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A study of continuity and change at the Mary Ward Centre, London.
M.A. Degree in Urban Education’
Kings College, University of London, 1979.

The study focused on an analysis of the then current adult education centre and relies heavily on interviews with former staff and Principals/Heads.  

In the second half of the nineteenth century ideas associated with Robert Owen, with Chartism and with Christian Socialism gave rise to a new form of institution - the Educational Settlement.

  An educational settlement was a place which housed men and women who, in return, donated some of their time to education and social work at the Settlement or in the immediate neighbourhood. Their purpose was to provide a comprehensive education programme together with social welfare work involving children as well as adults.

  One such foundation was the Passmore Edwards Settlement, now the Mary Ward Centre, founded in 1897 and situated in Tavistock Place, London.


Mary Ward (or Mrs Humphry Ward) was, before her marriage, Mary Arnold: daughter of Thomas Arnold, granddaughter of Arnold of Rugby and niece of Matthew Arnold. By her connections with the literary and intellectual  elite it could be claimed the she was a member of an intellectual aristocracy.

In addition to writing on the Spanish Mystics and translating the French philosopher Amiel’s ‘Journal Intime’ into English. Indeed her credentials as a social reformer were attested to by no less than Beatrice Webb. By all accounts she was an extraordinary woman and her success in providing opportunities for education and  in providing Evening Play-centres for Children were equally extraordinary.

  She was, in fact, a very popular writer of thirty novels, which were received with great acclaim. She was committed to the University Settlement movement and, in 1923, The Passmore Edwards Settlement, for which she had worked tirelessly, was re-named the Mary Ward Centre in her honour.

      Mary Ward Settlement

Jeffrey Robinson