The Chalmers Bequest, a collection of paintings and decorative arts, was amassed over a lifetime by Alexander Henry Chalmers (1849–1927). On his death he bequeathed his collection to the then borough of Stoke Newington. The terms of the will outlined that every three years the Council would spend £126 to carry out certain activities and to buy an oil painting and a piece of sculpture. This was continued until 1960; in 2005 the will was re-enacted for the last time. Some of the most significant paintings in the collection date back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with works by John Collet, Jan Josef Horemans the younger and Roelandt Savery. Others include portraits of prominent figures in the Stoke Newington non-conformist congregation (a bastion of free thought) and campaigners against enslavement and for women's rights.