Selection of Events in the Coopers History


The Middle Ages

Coopers appeared before Mayor and were fined for 'Contempt of King and Mayor'
Original Deed of land in Basinghall Street.
Coopers applied to Mayor and Aldermen to restrain some coopers for making vessels for beer or other liquors from soap or oil tuns.
Vessels for liquor to be made only of pure wood.
Each cooper to have his own mark of iron with a copy kept at Guildhall.
Wardens sworn into office before Mayor and Aldermen.
A petition to Mayor and Aldermen from Wardens for another ordinance to regulate the trade.
The "Vellum" book-the earliest known record book of the Company giving the names of two Wardens, William Downinge and John Browne and 40 brethren.
A further petition to the Mayor and Aldermen to regulate the trade.
The Mayor and Aldermen passed an ordinance that all vessels made from inferior wood be burnt.


First record of a search by the Wardens resulting in threescore barrels, kilderkins, and firkins for herrings being seized and burnt at the Standard (a water conduit) Cheapside in the presence of the Mayor.



The Tudor Period

1485 John Baker Upper Warden.
1488 Wardens applied to Mayor and Aldermen for extended rules and orders for the better government of the trade.
  Earliest record of apprentices. Twelve were registered on payment of 20 pence each.
  John Baker's Bequest-his property known as "The Swan" in Basinghall Street to pass to the Company, after the life interest of his widow, if Charter of Incorporation granted.
1495 The first record of a cooper's mark.
1501 29th April. Royal Charter granted by Henry VII stipulated a Master, two Wardens.
1502 Hugh Crompe the first to hold office as Master
1509 27th September, Grant of Arms by Henry VIII. Motto "Gaude Maria Virgo".
1523 Earliest known Wardens' Account Book.
1531 An Act of Parliament passed to empower the Wardens of the Company to view and gauge all barrels in London and for 2 miles outside. Those vessels approved to be marked with St. Anthony's Cross. The Company authorised to charge one farthing per vessel. Defective vessels could be seized. A company "Sealer" appointed.
1536 Nicholas Gibson, Grocer, built a school and almshouses at Ratcliffe for 30 boys and 14 pensioners. Anthony Knyvett appointed "Black Rod".
1537 Ruling on apprentices. Journeymen coopers one each; Liverymen two; Upper Warden and Master three.
1540 Nicholas Gibson buried in Stepney Parish Church of St. Dunstan's.
1541 Avice Gibson, widow, married Sir Anthony Knyvett. (His father, Thomas, Master of the Horse to Henry VIII).
1543 John Chorley Master of the Company.
  John Heath, Upper Warden, instigated the construction of our first purpose-built Hall. He donated the main timbers and paid the 
workmen for a period of time.
1547 The first Hall was completed. It is thought to have been built in the yard of the house called "The Swan" (next to the churchyard of St. Michael's) that had been left to the Company by John Baker . John Heath, Master of the Company, provided the venison for the celebratory feast.
1549 Sir Anthony Knyvett died. Coopers' Company became tenants of Lady Knyvette at Ratcliffe.
1553 Existing Minute Books of the Company begun. First pensioners were received into the Almshouses at Ratcliffe following Deed of Gift of the Gibson Charity to the Company by Lady Knyvett. John Chorley left Old Wool Quay in the Parish of All Saints Barking to the Company for the benefit of the Ratcliffe Charity.
1554 October. Lady Avice Knyvett dies.
1558 Mary I and Philip confirm the Charter. Old Wool Quay sold to the Crown for £400.

The Elizabethan Age

1559 Elizabeth I confirms the Charter. The Company contributes to the ransom of Baron Thos. Wentworth, Lord of the Manor of Stepney and Governor of Calais.
1563 Pall Cloth made for £70. First appointment of a Renter Warden.
1571-2 Hand decorated Book of Accounts made (still in the Company's possession).
1574 Death of Henry Cloker, Grocer. Under the terms of his Will an annual service to be held at St. Michael's Crooked Lane.
1591 New Pall Chest made (still in the Company's possession).
1599 Peter Thelloe bequeathed half rent of a house in Birchin Lane to the Ratcliffe charity.

