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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

21 March: Pocahontas
This year marked the 400th anniversary of the death in Gravesend of the Powhatan princess Pocahontas having spent some time in 1616/17 living in and around London with her English husband, tobacco merchant John Rolfe. There were notable commemorations in Gravesend and Syon House. We did our bit with an evening of talks and music at the Sir Christopher Hatton, our regular lecture venue in Holborn.

pocahontas

23 May: The London Historians Big Quiz
Full house at the Sir Christopher Hatton for our inaugural annual quiz conducted, naturally, by London’s leading quizmaster and LH Member Matt Brown. The winning team led by Diane Burstein (below) carted off the huge trophy. Incidentally, in September the Totally Thames quiz was won by the London Historians team for the third time in four years. Dave Whittaker, Joanna Moncrieff, Emma Bridge, Mike Paterson.

bigquiz

17 July: Water Music 300
Monday 17 July was the 300th anniversary of Handel’s Water Music, composed for George I in 1717. In partnership with Georgian Dining Academy and supported by Handel House Museum, we hosted a period costume re-enactment aboard the Golden Jubilee performed by a live 12-piece baroque orchestra. It was probably the most beautiful evening of the summer, how lucky was that? Unquestionably the highlight of the year.

Handel's Water Music celebrates 300 years

Handel's Water Music celebrates 300 years

Handel's Water Music celebrates 300 years

Handel's Water Music celebrates 300 yearsAll above images by Paul Davey. 

16 July: Wandsworth Prison and Museum
The Wandsworth Prison Museum was re-opened in a purpose-built building in    . The curator is LH Member Stewart Mclauchlin. On 16 July he gave us a tour of both the museum and the prison itself which dates from 1851. Very interesting indeed.

hmpwandsworth

17 September. London Historians Annual Lecture
A fully-booked hall at Gresham College’s lovely pre-Tudor HQ, Barnard’s Inn, for our fourth Annual Lecture. This year London Historians founder member Prof Elaine Chalus delivered a talk entitled ‘Everybody seems quite wild’: Emperor-hunting in London in 1814. Simply superb.

chalus

25 October: Southwark Cathedral Candlelit Tour

southwark

8 December: Behind the Scenes at the Old Vic

old vic

Other Events
9 January: Tour of Fishmongers’ Hall
24 February: Leighton House and Flaming June
10 March: London Scottish Regiment Museum Tour
6 April: The Thin Veil of London tour of Bloomsbury and Holborn
10 April: Society of Antiquaries Private Tour
21 April: 18 Stafford Terrace Private Tour
16 May: History in the Pub: Crime and Punishment
26 May: Tour of Clothworkers’ Hall
13 July: Tour of Carpenters’ Hall
19 July: Tour of St Bride’s Church, Crypt and Charnel House
25 July: History in the Pub: Our Favourite Londoners
14 September: Behind the Scenes Tour of 55 Broadway
18 September: Tour of Wax Chandlers’ Hall
10 October: History in the Pub: London’s Women of Note
17 November: Printing in Hammersmith, Kelmscott House & Emery Walker House
4 December: Tour of Goldsmiths’ Hall

… and of course not forgetting 12 x monthly pub meet-ups, first Wednesday of the month.

RIP
Far from being highlights but we must remember them here. This year we lost Helen Szamuely in April and Malcolm Blythe in October, both of whom had been unwell for some time. Like the rest of us, they both loved London deeply and will be missed.


I’d like to thank all our members for their wonderful support and friendship throughout the year and to you our readers for visiting. We look forward to putting together another packed programme of events in 2018. Most of these are members only. Ensure your eligibility by joining our happy throng. You couldn’t make a better New Year’s resolution!

