Hone to Edward Wakefield (son of Edward and Priscilla) outlining plans for a London asylum project. Hone proposes an asylum with about 400 patients, architecturally and structurally modeled on the Retreat. It would have separate accommodations for patients of "superior rank in life" and the estimated cost to build and equip it would be about £100,000. This could be raised by a public offering of £100 shares (with no one person allowed more than 20 shares).

    28.12.1813 Edward Wakefield's reply to William Home expresses enthusiasm for the plan, but doubts about the possibility of raising £100,000 by subscription. At this time, he is not yet acquainted with Bevans. On 30.12.1813 he send Hone a brief note urging him to meet and gain the support of Mr Allen, and expressing excitement about a proposed public meeting, apparently designed to publicize the asylum project and to call for subscribers.


    The Traveller in Africa... by Priscilla Wakefield writing anonymously

    7.6.1814 Edward Wakefield (son of Edward and Priscilla) commissioned C. Arnold to make a drawing of William Norris, a dangerous lunatic confined in irons in Bethlem Hospital. Possibly the most influential picture in the history of English mental health. It was etched by George Cruickshank and sold in William Hone's shop, as well as being shown to the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Madhouses in 1815.

    19.4.1814 Letter from James Bevans to William Hone pressing the urgency of getting subscriptions going before Yearly Meeting (due to start 15.5.1814) as almost all the rich individuals will be in town and William Tuke amongst them "will work wonders almost". "... no further time must be lost in waiting for E. Wakefield."

    27.12.1814 Priscilla Wakefield wrote: my "love of young persons continues but a slight defect in my hearing deprives me in some degree of the pleasures of conversation".


    The following is from Kathleen Jones' A History of the Mental Health Services (Jones, K. 1972 p.84)

    "Wakefield... explained [to the Select Committee on Madhouses in 1815] that his work as a land agent took him to various parts of the country, and that he made a point, at each place he visited, of asking to see the gaols, Bridewells and madhouses in the vicinity... He knew the Retreat... At Miles' house at Hoxton, he had been refused admission, a keeper telling him that 'an inspection of that house would be signing my death-warrant'. At Gore House, Kensington he was also refused admission. At Thomas Monro's house at Hackney, he was told by the physician of Bethlem that he was welcome to visit - if he could secure the consent of the relatives of every patient; and he was refused a list of names of the patients... There were a few private madhouses in which conditions were good, as far as Wakefield could tell.... At Talfourd's house at Fulham, there were fourteen ladies who appeared to be treated with the greatest kindness. They went to the local church, and were allowed out for walks - Wakefield met two who had just 'walked to Walham Green to see Louis 18." London House, Hackney, also appeared to be excellently conducted. There "One lady, who conceives herself to be Mary, Queen of Scots, acts as preceptress to Mrs Fox's little children, and takes great pains in teaching them French'"

    Whitmore House. Morris (1958) quotes Edward Wakefield favourably on Whitmore House in passages that I think come from the 1815 Select Committee Report. He spoke of the advantages enjoyed by patients at Whitmore, where there were "very large gardens; some of the patients pay rather liberally; and in these gardens are many small distinct houses; the great enjoyment which a patient who had the means of paying for it, received from living in a small house, surrounded by a garden, without the noise, or the annoyance of violent patients around him". He had visited the house in the company of Lord Robert Seymour MP, the Hon. Henry Grey Bennett, MP, and Lord Binning. [See Parliamentary Bibliography 1814 onwards] They were impressed "by the general comfort and cleanliness of the house", which at the time of their visit housed some eighty patients. "The house stands in the midst of very fine gardens to the extent of five acres, and such of the patients who can enjoy it when convalescent, are allowed to amuse themselves by keeping fowls or rabbits, or cultivating a small piece of garden ground"

    12.8.1815 Edward Wakefield, from his Pall Mall office, to Francis Place asking for the loan of £100 until the end of October, which Place was "happy" to make. "Your family occasions an increasing solicitude and repeated conversations in mine". James Mill and Francis Place were worried about Susanna Wakefield. Mill wrote to Place prophesying "nothing but destruction to the family if Mrs Wakefield be suffered to remain at home". Some weeks later, Place wrote to Mill "It is true, as Wakefield says, that Mrs Wakefield has no delusions, i.e. she does not take a church for a playhouse, but she is incapable of doing anything beyond crying and complaining and refusing both advice and assistance". (Bloomfield, P. 1961 pp 29-30)

    1816 Death of Susanna Wakefield

    Priscilla Wakefield's An introduction to the Natural History and Classification of Insects, in a Series of Familiar Letters. With Illustrated Engravings London: Darton, Harvey, and Darton, 1816.