The Stuart and Commonwealth Period

1611 Tobias Wood, Standing Counsel to the Company, left £600 to erect 6 additional almshouses at Ratcliffe.
1612 The Company, unable to continue payments, relinquishes share of the City of London's plantation in Ulster governed by the Irish Society.
1643 The Company's plate worth £150-£200 sold to raise the Company's levy of £350 as part of £50,000 to be raised by Livery Companies for the Parliamentary armies.
1653 9th June. Monthly Courts to be held on 1st Tuesday of the month.

Election Day for Masters and Wardens changed from Sunday to Monday before the Feast of Pentecost or Whitsuntide (Common Hall). The Stuart Restoration

1660 The Brazil Staff given by Mr. John Hardy fitted with a silver top of the Company's Arms. A cloth gown to be provided for the Beadle with liverymen paying 2s.6d each towards the cost.
1661 30th August. Charles II Governing Charter stipulated one Master, two Wardens and seventeen Assistants. 1662 First barge of Company built for £178.10s.0d of which £154.10s.0d was raised by the Livery.
1664 An Ordinance made that the seals for sealing casks be kept only by Wardens or their deputies.
1665 May 2nd. Temporary closing of the School at Ratcliffe due to the Plague.
1666 4th September. Plate and records removed by Wardens and Clerk and stored in the house of Mr. Morris, Upper Warden. 5th September. The Company's Hall destroyed in the Great Fire.
1667 Plate and records still to be held at Mr. Morris's house-now Master.
1668 September. First sketches and first list of contributors towards re-building Hall.
1669 March. A building committee appointed consisting of the Master, Wardens and some Court members.
1670 First meeting in new Hall.
1671 Royal Arms carved in wood fitted between windows and paid for by Mr. Mason, Master.
1672 April. Agreed that the Hall could be used for worship on Sundays, and let out for functions such as weddings and funerals.
1678 The Hall finally completed at a cost of £5,000. Subscribed by the Court and the Livery mainly between
1669-1671 October. The Pall Cloth sold for £8 towards cost of the new Hall. April 23rd. The Company surrendered Charter to the Crown.

Revised Charter issued by Charles II.

1686 Second barge built for £80.
1695-6 Ratcliffe Almshouses built.
1703 Henry Strode Master.
1704 6th May. Henry Strode died aged 59. In his will he left £50 to increase pensions of Ratcliffe almspeople, and £6,000 to build a free school and almshouses at Egham.
1706 Strode's school and almshouses built.

The Georgian Age

1715 William Alexander acquired Woodham Mortime Hall with 300 acres.
1718 Third barge built for £352.
1726 William Alexander died. He bequeathed his Essex estate to the Company and its revenue to the poor of the Company.
1741 Bye-laws for regulation and government of Company adopted.
1742 Robert Willimott Lord Mayor. He was the first person to hold office from a minor company.
1743 Robert Willimott elected Master of the Coopers Company. He presented two silver waiters to the Company.
1746 Major repairs to Egham School and Almshouses.
1767 Sir James Esdaile appointed Alderman for Cripplegate Ward and became a member of the Court of Assistants and Master of the Company.
1777 Sir James Esdaile Lord Mayor. He remained a Cooper.
1779 Committee appointed to build a new barge. Nothing came of the proposals so the bargemaster was dismissed. (From then on the Company either shared or hired a barge).
1786-7 Ratcliffe School and Chapel (added by Lady Knyvett) rebuilt at cost of over £1,200.
1793 Common Hall dinners and Lord Mayor's Day dinner discontinued.
1794 Ratcliffe Charity buildings destroyed by fire.
1796 School and almshouses at Ratcliffe rebuilt by insurance money north of old site with the quadrangle facing Schoolhouse Lane.
1802 Ratcliffe Chapel rebuilt and quadrangle paved.
1803 Second Hall used for State lotteries.
1816 Gas Lighting installed in the Hall.
1824 May 31st. Election of Abraham Algar to post of Under Warden. (The first time the Livery had voted for its own candidate.)
1825 May. J.F. Frith elected by Livery to post of Under Warden. (The Upper Warden was A. Algar.)
1826 William Alexander Memorial obelisk erected at Woodham Mortimer (still in existence) marking the centenary of his death. Second Hall no longer used for State lotteries.
1827 25th May at the "George & Vulture" tavern, Cornhill. The Society of the Livery founded to maintain the rights of the Livery, especially in the matter of the election of Wardens.
1828 Almshouses and school at Egham rebuilt.
1831 Felix Booth Master of the Company. David Salomons admitted to Freedom & Livery of Company after
1830 ruling by Common Council concerning the admission of Jews.
1835 Felix Booth made a baronet-due to financial help of £17,000 he gave to Captain John Ross to find North West Passage David Salomons elected Sheriff and member of Court of Assistants.

