Thursday, 16 January 2014
Worshipful Company of Upholders Election Court Luncheon Tallow Chandlers Hall Wednesday 15 January
It is always a pleasure to visit Tallow Chandlers Hall. It is easy to locate at Dowgate Hill and accessed directly opposite the exit from Cannon Street tube. I can vouch that it has the best ladies room of any hall!
The Company had been holding their Common Hall, to which all Liverymen and Freemen are invited. I had previously met the Master, Nick Meyer. His Company (49th in precedence) welcomes people with a great variety of skills and achievements, although the original upholders of the City of London can trace their history back to the early days of the Craft Guilds in which were fostered the high quality of goods and the high standards of workmanship that have always been the pride of English industry. The craftsman in Upholstery was known by a name that varied from Upheldere to Uphouldesterr, but mainly as an Upholder and it is under this latter name that the Company came into existence "On the Saturday after the Feast of St. Matthias in the 35th year of the reign of Edward III" (i.e. the 1st March 1360, Old Style). The election, in February 1360, of Wardens "to survey and govern the men of the mistery" is recorded in the City archives together with the grants in 1474 of the right to search for and seize all wares in the City pertaining to the Craft that were insufficiently or not truly made. The Company received the grant of its Coat of Arms in 1465 in the reign of Edward IV, and its Royal Charter was granted by Charles 1 on June 14th, 1626. The original Charter was destroyed in 1666 in the Great Fire, but a new exemplification was obtained in 1668 and the grant was therein confirmed by Charles the Second. Interestingly the Company has over the years had two Royal Navy submarines affiliated to them, both called HMS Upholder. Where is our HMS Marketor? The Company also specifically supports Castle Baynard Ward Club. The lunch was excellent and the Master's guest speaker, Jake Mayer, had recently returned from climbing Mount Everest. Jake had decided from a very young age that he was going to climb all the highest mountains of the world before his thirtieth birthday and he achieved his goal by the age of 28. It was not without awe that the assembled company listened to the graphic description of his ordeal. After an excellent stirrup cup I repaired to the Guildhall to collect some material for my own talk on Livery Companies tomorrow at the Royal Overseas League.