About this Archive
The River Christian Centre was established on Vincent Street in Canning Town as the Malvern Mission in 1894. The Mission was a result of a general movement among British public schools and universities to promote social and religious work in deprived areas of the UK. It was also part of the Docklands Settlements, a network of amenity centres in deprived areas of east London which aimed to meet the social and spiritual needs of the local population. The Malvern Mission itself was established by Reginald Kennedy-Cox and the staff of Malvern College, a fee paying school in Malvern, Worcestershire. The aims of the mission were both spiritual and communal, aiming to become a ‘centre of religious influence and social good’. Although the Mission was initially successful, progress was interrupted by the First World War. When Kennedy-Cox returned to the east end in 1918 he quickly sought new financial backing for the project, establishing a new constitution in 1923 and renaming the organisation Docklands Settlement No.1. A period of expansion followed, with Settlement No.1 acting as a hub from which sub-centres were established throughout east London and in several provincial cities. The premises on Vincent Street were also expanded in the 1920s and 1930s, gaining a large activities hall, gymnasium, swimming pool, theatre, roof garden and additional residential accommodation. Progress again slowed during the Second World War, and the expansion of the Welfare State after 1945 affected the viability of Dockland Settlement No.1 as envisaged by Kennedy-Cox. The Settlement was revived in 1958 following an initiative from the Bishop of Barking who, together with the former England cricketer Rev David Sheppard, created the Mayflower Family Centre. The aims of the Centre were now overtly Christian, and it achieved varying levels of success undergoing numerous changes of character throughout the following decades. In 2003 the Centre merged with a local Elm church to become the River Christian Church and Centre.
The Malvern Mission, (1894-1923)
Docklands Settlement No.1, (1923-1958)
Mayflower Family Centre, (1958-2003)
River Christian Church and Centre, (2003-present).
Scope and content
Papers of the Mayflower Family Centre (1910-2010), including : Minute books of Mayflower Family Centre committees and councils, 1957-2002; Audio and film reels of holidays and trips taken by Mayflower members, and of events and activities taken place in and around the Mayflower Family Centre, 1958-1987; Audio and video cassettes related to Mayflower Family Centre, 1976; Photographs and slides of holidays and trips taken by Mayflower members, and of events and activities in and around the Mayflower Family Centre, 1958-2009; Building plans and papers regarding building works for Mayflower Family Centre, c.1959-2010; Administrative documentation of the Freedom Road Ministries and associated ministries, 1988-2004; Administrative documents of the Mayflower Family Centre (including AGMs, memos, annual reports and minutes), 1988-1996; Copies of Mayflower Family Centre newsletters (including The Log of the Mayflower, The Porthole and Mayflower), 1958-1994; Newsletters, reports and journals related to Mayflower Family Centre, 1968-1983; Material relating to members of the Mayflower Family Centre, 1910-1999; Press cutting and press releases regarding Mayflower Family Centre, 1997-2001.
23 boxes, 4 over-sized boxes, and other loose items.