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Estates, charities and gifts of the Carpenters' Company

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2812 G
Held at: Carpenters' Company
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Full title: Estates, charities and gifts of the Carpenters' Company
Date(s): 1357-2003
Level of description: Sub-fonds of Carpenters' Company
View parent record
Extent: approximately 67 volumes, 77 boxes, 5 folders, 15 files
Name of creator(s): Carpenters' Company | Worshipful Company of Carpenters


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Company's almshouses at Godalming, Surrey, were founded by Richard Wyatt, Master of the Company in 1604, 1605 and 1616. Wyatt died in 1619, and in his will left 500 for the construction of ten almshouses, and instructions to choose 10 residents, who were to be deserving poor of respectable character. Rents from his properties, including in Bramshott, Hampshire, and Henley-upon-Thames, were to be used to provide a small pension for each almsman and pay expenses for an annual visit by the governors of the Company. Ten almshouses and a small chapel were completed in 1622, each comprising a kitchen-parlour and bedroom, and were kept in their original style until a major refurbishment in 1958 when eight flats were created. Despite the endowments left by Wyatt and other benefactors, the cost of administering the Charity rose more rapidly than its income, and the charity was frequently in debt to the Company. During the nineteenth century, the Company sold the estate and reinvested the money for the benefit of the Charity. The almshouses were supervised by the Upper, or Senior, Warden, as is still the case today. Annual visits by the Company have taken place every year since 1623, except during war - in 1643, during the Civil War, and 1941 to 1945. In 1840 the Company purchased 8 acres of land in Twickenham, and following designs by William Fuller Pocock (Middle Warden of the Company), built a second set of almshouses to provide accommodation for ten people from the poor of the Company, to be Liverymen, Freemen or their widows. The almshouses were placed under the supervision of the Middle Warden, who visited once a month, whilst the Court made an annual visit in the last week of June. In 1947 the Company was obliged to sell the site to Twickenham Borough Council, who undertook to re-house all the almspeople.

Irish Estate
In 1607 James I embarked on the colonisation of Ulster in an attempt to quell rebellion and establish Protestantism. He "invited" the City of London to undertake the corporate plantation (settlement) of Derry and Tyrone, and in 1610 The Honourable The Irish Society was established to manage the Irish Plantation for the city livery companies. The Plantation was divided into 12 "proportions", each purchased by a group of companies headed by one of the Great Twelve. The Carpenters' Company entered into an arrangement led by the Ironmongers, and along with the Brewers, Scriveners, Coopers, Pewterers and Barbers (Associate Companies), became part-owners of the Manor of Lizard, Londonderry. A series of agents was appointed to let the land, collect rents and keep accounts. In 1840 a Board was formed to manage the property, comprising six representatives from the Ironmongers and one representative from each of the six associate companies. The rise of Irish nationalism and various Land Acts (from 1881 onwards), saw the City's undertaking in Ireland draw to a close. Between 1882-1884 the Ironmongers and Associate Companies divided the Manor of Lizard among themselves, with the Carpenters' receiving 632 acres in all, comprising Collins (280 acres), Knockaduff (304 acres) and part of Claggan (48 acres). However, following investigations by two Select Committees and a suit by the Attorney-General for Ireland against the Irish Society and others in 1893, the entire estate, including the Carpenters' Company acreage, was sold in the 1890s, mostly for token sums and to sitting tenants.