The Victorian Era

1840 Office of Clerk divided into Clerk-Accountant (non resident) and Clerk-Solicitor (resident)
1841 David Salomons Master of the Company.
1847 J.F. Frith Master of the Company. Sir David Salomons Alderman for Cordwainer Ward after 1845 Act of Parliament allowed Jews to hold municipal office. He established a scholarship at the City of London School to celebrate the event.
1848 J.F. Frith reorganised Ratcliffe School and saved it from extinction.
1855 Sir David Salomons Lord Mayor. 1865 Plans for third Hall approved. Accommodation provided for Beadle but not for the Clerk. The architect Geo. Barnes Williams, Surveyor to the Company.
1867 Offer of £21,000 from the City Corporation accepted by the Company for two-thirds of the site of second Hall. 1868 Third Hall erected. Foundation stone laid on 7th January by the Master C.J. Chadwin.
1869 October. Sir David Salomons made a Baronet. Completion of new Hall at cost of £5,200. 300 boys at Coopers' Company's School. New building for Upper School.
1872 The Master's Badge presented by Thomas Rowland Legg at the end of his year of office as Master.
1873 Mr. Cyrus Legg, Master (brother of Thomas) presented the three gold Wardens' badges.
1874 D. Henry Stone Lord Mayor and Master of the Company.
1875 The custom introduced of a silver medal being given to a new Court member, to be gilded upon leaving the office of Master.
1878 The Company established a Secondary School for girls at No. 141 Mile End Road.
1880 The Girls School moved to larger premises at No. 86 Bow Road.
1884 The City and Guilds of London Technical Institute founded, with the Company being a founder member.
1891 The Stepney & Bow Educational Foundation formed under pressure from the Charity Commissions who forced a merger of the Coopers' Boys School at Ratcliffe with the Coborn School founded in 1701 by Miss Prisca Coborn, on the premises of the latter school for boys at Tredegar Square, Bow. The school named Coopers' Company's School whilst the girls school renamed Coborn School at No. 86 Bow Road.
1894 Old Ratcliffe Almshouses demolished, and the inhabitants pensioned off.
1898 The girls Coborn School moved to new premises at No. 29-33 Bow Road, and opened by HRH Princess Christian.