    1825 Publication of John Mitford's A Description of the Crimes and Horrors in the interior of Warburton's Private Madhouse..., with the allegation that Priscilla had been a patient and had been abused.

    1826 Death of Edward Wakefield, wife of Priscilla. In this year, two of his grandsons, Edward Gibbon Wakefield and William Wakefield, abducted a young heiress, Ellen Turner, from her boarding school and, under false pretences, persuaded her to marry Edward in Scotland (the marriage was annulled). Edward Gibbon and William were sent to prison. [external link]. Whilst in Newgate, Edward Gibbon Wakefield wrote a series of works on the theory of colonisation and after prison he made his career as a colonial statesman in connection with South Australia, New Zealand and Canada. His scheme for South Australia nearly ruined the colony.

    Eli Radley was a son Isaac Radley, an Essex agricultural labourer, and Mary Puplett. There were ten children and Eli was born in 1802. He became a gardener and worked for the Bevan family (Quakers) in Tottenham.

    Mary Louisa Gibson married Eli Radley in 19.11.1826 in All Hallows Church, Tottenham in the presence of Jane Gibson and John Puplett Radley (Eli's brother, who signed with a mark)

    The photograph is clearly later in life. Louisa died of heart disease in 1867.

    Mary - Alexander - William - Joseph - Elizabeth Puplett Radley born 30.10.1836 died April 1839 - Old Bailey - Sophia Louisa Radley born summer 1838 - Rebecca Ann - 1841 census - Edmund Radley born spring 1843 died aged 2 years and six months. - 1871 - 1871 death of James Bull - tree and Fox stone - 1877-1885 (death) Eli in an asylum - Farrand Radley


    14.5.1827 Letter from Elizabeth Hodgkin in which she speaks of schoolmistressing "on a set of little rough villagers, about half a mile from here" in company with [Elizabeth] Forster. It was a plan of Rachel Forster's for "setting on foot a day-school on an improved plan, in a distant and rather neglected part of our parish"


    Grove House School 1828 - 1879

    Grove House School was founded by Thomas Binns, who served as the first headmaster. It replaced Forster's School, which had closed two years earlier. Provision was made to teach French, German, Latin, Writing and Drawing. The boys were all from Quaker families or had Quaker relatives. The school stood on the south side of Tottenham Green.

    William Edward Forster (1818-1886) was a pupil at Grove House School from 1832 to 1835. He ceased being a Quaker in 1850 on marrying a non-Quaker. In 1870 he successfully steered through Parliament an Education Act that overcame denominational antagonisms and established a national system of elementary education.

    Grove House School closed in 1879. In 1897 the site was purchased by Tottenham Council and became the Tottenham Polytechnic (now College of North East London). On the closure of Grove House School, activity was transferred to a new Quaker school in Reading, Leighton Park School, which is still running today.


    Birth of Mary Radley to Louisa and Eli. Mary became a Governess and then a companion. Obituary in The Friend 28.2.1902


    Birth of Alexander Radley to Louisa and Eli. Alexander became an accountant. He married first Annie Proudfoot and then Sarah Farrand. Alexander was father of John Charles Radley and grandfather of Farrand Radley


    12.5.1831 Paul Bevan, son of Silvanus and Mary Bevan, married Judith Nicholls Dillwyn, daughter of William and Sarah Dillwyn. "Monthly Meeting of Tottenham". Paul Bevan was an elector at a leashold house West Gree-lane Tottenham in 1847.


