Return to the Forum homepage


Hutchison House Club for Working Lads, London

The influx of East European Jews in the latter half of the nineteenth century to London's East End created new problems which established institutions could not address. Unlike many Non-conformists, British Jews felt no anxiety about the expansion of state support for secular education, providing they could maintain their own communal control over religious education.

Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915) as leader of Anglo-Jewry had grasped the need for extra-curricular organisation. For example, Lady Rothschild, Emma, Nathnaile swife (1844-1935) provided around 60% of the annual costs of the Brady Street Lads' Club founded in Whitechapel in 1896 to keep young Jewish men out of mischief. Other members of the fmaily supported simialr endeavours, Nathaniel's son Walter (1868-1937) contributed £5,000 to the costs of the Hayes Industrial School set up in 1901 for Jewish young offenders, and two year later, the Rothschilds and Montefiores combined to create a similar school for girls with the explicit object of improving the religious education working class girls received.

Hutchison House Club for Working Lads

In 1872 a Jewish Working Men's Club & Lads' Institute had been founded by the Jewish Association for the Diffusion of Religious Knowledge, with a reading room and lecture hall at Hutchison House, Hutchison Street, Aldgate; Samuel Montagu was President. Becoming independent two years later, a library, games, entertainments and other club features for 400 members of both sexes were added. In 1883, a purpose-built club for 1,500 was built in Great Alie Street, with a Lads' Institute for boys between 14 and 20. Membership continued to increase; the Lads' Institute returned to Hutchison Street, and in 1892 the Great Alie Street premises were enlarged at a cost of £4,000.

By 1905 there were 975 members, and the Hutchison House Club for Working Lads was created by the Rothschild family in conjunction with Max Bonn (1877-1938, an American-born merchant banker and Frank Goldsmith MP, based at Camperdown House, in Half Moon Passage to provide support and activities for primarily Jewish young men.

'The Hutch' as it became known became one of several local agencies committed to encouraging young people to combine loyalty to faith and citizenship. It was also the Headquarters of the Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade (in some rivalry with Jewish scout troops). In 1915 the Club's premises were offered to the government for war work; in 1918 the newly-raised Jewish Battalion of the 38th Royal Fusiliers had a kosher meal here and was inspected in Great Alie Street by Lt. Gen. Sir Francis Lloyd, as part of its famous march through Whitechapel. 

Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1882-1942), Nathaniel's nephew, became the first president of the Hutchison House Club for Working Lads. At the club's opening on 28 June 1905, he declared "We hope to catch the youth of the immediate neighbourhood, and to help them to rise in the world, to help them out of the temptations which they find in the street, the music-halls and the public houses. We want to instil into the boys ambition, the pride of being Jews and the pride in being Englishmen. We want to teach them the qualities of endurance and sportsmanship..."

Further papers of the Hutchison House Club for Working Lads including Committee papers, minute books, correspondence,  and copies of annual reports, will be found in the Archive collections of the University of Southampton.

Hutchison House Club for Working Lads, first anniversary, invitation card, 1906

000/1580/2, 1 item

Invitation card from the Hutchison House Club for Working Lads, 1906. 'Mr Lionel de Rothschild, President, and the Committee of the Hutchison House Club for Working Lads, Hutchison Street, Aldgate E. request the pleasure of the company of the 'Editor of the Jewish Chronicle' at the First anniversary Display and Prize Distribution, on Wednesday June 6th at 8.30 pm when Mr Leopold de Rothschild will preside, and Mrs de Rothschild will distribute the Prizes'. Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942) was the first President, and his parents Leopold (1845-1917) and Marie (1862-1937) attended the first anniversary celebrations.