The 20th Century

1904 Andrew Chalmers, Master of the Company, presented the silver-gilt chain to be worn with the Master's badge.
1908-9 The Boys School moved from Schoolhouse Lane, Ratcliffe and rebuilt at Tredegar Square, Bow.
1910 Electric light installed in the third Hall.
1912 Strode's Egham Almshouses demolished. A new Secondary School built on the site by Surrey County Council.
1924 A scheme for registering apprentices and for issuing certificates of competence to working Coopers starters.
1937 Harold Griffin, Master, bequeathed 6 houses in Thessaly Square, Battersea to Company.
1940 Sunday 29th December. The third Hall destroyed. Portraits of Strode, Salomons, Felix Booth and Avice Gibson (full length one from the old chapel at Ratcliffe Almshouses) destroyed; also the Master's chair and the wooden mantelpiece and the Royal Arms of Charles II from the second Hall.
1941 Temporary quarters for the Clerk at Carpenters' Hall.
1942 Temporary offices at No. 17 St. Helen's Place, Bishopsgate, and later at Painters' Hall. Court Meetings held at Carpenters' Hall, then Leathersellers' Hall and finally Vintners' Hall.
1957 The site of the third Hall sold to the Corporation of London.
1958 August. The Company acquired No. 13 Devonshire Square, Bishopsgate.
  July. Monthly Court Meetings changed from 1st to 3rd Tuesday in each month.
1959 March. First Court Meeting held in new Hall.
1966 Decision taken to amalgamate the Coopers' Company's and Coborn Schools.
1970 May 6th. The Foundation Stone of new Coopers' Company and Coborn School laid at Upminster. 1974 The new combined Coopers' Company and Coborn School opened by Sir Hugh Wontner, Lord Mayor.
1975 Sir Murray Fox Lord Mayor. The former boys' Grammar School reopened as Strode's VI Form College at Egham. 1976 Sir Murray Fox Master. Restoration completed of ground floor and sub-basement of Hall to provide a Courtroom and Museum and modern cloakrooms.
1978 July. Monthly Court Meetings changed from 1st to 3rd Tuesday in each month.
1979 September. Palmer Charitable Foundation established.
1985 Portrait of Past Master E.W. Palmer by Walter Woodington presented to the Company by the sitter on permanent loan.
1986 Celebration of 450th Anniversary of founding of The Coopers' Company' School by Nicholas Gibson.
  The Court debated and concluded that it was “not minded” to give a lead in granting Livery to women and elected to keep in step with the rest of the City Livery Companies.
1989 August. Flooding from the tenant’ quarters on the upper floors of the Hall caused damage and it was seven months before the Company could reoccupy. 
1992 The Finance Court was abolished and replaced by an Advisory Group with a wider remit.
  April 10th. Blast from a bomb planted by IRA terrorists at the Baltic Exchange extensively damaged the Hall.
1993 Strode’s VI Form College becomes a Corporation
  April 24th. Bomb planted by IRA terrorists in Bishopsgate damaged the Hall to an even greater extent than the previous year. 
1994 Cooper Brian Matson elected as Alderman for Bread Street Ward, but was rejected by the Aldermanic Court. 
1999 The Court voted to admit women to the Livery on an equal basis with men. 
2000 “Love as Brethren” – a history of the Company by Pamela Maryfield published. 
  March. Pamela Maryfield the first lady to join the Livery. 
2001 New Charity , “The Coopers’ Livery Housing Fund” established. 
  April 10th Foundation stone laid for Coopers’ Court in Bow . Partly funded by the Coopers’ Livery Housing Fund” 
  April 30th Quincentenary Anniversary of First Royal Charter - Celebratory Service in St Paul’s Cathedral 
  June. Six more ladies joined the Livery. 
2004 Alderman John Stephen Hughesdon Sheriff
2006 Alderman John Stephen Hughesdon Master.
2007 Alderman Ian Luder, Sheriff.
2008 Alderman Ian Luder, Lord Mayor. 
2011 May. Joint meeting of the two Courts at the Trades House in Glasgow.
  June 17th. Coopers’ Chase opened at Enham Alamein. Partly by the Coopers’ Livery housing Fund.
  “The Worshipful Company of Coopers – The first five Hundred years and Beyond” by Liveryman and Honorary Curator, Jonathan Palmer published
2013 Liveryman Sharon Ashby the first lady to be elected Underwarden.
2016 Alderman Ian Luder, Master. 
  Pastmaster Keith C Brown elected Deacon Convener of the Trades House of Glasgow 
  December. Museum closed after 40 years in order to take commercial opportunity. 
2017 Major exhibits from former Museum relocated throughout Coopers' Hall'.


