A room inside the Guildhall is currently filled with woodworking tools, as this year marks the 450th anniversary of the granting of a Royal Charter to one of the City of London’s livery companies, and they have an exhibition to mark the occasion.

Although formed as a guild in around 1375, they were granted a Royal Charter in 1571. Although they work with wood, the company is not carpenters, but joiners, and ceilers, who are involved in the application and installation of wood panelling.

Unlike some of the city’s Livery companies, the Joiners and Ceilers is part of a still-active trade, and prospective members are required to produce an example piece of woodwork to show they have the skills to become a Freeman of the company.

Dotted around the exhibition are some examples of their work, including pieces commissioned for the anniversary.

There’s a couple of grand chairs, one from 1754, and a more contemporary version made in 2021. These are Masters chairs, for use by the annually elected Master of the Livery company.

The original Royal Charter is also on display, which granted the Livery company it’s legal powers to regulate the trade within the City of London.

While most of the exhibition is in the basement, a bit of it is also in the upper landing next to the exit from the Noël Coward exhibition.

It’s a small display, but one that shows off the history of one of London’s older Livery Companies, and likely to interest anyone interested in London history or craftmanship.

The exhibition is open until 18th July, and is free to visit, although you need to book a ticket in advance.


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