Lansbury House Trust Fund’s Charitable Objective

Our charitable objective is to advance education in the field of the nonviolent transformation of conflict at all levels, and to promote research for the public benefit in all aspects of that subject and to publish the useful results with particular focus on the pursuit of peace and justice through nonviolent means.

The Trust’s History

The origins and early history of the Lansbury House Trust Fund (LHTF) lie with the development of War Resisters International (WRI), the global pacifist network that was formed in 1923. The headquarters of the WRI have been located in London for much of its organisational existence, with the bulk of its financial support coming from UK sources.

War Resisters International logo

In 1946 funds were raised to purchase a property in Enfield, north London, as a base for the WRI. It was named Lansbury House, after George Lansbury, the Christian socialist and pacifist Labour MP, who had died in 1940.

WRI had always been financially dependent on donations from supporters and grants from sympathetic trusts. However, in the latter half of the 1960s regulations were introduced stipulating that registered trusts and foundations could make donations only to registered charities or educational institutions. This constituted a significant challenge to the WRI and its future as a campaigning anti-war organisation.

Eventually, five men who were all active in the peace movement, and connected to WRI, decided to establish an independent trust that could receive grants and awards on behalf of WRI, and in 1968 the LHTF was established.

The five men, some of whom had been conscientious objectors in  the Second World War were: 

  • Hugh Heron Brock (1914-85)  a member of the Peace Pledge Union and a Quaker, imprisoned as a CO in 1941, editor of Peace News 1955-64, and one of the organisers of the first Aldermaston March in 1958.
  • Howard Cheney (1914- 2005) a farmer, CO and a Trustee of Peace News.
  • Arthur Nicholas Gillett (1914-86) a Quaker.
  • Devi Prasad  (1921-2011) a committed peace activist and artist.
  • Clifford Anthony Smythe (1938-2004) also imprisoned as a CO (1958) after which he worked  at War Resisters’ International, the NCCL and Mind.

Their initial concerns were with compulsory military service and the resolution of conflicts, and the trust deed specified its two-fold aim: ‘to promote research into and the extension of knowledge in the field of compulsory military service and the social economic and legal questions affecting such service and in the field of the peaceful resolution of conflicts’.

These days the LHTF has a wider brief but retains a focus on the pursuit of peace and justice through nonviolent means.  The fund was set up to operate in the UK, and there is no international aspect to our work. Grants are awarded for project spending in the UK only. Over the years the fortunes of the LHTF have varied widely.  The Trust’s main source of income has been from legacies, so the annual income fluctuates.  The Trustees – currently there are five – have awarded many small grants as seed money and some larger grants to more established groups within the peace movement.