About us – History of SJC

The Charity was established on 23 April 1827 as the Goldsmiths and Jewellers Annuity Institution with the help of The Goldsmiths’ Company and the patronage of the Marquis of Northampton and then King George IV. During the 19th Century other Trade organisations were founded. These were the Goldsmiths’ Benevolent Institution, The Silver Trade Pension Society and The Goldsmiths’, Silversmiths’ and Jewellers Benevolent Institution. In 1953 the four organisations were amalgamated to form one registered Trade charity, under the name of The Goldsmiths’, Silversmiths’ and Jewellers Benevolent Society. HM The Queen remained patron until 1997 when she decided to shed a great many of her patronages and she was succeeded by HRH Princess Michael of Kent who, as a Liveryman of The Goldsmiths’ Company, enjoyed a connection with the Trade. The Goldsmiths’ Company has always been the Charity’s chief benefactor but it has remained independent from the Charity. On 1 January 2005 the name was changed to The Silversmiths and Jewellers Charity.

As the years went by the Charity has amended its constitution to rationalise its activities, to better reflect prevailing conditions. This enabled the Charity to give help when and where it was needed, rather than being tied to outdated rules and regulations. Since its foundation the Charity had relied upon subscriptions from Trade members, and those who were in need were able to ask for assistance in retirement or ill-health. As the Trade changed and shrank in size, and the improvements within the welfare state, company and private pension schemes, applications for help and the number of subscribers dwindled. The decision was made to open up the resources of the Charity to non-subscribers. This meant that any application would be considered on its merits; the only criteria being would be service to the Trade and genuine need.