Worshipful Company of Upholders

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Plaque noting the site of the Upholders' Hall, which was destroyed in 1666.

The Worshipful Company of Upholders is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. "Upholder" is an archaic word for "upholsterer". In past times upholders carried out not just the manufacture and sale of upholstered goods but were cabinet makers, undertakers, soft furnishers, auctioneers and valuers. The organisation was formed on 1 March 1360 and officially incorporated by a Royal Charter granted by Charles I in the 1626. The Company originally had the right to set standards for upholstery within London, and to search, seize and destroy defective upholstery. However, over the years, the Company's power has eroded, as has the profession of upholsterers, because of the advancement of technology.

The Livery's purpose today is:

To Uphold the livery of the Upholders, ensuring it continues to flourish. Upholding the craft of the Upholder and through charitable giving uphold individuals and organisations connected with our trade and Livery.

In support of the upholstery and soft furnishing trade the Livery provides prizes and bursaries to students studying these crafts. It gives Merit Awards to companies achieving the highest standards of craftsmanship and Master Craftsman awards to individuals. Working closely with the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers it is developing a "Centres of Excellence" scheme for colleges and other organisations to ensure the skills of traditional upholstery are taught and passed on to professionals and enthusiasts. The Livery is setting up a scheme to train apprentice upholsterers with assistance from the Livery Companies' Skills Council, the AMUSF and the Guild of Traditional Upholsterers. The Livery provides a small number of pensions to pensioners in special need who have worked in the trade.

Upholders arranged the funeral of Admiral Lord Nelson and the Livery is proud to include undertakers today.

The Livery and Liverymen are actively involved in many organisations and charities in the City of London including Castle Baynard Ward Club, as the site of the Company's Hall until the Great Fire in 1666 is in the Ward.

The Company is the forty-ninth in the order of precedence for Livery Companies. Its motto is Sustine Bona, Latin for Uphold the Good.

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Further reading[edit]

John Houston, Feather Bedds and Flock Bedds