Friday 25 November 2011

the Armourers' Hall of the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers

I had the privilege of visiting the Armourers' Hall of the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers, a site occupied in London since 1346.

The reason for the visit was actually a talk on The Future of the International Monetary System by Vítor Constâncio, Vice-President of the ECB. It was after the talk that I had a chance to look around and get a better impression of the Livery Hall we had been in and prompt a request to be able to photograph in the building.

The Armourers' Hall had survived the Great Fire of London and The Blitz and is a little gem. It has been the home of The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers since 1346. The Company is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. Originally, the Armourers were responsible for producing armour and have had a link with the Army right through to the present day. Nowadays,The Company is now one of the leading charities in the UK supporting metallurgy and materials science education from primary school to postgraduate levels.

The armourers were given their first Royal Charter in 1453 by King Henry VI. I was thrilled to see the document for the Grant of Arms in 1556 up on the wall in the Court Room, the door to which had a lovely decorated door knob with the mottos "We Are One" and "Make All Sure" that included the Brasiers, who had joined the company sometime in the sixteenth century. The same room contains the petition to Queen Anne in 1708 for a charter including the Brasiers. Another lovely illustrated document, though possible water damaged, is the grant of Bye-Laws under the Charter of Elizabeth I in 1570 in the hall.

Ultimately, I was drawn back to the Livery Hall with its gorgeous lights and the Arms of Aldermen on the walls.   En masse, they provide a colourful adornment to the panelling, however, close up, individual arms are little works of art - and often humour. These are but a few of the collection of Arms of the Alderman of the Company from more than two centuries.

Downstairs, I particularly liked the conjunction of mediaeval armour with an example of more modern Bristol armour

The last minutes before leaving the building I was attracted by the Victorian tiling on the floor. I then tipped my forehead to the bicorne hat in the downstairs office and left, delighted to have had the privilege of visiting this Hall.

This is one of four articles relating to a visit to London on 23rd November 2011:

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