Monday, July 02, 2012

Celebrate the City festival

The streets around Cheapside were  filled with unusual sights on the 23rd June, as some of the Worshipful Companies were demonstrating their crafts.

 I have only recently been finding out a bit more about the Guilds and Worshipful Companies after seeing them in the Lord Mayors Show and at the pancake race outside the Guildhall. Some of the Guilds and Livery Companies had their origin in Saxon times. The oldest charter of incorporation was given to the Worshipful Company of Weavers in 1155.

The Guildhall  link here was completed in 1440 and is the only secular stone structure dating from before 1666 still standing in the city.
A good short history of the guilds here.

On the streets, the Worshipful Company of Woolmen had sheep and goats. The Worshipful Company of Turners were demonstrating wood turning with traditional hand built tools and lathe.

The worship Company of Farriers were shoeing horses and the Worship Company of blacksmiths had set up a number of braziers to demonstrate their work.

The Worshipful Company of Poulters had a cockerel, chickens and chicks which were fascinating a lot of children. It was interesting to see how many Guilds are still flourishing.

The market in the Guildhall yard had many more Guilds including the Worshipful Company of the Makers of Cards. Where one of the Liverymen and the clerk were dressed as playing cards.

I bought their book on the history of the guild and the design and history of their cards, The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards of the City of London, by John G. Thorpe, which has many fascinating facts and illustrations.

The Company has produced an annual pack of cards since 1888 with the current Master of the Guilds portrait on the Ace of Spades. Commemorative packs are also produced.Link to their site here

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