    6.8.1832 Birth of William Radley to Louisa and Eli. He died 13.11.1864, aged 32.

    1832 Death of Priscilla Wakefield, widow of Edward

    Bridget Hill 1997 Priscilla Wakefield as a Writer of Children's Educational Books is available as a pdf file from: http://www.triangle.co.uk/wow/pdf/04-1- bh.pdf. The quotations I have used from Priscilla Wakefield's journals are all taken from Bridget Hill's article. which was originally published in Women's Writing volume 4, No. 1, 1997.

    1833 The Quaker Meeting House was practically rebuilt on the old foundations at the cost of £1677. A small Meeting House and living room at the side were built, and so the buildings remained for more than 100 years. (1999 Exhibition)


    23.5.1835 Joseph Radley born. Said to have been the third son and fourth child (of Eli and Louisa). His obituary says "there being little money at home, he had his own way to make in the world", but he was helped by education provided in the district for working class children by or with the help of the local Quakers. All the Radley children went to the Infants School founded by Elizabeth Forster. Joseph then went to the local Lancastrain system school that Tottenham Quakers supported "which he always praised for having given him a basic education". In 1847 he went Friends School Croydon. At the age of fifteen, he was apprenticed to its Superintendent, John Sharp. "From him he learned much until, in accordance with established Quaker practice where there were clever children of Friends in modest circumstances, he continued his training as a teacher at the Flounders Institute and at Bootham School in York. In 1861 he returned to Croydon, having married Phebe Jane Bentley, the daughter of an Ipswich Quaker family. Seven years later she died leaving him with three sons. For a time he went on teaching at Croydon, but his friends persuaded him that a complete change was essential for his general well-being. So for a few months he tried a new occupation and worked as an accountant with a brother, an experience which served mainly to show that it was teaching which gave him the fullest satisfaction. He therefore returned to his first career, taught for five years at Wigton School in Cumberland, and towards the end of his time there married Mary E. Robinson of Pardshaw. Within a few months they and the three boys came to Lisburn where Joseph Radley entered upon what may be said to have been his life's work at Ulster Provincial School."


    18.6.1838 Eli Radley gave evidence at the Old Bailey that he worked for a Mr Bevan, next to Thomas Binns. He was working in the garden at West-green, Tottenham on Tuesday 12.6.1838 when "I saw the prisoners Webb, Newland, and Jenkinson in a footpath adjoining the field of master's premises, with two others who I do not know". (Court case)

    1838: John Phillips (1803-1894) married Mary Payne. Their children were Mary Elizabeth, John, Alfred and Ellen.

    1839 Brook Street Chapel of the Brethren opened by ex- Quakers from Tottenham Meeting who had left the society under the Bible leadings of the Beacon to the Society of Friends.

    1840 The population of Tottenham and District was about 9,000. Gas lighting was installed on the High Road.

    1840 Mary Elizabeth Phillips born. Died 1922.

    Autumn 1840 Rebecca Ann Radley was born to Eli and Louisa. She never married and was living with her father and two children of widowed brothers in 1871


    1841 Census: Paul Bevan aged 55 and Judith Bevan same aged lived in Philip Lane. A few entries away was Eli Radley, aged 39, Gardener - Louisa Radley 39 - Alexander Radley 10 - William Radley 8 - Joseph Radley 6. Then comes High Cross Green. High Cross Green is mostly teachers and pupils. Then comes Clock House. In Clock House is Thomas Binns 40 School Master. Mary Binns 40. Thomas Binns 13. Mary Binns 8 and some teachers and pupils.

    1846 Ellen Phillips born. In 1867 Ellen and Mary Elizabeth, opened a small house as a dispensary for women and children. It was so busy it became necessary to reserve treatment for children only. They moved to larger premises where arrangements were made to open a small hospital for children with twelve beds. This was the beginnings of what is now the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children. Ellen married Alexander Fox at Tottenham Meeting House in 1869. They moved to New Zealand soon after.