The Building Crafts College
Founded as the Trades' Training Schools by the Carpenters' Company in 1893, instruction was given in a wide variety of building-related disciplines with the participation of several other "Associated" Livery Companies. The school building was one of the few Company owned properties to suffer damage in the First World War: in May 1918 German aircraft bombed the nearby Bolsover Hotel, causing damage to the school. At the outbreak of the Second World War, the Carpenters' Company offered the facilities of the College to the Government and over 3,000 servicemen were trained as carpenters, blacksmiths and sheet-metal workers. During and after the war, the College offered resettlement courses for servicemen returning to civilian life. By 1947, the school reverted to training apprentices for the construction industry and was known as the Building Crafts Training School. For some years from 1949 the school also ran courses in building foremanship in alliance with the London Master Builders' Association. During the war the building suffered serious damage, which severely weakened the fabric of the building, requiring frequent repairs. Consequently, the Company decided to rebuild the school in the 1960s, and at the same time to specialise in more advanced studies. The school was renamed the Building Crafts College in 1993, and in 2001 relocated to larger, purpose built premises on Company land in Stratford, East London. Training to NVQ level 3 is offered to apprentices in shopfitting, carpentry and joinery. Courses in fine woodwork and advanced stonemasonry are recognised by a joint Carpenters' Company/City and Guilds Diploma.

London Property
Property in Lime Street was formally bequeathed to the Company by Thomas Warham in 1481, although it seems that the Company may have had some claim on the property as early as 1454. The estate was first developed in the 1870s, in a joint venture with the Fishmongers' Company, Bridewell and Bethlehem Hospitals, and new buildings were put up in 1935. In 1927 the Company purchased property in Aldersgate Street consisting primarily of office and retail space, although one of the buildings had been a public house, The Albion Tavern (from 1873 or earlier to 1908). The majority of the Company's tenants were involved in the textile trade. The buildings were severely damaged in the Second World War, and in 1945 the cost of repair was estimated at 30,000. In 1948 the premises were let on a long lease in their damaged state. The expense of rebuilding of Carpenters' Hall however, meant that the Company needed to sell some of its freehold properties, and in 1958 the property was sold to the Corporation of London. The Company purchased property in Norton Folgate in 1627, originally known as Hog Lane, Worship Street. The property was sold off between 1862 and 1872 to make way for Liverpool Street Station.

Rustington Convalescent Home
Rustington Convalescent Home was founded and endowed by Sir Henry Harben (1823-1911), Chairman of the Prudential Assurance Society and Master of the Carpenters' Company in 1893. Harben spent 50,000 in buying 17 acres of land and building the Home, acquiring a further 8 acres of farmland in 1898. The Home opened in March 1897 with the Company and Harben as joint trustees, as a place where working men could convalesce, at a moderate charge, in order to resume an active life after illness. After Sir Henry's death, the administration of the Home was entrusted to the Carpenters' Company. The Governors (who are the Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants of the Company) appointed a Committee of Management to conduct the business of the Home from 1912 onwards. Harben's original endowment was augmented by additional gifts of shares and money from his daughter, Mrs Mary Woodgate Wharrie. The Home was requisitioned by the War Office from 1940-48, and re-opened for patients on 2 July 1948. In 1969 seven acres of land were sold for residential development, which enabled the complete refurbishment and modernisation of the Home. In 1980 the Governors decided to admit women as patients and allow them stay at the Home during their husbands' convalescence.

Stratford Estate
In 1767 the Company purchased "a freehold farm consisting of 63 acres of marsh land tithe free lying in the parish of West Ham" for 3,000 guineas (3,150). Stratford was a tiny village in Essex, and sold vegetables and milk in London's markets, providing a healthy income for the Company. The construction of a railway line through the area saw revenues from agricultural lands fall, prompting the Company to lease the land for industrial and residential use. In 1861 the first leases were taken, and trades such as matchmaking, linen manufacture, chemical processing and distilling developed on the estate. Some of the factories and warehouses were built by the Carpenters' Company, as were many of the cottages constructed on the Eastern side of estate. The Stratford estate remained a centre of industry, with individual plots and units being let and sub-let with great fluidity. A small number of units, and approximately one third of the estate's cottages were destroyed by enemy action during the Second World War. After the war some of these sites were levelled to create room for new residential and commercial properties, and all residential accommodation was compulsorily purchased by the local authority in the 1960s. In addition to commerce and housing, parts of the estate have been host to a wider variety of uses: the Carpenters' Technical Institute gave hundreds of boys education in carpentry, plumbing, and related subjects between 1886 and 1905, and both the Carpenters' Institute and the Carpenters' and Docklands Youth Centre have provided social and recreational facilities for local residents since the Second World War.

