Select Page

Oxford House in Bethnal Green

First "University Settlement", now an arts and community space. New Pocket Park opened 2014.


Blomfield, Sir Arthur/All Clear Designs (extension)



Derbyshire Street E2 6HG

Sat 10am-1pm. Regular tours. Victorian chapel will be open. Max 15 per tour.

Bethnal Green

8, 254, 106, 388

  • Access for wheelchair users
  • Refreshments available
  • Toilets available

OXFORD HOUSE IN BETHNAL GREEN Oxford House: A Victorian Building From settlement to Art and Community CentreThe architect of Oxford House was (Sir) Arthur William Blomfield (1829_1899), son of the Bishop of London, a prominent high churchman who founded several churches in Bethnal Green. Blomfield was the architect of the Royal College of Music and the rebuilding of Southwark Cathedral, London and several colleges at Cambridge. But in comparison with his former projects, he worked to a smaller budget than his usual commissions and in a more cramped, urban location.The architecture of Oxford House was in the domestic style of the 16th or 17th century. The Duke of Connaught inaugurated the Victorian building in 1892. The ceremony was attended by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, six bishops and other ecclesiastical luminaries, underscoring the settlement’s religious purpose. Since 2011 Oxford House has been listed as a Grade II building by English Heritage._ Extension: Adapting to new needs, Oxford House was extended to the east after the Second World War, to provide a new hall. In 2003, the extension was replaced with a two-storey building by All Clear Designs Ltd. The new building extension and refurbishment houses a theatre and studio space, with a link structure running along the north side of Oxford House providing level access, a new entrance foyer and gallery spaces._ Exterior: Oxford House is a three-storey building, plus a basement and an attic, in a spare Tudor Revival style. The building is constructed of red brick with brick chimneys and a tiled roof. The southern fa‡ade is symmetrical, of seven bays with shallow two-bay cross-wings under pitched roofs with gables of stone hexagonal ball finials, coping and kneelers. The entrance doors are up a short flight of steps; a foundation stone on the recessed porch wall records November 30th 1891. On the right hand side of the entrance is a Victorian post box set embedded into the wall. To the west is the former clubhouse of 1894, of three bays with a hipped roof. The outer ground-floor bays of the clubhouse, now windows, were originally the entrance doors. _ Interior: Since its building the interior of Oxford House has been remodeled several times. However, the solid brick walls are largely in the original configuration. Furthermore paneled door reveals and fireplaces survived the last century. A large Tudor-arched fireplace with carved rosettes in the spandrels stands out. It is located in today_s caf‚, the former dining room of the graduates, on the ground floor. The original student_s bedrooms on the 1st and 2nd floor are currently used as office space for charities and social businesses. _ Chapel: The chapel is located on the 3rd floor; it is the best-preserved room of the building. The chapel is paneled in wood. The east end features a timber altar and a timber triptych. The latter comprises a central painted panel flanked by carved doors. The painting, by Alfred U Soord dated 1914, depicts the crucifixion. The inner faces of the doors are decorated with coloured and gilt paint and show subjects from the Old Testament (to the left) and the symbols of the Evangelists (to the right). The paneling to the rear of the chapel is inscribed with names of the Fallen of the First World War. There are various plaques affixed to the paneling which commemorate the lives of people connected with Oxford House. The restoration of the original Chapel was completed in 1997._ Arts Centre: The 2003 extension houses, apart from a new entrance foyer, Oh! Arts Centre. This includes gallery space for various exhibitions and workshops, a theatre with bar area, a dance studio and a new lift.