“We have found faith in the city”: The records of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on the Urban Priority Areas (ACUPA)

“We have three problems: poverty, poverty and poverty.” So said a Councillor from the North-East to ACUPA. Archbishop Robert Runcie set up the Commission in 1983, and tasked it with examining the needs of the Church’s life and mission in inner city areas. ACUPA published its recommendations two years later, generating considerable political controversy, and setting in motion numerous initiatives whose impact continues to this day.

The commission was established in July 1983, following the widespread rioting that had overtaken Brixton and parts of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool in 1981. Chaired by Sir Richard O’Brien, ACUPA’s 18-strong committee was predominantly lay and professional, with just 7 clergy representatives. ACUPA spent two years conducting extensive research, visiting 32 cities and 9 London boroughs, commissioning a Gallup poll of 400 clergy and receiving 283 written submissions of evidence from a range of charities and statutory bodies with the following terms of reference:

“To examine the strengths, insights, problems and needs of the Church’s life and mission in Urban Priority Areas [an Electoral Ward or Parish with high levels of deprivation] and, as a result, to reflect on the challenge which God may be making to Church and Nation: and to make recommendations to appropriate bodies”

According to other commission members, O’Brien insisted that every claim in the report should be backed by evidence so that it would be impossible to criticise it on a factual level.

Faith in the city cover

The 350-page report, Faith in the City: A Call for Action by Church and Nation, was published in December 1985.The introduction conveyed the profound shock that many committee members had experienced on delving into the issues surrounding Urban Priority Areas (UPAs):

“We have to report that we have been deeply disturbed by what we have seen and heard. We have been confronted with the human consequences of unemployment […], decayed housing, sub-standard educational and medical provision, and social disintegration”

Equally critical of both Church and State, the report claimed that with respect to UPAs “no adequate response is being made by Government, nation or Church. There is barely even widespread public discussion”. Of the report’s 61 recommendations, 38 were directed specifically at the Church, with the remaining 23 at the Government and nation. Of the latter, the general emphasis lay in using taxpayers’ money to alleviate inequality by increasing various benefits, spending more on job creation, regeneration and expanding the provision of council housing. As for the Church, it was recognised that attention needed to be directed at clergy staffing levels, training for ordained and lay leaders and acquiring flexibility in liturgical needs, styles of work with children and young people and use of buildings. The flagship recommendation, however, was the establishment of the Church Urban Fund, an ambitious plan to raise £18 million to be spent on inner city projects over a period of 20 years.

Its publication caused an immediate media storm, as various members of Margaret Thatcher’s government rushed to condemn its contents as “pure Marxist theology” and proof that the Church was governed by a “load of Communist clerics”. The Daily Mail labelled it “a flawed gospel […] intellectually beneath contempt” whilst Thatcher complained that it contained nothing “about self-help or doing anything for yourself”. Others, though, were more admiring. Home Secretary Douglas Hurd was struck by the conclusions on crime whilst Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine told Archbishop Runcie: “Your bishops have it wrong. Conditions in the inner cities are much worse than they say”.

The publicity generated huge interest and within a few months over 17,000 copies of Faith in the City had been sold, along with 66,000 copies of an abridged version. The impact of the report and the resultant discussion was profound and far-reaching. Speaking in 2005, the Dean of Norwich Graham Smith remarked:

“Faith in the City began a movement which was partly political (with a small p), partly theological and partly spiritual. In all three senses, it was a beacon of hope to a lot of people […]. [It] began a discussion across the nation and a movement within the Church. It showed that our common concerns could be harnessed in the common good”

Though Archbishop Runcie had no direct involvement in its writing, Faith in the City remains one of the greatest achievements of his primacy. The Church Urban Fund, launched in 1987, with an appeal to donate read from every pulpit in the land, is still going strong almost 30 years later, and to date has distributed over £70 million in funding.

The records of ACUPA are now available to researchers as of the beginning of 2016. They are held at the Church of England Record Centre and will be accessible via the online catalogue, searchable by entering ACUPA* into the OrderNo box. These records are complemented by records relating to ACUPA within the Main Series of Robert Runcie’s papers for 1985, held at Lambeth Palace Library, which are now also available to researchers as of the beginning of 2016.

Library Records Project 4

Dr Richard Palmer reports the final phase of cataloguing in the project to produce new online descriptions of the early catalogues of Lambeth Palace Library. This section of work has tracked the career at Lambeth of Andrew Coltee Ducarel, Librarian from 1757 to 1785.

