There were missions and there were settlements. In South London there were more of the former, and few of the latter. Pembroke House was a mission, but it behaved like a settlement, and in recent years changed its legal status to match its outlook. What is the difference?
There is a lot of overlap between the two. The missions were more overtly evangelical than the settlements. They were welcomed by a Church of England, struggling to keep up with rapidly expanding London. Each mission offered a free vicar and a place of worship. As such, their geographical orientation centred on the parishes.
This was less so for the settlements. These were drawn to the need, wherever is could be found. As a vicar, Barnett was disappointed by the failure of the church to focus on the causes of strife, so he organised and ran Toynbee Hall settlement very differently from the way he organised and ran St Jude’s church down the road.
This moving away from faith, a shift of emphasis more than a turning of the back, was a source of great angst for both its proponents and the sponsors of the settlement movement, and the tension endures. It is a focus of debate, for example, among the Board and staff at Pembroke House.
The reflections of the second Warden, Charles Fudge Andrews, provide, potentially, the counter-factual, the struggle that comes with the failure of the church, of any institution, to resolve the gross inequalities that have endured in places like Walworth.