There are now 110 livery companies of the City of London (and a couple of companies without Livery status) covering an extraordinary number of crafts and trades. Some no longer have much connection with their historic bases. Seventy-six are old companies, while those founded after 1926 are listed as Modern Companies. The Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects falls into the latter group, achieving Livery status in 1988 - just four years after it was founded in 1984, and received its Royal Charter in 2019.
This history reflects the first thirty or so years of the Company’s existence, charting its growth from an initial meeting in the Guildhall offices of the City Planning Officer to the point of achieving its Royal Charter and standing on the verge of taking up occupation of Sir Christopher Wren’s Temple Bar, which originally stood at the western entrance to the City straddling Fleet Street.
Firmness, Commodity and Delight is the story of a modern company representing an ancient profession and promoting that profession within the Square Mile to the world at large.
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For more than 600 years the Livery Companies have played a leading role in commercial activities and social and political life in the City of London. By the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666, there were at least 53 Livery Halls. Of the 40 Halls standing today, half remain on their medieval sites, but all have been rebuilt several times. Dr Anya Lucas, who has studied the Halls in depth, provides an introduction and an illustrated history of the buildings that have been lost over the centuries. Henry Russell surveys each of the 40 present-day Halls, no two of which share an identical plan.
All existing Livery Halls have been photographed especially for the project by the renowned interiors photographer Andreas von Einsiedel, making this a truly outstanding publication.