Charitable Trusts

A key function of the medieval trade guilds, from which Livery Companies grew, was the provision of welfare for their Members. Consequently the Company began to attract gifts and bequests for charitable purposes, and the management of these funds became an increasingly important function of the Company. The charitable trusts which are run by the Company are described below. If you are seeking to make an application for funding please see the grants section of the website where the different programmes under which grants are made are described and information is provided on how to apply.

The Charity of Sir Richard Whittington

The Charity of Sir Richard Whittington is the amalgamation of The Charity of Sir Richard Whittington and Lady Mico's Almshouse Charity.

The Charity of Sir Richard Whittington was founded in 1424 under the will of Richard Whittington (1354-1423) who was four times Mayor of London and three times Master of the Mercers' Company. He entrusted to the care of the Mercers' Company his almshouses, known as Whittington College.

In 1966 the charity closed its almshouses in Highgate and built new accommodation in East Grinstead which now provide 56 homes for elderly ladies and a few married couples. In addition, charitable grants and allowances are paid out annually from this estate.

The Lady Mico's Almshouse Charity was founded under the bequest of Jane, Lady Mico, widow of Sir Samuel Mico, Alderman and Mercer. In 1690 the charity built Lady Mico’s Almshouse for eight elderly women opposite St Dunstan's Church, Stepney.

In 1976 the almshouses were moved to a site in Alyward Street, Stepney and enlarged to provide flats for eighteen residents and a warden.

Principal object

The Charity's principal object is the administration of almshouses at Whittington College, Felbridge, Surrey and at Lady Mico’s Almshouse, Stepney in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. In addition, payments are made to individuals and institutions for relief in need and to support community welfare, the elderly, education, and the handicapped and disabled.

(charity number 1087167)


Earl of Northampton's Charity

Shortly before his death in 1614, Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, founded a "hospital", or almshouse, for poor men at Greenwich, known as Trinity Hospital, and although he was not a member of the Mercers' Company he entrusted the management to the Company's care.

The original Trinity Hospital, the 17th century building beside the Thames at Greenwich, has recently reopened following a major refurbishment. This followed the construction of a new almshouse, the award winning Garden Building, in its grounds. Under the same trust, eight almshouses are provided at Trinity Hospital, Shotesham in Norfolk for elderly local residents. A number of grants and allowances are also made by the charity.

The Charity is now regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated November 2003.

Principal object

The Charity's principal object is the administration of almshouses at Trinty Hospital, Greenwich and Trinity Hospital, Shotesham. The Trustee is also empowered to make payments to certain other charities and individuals for relief of poverty and people in need.

(charity number 210291)


St. Paul's Schools' Foundation

John Colet, Dean of St Paul's, founded St Paul's School in 1509 and placed the administration in the hands of the Mercers' Company, the Trustee. The activities of the Foundation include St. Paul's School (Barnes, London) including the Colet Court preparatory school and St Paul's Girls' School (Brook Green, London).

Principal object

The principal object of the St Paul's Schools Foundation is to promote in Greater London the education (including social and physical training) of boys and girls. The first priority is St Paul's School and St Paul's Girls' School.

(charity number 312749)


The Mercers Charitable Foundation

The Foundation was established by trust deed dated 16 March 1983.

Principal object

The Charity's principal object is to make grants and donations for the benefit of a wide range of charitable purposes including welfare, education, the arts, heritage and religion.

The Foundation’s primary source of income is donations from the Mercers’ Company.

(charity number 326340)