The Story of London City Mission

180 years of mission

London City Mission was founded over 180 years ago, on 16 May 1835, through the pioneering efforts of a young Scotsman called David Nasmith. He had produced a blueprint for Christian ministry in a big city, based on experience gained in Glasgow under the influence of Thomas Chalmers, one of the first Christian leaders to experiment with new styles of ministry in the slums and tenements of the industrial revolution.

The new Mission had a mandate to ‘extend the knowledge of the Gospel among the inhabitants of London and its vicinity (especially the poor).’ The missionaries were to ‘Go to the people of the District assigned to you, for the purpose of bringing them to an acquaintance with salvation, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and of doing them good by every means in your power’ - something we still strive to do today.


When a deadly outbreak of cholera swept London in the 1840s, more than two hundred missionaries stepped out against the tide. They entered London’s slums, crossed into the homes of the sick, to bring God’s good news. They prayed with suffering families, shared the gospel with them, held their hands as they died.

They risked everything to care for those on the very margins of society.

And we’ve been doing it ever since. We set up schools for poor children in the 1850s, we went to the docks to minister to working men, and found homes for the homeless. We helped families bombed in the Blitz, and came alongside traumatised soldiers returning from war.

Committed to the gospel

Over 180 years later, we still take our mission to take the gospel to the least reached very seriously.

Today, we can be found on the toughest estates, talking to gang members about Jesus. We’re going into prisons to run Bible groups. We’re showing love and hospitality to immigrants. We’re welcoming homeless people to our drop-in centre.

Right across London, we’re stepping out to share God’s love with people who are shunned, ignored or overlooked.

The passion and purpose that prompted the missionaries to step out all those years ago still fires us today.

Because London needs Jesus