The Queen Margaret College Settlement Association was incorporated in 1897 in the Anderston district of Glasgow, Scotland. Its aim was to 'promote the welfare of the poorer people, chiefly of the women and children, in a district or districts of Glasgow' and to 'maintain a centre of work in the district'. It was the third such settlement in Glasgow along with Toynbee House founded in 1886, and the Glasgow University Students' Settlement founded in the Possil area by Divinity students in 1889.
Membership of the Settlement was open to members of the Queen Margaret Union of Queen Margaret College, Glasgow , or women who had graduated or passed examinations equivalent to Oxford or Cambridge Universities. At the annual general meeting, a convenor, treasurer and secretary, and 16 members of the Association were elected to form the Executive Committee.
In its first year, the Settlement dealt with 169 cases of which 78 received assistance and 60 were referred to other organisations; the remaining were declared ineligible for assistance. From the outset, consideration was given to the needs of children and women. Activities included a Collective Savings Bank, playground schemes and clubs for boys and girls were established. A particular emphasis was placed on the encouragement of independence and thrift. In 1905, the Settlement took over the Glasgow Corporation Milk Depot to ensure that children were receiving nutrition and a Mothers' Clinic helped to educate and give practical help to mothers. The education given was of a practical nature, such as dress making, cookery and fitness.
Training for social work started in earnest in 1902 when a Teaching Committee was established to arrange conferences on social subjects aimed at Settlement workers and others. These, along with practical training, were aimed to complete the education of social workers. This development was instrumental in establishing the School of Social Study & Training at the University of Glasgow .
In 1901 , the first student settlement was established in Anderston where students could live with the local people and be educated as to the conditions in such localities. In 1908, a new building for the residential settlement was procured in Port Street, Anderston, and halls and clubrooms were added in 1912. A Warden, Assistant Warden, students training for careers in social work and later social workers lived in the residence.
During the 1914-1918 World War a nursery school was established and government aid was received to help with the Settlement's social work activities. A Men's Club was established in 1921 and an Unemployed Men's Club was established in 1931 where training was offered in skills such as carpentry and motor repair. With the increased involvement of men in the Settlement its constitution was altered in 1934 to admit men. As such it was renamed Glasgow University Queen Margaret Settlement Association: Glasgow University Settlement in 1935 and registered as a limited liability company.
The 1920s and 1930s saw a rise in unemployment and poverty in Anderston yet the classes, clubs, lectures and annual summer garden party run by the Settlement remained well attended. However, as state provision improved, the playground schemes, savings banks and clubs tailed off, although the nursery school continued to flourish with a constant waiting list.
In 1938, new premises for Boys' and Mens' Clubs were acquired in Piccadilly Street including workrooms, meeting rooms, a gymnasium and a canteen. With the outbreak of the 1939-1945 War the building was requisitioned for use as a first aid centre and the clubs relocated. From 1939-1941, the residential settlement and nursery school were closed although other activities continued as means allowed. The Womens' Clubs' sewed, knitted and helped to raise money for the war effort; although the Girls' Club membership fluctuated as many were called up or had to work long hours in the factories. However, from 1941, the nursery school again flourished and deposits in the savings bank soared. The Invalid Children's Aid Association of the Settlement continued but as buildings were requisitioned places in the convalescent homes dropped. The first Citizen's Advice Bureau in Glasgow was opened attached to the Settlement.
Post-war, Anderston was scheduled for redevelopment as an industrial area and many families were rehoused in new schemes around the city. The Glasgow Corporation assumed responsibility for the Nursery School, the Savings Bank closed and the local authority became responsible for visiting sick and invalid children. The last formal link between the Settlement and social work training was severed when the practical work headquarters was transferred to the University. Even with these changes, new clubs were established along with a caf and elderly ladies club.
By the 1960s it was becoming evident with the redevelopment of Anderston that the Settlement was coming to the end of its natural life. In 1963 , the Settlement residence was closed and a new focus was found in the Drumchapel area of Glasgow where many families from the centre of the city had been re-housed. In 1966 , the Port Street buildings were closed and the Settlement finally left Anderston.
Work in Drumchapel had begun in 1964 . A Family Case Work Agency, which later became known as the Family Centre, was established to offer "casework service to families at risk and families with multiple problems" and employed professional staff and volunteers with funding received from Glasgow Corporation. The centre also acted as a student training centre. In 1964, an Advice Centre was opened in Drumchapel to offer straight forward advice to the residents. These schemes were all successful and vindicated the move from Anderston to Drumchapel. Other developments were a pre-school play group established in 1968, the appointment of a dietician in 1967, and a series of lectures and talks instituted. By the 1980s, the situation had again changed. Although Drumchapel's problems were by no means solved, it was designated a priority area by the Glasgow Corporation and this brought in new resources. The Settlement began to focus on the Waverley area of Drumchapel and the Family Centre was renamed the Family and Community Team (FACT). Summer clubs were established for teenagers, but by 1983 it was decided to close down FACT and remove from Drumchapel altogether due to the inability to guarantee funding.
In April 1984, the Settlement returned to Anderston to become part of the Church Care project sponsored by the Anderston-Kelvingrove Church of Scotland which was about to loose its funding. The Settlement agreed to fund the salary of the church care leader in the project to help the elderly who suffered from loneliness, isolation, fear and anxiety. The project became known as the Glasgow University Settlement-Anderston-Kelvingrove (GUSAK) and made use of the Anderston-Kelvingrove Church restaurant and nearly-new shop. The project distributed Christmas parcels and liased with the Department of Health and Social Security to speed up client claims. Education projects were initiated for the elderly and a library established. However, further funding problems brought and end to GUSAK in 1988.
The Settlement needed to take stock and decided to return to its roots, trying to get student volunteers involved in community projects once again. By June 1990, 50 students were undertaking voluntary work and receiving training. Student tutoring was established in 1991 where students entered local school to help teachers. A full time development officer was appointed though grants and University support. However, further funding problems lead to the closure of the student volunteer service in 1995. The service had recruited over 1800 volunteers with over 200 placements available. Tutoring was the most popular activity followed by work with children and young people.
In 2002 , the Settlement was still active. Although its community work was much diminished, it administered a mature student bursary fund to help with the living expenses of mature students from the Glasgow area who wished to attend the University.
Having served the City of Glasgow for over 120 years the charity ceased operations in January 2019. However the University of Glasgow will continue to build on the legacy of the University of Glasgow Settlement by funding Find a Solution internships research projects which harness the knowledge base of the University by recruiting students to find innovative solutions for Third Sector organizations.