Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths


Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths

The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The Company, which has origins in the twelfth century, received a Royal Charter in 1327. It ranks fifth in the order of precedence of Livery Companies. Its motto is "Justitia Virtutum Regina", Latin for "Justice is the Queen of Virtues". In 1891, the Worshipful Company established Goldsmiths College.

Purpose

The Company was the medieval guild for goldsmiths, as well as silversmiths and jewellers. Only "masters" of the company could trade in these fields in the city. The Company was originally responsible for hallmarking platinum, gold and silver. (The word "hallmarking" arises from the fact that precious metals were officially inspected and marked in Goldsmiths' Hall, the Company's official home.) Today, the Company is one of the few Livery Companies that continues to carry out its ancient functions. The Company operates the London Assay Office, where objects made of precious metals are tested for purity, and then marked with an official symbol if they pass the necessary tests. At a Trial of the Pyx, they are responsible for checking the validity of British coinage.

Goldsmiths' Hall

The company's livery hall, Goldsmiths' Hall is located at the junction of Foster Lane and Gresham Street, north east of St. Paul's Cathedral. The company has been based in the same location since 1339, and the present hall is the third on the site. Little is known about the first hall. The second hall was built in 1634-36 and restored after the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was eventually demolished in the late 1820s. The third and present hall was designed by Philip Hardwick. In 1941 a bomb exploded inside the south-west corner but the building largely survived and it was restored after the war. Goldsmiths' Hall is not usually open to the public but there are a few open days each year.

External links

* [http://www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk The Goldsmiths' Company]
* [http://www.shaw-hardwick.co.uk Website in memory of Philip Hardwick]


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