As well as recording the vast array of indexes through which Ducarel opened up the archival collections at Lambeth (including his indexes, in 67 volumes, to the Archbishop’ registers) the project highlighted his major cataloguing achievements. These included a catalogue of the Secker bequest of printed books (for which Ducarel installed new shelving and new shelf marks), a continuation of the Library’s catalogue of manuscripts, and catalogues of the multitude of printed pamphlets which had ‘lain undigested in the MS library ever since the Restoration’.

Ducarel’s index to the Archbishops’ registers (LR/F/62/2 pp. 676-7)

Through Ducarel’s reports to successive Archbishops, and from a shelf list, a detailed account emerged of the extent of the Library (18,607 printed books in 1769) and of their precise distribution on the ‘outer or folio shelves’ and on the ‘inner shelves’ around the sides of the cloister.

The First World War and the Ruhleben Internment Camp

This is a further blog post in a series to commemorate the centenary of the First World War by highlighting material among the Library’s holdings relating to the conflict. Among the records of the Bishop of Fulham (who historically had jurisdiction over English churches in Europe) survive papers relating to the Ruhleben internment camp. This camp, at a former horse-racing track a few miles west of Berlin, housed civilians of the Allied Powers living in or visiting Germany at the outbreak of World War One, who were held in detention for the duration. There were some 5,000 inhabitants, many of them British. The detainees were permitted to organise their own internal affairs and there developed a library, magazine, postal service, sports clubs, horticultural, musical and theatrical activities. There was also a chapel, housed in a hut donated by the American YMCA and opened for use on Christmas Eve 1915.

MS1859 f45

Fixtures included a harmonium. The chapel could be used by any religious denomination, although Church of England activity predominated. Papers in the Library relating to the chapel include hymn sheets and kalendars of services (ref: MS 1859 ff. 40-73). It was said to be “the one and only quiet place in the whole camp”.

For more information on Library sources for the First World War, please see our research guide, timeline and online catalogues.

Emanuel School Sixth Form visits Lambeth Palace Library

Lambeth Palace Library recently hosted a visit from a group of students from Emanuel School in south-west London. These ten students are all in their sixth year and studying Greek or Latin. They and their teachers came to test their translating skills with some of the books in the Sion Collection. The Sion Collection is currently being cataloged and conserved to make it available to the public.

The first stop on the tour was the recently refurbished Great Hall. They were told about the Great Hall’s previous use as the library reading room, the effects of the bomb that fell during the Second World War and the recent work that has been carried out to improve conditions for the books. We were lucky that the cases had displays of Sion books from the recent Friends Meeting. These items prompted many excited questions about conservation and binding styles. Many of the books on display in the cases were written in Latin or Greek and they started to work out the translations through the glass!

The Great Hall post-refurbishing work

After a few other stops, we assembled in the Audience Chamber. Copies of several texts previously selected by the teachers were available and the students broke into groups, took out their dictionaries and set to work translating Homer, Cicero and Aesop.

Students (1)
Modern students hard at work translating historic, sometimes ancient, texts.

The students were a really great bunch and continually interested and engaged throughout the afternoon. The teachers were very pleased about the amount of confidence that the students gained from translating a text with which they had not previously worked. One of the students, Thais Warren, shares her expereince of the day below:

On the 4th of December our AS Latin class of 10 was given the privilege of visiting Lambeth palace and its library. Initially we entered the palace and into the great hall, where the library was originally housed. Under the gothic hammer beam roof of the hall we were shown numerous books and explained different forms of conservation used on them, as well as the history of the hall and palace itself. On display in the great hall were numerous beautiful manuscripts from the Sion collection. Most memorable was the 1534 edition of the works of Plato of Sir Thomas Smith, with quaint marginalia such as that of a beautiful ship, an interesting mnemonic technique.

We then headed for the prison, passing by the ancient fig trees of the palace courtyard. We ascended the Lollard’s tower, up the dizzying spiral staircase until we reached the already quite dark room used for the prison. With torches on our phones we found 17th century graffiti on the walls of the prison room, which are much more elegant than present day graffiti. Shortly after, we passed into the chapel to briefly admire the intricate stained glass windows and the more modern vivid ceiling artwork.

