The Roughley Trust

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History of the Roughley Trust

Maisie and Geoffrey Smith were the founders of this Trust Fund in 1972.

Both Maisie and Geoffrey were Birmingham people. Maisie had grown up in Moseley and Geoffrey in Handsworth. Geoffrey came from a line of butchers and  farmers. His father built up a chain of butcher's shops between the wars. Maisie's ancestors were carpenters and builders. It was Bryants the builders, started by Maisie's grandfather and run by her brother Chris, which floated on the Stock Exchange and provided Maisie and Geoffrey with the means to set aside funds to help others.

St James Hill Mere Green Church Hall
The Trust gave a substantial donation towards the St James Hill Mere Green Church Centre

St James Hill Mere Green Church Hall
St James Hill Mere Green Church Centre

Maisie was interested in social welfare issues, influenced especially by nuns she came to know well when a student at Oxford. Her grandmother had fled a drunken husband and lived outside marriage with a porter at the Imperial Hotel in Bham so although the family became wealthy she knew from first hand about the hard lives many people had to live.

Geoffrey was 19 when his father died of cancer and he had to take over his father’s business. When the war came he trained as an infantryman, was commissioned and fought through France Holland and Germany  from just after D day until he was wounded in March 1945.

Working immediately after the war around Lubeck, seeking to deal with the devastation, and the problems of feeding a hungry cold and displaced population stayed with him all his life. 

Maisie became actively involved in the Birmingham Settlement, was a Marriage Guidance Counsellor, and started a chain of Charity Shops for the Birmingham Settlement. Geoffrey in addition to his business interests became Treasurer of Christian Aid, and a magistrate. He served on the Peak Park Board, and farmed outside Ashbourne in Derbyshire.

Both of them were committed Christians – quiet in their beliefs, but clear about their direction.

The Trust they created was an expression of everything they believed in and worked towards.


Maisie and Geoffrey Smith
Maisie and Geoffrey Smith

Wall plaque in St James Hill Mere Green Church Hall
Wall plaque in St James Hill Mere Green Church Centre