Our mission is to provide a home, a community and lifelong care for older people in need, while sharing our heritage and investing in it for future generations. Our historic buildings and magical gardens, our museum and our city square all reflect the rich layers of our organisation.
Over its nearly seven-hundred-year history, the Charterhouse has been witness to many of the events that have shaped our nation. First built as a monastery on the site of a 14th century burial pit, the Charterhouse later became a mansion retreat for royalty and noblemen, and then a school for boys, along with an almshouse, which it remains to this day.
The almshouse was founded by Thomas Sutton in 1611 and is housed in both the ancient and more modern buildings sited on the edge of the City of London, within the borough of Islington and close to Crossrail Farringdon. The Charterhouse is in a beautiful walled setting and continues to provide accommodation and care for a community of single older men and women. Residents of the almshouse are known as ‘Brothers’, which is a purely traditional term acknowledging the Charterhouse’s monastic past.
There are over 2,000 almshouses in England but what makes us unusual is that we live as a community. Our Brothers live in private flats and live independently, eating out, taking advantage of local cultural venues, and going on holiday. However they eat most of their meals in the historic 16th century Great Hall, often joined by members of staff, and get involved in community activities like book clubs and keep fit sessions.
Whilst first and foremost an almshouse, in recent years we have embarked upon a new phase in our journey, opening our doors to a wider public and hosting an extended range of tours andevents, and offering a full venue hire service - celebrating the Charterhouse through the experiences of our visitors and guests. We are proud of our museum, a key element of our National Lottery Heritage funded, ‘Revealing the Charterhouse’ project, which opened along with a new Learning Centre in 2017. We feel it is both a privilege and obligation to share this extraordinary site with the local community and wider public, including the newly refurbished Great Chamber (where Elizabeth I met her Privy Council in 1558 before her coronation), our Chapel and Gardens.
We continue to enjoy a close relationship with Charterhouse School which was founded by Thomas Sutton at the same time as the almshouse. We shared our London site with the school until 1872 when the school moved to its current location near Godalming.
The current Governing body and senior management team are very proud of changes, initiatives and improvements made over the last five years since we opened to the public, not least the handling of the pandemic, and its effects on the Brothers, and our finances in the last 18 months. We have emerged resilient, and very focused on opportunities for the future.