After our tour of parts of the palace we most excitingly were split into pairs and given photocopies of historic printing in either Greek or Latin to work with and (attempt to) translate! There were copies of Cicero’s speeches from the 1700s and excerpts of Aesop’s fables from 1582, for example. I was personally working with the beginning of book 12 of Homer’s Odyssey in Greek. The book was from a printing workshop in Amsterdam and included both Greek and Latin (most helpfully) on the side, and footnotes in ancient Greek itself. Translating the Greek was hard work, and the use of a dictionary and my teacher was mandatory. The Latin on the right of the Greek text did really help too as quite interestingly some of the Greek letters were printed in ways I had never before seen, so helped to piece together the Greek as well as test my Latin. In the end it was the most exciting thing to realise that I had just translated (with a little help from my teacher!), 10 lines of original Homer in ancient Greek printed in 1655. It was an amazing feeling to be able to piece such an iconic work of literature together in my own translation from the original, and to encounter famous Homeric epithetical phrases in the original Greek. This was an incredible experience and extremely different to translation we may do in the classroom, and is great preparation for university and the future. Thank you on behalf of the Emanuel School Latinists.

Thais Warren

A selection of texts used by the students:

Homer 250
K22.3 H75 Homer’s Odyssey, 1656, in Greek with Latin translation and annotations.
Aesop 119
K65.2 AE8 Aesop’s Fables, 1582.
Rhodi pic
K85.1 C14 Symbolorvm et Emblematum, 1540, rhododendron.

The Library is open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10:00-17:00 and open late on Thursdays from 10:00-19:30. Although free to use, a Readers Ticket is required. Please see this for more information.



Talbot House

On 11 December 1915, an ‘Everyman’s Club’ opened in Poperinge, Belgium. Named Talbot House, and soon after shortened to ‘Toc H’ (army jargon for ‘TH’), this was a place of rest for men from the trenches.

The club was founded by Philip Bryard ‘Tubby’ Clayton, an army chaplain, by his superior, Rev Neville Talbot. Whilst there were other rest houses for soldiers, Tubby wanted to create a ‘home from home’ and a place where the men could forget the war they were fighting just five miles away.

Tubby hired an empty house from a merchant in Poperinge. He named the house after Gilbert Talbot, the brother of Neville, who had died in the trenches July that year. Tubby was keen to promote Christianity in the club, which led to him creating a chapel in the attic room of the house.

The attic chapel of Talbot House [MS 1859]
Improvising an altar out of a carpenter’s table found in the shed and other found and donated furniture, Tubby created a space for the soldiers to take communion or pray by themselves. Many soldiers chose to take first communion there. For many heading back to the front, it might also be their last communion.

At Lambeth Palace Library a register is held of communicants and candidates for confirmation at Toc H between 1915 and 1917 (MS 3211). It gives us information about their names, rank, and sometimes regiment and civilian address.

[MS 3211]
Tubby wrote extensively about his experiences in Belgium. During the war he had a continual correspondence with his mother, to whom he describes the exploits of the House (these letters were rediscovered by Tubby after her death, and published in 1932). Not long after the war he began to write memoirs of his time at the House (Clayton, Tales of Talbot House, 1947).

Archbishop Davidson’s passport [Davidson 799]
In May 1916, Archbishop Randall Davidson travelled to Belgium to see the front and meet the soldiers. He made a visit to Talbot House to carry out a confirmation service. In his journal, Archbishop Davidson describes: ‘Guns firing outside… and the men presenting themselves for confirmation with obvious and unabashed earnestness, corresponding with the courage they show in thus coming forward among their fellows’ (Davidson 583 f.16). In turn, Tubby states in a letter to his mother: ‘Cantuar was perfectly delightful, and as simple as a Mission preacher with them’ (Clayton, Letters From Flanders Fields, 1932, p.59).

Communicants in MS 3211

Although thirty-seven men were confirmed that day, Tubby mentions four in particular, although not by name, who were commanded by the recently killed Major Philbey. These four men, we can see from MS 3211, were Sergeant Hazelhurst, Corporal Hollies, Private Wyard and Lance Corporal Field. Within weeks of the confirmation, both Hazelhurst and Wyard had been killed in action (Clayton, 1932, pp.58-59).

The club caused such an impact on men such as these that after the house was closed in 1918 (when German troops were advancing on the area), those who had experienced it wished to maintain the spirit and fellowship of Talbot House, and so the charity Toc H was born. A new Talbot House was opened in London, and hostels were opened for people coming to London for work. Toc H has now developed into an international charity, focused on community work.

Further Reading

Clayton, P.B., Plain Tales From Flanders (Longmans, Green & Co., 1929)

Clayton, P.B., Letters From Flanders (Butler & Tanner Ltd: London, 1932)

Clayton, P.B., Tales of Talbot House (Toc H: London, 1947)


Library Records Project 3

Dr Richard Palmer reports further progress on the project to produce new online descriptions of the early catalogues of Lambeth Palace Library 1610-1785, together with a guide to the catalogues, shelf marks and other physical evidence of the collection.