Ian Luder

Master - Perry Bousfield

The Worshipful Company of Coopers is one of the oldest in the City of London. In modern times it has evolved into the trustee of six principal charities and a social and charitable enterprise that retains an identity focused on the ancient craft of cask making.

We welcome members to enjoy a fellowship around our shared values and an interest in the history, culture and charitable endeavours that our company has pursued for the last 500 or so years.

The first of our Education Evenings designed to help introduce prospective Freemen to the Company takes place in January 2020. Those interested in joining require a sponsor (an existing member of the Company) who should email the Clerk to notify us of your intention. In the meantime, you can also find our more by reading our latest edition of The Cooper magazine. 


Thinking of Joining?

We welcome those from within and outside of the industry.




Family History


If you want to find out more about your relatives connected with the Freedom of the City, or simply learn more about your past, contact the

London Metropolitan Archives

Our Location

Charitable Work

The Coopers’ Company itself is not a Charity but the Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants for the time being are the Trustees of Coopers Charity which is a registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation (“the Charity”).

The Charity is an amalgamation of five former charitable trusts of varying ages of foundation which have derived their income from bequests made throughout the Company's history and the distribution of this income is governed by the Charity’s constitution.

The Charity was granted formal approval by The Charity Commission in December 2013.  The Trustees are responsible for the proper distribution of funds, which in practice is administered by the Charities Committee which reports to the Trustees annually.

The former charitable trusts comprise the Ratcliff Pension Charity, the Palmer Foundation, the Harold Griffin Gift Fund, the Strode’s Egham Pension and Eleemosynary Charity and the William Alexander’s Coopers’ Liverymen Fund.

The Charity is established for the public benefit to make grants for the following charitable purposes as the Trustees in their absolute discretion may determine:
  • To assist persons in conditions of need, hardship or distress in the Greater London area, the County of Surrey and members of The Worshipful Company of Coopers, their widows and dependants; 
  • To advance education generally, but not exclusively connected to the trade of cooperage and pupils of the schools associated with The Worshipful Company of Coopers, namely The Cooper’s Company & Coborn School (Academy) and Strode’s College; 
  • To preserve the history and heritage and to advance the public’s education of the ancient trade of Cooperage; and
  • To support such other general charitable purposes as the Trustees may in their absolute discretion determine. 


The Coopers' Livery Housing Fund (CLHF)

In partnership with the Shaftesbury Housing Group and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, the CLHF created an innovative project and a significant step in the improvement of services for older people in Tower Hamlets through the building of Coopers Court. To celebrate our quincentenary in 2001 the Company raised over £500,000 to create sheltered accommodation, comprising 40 flats, in Tower Hamlets.

This was the historic centre of the cooperage industry, from which the City, port and river were served. The loan of £500,000 was returned to the Company when Shaftesbury Housing Group sold its stake in Coopers Court and the Company then looked for another deserving case and potential recipient. In 2010, the CLHF loaned £500,000 for Coopers Chase in Enham for residents who require the opportunity to establish financial and social independence, whilst acting as a stepping stone from an institutional environment to life in the community. 

The building contains ten study bedrooms fully equipped for the disabled with private bathrooms and communal areas. The CLHF has entered a co-operation agreement with Enham to ensure that the centre would continue to be used for the purpose it had been made. Whilst the intention was to assist Service personnel, it has not materialised as first thought, but Coopers Chase is being used to great effect by those needing remedial training and preparation to live within the community.
The Harold Griffin Fund (HGGF) Charity Commission Scheme No. L.2/234612 A/1 

This Charity was established in 1937 by the late Past Master Harold Griffin through the benefaction of six freehold houses in Thessaly Square, Battersea. Originally, they were to be offered, free of rent and all outgoings, to any Liveryman or Freeman of the Company or to their widows or dependants, or thereafter to needy old persons of Battersea, or, at the entire discretion of the Court, to any other charitable purposes.

