Charitable Work

Apart from its Civic and Social responsibilities, the main work of the Company in modern times is in its concern with the administration of its Charitable Trusts which, among other things, support the Company's School and College.

The Company has narrow terms of reference for the distribution of funds, largely covered below. The vast majority of the Company's funds are distributed to organisations in the Borough of Tower Hamlets and if you qualify then please submit your case to The Clerk.

No funds are available for the education of individuals .

Charities administered by the Company

The Company itself is not a Charity but, as a corporate body, acts as Trustee to the six Charitable Trusts described below. These Trusts, of varying ages of foundation, derive their income from bequests made throughout the Company's history and the distribution of this income is governed by Charity Commission Schemes. The Palmer Foundation is the recipient of the Company's own Corporate giving. The Charities Committee decide upon the distributions to be made and make an annual report to the Court upon these distributions.

The Ratcliff Trust

Originally part of the Ratcliffe Charity founded in 1536 by Nicholas Gibson (see below), to provide an almshouse for 14 men and women and a school for 30 boys. The greater part of the income is paid over to the Coopers' Co. & Coborn Educational Foundation which succeeded the Stepney & Bow Educational Foundation in 1972. A payment is also made to the Ratcliffe Pension Charity.

The Ratcliff Pension Charity

This Charity was formed in 1896 as a result of the 'splitting' of the original Ratcliffe 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 Ratcliffe Pension Charity to continue the almshouse and pensioners purposes of the original Gibson bequest. It now finances 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. A number of Liverymen make regular personal visits to the grantees.

The Palmer Foundation

Founded in 1979 by the late Pastmaster E.W. Palmer and incorporating the former Benevolent Fund, this Charity is maintained by the Company by means of donations from Corporate Funds and by the Dividends received from Waverley Court Ltd. This property company, managed by a Board of Directors appointed by the Court, was bequeathed to the Company by Pastmaster Palmer who prescribed that half the income received should be for the benefit of the Palmer Foundation and half for the Coopers' Co. & Coborn Educational Foundation. Grants are made to selected charities and in response to appeals, and awards are given for Scholarships, Prizes and other items at the Company's School and College.

The Harold Griffin Gift Fund

Founded in 1937 by the late Pastmaster Harold Griffin, who bequeathed six houses in Thessaly Square, Battersea, which have since been sold and the proceeds invested, the Fund is primarily for the assistance of the elderly inhabitants of Battersea and needy members of the Company. Any surplus may be used for other general charitable purposes.

Strode's Egham Pension Charity

Henry Strode (Master 1703) in his Will, left a substantial sum to increase the pensions paid by the Ratcliffe Charity and founded a School (see below) and Almshouses, to be administered by the Company for the benefit of the residents of Egham in Surrey. In 1912 the Almshouses were abolished in aid of Pensions and these funds are administered today by making grants to residents in the Egham area.

Strode's College, Egham

After a number of evolutions from a school for poor boys, Strode's College today is a thriving co-educational Sixth Form Centre beautifully situated close to Runnymeade in Egham. There are many continuing links between Strode’s and the Cooper's Company. These include:
  • Coopers’ Travel Bursaries, provided annually to support extended study-related travel
  • The selection each year from the student body of an Apprentice to the Master of the Company
  • Two Higher Education Bursaries provided to the College’s top performing students;
  • The Master and Wardens' visit to College’s annual prize-giving
  • The Cloker Service: the annual thanksgiving service of the Company at which the 16th century Will of Henry Cloker, a major benefactor, is read out
  • Several of the College’s Governors and Foundation Trustees, who are members of the Company.



Ian Luder

Master - Roy Campbell

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.

We do hope you enjoy learning more about the Coopers’ Company, so please look around our website to find out who we are, what we do and how you can become part of it, should you wish to do so. 


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Family History


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