Corn Exchange Benevolent Society

A benevolent fund for the corn tradeā€¦

About Us

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. There were no pensions, no social services, no benefits from a welfare state, and it was typical of Victorian philanthropy that senior members of this very busy organisation decided to set up a benevolent society to cater for those working on the exchange, and their families, to help them if they fell on hard times. Leading members of the exchange pledged sufficient money to make the venture worthwhile, and within a few years "pensions" were being granted to deserving and qualifying cases. The whole history is documented in records and minute books dating from the mid 19th century at the London Metropolitan Archives, where they can be viewed by prior arrangement (www.lma.gov.uk). They make fascinating reading, and mirror the setting up of benevolent societies that was happening in many industries at this time. Many of the names of early members are preserved in some of the companies active in the grain trade today.

The trade has moved on and corn exchanges no longer occupy the central place in the moving of grain on to consumers that they once did. Today is a world of computer and telephone trading, of large storage facilities, of industrial food production plants and extensive road and water movement, for both commercial production and seed. The Society exists for anyone who has a direct connection with this world, and geographical location has spread from those with offices within the London Corn Exchange catchment area to the whole of the UK.

The Society is currently helping people who have lost their jobs, who need help with medical expenses, or who have had to spend their savings and have inadequate pension arrangements. It is often later on in life that the need for assistance arises, but once members are on the Society's register, they will receive communication each year, so contact should be maintained throughout their lives.

Further information and forms on which to apply for membership or assistance can be obtained online or from the Secretary at the above address.