Did you know that pewter is mostly tin with bismuth and antimony added to allow it to be worked and formed? No, neither did I, until I went with the Guild to visit the Pewterers’ Hall in Oat Lane.
We met on a delightfully warm Tuesday evening, September 8th. We went first into the Livery Room. We were greeted with wine and something to nibble – which was most welcome as many had come straight from work. In cabinets around the room there were outstandingly beautiful pieces of pewter, some obviously old and other pieces very modern.
We learnt that The Worshipful Company of Pewterers is one of the oldest Livery companies, ranking 16th in order of civic precedence. The earliest documented reference to it is in the records of the Corporation dated 1348 when the “goodfolk, makers of vessels of pewter” came before the Mayor and aldermen asking for approval of the Articles which they had drawn up for the regulation of the trade. It’s pretty amazing to be sharing in something 661 years old… and still going strong!
The Hall we were visiting was opened in 1961. The first Hall was destroyed in the Great Fire and the second, on the same site in Lime Street, was demolished in 1932.
We learnt about the history of the Company, pewter yesterday and today and a very high profile event that is run every June called ‘Pewter Live’. This is the place where very high quality ware is showcased, (An event we as a Guild are considering visiting next year). We moved to the anteroom on the first floor where again we could feast our eyes on some magnificent pieces – ranging from old to modern. From there we entered the Court Room. It was an impressive space with panelling and chandeliers recovered from the earlier hall in Lime Street.
After a thoroughly enjoyable visit we adjourned to the Bishop’s Finger in Smithfield – where we all tucked into delicious sausages and mash.
If you haven’t joined us on a Guild visit – I do urge you to next time you see one advertised. It’s a chance to be together and learn something about the City that is so special to us all.