Our History

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

Edith Smallwood

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. Edith 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, Edith 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, it continued to thrive.

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. Edith 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.

For more information on Edith Smallwood and the history of the Trust click here

Scroll to Top