Happy New Year and thanks again,

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Exhibition at Hogarth’s House, 22 January – 3 April 2016

A guest post by LH Member, Val Bott

Anthropometamorphosis: Man Transform’d, or the Artificial Changeling, John Bulwer, 1653, a study of the way humans have modified their bodies for cultural and cosmetic reasons

Anthropometamorphosis: Man Transform’d, or the Artificial Changeling, John Bulwer, 1653, a study of the way humans have modified their bodies for cultural and cosmetic reasons

Layton’s Library: A Curious Collection will display some of the most beautiful and unusual examples of 17th and 18th century books once owned by Brentford antiquarian Thomas Layton. These are amongst the oldest volumes from his remarkable collection and this is an exciting opportunity to see them for the first time.

Supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Thomas Layton Trust is running a project to raise awareness and understanding of the collection. The exhibition has been curated by a team of dedicated local volunteers who have selected books for display from around 8,000 volumes! Visitors will be intrigued by these early books, their various subjects, their bindings and their illustrations. They will also learn a little about Layton and his passion for collecting and the Trust hopes the exhibition will raise awareness of the collection and share it with a new generation of readers.

The exhibition is on show at Hogarth’s House, Chiswick, admission free. Visitors are welcome from Tuesday to Sunday, between 12 noon to 5pm, until 3 April. From 30 April 2016, some of the exhibition will be on show at Boston Manor House in Brentford, where the Trust is planning a range of workshops for adults and children during the summer months.

Thomas Layton (born in 1819, died 1911) lived for the majority of his life on Kew Bridge Road in Brentford, West London. He was a lighterman, a coal merchant, a churchwarden, a member of the Burial Board and a Poor Law Guardian but, above all, he was a collector. During the course of his life he built up an enormous and intriguing collection of ‘every conceivable thing that can be found in an antique store’, including maps, prints, spears, swords, tokens, medals and coins, but his plans to endow a museum and library in Brentford ran into difficulties.

Many of his antiquities are on public display in the Museum of London; the river wall in their London Before London gallery. However, by far the largest element of his collection – the extraordinary collection of books – has remained relatively unknown and little used. The laytoncollection.org website has brought many of the elements together as a “virtual museum” for you to explore.

Antiquarians frm Grose

Rules for drawing caricatures: with an essay on comic painting, Francis Grose, 1791, with wonderful illustrations by the author

The books on show include
A Compleat Collection of English Proverbs, John Ray, 3rd edition 1737
New, Authentic and Complete Collection of Voyages Round the World, Captain Cook’s First, Second, Third and Last Voyages, by George William Anderson, issued in 80 sixpenny parts 1784-6
Picturesque Views on the River Thames, Samuel Ireland, 1791
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, 1631 edition
The Fables of Aesop, Paraphrased in Verse, Adorned with Sculpture & Illustrated with Annotations by John Ogilvie Esq, 1668
Indian antiquities or Dissertations relative to Hindostan, Thomas Maurice, 1792
A discourse concerning old-age Tending to The Instruction, Caution and Comfort of Aged Persons, Richard Steele, 1688
The Lady’s Magazine or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex, Appropriated solely to their Use and Amusement, 1790
The English House-Wife, Containing The inward and outward Vertues which ought to be in a Compleat Woman, Gervase Markham, 1683
Anthropometamorphosis: Man Transform’d, or the Artificial Changeling, John Bulwer, 1653
Rules for drawing Caricaturas: with an Essay on Comic Painting, Francis Grose, 1791

The Lady’s Magazine or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex. Appropriated solely to their Use and Amusement. Vol. XXI for the year 1790 - genteel entertainment, one year's monthly issue bound as a single volume.

The Lady’s Magazine or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex. Appropriated solely to their Use and Amusement. Vol. XXI for the year 1790 – genteel entertainment, one year’s monthly issue bound as a single volume.

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LaytonLibrary@HH_0064c

LaytonLibrary@HH_0056c

Preview evening. 

LaytonLibrary@HH_0062c

Preview evening. 

All images by Toni Marshall. 

