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London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): COL/CHD/DM

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1469-1903

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 59.4 linear metres

Name of creator(s): Corporation of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Chamber of a city is the place where the funds of the corporation are kept and where moneys due are received - a kind of treasury. The Chamber is run by the Chamberlain, an officer who receives the rents and revenues owed to the corporation. The origin of the Chamber of London is obscure, but as soon as the citizens were sufficiently united to hold lands and tenements in common an officer must have been appointed to collect rents and disburse income for public welfare. The Chamber is first mentioned in 1275 and in the following year Stephen de Mundene is named as City Chamberlain. At first the Chamberlain was chosen by the Mayor and Aldermen, but by 1319 elections were introduced and the officer was chosen by the liverymen in Common Hall.

The Chamberlain's duties combined municipal finance with public banking. His main duty was as treasurer or banker of the City of London with custody of the monies of the Corporation, called the City's Cash, and other funds. Former Chamberlains were able to keep for themselves profits derived from interest on the cash! The Chamberlain also collects the rents of all Corporation properties and makes payments on behalf of the Corporation including salaries and pensions. He also invests money, is responsible for insurance, the preparation of tax returns and production of reports and statistics.

Additionally, the Chamberlain was the Accountant General of the Court of Orphans (see CLA/002) and held all money belonging to the orphans on which he allowed interest. For this purpose the Chamberlain held a Common Seal, first mentioned in 1396. He was also the occasional collector of taxes for the London area, particularly those granted to the City by the monarchy in return for loans. The Coal Duty for reconstruction of public buildings after the Great Fire was paid into the Chamber, as was any money borrowed by the City. The Chamberlain was also treasurer of any charitable funds organised by the City.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Chamberlain's Department relating to duties [a payment to the public revenue levied upon the import, export, manufacture, or sale of certain commodities] and metage [a duty paid for the official measuring of dry or liquid goods, such as coal, grain, salt], including account books, 1667-1688; coal duty account books, 1667-1676; posting books, 1670-1684; monthly returns of cash paid into the Chamber, 1841-1887; acquittance books, 1672-1687; loans advanced on credit of the Coal Duties, 1698-1701; accounts, 1861-1890; interest on loans, 1861-1881; daily receipts, 1875-1888; accounts of the 9d coal duty and the wine duty, 1861-1889; coal duties collector's returns, 1674-1790 and 1837-1845; reports on coal accounts, 1669-1673; papers and accounts relating to the drawback expenses fund, 1838-1891; coal duties expenses fund, 1857-1890; received accounts of tolls for the groundage of colliers and water bailliage of sea coal, 1791-1831; register of colliers arriving in the Port of London and duty payable, 1811-1826; monthly accounts of money paid into the Chamber for tolls, 1822-1826; account of the origin, establishment and working of the office for the registration and regulation of Coal Whippers of the Port of London, 1851; minute books, 1843-1856; papers relating to the coal trade, 1666-1861, including orders, legal cases, accounts and registers; sea coal meters, 1663-1703; coal metage accounts, 1809-1832; returns of clerks to the sea coal meters, 1675-1687.

Papers relating to the corn duty, 1709-1814, including article on the history of the corn supply, 1993; minute books of the corn meters office, 1772-1873; papers of the Metage on Grain Committee, 1872-1896; grain barges entering the Port of London, 1879-1897; grain ships entering the Port of London, 1880-1901; British and foreign grain ships and barges entering the Port of London, 1872-1898; account book of meter's earnings, 1825-1902; amount of work done by each meter on the unloading of a barge with meters' change, 1871-1894; weekly totals and payments into the Chamber, 1872-1903; compulsory metage on grain made by meters for measuring grain on ships at 1/-, 1845-1860; amount of merchandise weighed and certified by meters, 1872-1902; abstract of grain duty bills to merchants, 1878-1901; account books of the annual grant made by the Corporation to the Crown Meters in lieu of all expenses, 1809-1872; monthly account books of grain duty charged to merchants, 1872-1903; various other accounts and papers relating to the Corn Meters Office, including legal cases and fees; wine duties accounts, 1847-1881; Gauger's Officer papers including accounts, ledgers and reports, 1784-1863; papers relating to cocket duties [customs duties] including accounts, 1676-1849.

Papers relating to scavage [a toll on goods sold by merchants who came from outside London], package [the duty paid for the privilege of overseeing the packing of certain categories of cloth or other goods brought into the port of London ] and alien porterage [a charge for the transportation of imported goods], including accounts, reports, legal cases and minutes, 1628-1934 and papers regarding the fruit, oyster and salt meters, 1469-1920.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Corporation of London Records Office.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

For Corporation of London records relating to finance, including taxation, see: COL/CA/FNA: Court of Aldermen Finance Committee, COL/CC/ASC: Assessment (City of London Union) Committee, COL/CC/AUC: Accounts Committee, COL/CC/CCF: Coal, Corn and Finance Committee, COL/CC/CCN: Coal and Corn Committee, COL/CC/CCR: Coal, Corn and Rates Finance Committee, COL/CC/FNC: Court of Common Council Finance Committee, COL/CC/FNS: Special Finance/Select Finance or Finance Committee, COL/CC/LGT: Local Government and Taxation Committee, COL/CC/MGC: Metage on Grain Committee, COL/CC/MIN: Court of Common Council Committees, COL/CC/PRC: Policy and Resources Committee, COL/CC/RFC: Rates Finance Committee, COL/CC/ROC: Revenue and Officers Committee, COL/CC/SFC: Special Finance Committee, COL/CC/SRC: Special Revenue Committee, COL/CC/STH: Special Tithes Committee, COL/CC/TIC: Tithe Committee, COL/CC/VAC: Valuation Committee, COL/RG: Recognizances, papers of the Comptroller (COL/CCS) and papers of the Chamberlain (COL/CHD).

Publication note:



Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: February 2009

Financial records | Documents | Information sources
Local finance | Public finance | Finance
Metage | Coal duty | Taxation | Fiscal policy | Finance
Tariffs | Customs policy | Finance

Personal names

Corporate names
City Chamberlain | Corporation of London
Port of London Authority | Corporation of London

City of London | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe