|Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3AZ|
The Corporation of The Church House was founded in 1888 as the Church of England's permanent tribute to Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Its principal instigator, Dr Harvey Goodwin (Bishop of Carlisle), saw it as the national administrative headquarters and likened it to a "chapter-house for the Church of England". Land was quickly acquired in Dean's Yard, close to the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, but the existing tenancies meant that only a fraction of the original design could be built in the early 1890's.
In the 1930's, when vacant possession of the whole site was obtained, a new design was commissioned from the distinguished architect Sir Herbert Baker. The foundation stone was laid in 1937 by Queen Mary and on 10th June 1940 King George VI, accompanied by Queen Elizabeth, formally opened the new House and attended the first Session of the Church Assembly in the great circular hall.
For much of the War and the years immediately following it, Church House was used by the Government and was a regular meeting-place of both Houses of Parliament. The Church Assembly was able to return for its autumn session in 1950.
Today, the building is the headquarters of the Archbishops' Council, the Church Commissioners and all its Boards and Councils as well as of the Church of England Pensions Board and the National Society. It is the meeting-place, twice each year, of the General Synod of the Church of England. It also houses the very successful Conference Centre at Church House, the trading subsidiary of the Royal Chartered Corporation which owns and operates the building.
The business of the Corporation is vested in a Council which includes the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, representatives of national church institutions, and members elected annually by the Corporation.