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Financial records of the Carpenters' Company

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2812 D
Held at: Carpenters' Company
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Full title: Financial records of the Carpenters' Company
Date(s): 1841-1997
Level of description: Sub-fonds of the Carpenters' Company
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Extent: 62 volumes, 5 boxes, 2 files
Name of creator(s): Carpenters' Company | Worshipful Company of Carpenters


Administrative/Biographical history:

The 1333 ordinances of the Carpenters' Company throw some light on the early financial matters of the Fraternity. The four wardens who governed the Fraternity looked after the 'common' box, money from which was used to assist members in time of need, and they would have overseen the payments of quarterage (quarterly subscriptions) by members, and any fines imposed, such as the pound of wax payable on absence from certain masses. The Company's earliest accounts date from 1438 and form an almost unbroken series to the present day. Regularly appearing in the accounts were quarterage paid by the members, sums paid on admittance to the freedom of the Company, rents from Company properties, fines imposed on members for misbehaviour and breaking the Company ordinances, payments for entertainments and the washing of linen.

The establishment of a Court of Assistants by the Company's ordinances of 1455 transferred the responsibility for important financial decisions to the Court, with the Master and Wardens acting as agents. On leaving office, the Master and Wardens presented their accounts to the Court who acted as auditors. The Company's income came from five main sources: quarterages, rents, fees for presenting apprentices to be bound to masters, fines and other fees payable under the ordinances, and other variable sources, such as bequests, donations and any special subscriptions raised, such as for the payment of Company charters. Expenses comprised ordinary payments made on a regular basis, such as pensions to alms-folk living at the Hall, the Beadle's, and later the Clerk's wages, housekeeping expenses for the Hall, hospitality and festivals and maintenance of properties. Occasional extraordinary payments were also a feature of the Company accounts, such as charges by the Crown for equipping soldiers or ships, the Lord Mayor's assessments for the relief of hardship in the City, and for legal expenses the Company incurred in disputes with other livery companies over craft control in the 17th century.


Scope and content/abstract:

Financial records of the Carpenters' Company, 1841-1997, (note that the older records of these series, from 1438, are held at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts section, see Related material for details) comprising minutes of the Finance Committee, 1902-1929; minutes of Investments Committee, 1965-1997; Mr Pocock's accounts, 1863-1877; Wardens' statements, 1881-1934; audit papers, 1895-1901; ledgers, 1841-1969; nominal ledgers, 1976-1993; sundries ledger, 1968-1975; journals, 1860-1935; cash analysis books, 1940-1962; cash books, 1845-1954, 1970-1976; petty cash books, 1860-1936; provisions books, 1873-1902; bankers' books, 1863-1936; bonds, 1878-1884; salary and wages books, 1940-1971, for staff at Carpenters' Hall, Building Crafts Training School, Rustington Convalescent Home and Throgmorton Avenue.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in the scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Access to the archives is at the discretion of the Company. The records are available for consultation by prior appointment only. Contact the Archivist, Carpenters Hall, Throgmorton Avenue, London EC2N 2JJ.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies of material can be supplied, subject to copyright restrictions and suitability of the item for copying.

Finding aids:

Catalogue available at Carpenters' Hall.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Created by the Carpenters' Company. Some records in the series were transferred to the Guildhall Library in 1948.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

For charity accounts and accounts relating to Company estates see section G: Estate records. For earlier minutes of the finance committee, from 1899, see section F: Entertainments Minute book. Powers of the Finance Committee were largely assumed by the General Purposes Committee from 1926, see section B.

Records in the series held at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, Aldermanbury, London, EC2P 2EJ: Master and Wardens' draft accounts, 1776-1847, including receipts and expenses, chiefly relating to Company property, renter wardens' draft accounts of disbursements under terms of various Company charities, some original bills and annual abstracts giving monthly totals of bindings, freedoms and turnovers and fees received, total annual expenditure on dinners and company charities (ref: 4327); Wardens' account books, 1438-1880, includes rough and fair accounts, both series audited from c1604 (ref: 4326/1 - 4326/15); Renter Wardens' annual balance accounts, 1824-1845 (ref: 4326b); Warden's sundry accounts, of Thomas Blemmell, younger warden, 1620, (ref: 4343), of John Read the elder, "youngest" warden, 1646-1647 (ref: 7781); Wardens' vouchers and receipts, 1595-1757 (ref: 4344/1 - 4344/29); Clerk's accounts, 1815-1841 (ref: 4326a); dinner bills, 1786-1787 (ref: 10399).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Printed transcripts of accounts 1438-1614 published in Records of the Carpenters' Company vols. II (1914), IV (1916), V (1937), and VII (1968) (Oxford University Press).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Records of the Carpenters' Company vols. II (1914), IV (1916), V (1937), and VII (1968) (Oxford University Press).
Compiled by Julie Tancell and Alison Field as part of the London Signpost Survey Project.

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:
December 2003

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