• 1906 – Reverend “Pa” Salmon sees the abject poverty suffered by London’s inner city working classes. He notes that local churches are not engaging with the problem and are failing to make the Christian faith relevant to this community. He decides to do something about it. He gains the support of a group of Cambridge evangelical Christians. The Cambridge Medical Mission Settlement is born.
  • 1907 – A building on Jamaica Road is bought and refurbished for £1,400(!). This building acts as a boys’ mission club and residential settlement. Many of the residents and volunteers are medical students in London. Tuberculosis is the prominent health issue amongst the local population, so the settlement sets up a dispensary, as well as taking boys on trips and summer camps to the countryside.
  • 1910 – Further land and new halls are added.
  • 1916 – The Cambridge Medical Mission Settlement opens its doors to girls.
  • 1922 – The name changes to the Cambridge University Mission. A significant number of Cambridge undergraduates and graduates find their way to the mission – sometimes during holidays, often when undertaking further study in London, especially medical training.
  • 1925 – A Sports Ground is acquired in New Eltham.
  • 1932-33 – A Girls’ Hall is built and three cottages are renovated.
  • 1939-45 – The residential part of the building closes during World War II. The building is damaged by a land mine.
  • 1947 – The residential part of the building is reopened.
  • 1964 – There is major rebuilding all round the club and the London Borough of Southwark comes into existence.
  • 1968-69 – A building programme is proposed and an appeal launched to rebuild old houses at the cost of £50,000.
  • 1972 – The new building opens!
  • 1995 – The name of the Cambridge University Mission is changed. This is due to the misleading impression of financial wealth which is becoming more and more harmful as the centre has now become reliant on non-local authority funding for 80% of its costs. The medical dispensary has now closed and the centre is focusing on youth work. The new name is the Salmon Youth Centre, chosen to retain the link to its founder and its past.
  • 1996 – After a strategic review, the Trustees conclude that the Salmon building (made up of 3 separate buildings dating from 1910-1974) is a major obstacle to developing the work for modern needs. A Steering Group is set up including staff, Trustees, young people and local community members.
  • 2000 – A Development Manager is recruited to fundraise for the project. It is planned that the Salmon Youth Centre’s Redevelopment will be completed in two phases.
  • 2004 – Active England becomes the major funder (£2.75m) in March and by the end of the year, the majority of funding for Phase 1 has been raised. The Salmon building is demolished and the youth work moves to temporary accommodation in a derelict parade of shops next to the site.
  • 2008 – Phase 1 of the new building is opened in March, designed to cater for new activities and a more extensive programme of youth work, sports, arts, enterprise and pastoral care. Go to ‘Our Work – Redevelopment’ to read more about this project. (see also Redevelopment of our New Building)
  • 2009 – A £1.3m grant from the Department of Children, Schools and Families (the Youth Sector Development Fund) allows Salmon to treble its number of staff, filling the building with many different activities and clubs and attracting over 700 young people every week.
  • 2010 – Phase 2 of the building is completed in June. The centre is officially opened by Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, along with three other ministers, Dawn Primarolo, Iain Wright and Dawn Butler. Click here for more information about the new centre. (see also Redevelopment of our New Building)

"I know what an excellent job they do for local young people. A purpose-built youth centre would be a beacon for the community in Bermondsey and for youth work nationwide." Simon Hughes, MP for Bermondsey and North Southwark


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43 Old Jamaica Road 
London, SE16 4TE 
Tel: 020 7237 3788 

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