The London City Mission's early work centered on the poor and destitute, developing a wide range of charitable help including Ragged Schools and ministering to working people. One missionary wrote Last year I walked 3,000 miles on London pavements, paid 1,300 visits, 300 of which were to sick and dying cab men. Missionaries were also apppinted to visit members of London's new fire service. The service's first Chief, James Braidwood, introduced the first such missionary in 1854. Within five years the missionary was visiting nineteen fore stations throughout London, ministering to 450 people (firemen, their wives and dependents).
The first Ragged School established by the London City Mission was in 1835 in a disused stable in the City of Westminster. It was established by the missionary Andrew Walker with a charitable donation fund-raised by Lord Shaftesbury amongst his colleagues in, and visitors to, the Houses of Parliament. Lord Shaftesbury became an ardent supporter of the Mission.