Carpenters' Hall and Throgmorton Avenue
By 1429 the Company built its first hall, on land rented for twenty shillings a year from the Hospital of St Mary without Bishopsgate. A 'Great Hall', together with three houses in the east side and one house on the west, was built. A Hall has stood on this site ever since. The land was later purchased and left to the Company by the will of Thomas Smart, dated 1519. A new wing was added to the Hall in 1664, which survived the Great Fire of London in 1666, thanks to its gardens and those of the Drapers' Hall acting as a firebreak. The Company gave hospitality to other Livery Companies who had not been so fortunate, including the Drapers' Company and to four successive Lord Mayors. The Hall continued to be rented out, and in 1717 was enlarged by building an extra storey at the top of the new wing. In 1736 Carpenters Buildings were erected near the Hall, and were leased out to tenants for the sum 110 per year, more than the rent for the Hall. Work began on a new Hall in 1876, and the old Hall gardens and surrounding buildings were redeveloped to provide office accommodation and create Throgmorton Avenue. The new Hall was opened in 1880, but survived only until the Second World War when it was destroyed by fire in May 1941, with only the outside walls remaining. The present Hall was designed by Austen Hall and built by Dove Brothers inside the surviving walls and opened in 1960.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of gifts, charities and estates of the Carpenters' Company, 1357-2003 (note that records of these series, from 1357, are also held at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, see Related material for details) comprising:
charity estates accounts, 1853-1934; minutes of the Estates Committee and various sub-committees, 1902-1938; rent rolls, 1684, 1938-1985; rent journals, 1877-1970; rent ledgers, 1878-1895.

Records of individual charities and estates, comprising:
Records of Godalming Almshouses, comprising accounts, 1761-1934; applications to alter scheme, 1940-1960; correspondence and papers between almsmen and the Company, 1922-1993; correspondence between the Company and superintendents, 1933-1979; correspondence and reports of the Medical Officer, 1933-1968; correspondence and reports concerning visits by Wardens, 1934-1977; annual Company visits, 1933-1971; vacancies in the Almshouses, 1933-1989, including advertising posters; superintendent's correspondence, 1822-1842; correspondence and papers concerning garden maintenance, 1933-1959; maintenance of the almshouses, 1933-1981; plans of the almshouses, 1933-1981; clothing for the almsmen, 1933-1981; provision of hot lunches by Women's Voluntary Service, 1951-1960; chapel services, 1959-1969; leasing of almshouse garden plots, 1935-1937; leasing of almshouse land, 1934-1957; boundaries, 1936-1977; redemption of Tithes, 1939-1940; development of land around the almshouses, 1932-1934; deeds for land in Bramshott, Hampshire, 1621-1891 and plan, 1750; plans of property in Henley-upon-Thames, 1713, 1727; survey of farm, Shackleford, Surrey, 1727.

Records of the Twickenham Almshouses, comprising deeds, 1841-1935; papers relating to the endowment fund, 1842-1853; office files, [1930s]; pay book, 1888-1901; print of almshouses, [1842]; plan of Twickenham, 1846.

