Our history


herbert-e-dunhillHerbert E Dunhill died in November 1950 leaving £250,000 from his personal estate in Charitable Trust for medical research into tuberculosis, the cause of his death.

His niece, Mary Dunhill Lane, was appointed one of the original Trustees and it was largely her vision that drove the Charity until her death in 1988. Her daughter, Kay Glendinning, continued her work and was Executive Director from 1988 until April 2005 when she joined the Board in a non executive capacity.  In 2019, she stepped down as a Trustee and became the Trust’s first Patron.

Kay recalls returning to work from maternity leave to ask  if she could resume the job she had had on the shop floor in the family business since leaving school at 17.  She was greeted with a plan hatched by her mother to work in her Uncle Herbert’s expanding charity, directed to address herself to a toppling pile of paper and issued with an instruction to go out and learn about medicine!  This she did, finding herself very quickly in an operating theatre at Guy’s Hospital watching an operation on a baby.  She admits to fainting but never looking back. By the 1980s, the Trust was receiving an increasing number of grant applications related to issues associated with ageing and the care of older people. Although there was a clear case of unmet need, many applications could not be supported because they fell outside the original aims of the Trust. To rectify this, the Trust Deed was formally amended and in 1986 the Charity was renamed The Dunhill Medical Trust and was registered with the Charity Commission (Charity no. 294286). On 1st April 2011, The Dunhill Medical Trust also became a charitable company limited by guarantee (registered company number: 07472301; registered charity number: 1140372). The Trustees of the unincorporated charity became directors and members of the new company, in addition to remaining Trustees of the re-registered charity. Herbert’s initial bequest has been prudently and successfully invested and managed by the independent trust throughout these administrative changes and is now worth c. £145M today.

The charitable objects of the Dunhill Medical Trust are:

  • the furtherance of medical knowledge and research and the publication of the useful results thereof;
  • the provision of medical care and facilities in such manner as the Trustees shall from time to time in their absolute discretion think fit;
  • the research into the care of older people and the publication of the useful results thereof;
  • the provision of accommodation and care for older people.

Within these objects, the Dunhill Medical Trust makes grants to both academic and clinically-based researchers and to support smaller charities and community-based organisations in projects that provide accommodation or care or services to older people.

The Trust has no connection with the tobacco industry as defined by the Joint Protocol of Cancer Research and Universities UK on Tobacco Industry Funding to Universities (2004), with which it complies fully. The original endowment was a personal bequest from Herbert Dunhill’s estate and not in the form of a donation or legacy from the family business*.  That bequest has been invested in a range of collective funds in the global investment markets ever since and no direct investments in tobacco have been made.  The Trustees and staff take their responsibilities regarding protection of the endowment and the ethical, social and governance aspects very seriously, so our investment policy remains under regular review. 



* Having its origins in the saddlery business, Alfred Dunhill developed into a successful luxury goods brand, responding first to the growing demand for automobiles at this time with car horns and lamps, leather overcoats, goggles, picnic sets, pipes, tobacco, lighters and timepieces and by the late 1970s, was offering a range of 3,500 luxury products.  


What we do

Our focus for support is research into the mechanisms of ageing and innovation in the care of older people.


How to apply

Schemes available, current deadlines and how to apply.

The Dunhill Medical Trust
5th Floor
6 New Bridge Street
London EC4V 6AB

Telephone: 020 7403 3299