18-20 April 2018 | University of Edinburgh

Exploring the History of Settlements 

Hosted by Social Work History Network and Research SIG

Settlement houses have played a unique role in the development of social work and research.  Following the establishment of Toynbee Hall in London in 1884 and settlements in the United States, the settlement house model was adopted across the world.  The Settlement House Movement offered an alternative to the more individually oriented Charity Organization Society and became associated with community work and radical approaches within the profession.  

By the early 20th Century, settlement houses operated in diverse settings across the world.   The meeting will seek to further our understanding of the settlement houses’ role through a cross-national comparative historical approach.  Scholars will explore the transnational translation of the settlement house idea across nations; examine how settlement houses developed in various national contexts, and determine the impact of settlement houses upon the communities in which they operated and on social policy.    



9:00 – 11:00 Session I: Settlements – Historical Case Studies

Stefan Köngeter (Chair) -  The Transnational Development of the Settlement House Movement

Hugh Shewell - Basil Henriques and the Oxford and St. George's Settlement House: A Jewish response to Christian social reform in early twentieth century Britain.

John Gal & Yehudit Avnir -  Settlement Houses in the Jewish Community in Mandatory Palestine

Francisco Branco – What a Difference a R made: Chicago’s Hull House experience, French’s “maisons sociales” and their influence in Portugal

Kate Bradley -  The English settlements, the Poor Man’s Lawyer and social work, c.1890-1939 

Rory Crath – Animating objectivity: The Chicago Settlement’s use of numeric and aesthetic knowledge to render its immigrant neighbours and neigbourhood knowable


11:00 – 11: 15 Break


11: 15 – 13:00 Session II:Settlements -  A Contemporary Perspective

John Gal (Chair)

Terry Bamford – A passion for social change- the temperance movement, social reform and settlements

Gregory Acevedo - The Legacy and Future of Settlement Houses in New York and London

Steven Malies –  From ‘Agit Prop’ to community social work partnership.  A look at how a Victorian Settlement in London’s East End responded to the needs of its local communities in the 1970s to 1990s  

Jeanette Copperman - Community Development within Waterloo Action Centre 1981-1987

Barbara Levy Simon -  Prussian Academics’ Influence on Mary Simkhovitch 


13:00 – 13:30 Lunch Break


13:30 – 15:00 Session III:The Settlements and Historical Research in Social Work

Sarah Vicary (Chair)

Viv Cree – Comments

Jim Minton – Comments

Geoff Ginn - Comments


For queries, please contact:  Sarah Vicary sarah.vicary@open.ac.uk , Stefan Köngeter koengeter@uni-trier.de or John Gal  john.gal@mail.huji.ac.il

Date and time: 18 April 2018, 09.00-15.30; George Square Campus, room to be confirmed