    Will of Isaac Radley of Purleigh, labourer is in the Essex Record Office Dates of Creation: 26.3.1847 "Scope and Content: Quaker". Date From: 1847 Date To: 1847

    1851 Tottenham Monthly Meeting 1851
    meeting census on 30.3.1851 revealed:
    Members worshipping at
    Tottenham Friends Meeting House: 156 (morning), 101 (afternoon);
    Winchmore Hill Friends Meeting House: 42 (morning), 16 (afternoon);
    Epping Friends Meeting House: 40 (morning)


    "Within the limits of that extensive district known as Tottenham Monthly Meeting, stretching from Chipping Ongar to the east, to Chipping Barnet on the west, and from Lea Bridge northwards almost to Hoddesdon, there are now three meetings of Friend, viz, Tottenham, Winchmore Hill, and Epping" (Beck and Ball page 295)


    Grandfather, spinster daughter and two motherless boys
    Rebecca Ann Radley daughter aged 30 living living with Eli Radley (aged 88) Gardener at 106 Phillip Lane, Tottenham. She is unmarried. With them are Arthur Henry Radley aged 9 and Joseph Fuller Radley aged 7 grandsons.
    Arthur Henry (born 1862, died 1922) was the son of Alexander Radley and Annie Proudfoot. Annie had died in 1866. Joseph Fuller Radley was a son of
    Joseph Radley and Phoebe Jane Bentley. Phoebe Jane had died in 1868. Rebecca Ann died December 1925 in West Ham [Forest Gate]. Previous to 1911 she classified herslf professionally as a housekeeper. In 1911 she was living on private means.


    Population was about 23,000. The Bethnal Green to Edmonton Railway line opened with stations at Bruce Grove and White Hart Lane.


    3.2.1873 Birth of John Charles Radley to Alexander Radley in Tottenham. He was the grandfather of Farrand Radley


    The meeting continued to grow through the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1879 a school room was added over the forecourt. This quite altered the original appearance of the meeting house.

    The picture below is of the meeting house in 1905. The gabled front is the 1879 addition. The lower structure behind to the right is the earlier building. Ralph Wadge, who know the building, explained to me that you walked through the school to get to the meeting. The graveyard (which became the lawn and garden) is at the back. In this 1905 picture young, but pollarded, plane trees line the pavement.

    Tottenham Meeting House in 1905

    1.5.1885 Eli Radley of Philip Lane Tottenham died - He had been admitted to the York Retreat as a private patient on 7.8.1877 and died there 1.5.1885. His will was proved at the Principal Registry by John Burgess Seale of Plaistow Lodge, Plaistow, Essex and Mary Radley (spinster) of 6 Belmont-villas Leicester, daughter of the executers on 3.7.1885


    1890: Average attendance at First Day School was 74 children


    10.12.1891 Tottenham Monthly Meeting Minute

    "During the severe weather of last winter, efforts were made to relieve some of the suffering poor in our neighbourhood by giving cocoa suppers for men three times a week in the school room and dinners for children, tickets for the latter being distributed by one of the Board School teachers. We also distributed about ten tons of coal."


    Electricity was installed in the Meeting House in 1937.


    By 1956, the meeting had shrunk substantially as Quakers moved away from the area. Only four Quakers lived in Tottenham neighbourhood, though sometimes as many as nine attended Meeting. The meeting decided that it should continue, but the premises were proving a big obstacle. They were old, enormous and difficult for such a small membership to maintain.


    In 1961 the old meeting house was demolished and shops and offices built on the site in 1962, with a new, smaller meeting house on the roof of the shops.

    October/November 1999 Dressed in Simplicity
    300 years of Quakers in Tottenham
    An exhibition held at Bruce Castle Museum, London N17 to mark the 300th anniversary of Quakers in Tottenham
    archive of text
    Women quaked as well


    mid-Essex Quakers

    1780 Isaac Radley born Chelmsford, Essex to James Radley and Mary Martha. Isaac married Mary Puplett and had 10 children.

