This article explores the relationship between the voluntary sector and the juvenile courts in the period c.1908–1950. It specifically examines the relationship between the settlement movement and the early juvenile courts by analysing the Inner London Juvenile Court, which sat at Toynbee Hall in the East End of London between 1929 and 1953. The settlements, which brought young graduates to deprived urban areas to undertake voluntary social work, were heavily involved in boys’ clubs. Many of those who began their careers in settlement youth work went on to work with the early juvenile courts, viewing their experience in clubs as a vital foundation for this work. This article focuses on Basil Henriques, a former resident of Toynbee Hall, warden of the Bernhard Baron Settlement in Stepney and magistrate at the Inner London Juvenile Court, and his 1950 book, Indiscretions of a Magistrate. It concludes that, by critically examining Basil Henriques and Indiscretions, it is possible to begin to fully explore the discourses around citizenship, gender, class and race that informed the views and practices of juvenile court magistrates in the period in which the voluntary sector and the welfare state underwent profound change.

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