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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4656
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1889-[2000]
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 10 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Guinness Trust xx Guinness Trust (London Fund)


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Guinness Trust (London Fund) was established to provide working class housing 'for the amelioration of the conditions of the poor labouring classes of London'. The Trust was made possible by a gift of 200,000 from Edward Cecil Guinness [Lord Iveagh], the great grandson of the founder of the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland. The organisation was formed by Deed of Trust on 4 February 1890 and enrolled into the Charity Commission under Working Classes Dwellings Act 1890. The Guinness Trust (London Fund) was incorporated and registered as a general charity on 28 February 1902 under the Charitable Trustees Incorporation Act (1872).

A further fund known as the Dublin Fund was established by Deed of Trust on 2 April 1890 for working classes in Dublin, Ireland. The Guinness Trust managed both the London and Dublin Funds until June 1903 when a bill for amalgamation of the Guinness Trust Dublin Fund and Dublin Improvement (Bull Alley Area) Scheme received royal assent. A new trust known as Iveagh Trust was formed to manage the Dublin Fund and 'all documents connected with the [Dublin Fund] were handed over accordingly' (see LMA/4656/A/02/002 page 85).

The following estates were purchased and developed with Guinness Buildings for working classes built from 1890s to 1930s in the Inner London area:
Brandon Street, Walworth;
Columbia Road, Bethnal Green;
Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith;
Kennington Park Road, Kennington;
Kings Road, Chelsea;
Lever Street, Finsbury;
Holloway Road, Islington;
Marlborough Road [later renamed Draycott Avenue] and Cadogan Street, Chelsea;
Pages Walk, Bermondsey;
Snowsfields, Bermondsey;
Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington;
Vauxhall Square [Vauxhall Walk], Lambeth.

In 1938 a Holiday Home was built at South Heighton, Newhaven, Sussex for tenants to use. Also Avenue Road Residential Club was developed in 1950s.

Later estates built post Second World War (post 1945) include:
John Street, Stratford, Newham [later the Lord Gage Centre];
Kennington Road, Lambeth;
Loughborough Park and Loughborough Road, Brixton, Lambeth.

From 1970s the Trust developed estates in outer London including Mortlake, Richmond and estates in the south and home counties.

In 1972 the Trust provided 3500 low-rented dwellings including special accommodation for the elderly and for younger working people. By 1979 the Trust had employed a Supervising Officer based at Roman Road, Bethnal Green for increased building work and by the early 1980s a Chief Estates Managers Department was formed to take control of matters relating to the estates. By 1985 the Trust had opened Area Offices for London and South East, South West, and Northern Regions.

In the mid 2000s the Guinness Trust Group was made up of The Guinness Trust, Guinness Housing, Wycombe Friendship (Charitable), Clapton Community Housing, Kennet Housing (Charitable) and Guinness Developments, Guinness Care and Support (Charitable) and Parchment Housing Group Limited. In 2012 the housing properties and operations of The Guinness Trust were combined with those of the other main housing divisions to form a single charitable community benefit society known as The Guinness Partnership Limited. By 2014 the Partnership was providing housing and services across England with more than 60,000 homes with 120,000 residents.

The Secretary handled most matters concerning the estates on behalf of the Trustees. The Trustees included members of the Guinness Family. By 1950s the Secretary's position became known as the Manager and Secretary. Secretaries included: Lee Knowles MP, Honorary Secretary based at Local Government Board, Whitehall (1889); Captain Thomas H Vickers (1890s); E W Winch (joined 1889; Secretary 1905-1935); Percival Laurence Leigh-Breese (Assistant Secretary 1931-1935, Secretary from 1935, Manager and Secretary by 1958); Ronald A W Lear (before 1980). Patrons included Lady Diana Princess of Wales.

Registered head office addresses: 5 Victoria Street (1891-1949); 11 St James's Square (1949-1967); 5 Iveagh House, Ormond Yard (1967-circa 1975); 4 Corporation Street, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire (circa 1975-); 17 Mendy Street, High Wycombe (2000s - 2015).

In-depth histories concerning the development of the Trust's work, personalities and life on the estates can be found in series LMA/4656/B/01/05, LMA/4656/F/01 and LMA/4656/F/03.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Guinness Trust (London Fund) including: Deed of Trust (1890) and other foundation papers, signed minutes (1889-1975, with notes to 1979), agendas (1893-1959), annual reports and accounts (1890-2007), statistical and other reports; annual statements (1892-1968); Secretary's general and estate development letter books arranged by estate (1889-1935); Ledgers (1889-1937), Cash books (1889-1977); site ledgers; Depreciation of Buildings Fund account book insurance policy register; leases and agreements (1897-1975); rent books (1891-1939) rent assessment books.

Other records include schedules of property (1890-1954), bills of quantities, specifications and plans for estate buildings; a staff register listing details of service (1891-1968) (LMA/4656/E/01/001); printed notices, press cuttings (1889-2000), published articles and histories. Histories concerning the development of the Trust's work, personalities and life on the estates can be found in series LMA/4656/B/01/05, LMA/4656/F/01 and LMA/4656/F/03.

Records relating to the Dublin Fund are contained in this collection within minutes and reports to circa 1903 only.

Records relating to tenants can mainly be found in the registers of tenants (series LMA/4656/D/08) held for the following estates only: Brandon Street, Walworth; Draycott Avenue, Chelsea; Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith; Lever Street, Finsbury and Pages Walk, Bermondsey. In the same series there is also an estate book for Snowsfields, Bermondsey which provides tenant details. Also held is Secretary's correspondence concerning compensation cases relating to named tenants (1913-1936) (LMA/4656/B/01/03/001). Names can also be found in rate assessment books (LMA/4656/D/05/002-003) and in some reports to trustees (LMA/4656/A/04).

Photographs of estates and events can be found under series LMA/4656/D/04 and photographs of management and staff under series LMA/4656/E/02. These photograph series have been digitised by LMA: please contact staff for further details.

The records were catalogued in 2014-2015 as part of a project funded by The Guinness Partnership Limited for 125th anniversary since the founding of the Guinness Trust.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged as follows:

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright is held by the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in 2008, 2010, 2014 and 2015.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For records of the Dublin Fund of the Guinness Trust please contact The Iveagh Trust, Dublin, Ireland.

The Guinness Trust has no links with the Guinness Brewery for which records are held by the brewery in Dublin, Ireland.

LMA hold many other housing company and association records. For archives of the Peabody Trust see ACC/3445.

Publication note:

Published histories:
'Continuity and change in philanthropic housing organisations: the Octavia Hill Housing Trust and the Guinness Trust'. Malpass, Peter. 1999 [available at Guildhall Library]

'Housing, philanthropy and the state: a history of the Guinness Trust' Malpass, Peter; 1998 University of the West of England, Bristol. Faculty of the Built Environment [LMA Library: Store 28.81/(GUI) and LMA/4656/F/03/002]

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:
Description added January 2015.

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