The site was bombed during the second world war.  Two houses were destroyed and the remaining four heavily damaged, and when the area was subsequently rebuilt by the Local Authority the site was classed as “added land”.  With the approval of the Charity Commissioners, it was sold under a compulsory purchase order and the proceeds reinvested in Trustee securities. Part of the proceeds were used for the purchase and installation of stained glass windows in the Stepney Parish Church of St. Dunstan and All Saints and in the City Church of St. Magnus the Martyr.

This is the least fettered of all the Company's charities and the income may be applied to any charitable purpose.  In practice the Court acts on the recommendations of its Charity Committee.

The Palmer Foundation (PF) - Charity Commission Scheme No. 278666

This Charity, which incorporates the former Benevolent Fund, receives substantial annual donations from the Company’s corporate funds and other charitable bequests to the Company.

The Foundation was founded in 1979 by the late Past Master E.W. Palmer (pictured right), who subsequently bequeathed to the Worshipful Company of Coopers a property company, Waverley Court Limited, stipulating that half of the income received should be for the benefit of the Palmer Foundation and half for the Coopers’ Company and Coborn Educational Foundation.

A new Board of Directors was appointed under the chairmanship of Pastmaster Brian Atchley.  Over a period of a few years the mainly residential properties were sold at a substantial profit to valuation.  Waverley Court Limited was eventually “wound up” and the proceeds distributed accordingly.
Grants are made regularly to selected charities and to other registered charities in response to appeals; and awards of scholarships, bursaries and grants are made to the Company’s School and College.


Strode's Egham Pension and Eleemosynary Charity (EPC) - Charity Commission Scheme No. L.2/234396 A/3 

This was founded under the Will of Henry Strode, a London merchant and son of a Cooper, who served as Master in 1703 a year before he died, having previously served as Auditor, Assistant, Renter Warden and Upper Warden.  It originally provided for the building of Almshouses and an endowed elementary school, but in 1824 judgement was given against the Company in proceedings in the Chancery Court alleging maladministration of the Charity.  This led the Charity Commissioners to step in and to set up successive schemes under which the almshouses were finally replaced by pensions payable to residents of the parish of Egham as constituted on 22 September 1911.

This scheme was superseded by another, sealed in January 1977, which allowed the few remaining pensions to continue, other funds to be applied to the relief of needy persons in the original parish - and exceptionally, and at the Trustees' discretion, to the residents immediately outside.

The Ratcliff Pension Charity (RPC) - Charity Commission Scheme No. L.2/234613 A/1 

In 1536 Nicholas Gibson, who had served as Prime Warden of the Grocers’ Company, caused to be erected and endowed alms-houses for fourteen men and women and a school for thirty boys. His widow, who subsequently married Sir Anthony Knyvett and became known as Dame Avice, transferred them to the Company shortly before her death in 1554, when the school became known as the Coopers' School.

Henry Cloker (see below) also left property to benefit this charity: other substantial benefactors include Peter Thelloe, Tobias (Toby) Wood, Richard Young, Henry Strode and John Banfield.

This Charity was formed in 1896 because of the 'splitting' of the original Ratcliff Charity into two separate schemes - the Stepney & Bow Educational Foundation, concerned solely with the administration of that part of the bequest concerned with education, and the Ratcliff Pension Charity to continue the alms-house and pensioners’ purposes of the original Gibson bequest. It financed the Company's Charitable work in Stepney and Bow and the wider Tower Hamlets area by making grants to needy residents and to welfare organisations.

The Coopers' Company and Coborn Educational Foundation - Charity Commission Scheme No. L.2/234613 A/1 

Under a scheme made by the Charity Commissioners in 1891, two schools at Bow, one for boys founded in 1536 and one for girls founded in 1701 by Mrs Prisca Coborn, were administered by a Board of Governors nominated by the Company, various public bodies and local parish churches.
During the second world war the local population had considerably decreased and by 1945 many pupils were living out in Essex. The difficulty in attracting pupils, the mounting cost of travel and the reluctance of the County Educational Authorities to continue financial support, rendered a move inevitable.