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2015 saw our busiest events programme ever, at least 43 in all. The main theme was livery and livery halls: we visited ten altogether. Highlights included our annual lecture in September; our Samuel Pepys day out in the City and Greenwich in November; tours of Fuller’s brewery and Hogarth’s House next door; and our unforgettable Christmas visit to the Ancient House in Walthamstow: magical. These images represent some of our outings, by no means all. Somehow I failed to take pictures at our three History in the Pub talks evenings, which focussed on Sport, Policing London and the history of Print in London.

college of arms

8 January. College of Arms. Tour and talk by the Windsor Herald.

Merchant Taylors' Hall

16 January. Merchant Taylors’ Hall.

cutlers' hall

24 February. Cutlers’ Hall.

drapers' hall

6 March. Drapers’ Hall.

Stationers' Hall.

17 April. Stationers’ Hall.

21 April. Crossrail archaeological dig near Liverpool Street.

21 April. Crossrail archaeological dig near Liverpool Street.

derelict london paul talling

24 April. Derelict London walk with Paul Talling.

20 May. Heraldry and Regalia of the City of London. Talk by Paul Jagger at Information Technologists' Hall.

20 May. Heraldry and Regalia of the City of London. Talk by Paul Jagger at Information Technologists’ Hall.

5 June. Vintners' Hall.

5 June. Vintners’ Hall.

brixtonwindmill

12 June. Exploring Brixton: The Prison and the Mill.

woolwich

12 July. Walking tour of historic Woolwich with Laurence Scales.

 

24 July. Armourers' and Braziers' Hall.

24 July. Armourers’ and Braziers’ Hall.

doggett's coat and badge

1 August. 300 Anniversary of Doggett’s Coat and Badge.

7 September. Skinners' Hall.

7 September. Skinners’ Hall.

On 9 September we had our second annual lecture, once again at Gresham College’s wonderful Tudor period Barnard’s Inn Hall. In the 600th anniversary year of Agincourt, we heard Professor Caroline Barron talk about Henry V and his relationship with the City of London and its institutions.

19 September. Behind the scenes at Wood Street police station.

19 September. Behind the scenes at Wood Street police station.

26 September. History and Technology Conference at the National Archives, Kew.

26 September. History and Technology Conference at the National Archives, Kew.

30 November. Tallow Chandlers' Hall.

30 November. Tallow Chandlers’ Hall.

nowell parr

23 October. Pub tour on the trail of pub architect, Nowell Parr.

ancient house E17

12 December. Christmas cheer at the Ancient House, Walthamstow.

Finally, let’s not forget our monthly pub meet-ups on the first Wednesday of each month. This relaxed and convivial event is open to all, not just LH Members. There is no agenda, just friendship. Typically, about 30 folks turn up through the course of the evening.

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monthly2

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We have an equally busy programme in the pipeline for 2016. Please check our Events page for the latest. Some are exclusive to LH Members, who also get preferential pricing on most of the rest. Our Members themselves organise some outstanding events such as Georgian Dining Academy and the monthly Salon for the City for which generous discounts are available to LH Members..

 

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Today marks the 5th anniversary of the founding of London Historians.

The first London Historians member card. Somerset House.

The first London Historians member card. Somerset House.

I’d like to thank every single member who has joined us in that time. I’d also like to thank all the friends we’ve made at museums, libraries, historic buildings, local history societies and other heritage groups, the London Topographical Society, to pick a random example. Curators, librarians, authors, academics, genealogists, archaeologists. And tour guides, a special mention for them: there are several dozen among our membership which now stands at 520. I wonder if we can make that 600 in 24 hours?

SPECIAL OFFER NEW MEMBERS. This Day Only, ends midnight.
If you’re a non-Member reading this and would like to take the plunge, we commemorate this anniversary with a £10 discount on joining. 24 hours only! Please proceed to this page. (for “Qualifying Group”, please put LH5).

Here are some highlights, events, memories.

2010
26 August. London Historians founded with web site and bank account.
2 September. First blog post. Not very exciting!
8 September. New member cards designed and ordered.
20 September. Our first paying Member!
Early member newsletter web site articles in 2010 by Brian Cookson, Russ Willey, Emily Brand, Lucy Inglis and Christian Wolmar (yes, the transport guru and current London Mayoral candidate).

