The Corn Exchange Benevolent Society
Supporting members of the UK grain trade past and present since 1863.
The Corn Exchange Benevolent Society exists to help past or present members of the UK grain trade. This includes those who have worked at any level in the corn, grain, seed, cereal, animal feeding stuffs, pulses, malt, flour or granary keeping trades. The Society covers professions from the trading, processing, manufacturing, storage and transport sides of the grain trade. However, it does not include cereal growers or farmers, at the one end, or bakers or pastry cooks at the other.
A small secretariat in London works closely with trustees, all of whom have been engaged in one or more of the occupations outlined above. Assistance is regularly provided to the Society’s members and to past and present employees of companies in the trade. This usually comes in the form of one-off grants for a specific need, but sometimes by assistance in more regular instalments.
The Society originated in 1863, on the London Corn Exchange in Mark Lane. The Exchange in those days had hundreds of members, from companies of varying sizes to private traders. At that time, there were no pensions, no social services and no benefits from a welfare state. To address this, senior members of the organisation decided to set up a benevolent society to cater for those working on the Exchange, and their families, if they fell on hard times.
Leading members of the Exchange pledged enough money to make the venture worthwhile, and within a few years, pensions were being granted. The whole history is documented in records dating from the mid-19th century at the London Metropolitan Archives, where they can be viewed by prior arrangement (http://www.lma.gov.uk).
The rules of the Society make it easier to help those who have joined as members than those who have not. Consequently, we encourage those who qualify to take up membership. The benefits can be extended to dependants, notably to widows and widowers. By joining, you will be supporting the Society’s work and will be invited to annual meetings and Society activities.
If a genuine need is established in the case of a member, help can be almost immediate. If the applicant is not a member, but they have worked in the grain trade, assistance can also be given, though may take longer to be awarded.
Life membership can be secured for a one–off subscription fee of £50.
To join the Society, please click here to download a form on which you can apply for membership.
The Society always wants to be aware if members of the trade are in any sort of hardship and might need some help. Present funds can support the current level of applications made to it, and people who qualify as a result of their current or past employment, and who are in genuine need, are encouraged to contact the Society. Approaches from those helping possible applicants, such as care agencies or armed service organisations, are also welcomed.
Please click here to download a form on which to apply for assistance. Or ring the Society 020 7283 6090.