On 6 May 1970, the Foundation Stone of a new coeducational, school, to be known as The Coopers' Company and Coborn School, was laid at St. Mary's Lane, Upminster, Essex, in the London Borough of Havering, and the School was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of London in September 1974. The Coopers' Company nominate seven Governors to the Governing Body of the Foundation.

The Company appoints six of the 21 School Governors responsible for the appointment and remuneration of the Head Teacher and staff and for the general supervision of the school.

The school premises are owned by the Coopers' Company and Coborn Educational Foundation, which also holds property and some securities. The Company appoints seven of the twelve Governors of this Foundation, the whole income of which is applied to the payment of such annual amounts as the Governors of the school may require meeting their obligations under various Education Acts or similar orders; to establish financial reserves against extraordinary repairs, additions or improvements and to subsidise a Sunday School in the parish of Bow to the extent of £20 p.a. Any residue is to be applied to educational benefits to persons who have attended the school for two or more years and who have not yet reached the age of 25, or to support voluntary organisations in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets or Havering having educational objectives.

The Cloker Bequest

In accordance with the Will of Henry Cloker dated 1573, an annual sermon is required to be preached on New Year's Day. In May 1974, it was agreed, with the consent of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, (because New Year's Day would in future be a Bank Holiday) that the Cloker Service should in future be held on the second Wednesday in January. For various reasons, it has subsequently been changed and a Service is now held in October in the Church of St. Botolph’s, Bishopsgate. The Grocers’ Company is concerned under the terms of the Will.

This service is attended by the Master and Wardens and the Master and Clerk of the Grocers’ together with any members of the Company who may so desire. A portion of the Will is read by the Clerk, and after the sermon various small sums of money prescribed in the Will, amounting to about £20 in all, are distributed in the Vestry. The Grocers' Company is under obligation to verify each Midsummer Day that the terms of the Will have been strictly observed, for which they are entitled to be paid two guineas. Such monies as have arisen from his bequest have long since been absorbed into the Company's charitable resources.

Strode's Foundation

In 1910 the school was taken over by the Surrey County Council and elevated to secondary status. In 1975 it was made co-educational and became Strode’s Sixth Form College.

It is important to differentiate between the College and its Governors (who are now known as Members of the Corporation of Strode’s and who have responsibility for all educational aspects of the College) and the Foundation and its Trustees who own, and are responsible for, the extensive site and buildings in the centre of Egham which form the College (including those erected by the Surrey County Council), but none of the moveable fixtures or fittings or scholastic equipment of the College itself.  Of the 18 members of the Corporation of Strode’s College 4 are nominated by the Trustees of the
Strode's Foundation.

The Foundation was established under a Scheme dated 9 November 1915, later superseded by three further Schemes.  There are 9 Trustees of whom 2 are Members of Strode's Corporation, nominated by the Company.

The income of the Foundation is applied to the provision and upkeep of the buildings, to maintenance allowances to pupils, to the award of leaving exhibitions and to general educational benefits for leaving members of the College who are qualified under the Scheme.
At the date of writing, 2017, five of the Foundation Trustees are Liverymen of the Company.

A pupil of the College is apprenticed to the Master every year and on successful completion of the apprenticeship may apply for the Freedom of the Company (fees waived) and thus of the City of London.

The William Alexander Coopers' Liveryman Fund (WAC) - Charity Commission Scheme No. L.2/234614 A/1

This Fund results from the amalgamation for administrative convenience of two charities with similar purposes under a scheme agreed with the Charity Commissioners and sealed in June 1976, their purposes remaining unaltered.

