Kingsley Hall

Gandhi at Kingsley Hall.jpg
Architects Journal, 16 July 1930.jpg


Kingsley Hall


Determined to bring some relief to slum inhabitants of London’s east end, in 1912 Doris and Muriel Lester started a nursery school on Bruce Road in Bow. Their brother, Kingsley, was killed during the First World War, and left his money to the sisters’ quest. Building upon this donation, funds were raised to enable the construction of Kingsley Hall in 1927. It was designed by Charles Cowles-Voysey, the son of a prominent arts and crafts designer who favoured the pared down classicism of the interwar years. The architecture supported and expressed the spiritualism of Christian philanthropy which underwrote the Lesters’ mission. The main meeting hall was used for religious and community functions while the roof top cells resembled those of a hermitage. Kingsley Hall brought international figures like Gandhi and his followers to the East End, while also becoming a base for Muriel Lester’s later international pacifist campaigns.


Dinodia Photos / Alamy Stock Photo
Architects' Journal / Kingsley Hall Community Centres Heritage Committee and the Bishopsgate Institute


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“Kingsley Hall,” Spaces of Internationalism, accessed February 27, 2024,