Thomas Tenison, Archbishop 1694-1715, was a notable benefactor of libraries. He was the founder of Archbishop Tenison’s Library at St. Martin-in-the-Fields (stocked with books from his own collection), placed books and manuscripts in Lambeth Palace Library in his lifetime, bequeathed further books and manuscripts to Lambeth, placed his archiepiscopal papers in the Library, and passed other correspondence to Bishop Gibson (which later returned to Lambeth as the Gibson papers). His personal collection, partly housed in a study at St. Martin’s, partly at Lambeth in some 27 different locations, is difficult to encapsulate. The project has described seven catalogues produced during Tenison’s era, especially the important catalogues of printed books and manuscripts produced by Edmund Gibson and a shelf list of the Tenison books produced later by David Wilkins. It has also identified the earliest catalogue of the Library at St. Martin-in-the-Fields and of the Archbishop’s personal collection housed there (LR/F/11). This was begun c.1684 at the foundation of the Library and was replaced c.1698 by a new version which has been studied by Peter Hoare. Another catalogue was identified as being in the hand of Gibson’s successor as Librarian, Benjamin Ibbot.

Plan of the public library erected by Tenison in Castle Street, Westminster, in 1685 (MS 4444/1)
Plan of the public library erected by Tenison in Castle Street, Westminster, in 1685 (MS 4444/1)

A full account of the custodial history of the Henry Wharton manuscripts (which Tenison purchased after Wharton’s death in 1685 and placed in the Library in 1686) has been added to the description of MS 580, the catalogue of the Lambeth manuscripts which Wharton compiled in 1688. Wharton’s catalogue  influenced the subsequent catalogues by Gibson and Wilkins and ultimately the catalogue by HJ Todd printed in 1812.

William Wake, Archbishop 1716-37, left his books and papers to Christ Church Oxford. Nevertheless he made a considerable impact on the Lambeth library through the work of his Librarian David Wilkins. According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Wilkins was employed for three years only, from 1715. However this cannot be correct. Wake was only confirmed as Archbishop in January 1716 and Wilkins was still Librarian in 1720. Wilkins’ numerous letters to Wake show that he was away from London, engaged in academic work, throughout 1716 and most of 1717. However on 20 June 1717 Wilkins wrote from Oxford to Wake: ‘A catalogue of books or whatever your Grace will judge necessary for Lambeth Library shall be made, as well as I can, as soon as your Grace orders me to repair to your Palace, for I shall never grudge any labours to discharge my trust faithfully…’. Wilkins’ new catalogue of the printed books, dated 1718, remained in use until around the 1870s; his catalogue of manuscripts, dated 1720, was not replaced until 1812.

Work was begun on the work of Andrew Coltee Ducarel, whose productive Librarianship spanned the years 1757-85.

Samuel Crowther, the first Black Anglican Bishop, at the Wilberforce Oak

Samuel Crowther, James Johnson, Henry Johnson and friends at the Wilberforce Oak in 1873

This image ( Tait 219 f. 119) shows a summer picnic which, as the reverse of the photograph records, took place on 21 June 1873. The photograph includes Samuel Crowther (c.1807-1891), the first black Anglican bishop, consecrated bishop of Western Africa in 1864. Also included are James Johnson (c.1836-1917), later assistant bishop of Western Equatorial Africa, and Henry Johnson, subsequently archdeacon of the Upper Niger.

The resonance of the picture lies in its location. Those picnicking were photographed at the ‘Wilberforce oak’, at Keston in Kent (now part of Bromley borough). William Wilberforce (1759-1833), the politician and philanthropist, often visited the prime minister, William Pitt the younger (1759-1806), who owned the Holwood estate at Keston. Wilberforce’s resolution, ‘after a conversation in the open air at the root of an old tree at Holwood just above the steep descent into the vale of Keston’, to give notice in the House of Commons of his intention to bring forward the abolition of the slave trade, is quoted in the Life published by his son, Samuel Wilberforce (1805-1873), bishop of Oxford and Winchester. The occasion was recorded in an inscription on a memorial seat beneath the oak tree itself. The slave trade in the British empire was eventually abolished in 1807. The bill for the abolition of slavery itself was passed shortly before William Wilberforce’s death in 1833.

The correspondence accompanying this photograph in the Library’s collection records a proposal to build a memorial church to Wilberforce at Keston in recognition of his contribution to the campaign against the slave trade, replacing the small church there which was considered inadequate. This proposal, however, was never implemented.