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Berwin Leighton Paisner
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The Glaziers Company
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Click to see full size Although the Glaziers Company would have had regular meetings since its founding in 1328, the first reference to a specific Hall occurs in 1601 when the Glaziers Company are recorded as having a Lease on a Hall in Five Foot Lane off the present Upper Thames Street. This building consisted of a Hall with seats, a Kitchen, a Parlour with a fireplace and cupboards, and a chamber above hung with painted cloth. This Hall was burnt down in the Great Fire of London in 1666.
By 1706, the Glaziers Company are recorded as negotiating with the Loriners' Company for the continued use of a Hall for which they finally took out a lease in 1718. They continued here up to 1759. Thereafter and up to 1918, the Company held their gatherings in meeting houses such as the Queen's Arms Tavern in St Paul's Churchyard and at the London Coffee House. From 1918 onwards the Company used the Painters' Hall until the acquisition of the present premises. Click to see full size
Click to see full size A Hall Building Fund had been originally set up in 1929 and by 1958 with sufficient funds collected earnest steps were taken to find a Hall. In 1971, the then Master, Sir Frederick Snow, started negotiations with the Proprietors of Hay's Wharf for a 150 year lease on Hibernia Chambers just at the south end of London Bridge. This warehouse building had been constructed in 1832, with a two storey office building added on top in 1850.
In 1974, the Co-operative Insurance Society acquired the building from Hay's and subsequently granted a lease to Glaziers Hall Limited at a yearly peppercorn rent of a piece of glass on St Andrew's day. The Glaziers paid for the fitting out of the building as a Livery Hall and they were able to occupy their new Hall in 1977, where they were joined by the Company of Scientific
Instrument Makers and subsequently by the Launderers' Company.
Click to see full size
Glass making has been known in Europe since Roman times, and verrers or glasyers had worked in England since the seventh century, and in the eighth century, Wilfred Bishop of York brought in workers from France. The process of making "stained glass" was described by Mark Theophilus in the tenth century, and by the twelve century was used frequently in England for windows in cathedrals and churches, though no examples exist now earlier than the thirteenth century. Eleventh and even tenth century examples can be found in Europe.
A Glaziers Guild is first recorded in 1328, though glaziers such as Thomas le Verer of Oxford are mentioned a century earlier. This early Guild was strengthened in the reign of Edward III who took a keen interest in the Livery Companies. The Glaziers Company of London then only had control of glass-making within the City of London and of immigrant glaziers working within that area. In the fifteeenth century many glaziers from the Low Countries settled in Southwark, near the Company's present Hall, and set up businesses which were outside the control of the City Guild. After a substantial increase in the use of glass and glazing in the latter half of the
sixteenth century, and a monopoly of the trade in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, in 1638, the Guild was granted a Charter by Charles I.

Glass making continued to expand as in 1610, Sir William Slingsby had introduced coal burning in the furnaces instead of wood, which allowed much greater heat and revolutionised glass making, as well as reducing the use of timber which was needed for building fighting ships. In the Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century multiple furnaces such as the Flint Glass Works in Birmingham, further increased glass production and the later introduction of plate glass and mass production brought glazing and glassware within the reach of all. The Glaziers Company continued to prosper therefore throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries sharing various premises, and in the last century eventually acquired their own Hall at the south end of London Bridge.
In previous centuries, scientific instruments had been made through the skills of blacksmiths, clockmakers and spectacle makers. The rapid expansion of science and technology in the last century, such as those of optics, electronics and computers made it necessary to have an Association entirely dedicated to the advancement of scientific instrument making, and in 1916 a British Optical Instrument Manufacturers Association Ltd was formed, later expanding into the Scientific Instrument Manufacturers Association Ltd in 1953.

In 1956 the Members decided to form a Guild to be known as the Scientific Instrument Makers and that year the Royal College of Heralds awarded them a Coat of Arms. In 1964 the newly formed Guild was awarded Livery status by the City of London to form the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers.
In 1977 the Company acquired a home in sharing with the Worshipful Company of Glaziers in purchasing a Hall at London Bridge, the Glaziers Hall, which they now also share with the Worshipful Company of Launderers.
In 1957, Dorell Rollit, the General Secretary of the Laundry Trade Association and Ancliffe Prince first met to discuss the setting up of a Worshipful Company of Launderers, and in 1960 the Company was formally constituted. In 1963 the Company established a Charitable and Educational Trust and in 1964 they received a Grant of Arms from the Royal College of Heralds and acquired a Ceremonial Mace.

In 1965 the Company inaugurated an Apprenticeship Scheme for launderers, and following a Petition on the Company's behalf by Sir Peter Studd, a former Lord Mayor, the Company obtained official recognition by the City of London in 1974. A Grant of Livery was approved by the Court of Aldermen in 1977, and in 1978 the Lord Mayor presented Letters Patent to the Master of the Company.

In 1981 the Worshipful Company of Glaziers invited the Company of Launderers to share their Hall by making an investment in it, and after the Agreement was signed, the Company moved into their new home in 1982. The three companies sharing the Hall commissioned a stained glass window in the Hall to celebrate the Millennium.

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