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London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): COL/CHD/TF

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1777-1983

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 4.3 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 regarding trust funds and other funds, including account books, Chairman's emolument fund, 1859-1900; cash book, Chairman's emolument fund, 1930-1940; ledgers, Chairman's emolument fund, 1935-1976; Ward's bequest ledger, 1939-1982; City Educational trust fund ledger, [1968]-1983; Compensation Fund cash book, 1905-1971; English Philological Fund ledger, 1911-1950; Officer's Guarantee Fund registers, 1903-1938; sundry accounts, 1842-1879, including the City of London School Scholarship and Prize Funds, 1842- 1862; Miss Wilkes legacy for Freemen's Widows and Children, 1847-1862 and Miss Mission's legacy for relief of debtors, 1848-1862; sundry trust funds ledger, 1970-1983, including Royal Wedding celebration funds; sundry funds and bequests ledgers, 1918-1958 and financial papers relating to the Thames Navigation Fund, 1777-1858.


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:

See CLA/053: City of London School.

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

Charitable bequests | Bequests | Property transfer | Property
Charitable trusts | Charities | Charitable organisations | Associations | Organizations
Financial records | Documents | Information sources
River navigation | Inland waterways | Waterways | Transport infrastructure
Nonprofit organizations

Personal names
Wilkes | Mary | 1750-1802 | daughter of John Wilkes (1725-1797), politician

Corporate names
City Chamberlain | Corporation of London

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