Address an audience in the Great Chamber

16th March 2023

The Charterhouse was the host venue for the Heritage Alliance’s Heritage Day

Heritage Day is a collective celebration of all things heritage, and brings together the leading voices from across the Heritage Alliance membership and the wider heritage sector.
On March 2nd, visitors heard from current and future sector of leaders discussing the vision, leadership and horizon-scanning for the future of heritage. Speakers included, René Olivieri, Chair of the National Trust, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Under Secretary of State of Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Deputy Chair of the Heritage Alliance, Dr Ingrid Samuel OBE, and our own, Master & CEO, Peter Aiers OBE.
Peter and Bertie sitting on a bench

18th January 2023

Peter Aiers awarded OBE in New Year’s Honours List

Master and Chief Executive Officer at The Charterhouse, Peter Aiers has been awarded an OBE for services to Heritage in the King’s New Year’s Honours List.

Peter has a distinguished record of leadership in a career dedicated to charitable activity and public service which he continues in his role at the Charterhouse. Peter has a varied background in heritage conservation working for English Heritage, Local Government and the Diocese of London before he joined the Churches Conservation Trust in 2007. He is also a trustee of the Heritage Alliance, a member of the Steering Group of the Historic Environment Forum, the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, the Diocese of Peterborough Diocesan Advisory Committee, and a PCC and Deanery Synod member of his local parish church. He is the independent trustee of Goodwill Solutions CIO providing funding to support social enterprise and charities in Northampton.

Everyone at the Charterhouse would like to congratulate Peter on being awarded this honour and to thank him for his passion and love for heritage.

5th January 2022

The Charterhouse announces the appointment of its 34th Master

The Governors of the Charterhouse, the 400-year-old almshouse charity in central London, have appointed Peter Aiers OBE, as the new Master and Chief Executive Officer.  Peter moves from being CEO of the Churches Conservation Trust and will succeed Ann Kenrick as 34th Master of the Charterhouse on 1st April 2022.

Peter Aiers has a distinguished record of leadership in a career dedicated to charitable activity and public service.  At the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) Peter has worked closely with the Church Commissioners and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in caring for a collection of 356 historic churches across England.  Peter’s work at the CCT has involved a diverse range of stakeholders and individuals to ensure that communities are supported in delivering long-term sustainability of church buildings in a way that best meets their needs and aspirations.  He has a background in heritage conservation working for English Heritage. Local Government and the Diocese of London before joining the Churches Conservation Trust in 2007; he has been Chief Executive Officer since 2017.

Major General Andrew Ritchie CBE, Chairman of Governors of the Charterhouse, said ‘We are delighted to have appointed Peter Aiers as our new Master to take forward the work of the charity.  He will build on the fine legacy of Ann Kenrick who has led the charity through a period of remarkable change including the introduction of female Brothers, the opening of the institution to the public and more recently the immense challenges of the pandemic.  We are confident that Peter is the right person to lead us into the next era for the Charterhouse and we look forward to working with him.’

Peter Aiers said of his appointment:

 ‘I am honoured and excited to take this appointment as Master of the Charterhouse and look forward to joining this remarkable 400 year old charity, aware of the significant boots I have to fill.  I am looking forward to meeting the Brothers and the Team at the Charterhouse over the next few months and looking at the opportunities for the future.’

The Charterhouse exists to provide a home, a community, and lifelong care for older people in need, while sharing our heritage and investing in it for future generations.  The charity occupies an outstanding site containing historic buildings dating from the 14thcentury in Clerkenwell in the heart of London.  Over the centuries it has been a monastery, a Tudor mansion, a school and, continuously for 410 years, an almshouse.  2021 marked the 650th anniversary of the foundation of the Carthusian monastery in 1371 and we are marking the event with a campaign to raise £650,000 to support vital restoration work.

Notes to editors:

Set deep within stone walls in the heart of Clerkenwell, the Charterhouse is a remarkable assembly of historic buildings dating from the 14thcentury.  Over the years it has been a monastery, a grand Tudor mansion, a school and, as it has remained for over 400 years, an almshouse. In 2017 the Charterhouse opened its doors to the public for the first time in its 660 year history, revealing the great story of this unique seven acre site at the heart of London, and creating income for the Charterhouse’s trading arm Carthusia Ltd. This income supports the site’s heritage and the Brothers, and enables the charity to fulfil its mission to share its story with the public and conserve it for future generations. To find out more about the Charterhouse, its museum, tours, venue hire and learning centre, and newly re-opened and refurbished Great Chamber, please visit

See the latest Charterhouse Annual Report here.

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2nd November 2020

The Charterhouse unveils its own commissioned reproduction of the Elizabeth I ‘Sieve’ portrait by Quentin Metsys the Younger

The Charterhouse is delighted to present a special newly-commissioned addition to its Great Chamber – a fine copy of Quentin Metsys the Younger’s portrait of Elizabeth I painted by the artist and painting conservator Ying Yang.  It now hangs on the end wall of the newly refurbished Great Chamber, where Elizabeth I herself was frequently a guest, alongside the Charterhouse’s original and recently restored stored portrait collection.