That of William Alexander, who was the son of a publican and had survived four wives, was established under a Will dated 1725, the year before he died, but not proved until 1729. In 1943 the Charity Commissioners sanctioned the sale of land in the parish of Woodham Mortimer in Essex, from which the Fund had derived rent, and the investment of the proceeds in gilt-edged securities.

The other charity, the Old Coopers’ Liverymen Fund was instituted in 1844.

Application of Funds
Restricted to grants of money to needy members of the Livery or the Freedom, their wives, their widows and their dependants.

The Old Boys' Prize Fund

This fund was established by the Association of Old Coopers' School Boys under a Trust Deed dated 1885. It is applied to the Old Boys' Essay Prize, the winner of which is apprenticed to the Master each year. If he has served faithfully, he is invited to apply for the Freedom of the Company, and thus of the City of London. If accepted, Freedom fees are waived.

It is important to distinguish between the former Stepney & Bow Foundation, the Coopers' Company and Coborn Educational Foundation and its Govenors, and the Coopers' Company and Coborn School and its Govenors.

As with Strode's Foundation, the Company is not financially involved in its affairs, nor has it any direct interest other than through its six nominated School Governors and its seven nominated Foundation Governors; but it does support both the School and the College with the annual award of bursaries and with other substantial gifts.  In 1986, for example, the Company presented the School with a new Steinway grand piano to mark its 450th. Anniversary.


*An obelisk still stands on the site in Woodham Mortimer in Essex bearing the Company’s Coat or Arms.

Grant Making Policies

Grants are usually made on annual basis and may not be repeated.

Needy individuals (especially the elderly and infirm) who are receiving all of their national and local financial support or support in kind to which they are entitled but still remain “needy”.  Subsidising or compromising an individual’s right to national and local support must not occur.

Local organisations that provide help and support to needy individuals or clubs serving a local community in the operative areas of the Charity.

City of London causes sponsored by the Lord Mayor or the Corporation or other “worthy” bodies in the City to raise funds for charities aimed at individuals.

National organisations which work in the operative areas of the Charity and which are financed on a local basis (e.g. Age Concern).

Donations will not normally be made in relation to:
  • Individuals and organisations outside the operative areas of the Charity;
  • The education of individuals;
  • National or international bodies which work on a centralised basis;
  • Projects involving the erection and/or maintenance of buildings or other structures;
  • Organisations with large overheads;
  • Organisations with large unexplained capital reserves;
  • Sponsorship, marketing or other fundraising activities;
  • Bursaries or long term (more than 3 years) projects;
  • Organisations outside the UK or overseas expeditions or travel;
  • Environmental projects.

Further Information

The application process and application forms
Our existing charitable benefactors

Charity Applications

A copy of the application form will download by clicking the link address below:

The Charity Committee will review applications in February, June, September and November. The application process might take up to 3 months to gain approval.
  1. Initial Assessment; if on assessment the application is within the terms written above, it will be forwarded to the Charities Committee for consideration.
  2. Committee Consideration; the Committee will either approve (or not) the application outright, or may direct a visit to verify the terms of the application.
  3. Committee Visit Assessment; Applications may include an examination of the applicant’s accounts and online information in addition to a visit or interview by members of the Charities Committee.

Successful Applications

  1. Short term, one off grants up to £1,000 may be made as determined by the Charities Committee and depending on the level of emergency;
  2. Long term grants, of up to £5,000 annually, for up to a period of 3 years may also be made as determined by the Charities Committee, after which the grant will be reviewed if a further period of support is sought. 

How to Make an Application

  • Short or long-term applications should be completed online or by hard copy and sent to: or The Clerk at: 13 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4TH.
  • Please ensure that the application is correctly completed and falls within the guidelines and clearly identifies the purpose of any grant and that any costs associated with any project have been realistically assessed.
  • We will endeavour to contact you within two weeks of the meeting of the Charities Committee at which the application is considered.
  • Written reports on progress may be required during the term of any grant.

A copy of the application form will download by clicking the link address below:

Further Information

How and when we make grants
Our existing charitable benefactors