Over the weekend the Oxford and St Georges Club held a reunion in celebration of their centenary. The club was founded in 1914 by Basil Henriques, an alumni of Oxford who saw a need to establish a youth group in London’s East End. The group grew quickly despite the onset of the First World War and by 1939 the group was not just a boys’ club, but had girls’ clubs, groups for all ages and was based in the ‘Bernhard Baron Oxford and St Georges Settlement” , a university campus style area which encompassed a variety of facilities.
The club was unusual amongst clubs in this period as it included a large amount of spiritual education for boys. Members were encouraged to think about love and friendship – something that wasn’t really seen compatible with masculinity. This image below shows a prayer service from an Oxford and St Georges summer camp in the 1930s. You can see here that the boys are being led in prayer by Henriques. This again is quite unusual for a boys’ club, as most boys clubs didn’t hold informal prayer sessions like this but instead held very formal events.
The club forms a really important part of my research and I have looked at many documents and memories from the group. If anyone has any more to add then please get in touch.
A report of the reunion can be found here http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-features/.premium-1.577914