Wednesday, 2nd May 1883.
The Right Honourable The EARL OF DERBY, Chairman.
His Grace the Duke of Bedford, K.G.
The Right Hon. Viscount Sherbrooke.
The Right Hon. Sir Richard A. Cross, G.C.B.
Sir Sidney H. Waterlow, Bart., M.P.
Mr. Alderman Cotton, M.P.
Mr. Pell, M.P.
Mr. Joseph Firth, M.P.
Mr. Thomas Burt, M.P.
Mr. H. D. Warr, Secretary.
Deputation from Drapers' Company.; 2 May 1883.
The following gentlemen attended as a deputation
from the Drapers' Company:—
Mr. William Henry Dalton.
Mr. John Rogers Jennings.
Mr. W. P. Sawyer.
3164. (Chairman to Mr. Dalton.) You have come,
I understand, as representing the Drapers' Company?
3165. And I understand that you have a statement
in preparation which you intend to lay before the
Commission, but which is not yet ready, is that so?—
3166. May I ask you to what that statement refers?
—That statement refers principally to our Irish
estates, and is an answer to Dr. Todd's evidence.
3167. We have had your returns laid before us, and
I understand that your object in coming here is not
so much to add to that, as to give members of the
Commission an opportunity of cross-examining upon
them if they think fit?—We come in response to the
3168. (Sir Richard Cross.) I understand that you
wish to correct some statement that has been made by
Mr. Longley?—Yes, there are one or two things in
Mr. Longley's evidence I should like to allude to and
correct. In question 322, Mr. Longley refers to
Howell's Charity. That case was decided by the Master
of the Rolls on the 3rd May 1843, adversely to our Company. It was decided against us, but I think, looking
back to that time, we are surprised that we were not
then legally advised to take it back into Court. I had
better read to you a few words of Lord Langdale's
judgment, which I think absolves our Company from
any blame. On page 13 of the judgment he says:
"Now nothing can be more satisfactory in an investigation of this kind than to find that there is no
possibility for any imputation of bad or corrupt
conduct on the part of the defendants. The present
defendants, beyond all question, have applied this
fund just in the manner in which it has been applied
by their predecessors; in all probability they never
looked at the original foundation at all; but instead
of applying it to any beneficial purposes of their
own, it is now shown by the evidence, and by their
answer, and it is admitted by the Attorney-General
that they have applied these funds not to their own
benefit, but in a most beneficial manner for the most
useful charitable purposes; and one may entertain
very great doubts whether extending the charitable
purposes of the founder will be productive of effects
anything like so beneficial as the charitable purposes
promoted by the defendants." That will show, I
think, that Lord Langdale exonerates the Company
from any blame for what they had done, and besides
that, the course they adopted was a wise course as far
as the administration of the funds went. Then afterwards, with reference to Mr. Longley's evidence, in
which he alludes to the cost of administration of
charities, I think he says the livery companies are very
lavish in their expenditure in management. Now I may
say that our charitable trusts income is 30,000l. a year,
and the cost of management is 1,500l.; that is about
5 per cent. I should say the property consists of
houses in London, and farms and property in the
country. That 5 per cent. includes rent collection,
the management of property and the distribution of
the revenue, and solicitors, surveyors, and land agents'
charges, and the property being scattered all over the
country, of course there is occasionally considerable
expense in its management. As to the distribution of
the revenue, we have six schools with 420 pupils, 12
sets of almshouses, with 206 inmates; four apprentice
charities, the number of apprentices averaging 80 a
year and 130 pensioners. We consider that 5 per cent.
of the revenue cannot be called a very lavish expenditure. Then we come to the statement about Bancroft's School and Corney's School at question 457 of
Mr. Longley's evidence. He blends them into one
institution, but they are totally distinct. The date of
Bancroft's will was 1727; he then left money to found
a school and almshouses, which we have had from that
time to this; Mr. Longley in his evidence seems to imply
that we have gone with 50,000l. to the Commissioners,
I will not say to bribe, but to induce them to give us
certain advantages; now we deny that in toto. This
school is a pet school of the Company; we have had
it under our management since 1727, and we take
great interest in it, and also in the success of our boys,
and the boys turn out very well indeed in a great
many cases. The school was an old building and
unfit for the present times, and not in good sanitary
condition, and our architect told us it was of no use to
patch it up and try to repair it. The funds of the
charity would not allow of anything like the expenditure necessary to rebuild it, and we resolved to go
to the Commissioners for a scheme to rebuild the
school, either where it is now, or elsewhere near London.