Historian, Blue Badge Guide, author Brian Cookson. He wrote our first article and in 2011 conducted our first guided tour.

Historian, Blue Badge Guide, author Brian Cookson. He wrote our first article and in 2011 conducted our first guided tour.

2011
15 March: Our launch party at the Georgian Group HQ in Fitzroy Square.
31 March. Our 100th Member. Take a bow, Essie Fox!
Weds 4 May. First ever monthly pub meet-up at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. (now Hoop & Grapes, Farringdon Street). Three members show up. This event has run on the first Weds of the month unbroken ever since, now attracting dozens of members and guests. So we’ve had 52 at time of writing.
21 May. Our first guided walk under LH banner, and led by LH Member, Brian Cookson.
28 July. Awayday trip and conference in Bath organised by LH Members from Bath Spa University led by Prof Elaine Chalus.
18 September. Tour of Kensal Green Cemetery.
21 September. Our first History in the Pub. Unthemed. Speakers Lucy Inglis and Prof Jerry White. Live music from Ruairidh Anderson, quiz by Matt Brown. Matt continues as our MC for all subsequent History in the Pub events.
30 November. History in the Pub 2. Unthemed. Speakers are historian Nigel Jones and Prof Tim Hitchcock. Live music from Ruairidh Anderson again and Henry Skewes.
17 December: Art and the City. Tour of some Wren churches and the Guildhall Art Gallery, let by LH Member Colin Davey.

Members and guests and our launch party.

Members and guests and our launch party.

Audience at our first History in the Pub.

Audience at our first History in the Pub.

2012
7 February. We witness the opening of The Trial of the Pyx.
10 March. Visit to Whitechapel Bell Foundry. We repeated the exercise in 2015.
13 March. History in the Pub 3: sounds of London. Our first themed effort. Featuring archivists from BBC, British Library and Wellcome Library Terrific.
25/26 April. Two behind the scenes visits to the Parliamentary Archives, led by LH Member Caroline Shenton. Wonderful.
1 May. Behind the Scenes at Kew National Archives. We repeated this tour in 2013.
5 May. Visit to Turner’s House and Marble Hill House.
17 July. History in the Pub 4. Theme East London.
25 July. Member tour of Fulham Palace.
16 August. Member tour of the Supreme Court.
October. History in the Pub 5: Fire. Member tour of London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre (LAARC), Oddities of the Strand walk with LH Member Peter Berthoud. Blog summary.
25 November. Pub meet-up to celebrate Henry Mayhew’s bi-centenary.
7 December. 10,000 followers on Twitter

One of two group visits to the Parliamentary Archives.

One of two group visits to the Parliamentary Archives.

Behind the scenes at the National Archives, Kew.

Behind the scenes at the National Archives, Kew.

Oddities of the Strand guided walk.

Oddities of the Strand guided walk.

2013
13 January. Sold-out panel conference to celebrate 150 years of the Tube at London Transport Museum.
12 March. Behind the scenes member tour at the Wellcome Library.
21 March. Behind the scenes member tour of the Old Bailey
16 April. Member tour of Tower Bridge, including bascule chamber.
18 April. History in the Pub. Theme: Tudor London with Suzannah Lipscomb, Mathew Lyons and Andrew Maginley
20 June. Member guided walk of the Caledonian Road with LH Member Rob Smith. Flickr album.
27 June. Curator-led member tour of the Government Art Collection.
9 August. Member tour of London Transport Museum Acton Depot.
16 August. Awayday curator tour of Watts Gallery, Guildford, with lunch. Flickr album.
18 August. Guided walk of Jewish East End and Bevis Marks Synagogue with LH Member Clive Bettington.
2 September. Exploring the Thames forshore with Thames Discovery Programme.
7 September. Walk Every Street in Soho with LH Member Peter Berthoud.
12 September. Lecture and member tour of London Metropolitan Archives.
25 September. Coroner’s Inquest historical re-enactments at the George in the Strand with Univerisity of Herts.
26 September. Petty Sessions historical re-enactments at the George in the Strand with Univerisity of Herts.
8 October. History in the Pub. Theme: Sex and the City
10 October. City of London Slavery walk led by LH Member with LH Member Will Pettigrew.
18 October. Macdonald Gill curator private view at Pitzhanger Manor.
14 November. History in the Pub. Theme: London’s Street Poor.
19 November. Bollards, Breweries and Bullets. Conference at the National Archive, Kew.

