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Some Friends Community

ADMINISTRATIVE/BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY: Some Friends was a housing community in Bethnal Green in the East End of London. It started in 1973 and grew out of the London Quaker Action Group. The initial membership was sixteen and ages ranged from twenty to eighty. There were several ideals which helped shaped the ethos of the community. These include non-violence, feminism, anti-racism, a concern for the environment, a concern for the spiritual perspective on life, and vegetarianism. However, the definition and application of these ideas varied from one member to another, and as the community was regularly changing its members, it also varied in the nature of its polical, social and cultural ideals.

The community held meetings twice a month to discuss practical matters, and other meetings as a community to discuss particular issues or conflicts or simply to share how members are and to participate in a creative activity together. It attempted to take all decisions by concensus. The Community followed a vegetarian diet and the cost of food was shared amongst members on a sliding scale according to income. Meals were regularly communal and cooking shared amongst members. Each member had their own room, a shared sitting room, a shared meditation room, three bathrooms, a guestroom and a roof garden. Community, household and maintenance jobs were shared and rent was the same for everyone. Some Friends also had 'partner' communities in Bow and Mornington Grove. The Some Friends Community in Bethnal Green closed at the end of 2008.

SCOPE AND CONTENT: Records of Some Friends Community (1973-2008), including:

  • Community minutes, 1974-2008.
  • financial records, including financial statements, food accounts and rent accounts, 1973-2008.
  • papers and correspondence regarding the administration, maintenance and development of Some Friends Community, including papers on building maintenance, possible purchase of property, lists and membership records, records of enquirers, papers regarding relationship with landlords and scrapbooks, artefacts and photograph albums, 1973-2008.
  • Artwork and paintings produced by Some Friends Community member Marga Bell, 1973-1993.

QUANTITY: 25 Boxes and oversize items

NOTE: Access to the collection is restricted at present. For more information about the collection, please contact the Library Enquiries or 020 7392 9292.