Then, with regard to Corney's School, that is quite
a modern institution founded by Mr. Corney, a personal
friend of my own, and a master of our Company, who left
us 36,000l. to establish a school for fatherless girls.
We established that school; we spent about 6,000l.
in purchasing the freehold premises, and the 30,000l.
was invested for the income. We have expended
from our corporate funds upon the school 11,000l.,
and at the present time we are paying one half of the
annual expenses. Last year there was nearly 1,000l.
voted on this account. The very fact, I think, that a
past master of our Company at the present day leaves
this large fund in our hands shows the confidence he
has that we act as faithful trustees of charitable trusts.
Then I think I may say a word about the Irish estates.
Upon that matter we are prepared to send in to the
Royal Commissioners a statement to show our view.
I do not know that I have anything more to say. I
would only add, in conclusion, that we believe that
our estates and property have been very judiciously
managed, and I honestly say that I am sure that our
charity trusts have been most faithfully administered.
To quote the words of one of the witnesses who have
appeared before the Commissioners, "what we have
done in the past is a guarantee for what we shall do
in the future; in other words, we have earned a right
to be trusted."
3169. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) I think in addition
to other charities your Company spends large sums on
technical education, does it not?—It does.
3170. They have given 10,000l. towards the erection of the Technical College in Finsbury, have they
not ?—They have given 10,000l. towards the college
building in Finsbury.
3171. (Mr. Firth.) In what year was that given?
—Our first vote for technical education was on February 7th, 1877, when we voted 2,000l. a year to the
Technical Institute. The 10,000l. was given subsequent to that.
3172. (Sir Sydney Waterlow.) And the 2,000l. has
been increased to 4,000l., has it not?—To 4,500l.
3173. And is there every reason to believe that if
the Institute conducts its work properly, the Company
will continue to support it?—I may say the Drapers'
Company have long felt a great interest in the work
of promoting technical education. The earliest meeting of the city guilds was held at Drapers' Hall, I think,
in 1876. We take a great interest in the matter, and
no doubt, if funds are wanting, we shall be ready to
at any time with other companies to come forward and
supplement the funds.
3174. Passing from that, I think we have heard
that you have 80 distinct charities ?—I think we
3175. With an income of 28,000l. a year to distribute amongst them ?—We put our charity income at
about 30,000l. in round numbers.
3176. Is the charity income administered free of
any cost of administration?—I mentioned just now
that 5 per cent. is the cost to the charities of the
management, but then beyond that we use our own
3177. Do you charge the 5 per cent. against the
charities?—We do not make a charge of 5 per cent.;
the total expenses amount to about 5 per cent.
3178. Do you pay it out of the corporate income?
3179. Not out of the charities?—Yes, out of the
charities. The amount charged out of the charity
trust fund amounts to about 5 per cent.; it is not a
5 per cent. charge, there are different items—surveyors,
lawyers, land agents, and so forth—amounting in the
aggregate to 5 per cent., but we spend a great deal of
money besides out of our own corporate fund over
and above that which is the cost to the charities.
3180. I understand you to say that you supplement
your charity income out of your corporate income ?—
We do considerably.
3181. In many cases?—In many cases.
3182. Do you bind apprentices at Drapers' Hall?—
3183. Are they bound to persons carrying on the
trade ?—No, any freeman belonging to the Drapers'
Company can have an apprentice bound to him; he
must carry on a trade, but not necessarily the trade of
3184. Are the apprentices bound to persons carrying on trade, and is the master who takes an apprentice bound to teach him the trade which he (the
master) follows ?—Yes.
3185. Then they are all genuine apprentices?—
Quite so; we do not admit any one to the freedom who
has not really served his time.
3186. (Mr. Firth.) I see you have bound 58 apprentices in 10 years at the Company's Hall, but you have
placed out 596; would you explain the difference?
