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London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): COL/CHD/BH

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1662-1972

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 7.9 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.

Bridge House Estates was established by Royal Charter in 1282 with responsibility for the maintenance of London Bridge, and subsequently built Blackfriars Bridge and Tower Bridge and bought Southwark Bridge and the pedestrian-only Millennium Bridge. Bridge House Estates was originally funded by tolls on London Bridge as well as rents and leases of the buildings along the bridge. It soon acquired extensive property which made it financially self-sufficient. These funds are used to maintain the City bridges, while surplus monies are used to make charitable grants under the City Bridge Trust, established in 1995.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Chamberlain's Department relating to Bridge House Estates, including accounts, 1662-1942; Bridge House rents cash book, 1967-1972; Bridge's Act cash book, 1934-1956; acquittance books, 1852-1855; alienations books, 1840-1856; assignment of property books, 1857-1901; collector's ledgers, 1923-1934 and 1958-1968.


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 Bridge House Estates see: CLA/008: City Lands Estates, CLA/020: Tower Bridge, CLA/022: London Bridge, CLA/061: Jacobs Family, COL/AC: Archives, COL/AD: Administration, COL/CC/BHC: Court of Common Council Bridge House Committee, COL/CC/BHT: Court of Common Council Bridge House Trust Committee, COL/CC/CLBH: Court of Common Council City Lands and Bridge House Estate Committee, COL/CC/CLC: Court of Common Council City Lands Committee, COL/CC/JTB: Court of Common Council Joint Bridge House Estates and Improvement Committee, COL/CC/JTS: Joint Bridge House and Special Committee, COL/CC/JTT: Joint Bridge House Estates and Thames Navigation and Port of London Committee, COL/CCS/CO: Comptroller and City Solicitor, COL/CHD/BH: Chamberlain's Department: Bridge House Estates, COL/CHD/IM: Chamberlain's Department: Improvements, COL/CHD/RN: Chamberlain's Department: Rents and Rentals, COL/CSD/HO: Community Services Department: Housing, COL/CT: Charters, COL/OF: Officers, COL/PL: Plans, COL/PLD/PL: Planning Department Plans, COL/SVD/PL: Surveyor's Department Plans, COL/TSD/PL: Technical Services Department Plans.

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

Estate management | Land management | Land economics | Agricultural economics
Financial records | Documents | Information sources
Rent | Fees | Finance

Personal names

Corporate names
Bridge House Estates | Corporation of London x City Lands and Bridge House Estates Committee
City Chamberlain | Corporation of London

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