    Abigail Radley
    Evonne Radley
    Hannah Radley
    Isaac Radley
    John Puplett Radley
    Sophia Radley
    1802 Eli Radley
    1810 Mary Ann Radley
    1816 Samuel Radley died 1877
    1823 Elizabeth Radley

    12.10.1805 James Bull born in Stock, Essex. Father Daniel Bull and mother Sarah Bull. Father a husbandman. Note says "Parents not members". Records of Monthly Meeting of Witham. Mary Ann Radley, his wife to be, was born about 1807 in Purleigh, Essex. She was a sister of Eli Radley. She married James at Ratcliff in 1832. John and Mary Ann (both Quakers) were living with their daughter Emma in 7½ Coleman Street, which was the Bunhill graveyard house, in 1851 and 1861. By 1871 just James Bull lived there. James Bull, aged 66, died 23.12.1871, Bunhill Row, London [The Annual Monitor for 1873, or, Obituary of the Members of the Society of Friends in Great Britain and Ireland, Number 31]

    Study links outside this site
    Top of Page

    Andrew Roberts likes to hear from users:
    To contact him, please use the
    Communication Form

  • Adult Schools

    William Allen


    Bedford Institute


    Bull and Mouth

    Bunhill Fields

    Bunhill Mission

    Bunhill Quaker Gardens

    Bunhill web

    John Bunyan

    clerks of meetings


    Coffee Taverns

    City Quakers

    Clerkenwell Workhouse


    Devonshire House


    Family History

    Friends House

    Friends in the truth

    Elizabeth Fry

    George Fox

    Gracious Street

    hat homage

    Hoxton Hall

    Luke Howard

    Mary Hughes

    Charles Lamb

    Mary Lamb

    Love and Unity

    William Mead

    Meeting for Sufferings

    naked as a sign

    Peel Meeting

    William Penn


    Quaker beginnings

    Quaker Women

    Quaker Social Action

    Quaker Street

    Ratcliff Meeting

    Recording Clerk

    Royal Sufferings

    Royal connections: Penn, Quire, Bevan, Allen, Fry,

    slave owners

    Solomon Eagle or
    Solomon Eccles


    Stoke Newington



    Tuke family

    Priscilla Wakefield and family

    Horace Alexander

    When I was young,
    And not yet a child,
    Horace, old, taught me
    To pray

    He sat on a chair
    And breathed

    He fell on the floor
    On his knees

    Stood up, arms open
    Branches of trees

    And not a word said
    As into the presence
    The child in him led

    Bunhill park

    flat ground
    empty park
    sparse grass
    loneliness and
    children play
    where the dead
    Quakers lay

    Not a stone
    not a sign
    flat ground
    empty park
    sparse grass
    loneliness and
    children play

    Son of man
    son of God
    all in him
    are gathered in
    not a sign
    to tell apart
    all in him
    are gathered in
    gathered in the
    lonely park
    where I see
    light of God
    streaming from
    the old plane tree

    Light of God
    is all around
    saints are streaming
    from the ground
    gathered in
    from all the world
    son of God
    son of man
    all are one


    There are so many mysteries
    He is the son of God
    Born with God
    He is God
    He is without sin
    Carrying all sin
    In his flesh
    Tonight, I cannot
    Bear to leave my love
    Hanging where I killed him
    I carry his filthy body
    To a funeral cave
    And fail to dispel
    The stench
    With perfume
    In my loneliness I never
    Felt closer to him
    I hear him preach
    I feel him touch my
    And, as I pray,
    He searches
    The depths of hell
    That there be none left
    When, rising with them,
    He throws away the key
    Love is risen.

    Wet drops on fabric

    God with us

    Put your finger
    on the pulse of creation
    See what draws near

    Rather distant
    from creation?
    Gently touch
    another's heart beat
    See what draws near

    No one with a
    pulse you can share?
    Put your hand
    on the heart beat within
    See what draws near.

      Divine errors

      Why does God make so many mistakes? For example, in parables, why does he not give us footnotes to explain exactly what they mean? Why leave us open to experience by telling parables? Why leave us open? Why leave us openings?

    Domestic and

    Chapel's cold
    where faith
    took love away
    Frozen a meeting
    where only the
    righteous pray

    Hands are warm
    that, holding
    cakes and tea,
    heat the heart
    and chapel
    to welcome
    you and me