RCH was purpose-built as a convalescent home in 1897 by Sir Henry Harben. Sir Henry was a previous Master of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters. When he died in 1911, the Worshipful Company of Carpenters took over the management of the home. Today the Trustee of RCH is the Carpenters’ Company – one of the City of London’s livery companies.
What is a livery company?
The livery companies are trade associations which were originally established as medieval trade guilds or unions to safeguard the welfare and interests of their members. There are over 100 livery companies in the City of London ranging from butchers and fishmongers to drapers, fan makers and, of course, carpenters.
The Worshipful Company of Carpenters
The first written reference mentioning a Master Carpenter in the City of London dates back to 1271. The Carpenters’ Company was granted a coat of arms in 1466 and received its first royal charter in 1477. The Prince of Wales was made an Honorary Liveryman in 1995, in recognition of his interest in London’s architecture.
What does the Carpenters’ Company do today?
Today, the Carpenters’ Company continues to support a broad range of charitable and educational activities including the Building Crafts College in Stratford, East London. It maintains close links to the carpentry profession to encourage and promote the highest standards of woodworking craftsmanship. And, of course, RCH is run by the Carpenters’ Company which is the Trustee looking after the generous endowment left by Sir Henry Harben and the kind donations from companies and individuals.