Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers
|Straight and Strong|
|Location:||Furniture Makers' Hall
12 Austin Friars
City of London
|Date of formation:||1952|
|Company association:||UK Furnishing Industry|
|Order of precedence:||83rd|
|Master of company:||Paul von der Heyde
|Motto:||Straight and Strong|
|Website:||The Furniture Makers Company|
The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers referred to as The Furniture Makers' Company, is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The organisation was formed in 1952, and was granted Livery status by the City in 1963 being the 83rd in order of precedence.
The Furniture Makers' Company is the British furnishing industry’s central organisation, charity and patron. It endeavors to support and nurture the UK furnishing industry through core charitable activities which focus on Excellence, Education and Welfare.
The Furniture Makers' Company was formed originally as a guild in 1952 before being established as the 83rd livery company of the City of London in 1963. Their charity however was established over 100 years ago as the Furnishing Trades Benevolent Association (FTBA), later known as the Furnishing Industry Trust (FIT), dedicated to helping people in the furnishing industry in times of hardship. The Furniture Makers’ Company merged with FIT in 2013. During the same year, the Company celebrated its 50th anniversary and was honoured with the grant of a Royal Charter, bestowing upon the Company an enviable status.
The company has always been based within its' Hall in the heart of the City of London at the address 12 Austin Frairs. Austin Friar has subsequently become the name of their main publication. The Furniture Makers' Hall was built in 1882 and still has many of the original Victorian features from when it was built, as well as bespoke wood furniture and fittings, including an ornate oak staircase running through the centre of the building. The Hall was purchased outright in 2007 and is currently in the process of being refurbished to create a welcoming, well-designed venue for membership events.
Links with industry
The Company is made up of its' members who come from many professions and disciplines, but who all have a common link by being engaged in or with the British furnishing industry. Thus the work of the Company is driven by those who know the inner workings of the industry best. Members with wide ranging professional knowledge and skills in manufacturing, retailing, education, journalism; in fact any aspect of the industry.
The Company, never afraid to innovate, strives to maintain a high degree of relevance to the modern furnishing industry through its many and varied activities. As an extension of this, as well as traditional Liverymen, the Company embraces additional tiers of membership including Young Furniture Makers, Freemen, and Corporate Members. This gives opportunities to all individuals and companies within the furniture industry to enjoy a broad spectrum of social and business events in which to build mutually beneficial links in a forward-looking and influential Livery Company. Corporate membership is particularly strong with companies such as Herman Miller, Bisley, Furniture Village, DFS, Blum UK, Willis & Gambier, B&Q, John Lewis Partnership, Chaucer Furniture Logistics, Fully Furnished and CD UK.
Its Guild Mark scheme, a modern equivalent of the trading standards once regulated by the medieval guilds, gives accreditation to designers, craftsmen and manufacturers exhibiting the highest standards of British furniture production.
The history of the Company's affiliation with the British armed forces dates back to 1989, when Master of that year John Reid OBE proposed an association between the Company and 5th Battalion, the Royal Green Jackets. The Territorial Army unit based in Oxford and Aylesbury contained many personnel from the High Wycombe area, traditionally a furniture town. The occasion was formally marked with an exchange of gifts, a formal framed engrossment of the Bond of Association to the Company and a Bespoke Guild Mark awarded Campaign Table to the battalion.
In 2005 the Ministry of Defense set out a restructuring plan which saw the Royal Green Jackets become amalgamated with four other regiments, and from 2007 became known as 7th Battalion of the now larger regiment, The Rifles. Further changes occurred in 2014 during an Army Strategic Review, and after consultation with commanding officers the affiliation was adjusted from 7 Rifles to their paired unit, 2 Rifles.