Catalogued in the department marked “you learn something new every day”, I found out that there is a 19th century trust fund that each year makes a payment to three brides who are about to get married.

The payment is not huge, being £100 per blushing bride, and an email from the City of London talking about it noted that the average big wedding costs around £20,000 so the dowry is not going to pay for much more than a couple of bottles of champagne.

Still, it is yet another of the ancient traditions that make the City such a fascinating place.

Italian-born Pasquale Favale, who fell in love with and married a City girl, bequeathed 18,000 Lira in 1882 to the City of London Corporation.

He stipulated that each year a portion of the money was to be given to “three poor, honest, young woman, natives of the City of London, aged 16 to 25 who had recently been or were about to be married.”

Curiously, the cost of getting married seems to have shot up recently, as a statement from the City Corporation in 2007 said that weddings cost on average £11,000 and just four years later they cost £20,000. Inflation rates like that must worry the Bank of England.


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  1. Lisa Hirsch says:

    That is weirdly charming.

  2. Sue Head says:

    My grandmother was the recipient of 12 guineas from signor Pasquale Favale in 1919. She was one of three young girls chosen out of 27 to receive this dowry. :0)

  3. Barbara says:

    I was lucky enough to receive £24 when I got married in 1981. The amount doesn’t seem to have risen much between 1919 and 1981. I’m still married so perhaps being a recipient is a good omen. There were only two of us in 1981 because of the lack of city births.

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  1. […] are also some whimsical donations, such as the annual dowry given to “three poor, honest, young woman, natives of the City of London, aged 16 to 25 who had […]

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