Field Lane has a modern approach but is a charity with a long and interesting past. It started in the notorious ‘Field Lane’ area, which has now been incorporated into Saffron Hill, London, EC1. Andrew Provan, a London City Missioner, came to the area in 1841 to teach children and young people. By 1860 the ‘ragged school’ he founded was teaching over 500 children and young people every day in one enormous classroom.
It was clear to Andrew Provan that unemployment, sickness, family breakdown, overcrowded housing and lack of opportunity were all major problems in the area. Services were introduced such as visiting the sick, distributing maternity baskets, providing job training and placements through the industrial schools and even small businesses were opened. Night refuges were also opened with immediate success. The Field Lane Ragged School enjoyed the support of many well known people and became one of the most famous of the ‘ragged schools’.