Records of the Irish Estate, comprising minutes of the Committee of Management, 1883; correspondence concerning the appointment of a resident Agent, 1832-1834; letter from a tenant pleading for the removal of the Agent, 1841; abstract [19th cent] of lease for the Manor of Lizard, 1766; correspondence and papers concerning the management of the estate following the reversion of the lease, 1840-1841; papers concerning partition of the Manor of Lizard, 1882-1893, including appeal, plan, rental and deed of arrangement; plan of estates in Ireland, 1884; correspondence, papers and accounts concerning the sale of Carpenters' Company Estate, 1890-1897; accounts for the Manor of Lizard, 1764-1839, 1869-1903; accounts with the Associate Companies, 1890-1895; correspondence relating to payments, 1823-1825; memorandum about dividends expected, 1833-1837; accounts of the Irish Society, 1832-1841; papers relating to legal case brought against the Irish Society by the Skinners' Company on behalf of the Great Twelve Companies, 1832-1836, including Bill of complaint, 1832; open letter to Livery Companies urging them not to support the suit, 1836; judgment by Lord Chancellor, 1836; amendment of bill, 1836; papers, including affidavits, statements and replies, relating to a legal case brought by Attorney-General for Ireland against the Irish Society and others, 1892-1898, including minutes of meetings between defendants (Great Twelve Companies), 1895; reports of visits and surveys, 1812, 1823-1884; historical account, 1887; valuation of the Manor of Lizard, 1765; terrier of Irish estates held by the Ironmongers, Barbers, Brewers, Carpenters, Pewterers, Scriveners and the City Corporation, including tenants, 1886; rent roll, 1812; rental, 1882; plans and maps of Manor of Lizard, 1854, 1863.

Records of the Building Crafts College, comprising reports, 1896-1940; Director's reports, 1940-1970; papers and accounts relating to the training of soldiers as carpenters, joiners, blacksmiths and coppersmiths, 1939-1944; papers relating to a civilian vocational training scheme, 1942-1948; establishment of a day-release apprenticeship scheme, apprenticeship scholarships and grants-in-aid schemes, 1943-1949; Building General Foremanship course, 1948-1949; future and development of the School, 1965-1970; deeds and correspondence relating to the School site, 153/155 Great Titchfield Street, 1893-1988; papers concerning the charitable status of the school, 1935-1982; progress reports, correspondence and plans, relating to the rebuilding of the school, 1966-1971; papers concerning air raid precautions, 1939-1944; correspondence regarding claim for war damages, 1941-1950; papers concerning building maintenance, 1937-1987; proposed building extension, 1971-1977: accommodation feasibility study, 1992; estimated construction costs, 1988; Director's correspondence, 1936-1940; reports, papers and correspondence relating to the administration of the school, 1926-1980; prospectuses, 1948-1970; prize lists, 1937; list of prize-winners, 1939; exam papers, 1951-1966; syllabus instructions, [1960]; course material, 1960-[1970s]; lecture notes, [1950s]; article on the War Office's strategy for demobilisation using the Trades Training School as a specific example, [1945].

Records of Company properties in London, namely in Fenchurch Avenue/Lime Street, comprising deeds and related papers, 1836-2003; plans, 1713-[1980]; plans of tenements in London, 1727, for Barnaby Street, Crutched Friars, Fenchurch Street and the Almonry, Westminster; records relating to 171-173 Aldersgate Street, comprising tenancy agreements, 1930-1940; papers concerning caretaker, [1938]; building maintenance, including war damage, 1936-1945; employment of a car attendant and lighting for Manchester Avenue, 1932-1941; correspondence with tenants, 1930-1944; correspondence concerning Tithe redemption, 1938-1939; building of an air raid shelter and fire watching scheme, 1939-1944; tenants' leases, future development and sale, 1948-1960; floor plan, 1939; deeds relating to tenements in Hog Lane, Norton Folgate, 1357-1865, including deed poll, 1357; will of John Baldewyn, 1425; plans, [1690], 1727; records of property in Fulham, comprising general files, 1931-1965; deeds for Netherton Grove, 1857-1956 and Victoria Grove, 1857-1956; deeds for property in Kenton Road, Harrow, 1958-1992;

Records relating to Rustington Convalescent Home, comprising minutes of the Carpenters' Company Management Committee for the Home, 1926-2003; registers of patients kept by the Company's Home Secretary, 1948-1969; Matron's registers of patients, 1954-1989; admission books, 1961-1984; report books, 1970-1992; account books, 1913-1993; deeds, 1895-[1990]; plans, 1969-1970; photographs and postcards, [1893-2003].

