The Society was set up in 1815 by some who had prospered in the trade and wanted to help others who, having worked to make a success of the trade, or part of it, had not themselves been able to share in that success. This continues to be the spirit of the Society.
The Trustees of the charity focus especially on the relief of financial need and help is given in the form of grants made from time to time, usually quarterly.
The Committee of Trustees meets regularly to set the amount of grant, taking into account the level of Society income and the calls currently being made. Every Trustee works, or has worked, for a number of years in the trade, so brings to bear the knowledge and experience relevant to the needs of applicants and the aims of the Society.
The income of the Society derives mainly from interest and dividends yielded by its capital, but also from donations, occasional legacies and other gifts; these come almost entirely from persons and companies in the trade.
Many thousands of trade members have been served by the Society over the years and even now, hundreds are being regularly helped. The numerous letters of appreciation received give testimony to the high regard in which Grantees hold both the assistance and the manner and spirit in which it is distributed.