Exclusive tour of London Transport Museum Acton Depot

Exclusive tour of London Transport Museum Acton Depot

At Bevis Marks Synagogue.

At Bevis Marks Synagogue.

2014.
FLICKR ALBUM OF 2014 HIGHLIGHTS

13 February. Member tour of the Royal Courts of Justice led by LH Member, Colin Davey.
26 February. Curator-led member tour of Georgians Revealed at the British Library.
5 March. Curator preview of Brits who Built the Modern World at RIBA.
14 March. Curator-led member tour of the Royal Institution with Charlotte New and Laurence Scales.
20 April. Behind the scenes at HMP Wandsworth and private museum, led by a serving prison officer and LH Member.
25 April. Curator-led tour of Bank of England Museum.
29 April. History in the Pub. Theme: Beer, Pubs and Breweries incl. LH Member Martyn Cornell.
16 May. Walking tour of St Katharine Docks and Royal Foundation led by LH Member Chris West.
29 May. Archivist-led member tour of Westminster School.
12 June. Behind the scenes exclusive member tour of British Library map collection with Peter Barber.
18 July. Member tour of Apothecaries’ Hall.
19 July. Walking tour of Industrial East London and House Mill led by LH Member Rob Smith.
22 July. Curator-led member tour of Dr Johnson’s House
29 July. History in the Pub. Shakespeare’s Local. Author talk at the George Inn, Southwark.
13 August. Member tour of the Government Art Collection.
22 August. Excl. member tour of Sutton House.
27 August. Walking tour of Smithfield and Bart’s Hospital and churches, led by LH Member Peter Twist.
4 September. LONDON HISTORIANS INAUGURAL LONDON LECTURE. Barnard’s Inn Hall, Gresham College. LH Member Adrian Tinniswood OBE on Christopher Wren, Extraordinary Genius.
3 October. Post Office Big Day Out. Storage Depot in Debden and Heritage Library, London.
12 October. History in the Pub. Theme: History OF the pub.
13 December. Member tour of BBC Broadcasting House. More on Flickr.
16 December. Private view and wine reception, Hogarth’s London exhibition, Cartoon Museum.

Tour of Apothecaries' Hall.

Tour of Apothecaries’ Hall.

Adrian Tinniswood about to deliver the inaugural London Historians Annual Lecture.

Adrian Tinniswood about to deliver the inaugural London Historians Annual Lecture.

2015
The theme for the year is the City of London’s Livery Companies.
8 January. Member tour of the College of Arms, led by the Windsor Herald.
16 January. Member tour of Merchant Taylors’ Hall.
24 February. Member tour of Cutlers’ Hall.
3 March. History in the Pub. Theme: Sport in London with Simon Inglis and Clive Bettington.
6 March. Member tour of Drapers’ Hall.
21 March. Supper at Yeoman Warders’ Club, Tower of London and Ceremony of the Keys.
17 April. Member tour of Stationers’ Hall.
21 April. Site visit to Crossrail archaeological site at Liverpool Street Station.
24 April. Derelict London walk and St Dunstan’s Stepney tour with Paul Talling and Dave Whittaker.
9 May. Member tour of Boston Manor and guided walk to historic Brentford.
20 May. Seminar at Information Technologists’ Hall. Heraldry and Regalia of the City of London and Livery, by LH Member Paul Jagger.
5 June. Member tour of Vintners’ Hall
12 June. Brixton tour. HMP Brixton and Brixton Windmill.
14 June. Walking tour. Battle of Waterloo commemoration.
20 June. Member tour of Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Our second visit.
29 June. Member tour of Watermen’s Hall.
11 July. Walking tour of industrial Woolwich with Laurence Scales.
21 July. History in the Pub. Theme: Inky Fingers – London and the Press.
24 July. Member tour of Armourers’ and Brasiers’ Hall.
26 August: 5TH ANNIVERSARY OF LONDON HISTORIANS

Brixton Windmill.

