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Hilda Cashmore (1876-1943), her life and community work in Bristol and beyond.

Over 100 years since its foundation, Bristol’s Barton Hill Settlement is still operating as an important community hub in the city. This book tells the story of its first warden, Hilda Cashmore, her campaign to establish the Settlement, and her approach to social work as exemplified by its activities in its early days.

But Cashmore’s commitment to providing social care went far beyond Bristol. The book covers her contribution to helping civilians and refugees in the First World War, saving Manchester University Settlement during the Great Depression and her astonishing settlement in India.

Quaker, feminist, educator and social worker, Cashmore became the first woman president of the British Association of Residential Settlements. Her vision of a future, where people and place matter, is an inspiration still relevant in the present day.


This absorbing account of the life of Hilda Cashmore provides us with new insights into her significance as a leader of the Settlement Movement in Bristol, Manchester and India in the first half of the twentieth century. It shows how one woman’s life can shed light on the broader significance of the settlement movement as a space for women to take social action and to make links with the labour movement. Based on sound research and fluently written this book brings to life the excitement of a period in which women and men from all social classes believed that they could make the world a better place through community action, trained social work and education.

June Hannam, Professor of Modern British History (Emerita) at UWE.

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