Thursday, 24 July 2014

Meeting of the Howe committee of the Worshipful Company of Turners 21-07-14

This print was in the corridor.

 ‘Closely linked with the history of the City of London are its 94 Guilds and Livery Companies who are the successors of religious, trade and social fraternities dating back to the 11th century. Originally there were two classes of guilds, the Craft Guilds and the Merchant Guilds. First came the craft Guilds of whom the earliest to be formed was the Weavers Guild who received their charter in 1155. By forming these guilds the craftsmen secured mutual support and protection in their respective trades and prevented strangers to the City from setting up in competition with their existing businesses.

At the beginning of the 14th century the merchants formed their guilds to safeguard their goods and thereby increasing their profits. As they prospered so they became the leading citizens of the City and played an important part in the development of local government organisation. The first Livery Company to be formed was the Mercers who received their charter in 1394.

During the 15th century the guilds came to be called livery companies from a custom which originated in the 11th century when members of the more prosperous companies wore distinctive clothing or livery on ceremonial occasions. Nowadays livery gowns are worn by the Master and Wardens of the livery companies on formal occasions, an example being the United Guilds Service held annually at St Paul’s Cathedral.  Each company has its own particular style and colour of gown, the collards and cuffs are usually trimmed with fur. 

Of the 94 companies illustrated only two do not have livery, the Parish Clerks who prefer the wearing of a surplice and the Watermen and Lightermen who were formed by an act of Parliament in 1555.  Today there are only a few companies still linked with their trade names, these companies maintain the same high standard of workmanship which have existed for centuries. The companies no longer associated with their former trades have now in the main dedicated themselves to charitable, educational and social schemes.

To belong to a guild or livery company one must first become a freeman of that that company; this can be achieved by one of three ways; Servitude – where one is required for four years as an apprentice to a freeman. Patrimony – through the father of the applicant having been a freeman before the son or daughter was born and by redemption – that is by purchase with the approval of the Corporation of the City of London. Having been accepted the freeman may aspire in time to become a Master or Warden of his guild. Originally the hub of each company was its hall, however since the Great Fire of London many halls have disappeared.  Existing halls are indicated by red numbers, whilst the black numbers above each scroll refers to the order of procedure.

It has been said that the pinnacle in the life of a liveryman is that he may one day be called upon to serve the citizens of the City as their Lord Mayor for a period of one year, during which time he will entertain monarchs, presidents and ministers from all over the world as part of his many duties whilst in office’


The skyline of London has never remanded the same for too long – fires, wars and periods of boom and bust drive have all contributed to continuous development.

The arrival of the steel work reminded me of the incredible building record for the Empire State building. You must look up the statistics – built under budget and completed early.


The hoarding displayed high quality prints of archaeological finds on I presume this site or perhaps from the Crossrail project.

The Howe committee discuss means to promote woodturning in all its forms and is represented by members from SOT (Society of ornamental turners), the  AWGB (Association of wood turners) and the APTGW (the Association of pole lathe turners ). I was there by servitude!

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