What is the Charterhouse?

The Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery in London, to the north of what is now Charterhouse Square. Since the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century the house has served as private mansion, a boys’ school and an almshouse, which it remains to this day.

The residents of the almshouse are known as ‘Brothers’. This is a purely traditional term for those living in this community and acknowledges the past when there was a monastery on the site. The building is formally known as Sutton’s Hospital in Charterhouse, and is a registered charity (number 207773).

Members of the public are invited to visit our museum, which tells our story of the Charterhouse from the Black Death to the present day. Visitors can also book a tour of the grounds and buildings with a Brother of the Charterhouse. Visit our Tours page for more information.

In addition, it is possible to hire certain areas of the Charterhouse for private events.

What is an almshouse?

A house endowed by private charity for the reception and support of the aged or infirm poor.

Who are the Brothers?

The residents of the almshouse are known as ‘Brothers’. This is a purely traditional term for those living in this community and acknowledges the past when there was a monastery on the site.

The Brothers, who are in need of financial and social support, are selected from a wide variety of professions, including teachers, clergymen, writers and editors, musicians and artists. At entry they have to be over 60 years of age and in good health.

What is the relationship between the Charterhouse and Charterhouse School?

The almshouse and school were founded by Thomas Sutton on the Clerkenwell site in 1611 and coexisted until 1872 when the school moved out to Godalming. The charity maintains a special relationship with the school and, as well as supporting the Brothers and in line with the wishes of our Founder, continues to provide financial support to the school for bursaries. In addition, links are nurtured as follows: a number of Governors on the charity Board are former students at Charterhouse school (Old Carthusians) and the two Boards include representatives from the other Board of Governors. An annual Founders Dinner organised by the school and the charity brings together Old Carthusians with Brothers to celebrate the life of Thomas Sutton. However, the governance and executive management of the two entities remains separate.

Can I volunteer at the Charterhouse?

We would love to hear from volunteers. For more information on voluntary positions at the Charterhouse visit the Support Us page.

Can I attend the chapel services?

All our services are open to the public. The gatekeeper will be happy to admit anyone who would like to attend. Find out more about our services by visiting the Chapel page.

Learning FAQs

When can we visit?

Schools are welcome to visit Mondays to Fridays between 10.30 – 14.30pm. Sessions last for 2 hours and can accommodate up to 35 students.

What if we have to cancel?

If you have to cancel a session please email or call two weeks in advance of the session, otherwise a fee will be incurred. Cancellation requests can be sent to learning@thecharterhouse.org.

When is our visit confirmed?

Confirmation is sent via email. We aim to do this as quickly as possible but during busy times this may take a while. Please read this email carefully, and if the details are not correct telephone us on 020 3319 3782 or email learning@thecharterhouse.org.

Can you provide a risk assessment?

You should carry out your own risk assessment before you visit. To help you we have compiled a Health and Safety Briefing Sheet and strongly suggest you make a 20 minute pre-visit.

What if we arrive late?

If you are delayed, please telephone us on 020 3319 3782. Please plan to arrive about 10 minutes before the start of your session to allow time to visit the lavatories and to put coats and lunches away. If you arrive late, we may not be able to offer you a full workshop.

How many adults should we bring?

For school visits we require the following staff to pupil ratios:

  • Special schools – 1:5
  • Primary schools – 1:6
  • Secondary schools – 1:15

A Level groups and individuals can attend without an adult; however, if attending two-location session students must be accompanied by their teacher. Please check when booking.

Where can we eat lunch?

Groups partaking in learning activities can book 30-minute lunchroom slots in the learning centre as part of their session.

Is there a cloakroom?

Our new learning centre has a dedicated space for coats, bags and packed lunches.

Can we take photos during our visit?

Yes, please do!

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