There have been many renowned noblemen, clergymen and lawyers associated with the Charterhouse many of whom feature in the imposing portraits in the collection.  It was felt that, with so many prestigious men on display, it was important to also ensure a powerful woman in the Charterhouse’s history was properly acknowledged and promoted.  This led to the commission from Ying Yang and the choice of this particular version of the Queen’s image holding a sieve.  The decision to commission a copy also reflects how common this would have been in the 16th century.

The original painting (dated c 1583), now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Siena, depicts the Virgin Queen holding a sieve – a symbol of chastity, and also of wisdom and discernment. Artist Ying Yang spent some time studying the portrait in Siena to analyse the painting style, materials, pigments and varnishes used and capture the way it had aged.

The frame for the portrait was also specially commissioned and created by Peter Schade, the Head of Framing at the National Gallery, London.

An interview with Ying Yang, by eminent landscape designer and collector Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, with fascinating details of Ying Yang’s training both in China and in Europe, and the illustrious history of copying Old Masters, can be found in the forthcoming book telling the Great Chamber story – due to be published in 2021.


For further information and images (including images of the portrait in progress0 please contact

Editors’ notes

The Charterhouse

After the dissolution of the Carthusian monastery, the Charterhouse became a grand Tudor mansion, where Elizabeth I was a frequent guest after she stayed there in preparation for her coronation in 1559.  In 1611, with a legacy bestowed by Thomas Sutton, the richest commoner in England at the time, the Charterhouse became a school for poor boys and an almshouse, which it remains to this day.

For more about the Charterhouse, the almshouse, museum and its history visit

YING YANG  (Ying Sheng Yang, born in China in 1961)

Ying Yang is a painter, painting conservator and a professor at the Nanjing Normal University. He attended Nanjing College of Art from 1981-1985 before working as a lecturer at Xuzhou Normal University. In 1986, he came to England and studied at the Wimbledon College of Art. In 1989, he graduated from the Royal College of Art with a Master’s Degree in Painting. He then studied painting conservation under Clare Wilkins from 1992 to1996 and worked as a painting conservator for many public and private collections afterward. His paintings have been exhibited extensively both in China and abroad and have previously been collected by the British Museum (2015), Fitzwilliam Museum (2014) and other public bodies and institutions. He has won many awards and scholarships, such as the Fagus Anstruther Award (1987), the D.H.L Educational Foundation Scholarship (1988), the Burston Award (1989)and the J. Andrew Lloyd Travel Scholarship (1989). He was also short listed for British Airways New Artist Award (1990), Art’91 Young Artist of the Year Award (1991) and The Arthur Andersen Art Award (1993). His early works have also been included in several art books such as History of 20th Century Chinese Art, Contemporary Chinese Art History and 85 New Art Movement.


He currently lives in England and works in both England and China

26th October 2020

The Charterhouse receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

The Charterhouse, the seven-acre historic site and almshouse in Clerkenwell, has been awarded £105,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

The Charterhouse is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England.

The Charterhouse dates back to 1348, and since then has been a Carthusian monastery, a grand Tudor mansion, a school for boys, and an almshouse which it remains to this day. This extraordinary site is home to over 40 older men and women and their health and wellbeing are our priority. We have therefore been closed to the public since March, which has meant vital income from visits, events, tours and venue hire has halted since then.  Our funding award from the Culture Recovery Fund will allow us to create and develop exciting new projects which enable us to engage with the public in new ways in 2021, and to put in place the practical and logistical changes necessary to be able to welcome the public through our doors once more.

Ann Kenrick, Master of the Charterhouse, said:

“We are delighted and extremely grateful to have been amongst those cultural sites awarded with funding to help us proactively plan and implement our future engagement with the public.  We look forward to devising new ways of sharing our heritage, reaching new audiences, and ultimately being able to open our doors once more.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”


Notes to editors:

The Charterhouse, set deep within stone walls in the heart of Clerkenwell, is a remarkable assembly of historic buildings dating from the 14th century.  Over the years it has been a monastery, a grand Tudor mansion, a school and, as it has remained for over 400 years, an almshouse. In 2017 parts of the Charterhouse opened to the public for the first time in its 660 year history, revealing the great story of this unique seven acre site at the heart of London, and thereby creating income for the Charterhouse’s trading arm Carthusia Ltd which in turn preserves the site’s heritage and its mission to share it with the public and generations to come. To find out more about the Charterhouse, its museum, tours, venue hire and learning centre, and newly re-opened and refurbished Great Chamber, please visit

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of several bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund and unprecedented support package of £1.57 billion for the culture and heritage sector. Find out more at


8th October 2020

The renaissance of the Great Chamber

Revealing the newly refurbished and renovated Great Chamber at the Charterhouse

The Charterhouse, the seven-acre historic site on the edge of the City of London, is delighted to announce the completion of the major refurbishment of the Great Chamber, the jewel in the crown of our Tudor history.  Made possible with funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and our generous donors, the works started in January and have involved a host of artisan specialists under the direction of Richard Griffiths Architects who were awarded the commission.

