The activities of charities are restricted to a specific remit so that people who donate know where their money is going. This remit is called the ‘Objects’ of the charity.
Historic Coventry Trust needs to amend its Objects slightly to allow it to take ownership of land at Charterhouse – it’s Objects currently only include buildings.
We have agreed wording for the change with the Charity Commission and are consulting with our supporters and other stakeholders before making the change.
When Historic Coventry Trust (then known as The Charterhouse Coventry Preservation Trust) was created, as a company limited by guarantee, on 27th October 2011, its charitable objects were:
“To preserve for the benefit of the people of Coventry and of the Nation, the historical, architectural and constructional heritage that may exist in and around Coventry in buildings (including any structure or erection, and any part of a building as so defined) of particular beauty or historical, architectural or constructional interest”
To acquire the final bit of land for the public park at the Charterhouse we need to expand the Trust’s charitable objects slightly. We’ve been working closely with the Charity Commission as their consent is required for any change. The amended charitable objects are (new parts in bold):
“To preserve for the benefit of the people of Coventry and of the Nation, the historical, architectural and constructional heritage that may exist in and around Coventry in buildings and other public amenities (including any structure or erection and any part of a building as so defined) of particular beauty or historical, architectural or constructional interest and any works of art or other items of historic value within those buildings or public amenities.”
The Charity Commission is happy with this revision, but we need to consult to make sure that those who might have an interest have been made aware of the proposals and have had the opportunity to express an opinion about the proposed changes.
Please let us have any comments, questions and expressions of support to firstname.lastname@example.org by 20 October 2019 or by post to Historic Coventry Trust, Old Grammar School, Hales Street, Coventry, CV1 1JD
On 11th August 1940, Colonel Sir William Fitzthomas Wyley, died at the Charterhouse. The Charterhouse had been the Wyley family’s home since at least the early 1890s. Col. Wyley’s wife had predeceased him and their only child had been killed at the Battle of the Somme, in 1916.
Col. Wyley was a generous philanthropist who had supported a wide range of activities and organisations within the City. He was Coventry’s mayor in 1911 and 1912. By his Will (dated 6th April 1939) Col. Wyley left “my Mansion House known as The Charterhouse” together with its immediate gardens and grounds (a total of 9½ acres of land) to the Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of the City of Coventry. The City Council also took up the option to buy the remainder of the Charterhouse Estate, at its market value.
The land which had been the subject of the charitable bequest was transferred by Col. Wyley’s executors to The Official Trustee of Charity Lands, on 7th January 1942 and a charity was formed (described as a Foundation), known as The Wyley Public Park and Museum.
After the war, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum had been created, so the Charterhouse wasn’t needed for a ‘public museum’. The main Charterhouse buildings and land were in a variety of uses before they became an ‘outreach centre’ where the further education college (then operated by the City Council, as Education Authority) ran a large number of courses.
In 1970 the foundation was renamed as “Coventry Charterhouse” (Registered Charity Number 503614), the City Council was confirmed as being the sole, corporate, trustee of that charity and the charity’s objects were amended to:
“(a) The provision and maintenance of a centre for the promotion of education and of the appreciation of the arts; and
(b) The provision of a park for the recreation of the public”
The land owned by the Coventry Charterhouse charity was 8.52 acres.
Following changes in the education system, the land in use for education (part of Col Wyley’s charitable bequest) was passed to City College, Coventry. The City College transferred this land (Title Number WM697422) to Historic Coventry Trust as a gift, in November 2012.
This left an area of land still in the Coventry Charterhouse charity’s ownership, although this charity had been dormant for many years.
The Charity Commission has confirmed this remaining land can be given to Historic Coventry Trust, but the Trust’s charitable objects need to be updated. Coventry City Council, as the corporate trustee of the Coventry Charterhouse charity, is happy to transfer the land.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund supported works which are about to start at The Charterhouse will repair it as a public visitor attraction – finally fulfilling Col Wyley’s wishes.