Brixton Windmill.

Armourers' and Brasiers' Hall.

Armourers’ and Brasiers’ Hall.

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This ceremony is held on an occasional basis at the Tower of London. It originates in the 14C when, under Richard II, it was decided that any large navy vessel which traveled upstream to the Tower must pay a levy to the Constable. This takes the form of a barrel of rum and is one of a raft of lucrative privileges enjoyed by the Tower’s constables for use of the Thames or London Bridge, the underlying principle being that the Tower provides protection to visitors.

This morning it was the turn of HMS Defender  – a new Class 45 Destroyer – to pay the Dues. Led by Commander Stephen Higham and supported by the band of the Royal Marines, the sailors delivered the barrel to the current Constable, the Lord Dannatt, formerly commander in chief of the British Army.

Visitors to the Tower were clearly delighted at this unexpected treat. My thanks to LH Member Chris West for the tip-off.

More on the Contable’s Dues. 

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Band of the Royal Marines.

Band of the Royal Marines.

Commander   addresses the reception party.

Commander Higham addresses the reception party.

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Constable of the Tower, the Lord Dannatt, speaking to the media.

Constable of the Tower, the Lord Dannatt, speaking to the media.

Matelots enjoying a well-served drink afterwards in the Yeoman Warders' Club.

Matelots enjoying a well-deserved drink afterwards in the Yeoman Warders’ Club.



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Mission accomplished. As explained in the previous post, the final public opening (until 2018) of Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing last Saturday rendered imperative my long-delayed Sir John Soane walk from Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields to Ealing. Soane bought Pitzhanger in 1800, re-built it until 1804, then sold it in 1810. Below is an 1800 map and the current route from Google. It is very little changed, the Oxford Street-Bayswater Road – Uxbridge Road axis being a major westerly trunk road today as then.

oldnewroute

I love the idea of doing long walks. It’s good exercise for a start if you can tolerate the traffic pollution (I can). It is essential to give the historian a sense of what life was like before trains and buses. There were carriages, of course, but even successful men like Soane, John Quincy Adams and William Hogarth often chose to take a bracing walk between town and country, or vice-versa. Most of all, you see things that you never would by car or by bus and, obviously, on the Underground. Apart from the map work, I do very little research beforehand. The surprises are all the better that way. There were lots. I particularly enjoyed seeing two Passmore Edwards libraries, in Shepherd’s Bush and Acton (my admiration for the Edwardians and all their works increases every time I explore like this). It was nice properly to inspect the old milestone in Ealing rather than to squint at it stuck in a traffic jam. Below are some photos. Check the much larger set on Flickr here. Next we’ll do a Hogarth walk from Leicester Square to Chiswick.

My thanks to fellow London Historians member Deborah Metters (@rosamundi) for her excellent company on this odyssey.

The site of the Tyburn scaffold. Apparently.

The site of the Tyburn scaffold. Apparently.

Passmore Edwards Public Library, Acton.

Passmore Edwards Public Library, Acton.

1832 milestone, Ealing Common.

1832 milestone, Ealing Common.

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Review of our beadle-led visit to Merchant Taylors’ Hall: a guest post by London Historians Member Steve Cook.

