Worshipful Company of Haberdashers

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Worshipful Company of Haberdashers
Serve and Obey
Haberdashers' Company plaque London.jpg
Location: Haberdashers' Hall, London
Date of formation: 1448; 566 years ago (1448)
Company association: Clothing
Order of precedence: 8th
Master of company: Joff Bates
Motto: Serve and Obey
Website: www.haberdashers.co.uk

The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers is one of the senior Livery Companies of the City of London. The organisation, following on from the Mercers' Company, another Livery Company connected with clothing and haberdashery, received a Royal Charter in 1448 and has records dating back to 1371. The formal name under which it is incorporated is The Master and Four Wardens of the Fraternity of the Art or Mystery of Haberdashers in the City of London.

The Company, which was originally responsible for the regulation of cloth merchants, began to lose its authority and jurisdiction of that trade as the population of London increased and spread outwards from the City. Thus, the Company now serves as an educational and charitable institution, whilst being proud to maintain links with its heritage by giving awards to fashion education.

The Company ranks eighth in the order of precedence of Livery Companies; as such it is regarded as one of the "Great Twelve City Livery Companies". The Company's motto is Serve and Obey. Its Hall was for many centuries in the Bassishaw Ward of the City but in 2002 the Company moved into a new Hall in Farringdon Without.

As an educational institution, the Haberdashers' Company has a proud tradition of supporting excellence in schools. It founded a boys' school at Hoxton, which then split into schools at Hatcham in south London and Hampstead in north London; the Hampstead school moved in 1961 to become the Haberdashers' Aske's School, Elstree and the separate girls' school, founded at Acton, has now moved to be adjacent in Elstree. The Haberdashers' Company now runs a Hatcham academy, which admits girls and boys; other Haberdashers' schools are situated elsewhere in the UK, for example William Adams opened the Adams' Grammar School in 1656 in his home town of Newport, Shropshire.

Being a principally Christian organisation, the Haberdashers' presents copies of the King James Bible to starters at all their schools. The Company owns and takes a keen interest in its patronage of eight church advowsons.

The Company is sole trustee of two major educational charities: Haberdashers' Aske's Charity[1] and William Jones's Schools Foundation.[2]

Haberdashers' Hall[edit]

The Company moved into its new Hall at 18 West Smithfield, London EC1A 9HQ on Monday 15 April 2002, opposite King Henry's Gate of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. Thursday 24 October 2002 was a very special day in the life of the Company when the Master, Mr Nicholas Lund, welcomed Her Majesty The Queen to Haberdashers' Hall, and invited Her Majesty formally to declare it open; Prince Edward now serves as one of the company's Court Assistants. The Hall and associated meeting rooms and offices are built round a cloistered courtyard, entered through the façade of Market View, now developed into residential apartments and retail units. On the south side of the site the Company has built an office development on the Hosier Lane frontage.

In the Hall, cloisters on the right hand side lead to a circular staircase to the first floor, where the Court Room, Committee Room and Luncheon Room lead off a Reception Gallery. The Reception Gallery leads to the Livery Hall, which has a high vaulted ceiling, with the whole room panelled in oak. There are also offices for the Company staff, facilities for catering staff and storage below the Hall together with accommodation for the Master and the Beadle.


List of haberdashers' schools[edit]

See also[edit]

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