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Licensed Victuallers' School in Kennington Lane, Lambeth, c.1840

​Licensed Victuallers' School in Kennington Lane, Lambeth, c1840.

Cheers, me dears

The Licensed Trade Charity (LTC) cares for people working in, or retired from, the licensed drink trade and their dependents. It was founded by Royal Charter on 3 May 1836 as the Society of Licensed Victuallers and adopted the working name Licensed Trade Charity in October 2004 following a merger with the Licensed Victuallers National Homes charity. It has a complex history involving the merger of at least three organisations and its story, told by Sally Bevan who has recently completed cataloguing the archives, starts with the foundation of the Society of Licensed Victuallers in 1793.


The Society of Licensed Victuallers was set up as a friendly society for the mutual benefit of publicans and the relief of members of the licensed victualling trade and their families. It was formed by men who could afford to pay an annual subscription of one guinea and the idea was to create a fund from which a weekly allowance could be paid to those who had fallen on hard times. A daily newspaper the Morning Advertiser was established in 1794 to promote the Society's interests and raise funds.  It was devoted to trade interests and still exists claiming the title of the oldest continually produced newspaper in the United Kingdom.

In 1803 the Licensed Victuallers School was established in Kennington. The school was built by the Society to educate and look after the children of licensees.  Although the school was initially small, numbers increased and the original school was demolished in 1835 to make way for a new larger one. In 1921 the school moved to new premises in Slough, Berkshire and then to Ascot in 1980 where it continues today to provide a co-educational, independent day and boarding school for young people aged 4 to 18. 

The first merger in 1997 involved the Society of Licensed Victuallers and the Licensed Trade Convalescent Homes. The LTCH had been founded in 1962 to provide a place where licensees and their wives could go to recuperate after illness. In 1965 a hotel was purchased in Margate, Kent (Croft House) shortly followed by another in Lytham St Anne's, Lancashire and a third in Exmouth, Devon. Over the years continuous investment saw the acquisition of the Grafton Hotel near Hereford and its development into a more modern rest home providing care and relaxation including a luxury pool and spa!

Chapel at the Licenced Victuallers Almshouses, Peckham, 1961

​Chapel at the Licensed Victuallers Almshouses, Peckham, 1961

The other main player in the story of the LTC was the Licensed Victuallers National Homes.  The LVNH started life as the Licensed Victuallers Asylum formed in 1826 by trustees of the Society of Licensed Victuallers, to relieve poor and aged members of the licensed victualling trade and their wives or widows. Alms houses were built in Caroline Gardens, Peckham (still there today) including a central chapel. In 1921 it became the Licensed Victuallers Benevolent Institution and then in 1959 the Licensed Victuallers National Homes. The alms houses were sold to Southwark Council in 1960 when it was decided to move the residents to new premises in Denham Garden Village, Buckinghamshire. The dwellings in Peckham are still used, although the chapel is listed on Historic England’s national register of buildings at risk.

Denham Garden Village was built in the 1950s by the Licensed Victuallers National Homes to provide accommodation for retired licensees and became part of about 30 estates UK wide owned by LVNH. Licensees could pay a yearly subscription that would enable them to be considered for a place in one of its estates and to receive a basic pension. Denham was innovative for the time. Residents lived in new bungalows with shared communal gardens. The 'village' had all amenities on site including a, shop, pub, social club as well as a nursing home, medical care and a welfare officer.

In the late 1990's the Licensed Victuallers National Homes transferred its homes to Anchor Housing Trust to enable the management and upgrading of the properties to be done to comply with changes in housing law. In 2003/4 the decision was taken to merge the Society of Licensed Victuallers and the Licensed Victuallers National Homes to create a unified charity, the Licensed Trade Charity, supporting the trade.

LTC today

Today the Charity has two main aims: Support & Care; and Education. Its objectives are to: assist those who are sick, infirm or distressed; provide assistance in the case of financial hardship; provide assistance with the relief of the ills of old age; and educate children from the general public, with preference to those from families working in the licensed drinks trade, through guaranteed places, discounts and bursaries (the Charity runs three independent schools).

See the Licensed Trade Charity website for further details.


The records of the Licensed Trade Charity are made up of the two bodies which merged to form the LTC in 2004, the Society of Licensed Victuallers and the Licensed Victuallers National Homes.

The records of the Society of Licensed Victuallers comprise: records of governance, 1794-1997 (LMA/4662/SLV/01); financial records, 1894-1986 (LMA/4662/SLV/02); administrative records, 1924-85 including lists of Governors and Chairmen 1827-1964 (LMA/4662/SLV/03); membership and subscription records, 1858-1948 (LMA/4662/SLV/04); the Morning Advertiser, 1783-1985 (LMA/4662/SLV/05); records of schools (Kennington, Slough and Ascot), 1898-2003 including school registers 1893-1960 (LMA/4662/SLV/06); records of convalescent homes, 1970-97 (LMA/4662/SLV/07); and publicity and media material, 1933-2003 including programmes and menu cards, publications including newsletters and histories, and a series of photographs (LMA/4662/SLV/08).

The records of the Licensed Victuallers National Homes comprise: records of governance, 1826-1996 including foundation documents of the ‘Victuallers Asylum', and a complete set of Board of Management minutes, 1826-1962 (LMA/4662/LVNH/01); financial records, 1827-1976 (LMA/4662/LVNH/02); administrative records, 1828-1984 including rules and regulations, the papers of Alfred Annett former Secretary, papers relating to property and a register of residents at some homes, 1924-90 (LMA/4662/LVNH/03); membership and subscription records, 1834-1989 (LMA/4662/LVNH/04); papers relating to the Licensed Victuallers Asylum in Old Kent Road, Camberwell 1827-1960 including the petitions of individuals seeking residence (arranged alphabetically and these have been indexed by name), a register of residents, papers relating to the chapel from 1847, and a small series of photographs and prints (LMA/4662/LVNH/05); records of Denham Garden Village, 1958-2001 including pocket books giving information on the homes and photographs mainly of the annual garden party held in Denham (LMA/4662/LVNH/06); records of Edinburgh Estates, 1960-80 (LMA/4662/LVNH/07); and publicity and media material, 1877-2004 including a set of press cuttings 1887-1957, publications, souvenir programmes and magazines, and a series of photographs of events including the change of keys ceremony and fundraising (LMA/4662/LVNH/08). Also included are records of the Beer and Wine Benevolent Society from 1834 until 1968 when it merged with the LVNH (LMA/4662/LVNH/09).

The archive which was deposited in 2013 has now been catalogued and is available to consult at LMA. Further details can be found via on LMA’s online catalogue using the reference LMA/4662.

21 October 2015
Last Modified:
27 August 2019