‘Among the best safeguards’:1 Digging the Foundations of Reform
Ruskin's teaching of Oxford undergraduates, and in particular the Hinksey road-diggings he encouraged some of them to engage with, helped to inspire into action many of the key participants in the foundation of the university settlements as well as the social and civic interventions and social scientific research which they helped to pioneer. Ruskin's financial support of Octavia Hill's model housing scheme in London also helped to encourage the development of a form of pioneering social welfare. At Toynbee Hall, in Whitechapel, the culture in which university graduates engaged with the poorest members of the community, by living among them, leading by example, and learning in a process of mutual exchange, was influenced by a common sense of indebtedness to Ruskin. Furthermore, the University Settlement at Ancoats in Manchester grew directly out of the Art Museum established by the philanthropist, Thomas Coglan Horsfall, in reverence to Ruskin.
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