Did you know that the Bridge House Estates, which looks after Tower Bridge, also has a charitable funding arm which gives £20m to charity each year? David Farnsworth, Director of City Bridge Trust, explains all.
Our history begins over 800 years ago and the founding of the Bridge House Estates. This charity was created to manage Old London Bridge and was funded by tolls, rents and fines generated by what was then a “living bridge” with shops, houses and inns on the bridge itself. Over the centuries, these funds were used to rebuild London Bridge, along with the building of several new bridges over the Thames, including Tower Bridge in 1894.
By 1995, the money was more than was needed for the bridges’ upkeep, so the charity’s Trustee, the City of London Corporation, was granted permission to use the spare funds for charitable purposes across London. Thus, City Bridge Trust was formed. Since then we have awarded over £1/3 billion to over 4,500 organisations benefitting Londoners.
These grants have been for a range of purposes such as protecting London’s environment and green spaces; preventing elderly Londoners from become isolated; making buildings across the capital more accessible for disabled Londoners; and providing support for people in London experiencing mental health issues.
However, we recognise that London is changing and that we must evolve if we are to continue to meet the needs of Londoners. As a result, we are currently undertaking a review of our funding priorities. This review will inform our funding for 2018-2023 and grants totalling around £100m.
Director, City Bridge Trust