Records relating to Stratford estate, comprising deeds, 1781-1998, including leases and agreements for properties on Carpenters Road, Gibbins Road, Grace Road, High Street, Jupp Road, Lett Road, Rosher Road, Warton Road; photographs of Carpenters Road and High Street, 1915; plans, 1769-1982; rentals, 1885-1893; records of the Carpenters' Institute, Stratford, comprising minutes of the management committee for the Carpenters' Institute, 1927-1974; rules, [1927]; attendance book, 1958-1974; accounts, 1955-1972; deeds and related papers, 1880-1954; correspondence, 1935-1974; records of the Carpenters' and Dockland Centre, Stratford, comprising lease and trust deed, 1972; correspondence, including some annual reports and minutes, 1975-1993; minutes of the Day Technical School Committee, 1895-1905.

Records relating to properties on Throgmorton Avenue (numbers 1-17) comprising deeds, 1874-1997; office files, 1933-1988; plans, 1923-1981.

Records relating to Carpenters' Hall estate and moveables, comprising papers relating to the First Hall, namely plan, 1727; boundary and party walls, 1806-1876; sketch of interior, 1851; sketch of fire damage, [19th cent]; watercolour facsimiles of Tudor wall paintings, 1846; newspaper articles on the Tudor wall paintings, 1846, and Hall demolition, 1876; papers relating to the Second Hall, namely building agreements, 1876; Hall redecoration, 1937-1938; general maintenance, 1932-1941; furniture and treasures, 1932-1941; inventories, 1906-1931; papers relating to the Third Hall, namely minutes of the Rebuilding Committee, 1950-1959; deeds, 1959-1998; designs for furnishings, [1960s]; plans, 1947-1996; furniture and treasures, 1942-2003; inventories, 1968-2002.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in the scope and content section.

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:

Records in the series held at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, Aldermanbury, London, EC2P 2EJ: copies of wills and abstracts, 1477-1835 (ref: 4329A, 4332, 8337), abstract and memorandum books re property and bequests, 1357-1850 (ref: 4329A, 4332, 4340), Renter wardens' charity disbursement accounts, 1776-1847 (ref: 4327), pensions disbursement accounts, 1716-1756, 1820-1841 (ref: 4331/1-2, 7782), petitions for relief of company poor, 1600-1632 (ref: 7784/1-15), pensioner lists, 1716-1841 (ref: 4331, 7782), rent rolls, 1687-1712 (ref: 4342), register of leases, 1477-1835 (ref: 4332), inventories, 1627-1659 (ref: 4329A), Land Tax returns, 1799-1814 (ref: 8331), report on the Manor of Lizard, 1812 (ref: 4341), title deeds, 1452-1871 (ref: 4329A, 4332, 4340, 8325-31, 8336-8). Records relating to the Irish Estate in Ironmongers' Company Archives at Guildhall: minutes of meetings (ref: 17278), accounts, 1833-1872, printed reports, 1841-1853, leases and deeds, rent ledgers, 1869-1892, surveys and valuations, 1842 and 1860, maps, 1610-1886; terrier, 1886 (part of Pewterers' Company archive, ref: 22251). Records relating to the Irish Estate held at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI): Land Registry papers concerning the Manor of Lizard, 1619-1936 (ref: Box No. 0138L, rec. LJ 01186 & Box No. 1862, rec. NI 01804). Records of the Irish Society in Corporation of London Records Office include Court minute books, 1665-1939, letter books, 1664-1969, accounts (1663-1969), deeds (1613-1935), surveys, rent rolls and plans. Correspondence and photographs relating to Rustington Convalescent Home are held in Littlehampton Museum. Sketch of main Hall entrance, 1779 and drawings of the Dining Hall ceiling, c.1845, are held by the Royal Instititue of Architects (RIBA) British Architectural Library.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
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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