The Smallwood Trust was originally founded in 1886 by the late Miss Edith Smallwood. We were originally known as the Society for the Assistance of Ladies in Reduced Circumstances until 2017, when we changed our name to reflect a more contemporary approach while still honouring the heritage of our founder and the charity.

Miss Edith Smallwood

Miss Edith Smallwood was born in 1859, the daughter of a Yorkshire banker. Her father died when she was only 16, leaving her an income for life. Miss Smallwood saw it as her duty to help those less fortunate than herself, and she began collecting small sums of money to benefit women who, through ill-health or old age, were unable to support themselves. She also encouraged these women to execute for sale items of needlework such as embroidery, knitting and tapestry. 

Founded in 1886

From these small beginnings, the Society for the Assistance of Ladies in Reduced Circumstances was founded. When she founded the Society in 1886, Miss Smallwood was living in Malvern, Worcestershire where she remained until 1908 when she moved to London, where the Society operated from 192 Lancaster Road, North Kensington. In London, the Society continued to thrive, and in 1910 was endorsed by Her Majesty the Queen.

The return to Malvern

The air raids during the Great War forced her to return to Malvern in 1916.  The Smallwood Trust still operates from the premises it acquired in Malvern in 1916. We were registered as a charity on 2nd November 1917. Miss Smallwood returned permanently to London in 1924 where she continued to play a leading role in the charity until her death, following a long illness on 20th May 1928, aged 69 years.

“Assistance in the form of grants from the Smallwood Trust has made the difference between managing to make end meet, and not being able to cope financially on benefits alone”

Anonymous beneficiary