Not, I would suggest, a winning title today. Settlements involve buildings. That means bedding in for the long run. Nothing here to excite contemporary funders and commissioners. Bringing ‘men’ from universities to live in the inner cities. This was the idea of Samuel Barnett and his wife Henrietta, set out in the shared reading here. Would that catch on today?
As it turned out, the settlement movement was a major contributor to the welfare state, opening the eyes of the closeted middle classes to the squalor and grandeur of the rapidly expanding inner cities.
It is the embodiment of place based work, fitting exactly with the definition proposed at the February meeting. In other respects, the settlements, at least those that like Pembroke survive in a form that mirrors their birth, are highly unusual.
People from universities come to live in, be a part of, learn from and serve the community in which the settlement is built.
The settlement mixes religion and secular ethics, bringing staff and citizens back to what it means to live a good life.
It exudes a determination, born of humility, to respect the agency of the citizen. The clubs, associations and committees that characterise settlement life provide a context for citizens to come together. Nobody tells them what to do.
And, when it endures, like Pembroke House, the settlement learns and adapts. So far, Pembroke House is a 140 year old project.