—We have a Dixon Charity and a Pennoyer Charity
which provide funds for binding apprentices; they
are not bound to our Company; they do not become
3187. Upon the question of search I should like to
ask you something. Do you consider that your right
of search and of trade control still remains?—We
do not exercise the right of search now; there is no
connexion between our Company and the trade.
3188. But you had a right of search down to a very
recent period, had you not?—We have not exercised
it in my time.
3189. I see you say a fee was last paid to the city
officer, who accompanied you in search, in 1852 ?—
That was before my time.
3190. You are aware that in the prosecution of that
search you are assisted by the mayor and sergeant-atmace?—I was not at all aware of that.
3191. That is in your return?—I was not at all
aware of it.
3192. I should like to ask you a question as to the
point that has been raised as to the power of the Court
of mayor and aldermen over you; do you admit that
they have a power now to compel anyone to enter on
your Livery ?—No.
3193. Are you aware that where the Drapers' Company refuse to admit a man who had been elected
aldermen they were enjoined to receive him. I refer
to a case reported at page 316 of Herbert. I want to
know whether the mayor and aldermen can compel
you to receive a man supposing him to be a member
of another Company in the event of your Company
declining to receive him ?—I should say not; I am
not aware of it.
3194. Has your attention been drawn to the report of such a case in Herbert, page 316?—No, it
3195. You have byelaws still, have you not ?—
3196. Are those byelaws still approved, or were
those under which you act approved by the Lord
Chancellor and two Chief Justices ?—No, they are
among ourselves only; they regulate our own business
of the Court.
3197. Have you any byelaws that were not so approved under the statute which is still in force ?—
What class of byelaw ?
3198. Regulating the Company?—No; our byelaws
are merely rules laid down by the Court for our own
guidance at our own meetings.
3199. On page 11 you make a return as to the
election of the Court, and so on; those byelaws are
sanctioned by the Lord Chancellor and Chief Justices
under a statute which is still in force, a statute of
Henry VII. You say there they were confirmed by
the Lord Chancellor and Chief Justices, that is, under
a statute which is still in force. I only wish to ask
whether your present byelaws are still so framed or
whether you are acting under these ?—We act under
3200. I should like to ask you a question about
your expenses, then I will not trouble you further.
I do not think you have them before you, but if I may
go so far as to hand you your page of expenses, I
will ask you about them (the same was handed to the
witness). I see on page 33, under the year 1879, the
fourth item is a sum of 12,319l. 16s. 11d. as the sum
expended in that year; does that include the technical
education ?—Yes, it does.
3201. You have not set out at length what the other
donations or premiums were ?—No.
3202. Can you say how much of it is pensions ?—
The amount is very small in pensions comparatively
to what we give away in other charities; but that we
can furnish you with any day.
3203. Confining my question to this column, I see
your gross expenditure for that year is 45,143l. 12s. 4d.?
3204. There are two items, I find, expenditure on
works of a public nature and investments on new
buildings in England, 1,968l. and 5,878l., making together 7,846l.?—Yes.
3205. If that be added to this sum of 12,319l. we
then have a total a little over 20,000l., leaving
25,000l. as expenditure that is neither donations nor
gifts, nor capital expenditure ?—That is, buildings in
England in an exceptional year. It is rather an investment of capital than a spending of income.
Offices were rebuilt by us, and those offices produce
a large revenue.
3206. The point of my question is this: there remained 24,978l. which has been spent, as I read
your accounts, upon your officers, or your members,
or your entertainments, or your buildings, management, or maintenance, in some form ?—Yes.
3207. There are two items to which I should like
to draw your special attention if I might. One is,
"disbursements for courts and committees, including
dinners," 4,984l., and for entertainments 6,112l.,
making a total of 11,096l. As to payments for courts
which is not put separately, can you tell me how
much is paid for attendance on courts and committees?—It is 3l. 3s. to each member.
3208. Each time ?—Yes, each time.
3209. Is that paid to him at each attendance ?—
3210. Is it handed to him ?—Yes, every member
of the court attending at the court has a fee of
3211. And that is the only payment; each committee is paid in that way ?—Yes.
3212. (Chairman.) We understood that you came
here wishing to make some statement as to your Irish
property; have you anything to add to what has
already been said as to that ?—No; I may say we
have had the character of being admirable landlords,
and we have never had our title disputed. We will
send in a written reply to Dr. Todd's evidence.