This website has been established by the Kingsley Hall Community Centres Heritage Committee to:
Record the lives of Muriel and Doris Lester and their family background
Record their interests and accomplishments
Document the founding and development of the Kingsley Hall Community Centres and Childrens House(s) in Bromley-By-Bow and Dagenham
Provide information about people with whom they were associated, especially Gandhi.
Provide information about archives and oral histories established by the project “Kingsley Hall and the Legacy of Muriel Lester” established to preserve the Muriel Lester Archive, making it accessible to everybody, and so gain wider recognition for the achievements of the two Kingsley Halls’ founders, Muriel and her sister Doris.
Muriel Lester’s personal papers are now at the Bishopsgate Institute. The archive includes correspondence, diaries, notebooks, publications and photographs, and the papers of Doris Lester. It is a fascinating and historically important record of the Lester sisters’ work in Bow and Dagenham, and also of Muriel’s world travels in the cause of international peace. The Muriel Lester archives are being made accessible through an on-line catalogue, digital images and a new interactive website. Working with local schools, the Tower Hamlets Humanities Education Centre produced a learning pack, and Stitches In Time created a tapestry banner on the theme Symbols of Peace.
The Muriel Lester Archive resides at the Bishopsgate Institute in London
Feature: “One Family -- Two Kingsley Halls -- Three Generations – The Saville Family". How one family has been linked with Kingsley Hall over 10 decades including participation in activities at the Kingsley Halls at Bow and Dagenham, Children’s House and their interactions with Muriel and Doris Lester and Gandhi. Click here
Some of the materials have been electronically scanned and are available on this website. Click here for the page that contains an index to scans of the Muriel Lester Archives held at Bishopsgate Institute with a reference as above. It is provided so that materials can be seen worldwide. At this point you will need to browse through the pictures by using the tools provided. It is intended that eventually the index will be provided on the internet from which photos will be selected directly.
On September 23, 2019 the Loan Agreement with Bishopsgate Institute was renewed for a further 3 years. (more photos)
For detail of the archive contents see the Archive page
See our submission to the Greater London Authority and English Heritage for Muriel & Doris to become part of the “100 Blue Plaque women” at both Kingsley Halls, Bow & Dagenham. We have been informed by English Heritage that our submission has been unsuccessful as a proposal was made, and rejected, in 2017. This means that they cannot be considered again until 2027
We therefore commissioned the manufacture of private plaques which we have now been received. The Dagenham plaque was installed in March 2022 Full story
London on Wheels: East End Women with EXCLUSIVE visit to Kingsley Hall. Led by Rachel Kolsky
Sunday 15th March, 1.30pm
After the phenomenal success of Suffragette City, the Routemaster Bus tours profiling the Votes for Women campaign, we are 'back on board’ to explore the many and varied initiatives of women of the East End and the legacy they have left behind - from match girls to suffragettes, social workers to nurses and rebel royals to artists and authors, East London has them all. The afternoon includes a very special treat - a tour of Kingsley Hall. This settlement and social centre was founded by sisters Muriel and Doris Lester and was the lodging for Gandhi during his visit to London in 1931. This tour is not to be missed.
Cost: £30.00 (£25.00 Friends of the Museum of London and Students) including refreshments.