In 1929, after being petitioned by residents of the new Becontree Estate, Muriel and Doris Lester, bought land, erected a marquee, parked a caravan for the staff to live in and established Kingsley Hall, Dagenham.
The philosophy of the sisters was to support the residents of the largest council estate in Europe, from 'the cradle to the grave’. They set out a five-step plan to achieve this. Now more than 87 years later, we are re-developing Kingsley Hall, so that the legacy left by the sisters can continue; we want to ensure our heritage is preserved and used to help shape the future.
Some of the key themes of the work are as relevant today as when Kingsley Hall was first founded. These include providing a welcome for people from a background of disadvantage and disability, inclusiveness, advocating for social justice, faith, empowering local people to make a difference in their community, challenging values, supporting refugees, campaigning for peace, prayer, innovative learning for children and young people, support for isolated people, enterprise.
About the project:
Our heritage project, like the Lester sisters’ project, has a five-step plan:
1. Researching, 2. Recording, 3. Sharing, 4. Preserving and 5. Celebrating our history.
Our vision is that through this project, our heritage will be given fresh expression and its legacy of community life will help to shape our exciting future.
To this end, we partnered with Eastside Community Heritage, a heritage and arts organisation dedicated to recording, documenting and preserving powerful stories in our communities.
The project offered our volunteers training in oral history which included interviewing techniques, sound recording and editing and web design.
Muriel and Doris Lester, who founded
Kingsley Hall in 1929
Sharing The Past To Shape The Future
The Heritage and Legacy of Kingsley Hall Dagenham