Sion College

Sion College, in London, an institution founded by Royal Charter in 1630 as a college, gild of parochial clergy and almshouse, under the 1623 will of Dr Thomas White, vicar of St Dunstan's in the West.

The clergy who benefit by the foundation are the incumbents of the City parishes, of parishes which adjoined the city bounds when the college was founded, and of parishes subsequently formed out of these. The original buildings in London Wall were on a site previously occupied by Elsing Spital, a hospital for the blind founded in 1329, and earlier still by a nunnery. They comprised the almshouses, a hall and chapel, and the library added to the foundation by Dr John Simson, rector of St Olave's, Hart Street, one of White's executors. There were also, at least originally, apartments for students.

In 1884 the almshouses were abolished, and the almsfolk became out-pensioners. It was subsequently found possible to extend their numbers from the original number of to men and to women to 40 in all, and to increase the pension. In 1886 Sion College was moved to new buildings on the Victoria Embankment, and became principally known for its theological library which served as a lending library to members of the college, and was accessible to the public. A governing body appointed by the members to administer the foundation consists of a president, two deans and four assistants.

In 1996, the college disposed of its large Victorian premises on the banks of the River Thames. Its Library was closed June 1996, with the manuscripts, pamphlets, and pre-1850 printed books going to Lambeth Palace Library, and newer books to The Maughan Library, King's College London. Its activities now take place in a variety of locations.

The College is now administered from offices at the Wax Chandlers’ Hall.

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