Our History

The Junior League of London (JLL) was founded in 1978 as the London Service League. Over our more than 35-year history in London, the JLL has delivered hundreds of thousands of hours of community service and contributed more than three million pounds towards volunteer training initiatives or through direct support for the London community.

A Focus on Issues

The JLL is focused on addressing the most urgent needs within our community. Some of the issues we have tackled include homelessness, environmental concerns, social exclusion of the elderly, special needs of disabled people, and domestic violence, as well as increasing access to and appreciation of the arts for London residents.

Today, our programmes range from mentoring at-risk young people to increasing literacy among children and providing gifts and essentials to families in need during the holidays.

Visit our Community section for more information about our current programmes and focus areas.

  • 1978

    The London Service League (LSL), a precursor to the Junior League of London, was founded.

    Excerpt from ASL Magazine, Summer 1979

    The Advent of Boutique de Noel

    LSL volunteers organised the first Boutique de Noel. The event was held every year for four decades, raising more than £3 million towards our charitable mission.

    Vintage Boutique de Noel Poster
  • 1981

    Living in London Comes to Life

    The first edition of Living in London was printed. Now in its 12th edition, this guide for expats recently relocated to London continues to be a source of revenue for the JLL. In 2003, Living in London was recognised by the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) with an award for excellence in fundraising.

    An Early Spiral-Bound Edition
  • 1984

    LSL achieved UK charitable status and launched multiple community programmes and initiatives, including a major collaboration with the Royal Academy.

    This was also the first year that the London League was invited to send delegates to AJLI’s Annual Conference.


    It's Official!

    The newly-named Junior League of London was officially admitted into membership in the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI), an occasion that was recognised by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

    Our 1984-1986 President Speaking at a LEAD Event in 1985
  • 1986

    The JLL began its Community Grants programme. Over the 20-year life of this initiative, the JLL provided over £150,000 in direct support to more than 30 London charities, including the Disabled Living Foundation, the Guy Fox History Project, the Zimbabwe Community Association, and Sixty Plus.

  • 1992

    Royal Recognition

    The JLL was recognised as a winner in the Regional Round of the Royal Anniversary Trust’s Challenge for England, highlighting the impact of our community work.


    The Launch of Holiday Hampers

    The JLL delivered its first complement of Holiday Hampers to 100 families in need. Adopted as an official programme by the JLL membership in 1998, Holiday Hampers are now delivered to over 1,000 recipients annually through 14 community partners.


    Delivering Good Since 1996
  • 2000

    Leading the Way in Y2K

    Just in time for the new millennium, the JLL launched its first website at midnight on 31 December 2000. The JLL was one of the first Junior Leagues to have its own website, and this continues to serve as a vital communications link for the JLL today.

  • 2004

    The JLL undertook a major organisational change, transitioning from an unincorporated association to a Limited Liability Company.

    The membership also voted to institute a mandatory service commitment, meaning that all Active members of the JLL commit to perform a minimum number of hours of service directly in the London community alongside their community work.

  • 2005

    The JLL was nominated for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and the Nationwide Award for Voluntary Excellence in recognition of our contributions to the London community.

  • 2007

    The JLL received an AJLI Honourable Mention Award for Vision in recognition of the strength of our strategic plan, which has served as a model for over 100 other Leagues.


    On 9 February 2010, the JLL marked 25 years as a member of the AJLI. The occasion was commemorated with a weekend of service and celebrations.


    Fundraising Takes a Front Row Seat

    The JLL launched the first-ever Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI). This week-long digital advocacy campaign used the imagery of the iconic Little Black Dress to raise awareness about poverty and raise funds to support the work of the JLL. Today, LBDI has been implemented by over 100 Junior Leagues internationally and continues as a key advocacy and fundraising campaign for JLL.

    We also launched the JLL Conference, bringing together more than 100 women for collective discussions and leadership development.


    LBDI Founding Members Hit the Headlines
  • 2015

    JLL celebrated its 30th anniversary as a member of the AJLI and over three decades of impact in the London community with a series of membership and community fundraising events.

  • 2019

    Bidding Adieu to Boutique de Noel

    JLL held its final Boutique de Noel. Over its 40-year run, this signature JLL fundraiser left a legacy that not only impacted our members but also our community, vendors and other charitable organisations. At the conclusion of the November 2019 event, a cumulative target of over £3 million had been raised for the London community.

  • 2020

    35 years of AJLI membership were honoured through an extension of All Service Day to All Service Week, during which members completed over 70 volunteer shifts with seven community partners over seven days.

  • 2021

    Holiday Hampers Grows Up and Grows Out!

    The 25th Holiday Hampers campaign saw its expansion to two new London boroughs, both of which faced poverty challenges. Throughout the programme’s history, volunteers have worked tirelessly to secure food, essentials, books and gifts and assemble customised hampers for over 1,000 vulnerable Londoners each year.