The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers first originated in medieval times. It is one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies and has a long history closely connected to the development of the City of London.
Over the centuries, the Company has evolved from its traditional haberdashery roots to become a major provider of support to education and a vibrant participant in new educational initiatives.
Education is of prime importance to The Haberdashers' Company. The schools it supports in the maintained and independent sectors are of the highest national standard academically, preparing pupils for a full life. In fact, the Company takes such great interest and pride in its schools that a Deputation (a group of representatives, drawn from the Master and Wardens, Liverymen, Freemen and Company Staff) visits each school every year.
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The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers was first established in medieval times. Members were a fraternity - a group of people who lived in the same area doing the same sort of work and who worshipped at St. Paul's Cathedral. They were haberdashers by trade, selling ribbons, beads, purses, gloves, pins, caps and toys. In 1502 were joined by the hatmakers' fraternity, creating two types of haberdasher: haberdashers of hats and the original haberdashers of small wares.
The first surviving ordinances were recorded by the Mayor's Court in 1371. In 1446 the Company adopted its first Coat of Arms, an important symbol when many people could not read. In 1448 the Company was granted a charter of incorporation by Henry VI enabling it to hold land and to have its own Hall in which to hold meetings. The first of three subsequent Halls was built on the corner of Staining Lane and Maiden Lane (now Gresham Street) in 1459.
By 1650 the population of London had grown so large that it was no longer possible to control the haberdashery trade. This resulted in a change of direction, over a long period, to the Company as it is now, with its emphasis on education and charitable giving. To this day the Company continues its historical involvement in the governance of the City of London.
For more information on the Haberdashers’, please visit their website at www.haberdashers.co.uk
Founded in 1892, Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls builds on the best traditions and values, combining them with a thoroughly modern education in the right environment to prepare girls for the challenges of the future.
Historically, HMSG was created as one of the three schools of the Jones’s Monmouth Foundation, arising from a bequest of Haberdasher William Jones, Merchant, in 1615, and administered by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers.
Click here for more information on William Jones and the history of HMSG.
William Jones’s Schools Foundation is a Registered Charity, number 525616.