DSC07025cIt was a cold day but a warm welcome from Beadle Kevin McGetrick at Merchant Taylors’ Hall on Friday 16th January. The Hall has occupied the same site on Threadneedle Street since 1397 and – despite the Great Fire and the Blitz – still boasts its original medieval stone walls, most clearly visible in the spectacular double height kitchens (definitely up to modern catering standards but still essentially medieval, complete with a witch’s seat) and again in the crypt of St. Martin Outwich beneath the beadle’s office. On the walls of the reception area are two ‘Pall Clothes’, last used at the time of the Stuarts to cover the coffin at a Master’s funeral. Irreplaceable and therefore priceless, but still insured for £100 thousand apiece.

The Kitchen.

The Kitchen.

Crypt of St Martin Outwich (demolished 1874)

Crypt of St Martin Outwich (demolished 1874)

Funeral pall cloth. Over 400 years old.

Funeral pall cloth. Over 400 years old.

Originally ‘The Fraternity of St John the Baptist’ (the Baptist continues to be the Company’s patron saint) the Company received its first royal charter in 1327 being incorporated by a royal charter of 1408 as ‘The Company of Tailors and Linen-Armourers’. The ‘linen armour’ being the gambersons or padded clothes worn beneath metal armour. ‘The Company of Merchant Taylors’ came into being with the royal charter of 1503 and since 1484 the Company has ranked sixth (normally in odd numbered years) or seventh (in even numbered years) among the Great Twelve, alternating with the Skinners at Easter. Despite their earlier rivalry, we were assured that relationships now are cordial and co-operative. the Hall

Like the company itself, the hall has undergone many changes since its medieval foundation.

The magnificent Dining Hall, Parlour and Drawing Room are part of the post-war reconstruction. The Dining Hall is still the same structure as it was before the Great Fire and the mahogany panelling that conceals the medieval stonework is said to have been obtained immediately after the war – at very reasonable rates – from the Bank of England. (Between them Peter Twist and the Beadle concluded that it is probably the taller than any other livery company’s dining hall!). Despite its height, the hall is overlooked by the King’s Gallery, named for James I who was kept separate from his subjects below, either to save him from the smell of them [vice-versa probably! – Ed], or to protect them from the sight of James trying to eat around his over-sized tongue. Either way, the Gallery was subsequently glazed so that the occupants could see – and be seen by – the diners below.

The Dining Hall from the Kng's Gallery.

The Dining Hall from the Kng’s Gallery.

The 18th-century Chinese wallpaper in the Drawing Room was purchased at auction in 1957, still in its original export boxes! Ingeniously, it isn’t pasted onto the walls but mounted on removable panels.

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The Court Room boasts two Company crests, one Catholic, topped by a virgin and child; the other Protestant , topped by the lamb in glory.

The cloister was enclosed as recently as 1927, without apparent detriment to the delightful courtyard it surrounds.

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It is thought that there have been no working tailors in membership since the end of the 17th century. The Company is now a social and charitable organisation with a powerful interest in education.

Merchant Taylors’ School, founded in 1561 by Richard Hilles, Master of the Company, now a fee-paying public school educating 800 boys is the best-known foundation; but the Company also has interests in schools in Crosby, Wallingford, Ashwell, Wolverhampton, Foyle and Edinburgh. The charities that currently enjoy support from the Company continue the education theme: Killforce which uses ex-military instructors and largely practical training exercises to help students attain recognised qualifications; Westside School an ‘Alternative Provision Free School’ for young people excluded from a mainstream school or who are at risk of exclusion; support for the bursary programme at Pembroke College Cambridge; and XLP, a Church of England based youth project that works right in the heart of some of the most divided communities in Inner London.

At the end of our tour there was little to do other than thank Kevin, Mike and Augusta; and reflect on the thought that the Company’s motto “Concordia Parvae Res Crescunt” (“In Harmony Small Things Grow”) might just as well apply to London Historians!

Happy Historians

Happy Historians

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There are much nicer photos than mine of this event on LH Member Andrea Liu’s Flickr album, here.

Livery Halls are one of our main themes of 2015. The idea is that we’ll visit at least one a month. Next up is Cutlers’ Hall on 24th February. You can book places via Eventbrite here.

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