The history of the Carpenters’ Company goes back over 700 years, with the first written reference a mention of a Master Carpenter in the City of London’s records of 1271.
It was originally a medieval trade guild, set up to look after the welfare and interests of carpenters living and working in London – one of a number of ancient guilds being created at this time. 16th century wall painting at Carpenters’ Hall
The Carpenters’ Company received its first Royal Charter in 1477, and in 1515 was ranked 26 in order of precedence out of the 48 City Livery Companies then existing.
The Company’s considerable influence over the building trade reduced after the Great Fire of 1666, when many timber buildings were rebuilt in brick and stone.
As a result, during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the Company’s links with its craft weakened and the number of members directly related to carpentry declined. However the Company continued its ceremonial and business functions, selling and purchasing land and maintaining its charitable activities.
The late nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw the Company actively renew and foster its support for the craft of carpentry. Founding its own training college, establishing links within the building trade and increasing the numbers of members linked to the craft have been integral to this end.
The Carpenters’ Company today
The Carpenters’ Company today remains true to the spirit of its founders. It continues to support a broad range of charitable and educational activities, and to encourage and promote the highest standards of woodworking craftsmanship.