York Educational Settlement

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Records relating to the operations of the Educational Settlement including minute books, account books, log books and scrapbooks which contain various press and other clippings which relate to the settlement.

Administrative / Biographical History

The first Educational Settlement in York was founded at 31 St Mary's, York, in 1909. It became known as the 'St Mary's Settlement'. It was based there until 1932. In 1933, the Settlement relocated to 128 Holgate Road and became known as the Holgate Hill Settlement. It remained at this premises until at least 1975. In 1924 the York Settlement was recognized by the Board of Education as "a responsible Body under the Board of Education Adult Education Regulations for the purpose of submitting formal classes and receiving grants on respect of them." In 1944 it was recognized by the Local Education Act and Local Education Authorities.

During their existence, the York Educational Settlements, particularly the one at St Mary's, received considerable financial support from the Rowntree family, with Arnold Rowntree being a particularly active and influential trustee.

The York Settlement had relationships with several other groups in the city, particularly those also working to provide adult education. This included the Workers Educational Settlement (WEA)'s York Branch, who held meetings, classes and lectures at the Settlement's St Mary's premises. In 1949-1950, the Settlement was affiliated with the York Film Society.

The York Settlement Community Players grew out of the St Mary's settlement and was equated with it until the YSCP became an independent group in 1922.

Educational settlements aimed to provide non-residential adult education in the city for the working class regardless of their religious or political views. The movement was an extension of the Quaker adult school movement. Due to a higher level of education among the working class (to at least elementary level) and a declining interest in religious instruction and the 'three Rs', it was believed that these settlements would 'hold their primary purpose to be education, not social missionary work'.

In the early days of the York Settlement, classes and lectures were provided on Biblical and religious matters. By 1920, reflecting the changing focus of would-be students, and society in general, from religious to more secular subjects, courses on history, art, French, English Literature, German and economics were offered. In 1932, classes in subjects such as law, philosophy, handicraft. and folk dancing were provided.

As well as providing adult education, the Settlement also played an important social role in the community - in the 1930s it provided direct assistance to unemployed men by offering free-of-charge classes, and in the 1940s, more classes on crafts and DIY were offered, reflecting appeals for help with the war effort.

The York Settlement was governed by a democratic council, which consisted of students' representatives and representatives from other associations and groups interested in adult education, such as the WEA and the University of Leeds.

Conditions Governing Access

Material is available subject to the usual terms and conditions of access to Archives and Local History collections.

Other Finding Aids

More detailed finding aids for this collection can be found online by searching the Explore website ( www.exploreyork.org.uk)

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Francesca Taylor, Community Collections Assistant, December 2014.

Conditions Governing Use

Images are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.