Upholding our Charities

Launch of 2020 Usher Travel Bursary

Thanks to a generous bequest from the family of the late Past Master Ray Usher, in 2018 the Worshipful Company of Upholders introduced an annual Travel Bursary. Now in its third year, we are inviting applications from a wide variety of training, craft and heritage organisations relating to our traditional associated Trades of Upholstery, Soft Furnishings, Funeral Directing, Furniture Conservation and the Bedding Industry.  Ray Usher travelled extensively both for business and for pleasure and strongly believed in the importance of travel and the benefits it can bring to an individual’s education and development

The travel should be related to the applicant’s employment, training, education, or authorship of papers or books. The focus of the travel could include: design, manufacture (craft or industrial), service improvement, history, exhibitions and conferences, teaching and training or the conservation of furniture textiles.

The scheme comprises of a single, flat sum bursary payment of up to GBP 1,000 and the closing date for applications this year is 31 March 2020. Both Upholders members and non-members in our Associated Trades are invited to apply using the information and form below.  This information has also been circulated to 45 organisations representing or with links to the relevant trades and industry.

Upholders Company Usher Travel Bursary 2020

Report from the recipient of the 2019 Usher Travel Bursary:

Anne Murray Travel Bursary Report 2019-2020

Report from the recipient of the 2018 Usher Travel Bursary

20 July 2018: The Worshipful Company of Upholders is pleased to announce that the recipient of the inaugural Upholders’ Travel Bursary in memory of Ray Usher is Beatrice Farmer. In a thorough and well-presented application she set out how by being enabled to attend a conference abroad in the Autumn she will not only further her career in Textile Conservation but also bring greater benefit to the textile and furniture preservation work she carries out for Historic Royal Palaces, ensuring that many of our nation’s treasures remain fit for public display.

The award was presented by Past Master Antony Usher and Warden to the Trade Stephen Chapman.

Few people know the work our Charity Committee does and how the charitable causes we support are selected.

The Peter Jackson Charity was instituted in the 18th century for the purpose of paying up to 20 pensions to retired upholsterers. Today we have 12 such pensioners, and nominations are made by the Warden to the Trade’s Committee. These payments take priority, but the available surplus income is used for donations to well established City Charities and HM services charities. 10 of these are paid automatically and the Committee makes a further 12 or so donations every year.

Surplus funds are used to support a number of our causes.

In addition to these donations is the Master’s list, where the current Master can select donations to charities of his choice up to a total of £600. In 2008 the latter included bursaries for TS Upholder, a donation to Ballet Central who danced so superbly for us at the Mansion House and a donation to support St. Bart’s following a visit there by the Master. Other recent beneficiaries have been Historic Royal Palaces where we supported the restoration of Queen Charlotte’s Throne Canopy and the recolouring of Henry VIII’s tapestries.

The Neville Hayman charity is of more recent origin, and was instituted in 1995 to make bursaries to upholstery students, one for the education of the child of an upholsterer, to grant prizes to students for their work and awards to upholsterers for their achievement. This is a specialised charity for the purpose of education and the highest achievement in the upholstery craft.

The Emlyn Society has been created by the Worshipful Company of Upholders as a legacy society to encourage and recognise those Liverymen and Freemen of the Company who wish to support the Company and/or its charities by means of a legacy in their will.   Membership of the Emlyn Society is open to all Liverymen and Freemen who are willing to state simply in writing that they have “mentioned” the Company and/or its charities in their will.   No subscription or joining fee is required and there is no minimum size of legacy.   The Society has been named in memory of John Emlyn, an Upholder who wrote a will in 1474 containing several legacies, including the following:

“Also I geve and bequeth unto my brothern the feolaship of the Craft of Upholder after the decesse of me and Johane my wyf xli sterlynges or in mony worth of goodes.”  (From Featherbedds and Flock Bedds – J F Houston – 2006).    So our motto will be:  “Emulating Emlyn”.

Activities Supported

Almost all of the Upholders charitable giving is committed to supporting individuals and charities with which we have long-term involvement, however, this list is reviewed annually in the late autumn. If you wish to bring to the attention of our charity trustees an individual who may qualify for a Peter Jackson Pension please write in confidence to our Warden to the Trade.  For all other applications to our charity trustees please write to the Clerk.
The Upholders also have close links with The Furniture Trades Benevolent Association which is a Registered Charity committed to improving the independence, health and mobility of those who have worked in the furnishing industry.