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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4450
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1929-2008
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 62.92 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Pilgrim Trust


Administrative/Biographical history:

Edward Stephen Harkness of New York founded the Pilgrim Trust in 1930 by endowing it with a capital sum of just over two million pounds. A group of Trustees were appointed to oversee the granting of funds in Britain. Stanley Baldwin was the first Chairman of the Trust and Dr Thomas Jones the first Secretary. Other trustees were Lord Macmillan, John Buchan and Sir Josiah Stamp. They had authority to expend both the capital and the income of the fund and were given the discretion of absolute owners in the choice of investments.

Until the outbreak of the Second World War grants were split equally between the preservation of the historic heritage of Britain and schemes for the welfare of the unemployed. In the first ten years the Trust made grants totalling over 1 million, of which 460,000 had been given to schemes of Social Welfare and nearly 400,000 for the preservation of national monuments, archives and the countryside and the remainder to education and research.

During the Second World War the Trust focused on the welfare of the forces and of other engaged in the war effort, and the alleviation of hardship caused by the conflict. A scheme known as Recording Britain was also established, the aim of which was to give employment to artists while recording historic buildings and places at risk of destruction. This work was published in four volumes and the original paintings and drawings were presented to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Perhaps the most successful of the Pilgrim Trust's war-time efforts was the institution of the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts, known as CEMA, which later developed into the Arts Council of Great Britain.

After the war there was less unemployment and the Welfare State had been established so the Trust devoted its resources to the numerous cathedrals, churches and ancient buildings of all kinds which had been neglected during the course of the war and were in serious states of disrepair. The Trust received so many requests for grants from parish churches that they approached the Archbishop of Canterbury about the national problem and there followed the establishment of the Historic Churches Preservation Trust and later the Council for Places of Worship. The Trust makes annual block grants to these organisations (the former for the preservation of individual churches and the latter for the restoration of works of art within these buildings).

The Pilgrim Trust's current priorities are as follows:

Social welfare:
- Projects that assist people involved in crime or in alcohol or drug misuse to change their lives and find new opportunities.
- Projects concerned with the employment, support or housing of people with mental illness.
- Projects in prisons and projects providing alternatives to custody that will give new opportunities to offenders and so assist rehabilitation.
- Projects for young people who are looked after by local authorities in residential or foster care and for those leaving that care.

Art and learning:
- The promotion of scholarship, academic research, cataloguing and conservation within museums, galleries, libraries and archives, particularly those outside London.
- Trustees do not exclude acquisitions for collections, but funds for this purpose are strictly limited.

- Preservation of particular architectural or historical features on historic buildings or the conservation of individual monuments or structures that are of importance to the surrounding environment.
- Projects that seek to give a new use to obsolete buildings that are of outstanding architectural or historic interest.
- The preparation and dissemination of architectural or historical research about buildings and designed landscapes and their importance to the community.

- Cataloguing and conservation of records associated with archaeology, marine archaeology, historic buildings and designed landscapes.

Places of worship:
- The Pilgrim Trust makes annual block grants for the repair of the fabric of historic churches of any denomination to the Historic Churches Preservation Trust for churches in England and Wales and to the Scottish Churches Architectural Heritage Trust.
- The Pilgrim Trust makes an annual block grant to the Council for the Care of Churches for the conservation of historic contents (organs, bells, glass and monuments etc.) and important structures and monuments in church yards for places of worship of all denominations.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Pilgrim Trust, including minutes of Trustees meetings; financial records; papers of the Secretary; correspondence; annual reports; publications; annual accounts; ledgers; cash books; grant payment books; and grant files relating to art and learning, countryside preservation, ecclesiastical preservations, secular preservation and social welfare.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

LMA/4450/A/01 Trustees Meetings;
LMA/4450/A/02 Finance Papers;
LMA/4450/A/03 Secretary's Papers;
LMA/4450/A/04 Papers;
LMA/4450/A/05 Annual Reports;
LMA/4450/A/06 Publications.

LMA/4450/B/01 Finance.

LMA/4450/C/01 Arts and Learning;
LMA/4453/C/02 Country;
LMA/4450/C/03 Ecclesiastical Preservation;
LMA/4450/C/04 Secular Preservation;
LMA/4450/C/05 Social Welfare.

Conditions governing access:

These records are open to public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to closure periods.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the Corporation of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited in 2003, 2007 and 2009.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

There is a short history of The Pilgrim Trust, 1930-1980, in the collection (reference LMA/4450/A/06/003).

Description Notes

Archivist's 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:
June to August 2010.

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