Discover the Great Chamber here.

The Lord Mayor of the City of London was kind enough to join us on 7th October for a private virtual launch, featuring talks from many of the key players involved, and offering the Master, Ann Kenrick, the opportunity to thank the donors, The Wolfson Foundation, the Linbury Trust, and the Schroder Foundation, and all those who contributed to creating the grand new interior.

As the doors were opened to reveal the transformation, Alderman William Russell, the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of the City of London said: “As a member of the Charterhouse’s Development Committee, I am very excited to see the success of this project in person. In my view it is one of the most splendid rooms in London, if not the country, and now this magnificent space has been restored to its former glory and fit for a queen once again. I hope, as I am sure we all hope, that visitors will be able to enjoy it and appreciate its majesty for themselves soon.”

In normal times we would be throwing open our doors to the public to discover the sumptuous changes in person but, as an almshouse charity, we need to stay closed during the pandemic until we can ensure the safety of our older and more vulnerable residents. In the meantime, we have created a virtual experience of the transformed Great Chamber on our website, where you can discover more about its history, the splendid collection of portraits now on display, and the detail of the refurbishment project.

The aim of the project was to create a more environmentally sustainable interior that also did better justice to the Chamber’s extraordinary history and splendour. The project will also ensure the Chamber’s suitability for an expanded range of ways it can be shared with the public.  Our plans are of course on hold, but as soon as we can open again the intention is to attract new audiences to concerts, exhibitions, and other events to raise income for the Charterhouse charity – the almshouse originally established in 1611 and still flourishing today. The funding award will also go toward staffing and implementing an outreach programme aimed at introducing diverse audiences from the local community to the history of the Charterhouse and its purpose today.  We have already initiated this Community Engagement programme, running creative online workshops, inspired by aspects of the Great Chamber and its portraits, with partners such as North London Cares, Age UK Islington, and BlindAid.

Project background

The Great Chamber represents an important example of London’s history, originally built by Edward North in the 1540s, and referred to as the ‘Throne Room’ after Elizabeth I held her first Privy Council there before being crowned Queen of England. The Chamber was the backdrop to decades of Tudor intrigue and plotting and remained the jewel in this grand Tudor Mansion until it suffered serious bomb damage during WW2.  After the war a major project was initiated to renovate the room to match the one remaining undamaged section, and has been well used and much admired since.

Richard Griffiths Architects were selected, after a competitive tender process, to conceive and implement the redesign.  A significant new development was the moving of the Charterhouse’s most notable portraits onto the walls of the Chamber, having been cleaned and renovated by conservator Jim Dimond.

The New Great Chamber
The new design references several different architectural schemes from different centuries.  The colours from the fireplace and overmantel (dating from the 16th and 17th centuries) ar carried throughout the space and a green silk moiré provides the backdrop for our important collection of Restoration portraits.  The floor has been replaced with boards of varying sizes and widths, referencing its post-Reformation origins.

The portraits of the Charterhouse
The works to be hung in the Great Chamber comprise large seventeenth century oil paintings of our Restoration era governors and include portraits of some of the periods most influential and controversial Royals, politicians and religious leaders.  The pre-eminence of the sitters attests to the prominence of the Charterhouse during the period.  They include portraits of the Duke of Monmouth, the Earl of Craven, the Duke of Buckingham, Gilbert Sheldon (Archbishop of Canterbury), Anthony Ashely Cooper – first Earl of Shaftesbury and Charles II.

The collection is mentioned in Vertue’s notebooks in 1736.  The collection continued to be highly regarded and discussed in numerous documentary sources of the 18th and 19th centuries.  In May 1941 the Charterhouse was bombed and the paintings were evacuated and did not return to London until 1957, by which time it seems that they had slipped from public and academic consciousness. Recent funding from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art has enabled on-going research which has established the collection’s broader cultural and historic significance, both to the institution and wider fields of academic study.


You can watch the video of the Great Chamber being formally opened by the Lord Mayor of London here.

Editor’s notes

·       The Charterhouse, set deep within stone walls in the heart of Clerkenwell, is a remarkable assembly of historic buildings dating from the 14thcentury.  Over the years it has been a monastery, a grand Tudor mansion, a school and, as it has remained for over 400 years, an almshouse. In January 2017 parts of the Charterhouse opened to the public for the first time in its 660 year history, revealing to the public the great story of this sprawling urban oasis at the heart of London, and thereby raising income for the charity and maintenance of the buildings. To find out more about the Charterhouse, its almshouse, museum, tours, venue hire and learning centre please visit

·      About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.
Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

·       For further information about Richard Griffiths Architects visit


·       For further information about Jim Dimond visit





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