The Glaziers’ Company is one of the ancient Livery Companies of the City of London. It dates from the 14th century. Today its members play a full role in the civic life of the City of London and enjoy valuable networking and social opportunities. Through its charity, The Glaziers Foundation, it supports education and conservation, and all its activities are devoted to promoting the art and craft of stained glass.
Glaziers’ Hall is the only Livery Hall south of the Thames; and built in 1808. Located at the south end of London Bridge it is a former dockside warehouse dating from the early 19th century. The Company acquired it in the 1970s and it has been their home since then. The Hall provides an office for the Company’s Clerk as well as rooms for meetings of the Governing Body (the Court) and Committees, and for Company social and other events (such as lectures and awards ceremonies).
The livery companies of the City of London comprise London's ancient and modern trade associations and guilds, almost all of which are styled the 'Worshipful Company of...' their respective craft, trade or profession. London's livery companies play a significant part in City life, not least by providing charitable-giving and networking opportunities. Liverymen retain voting rights for the senior civic offices, such as the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and City of London Corporation, its ancient municipal authority with extensive local government powers.
The term livery originated in the specific form of dress worn by retainers of a nobleman and then by extension to special dress to denote status of belonging to a trade. Livery companies evolved from London's medieval guilds, becoming corporations under Royal Charter responsible for training in their respective trades, as well as for the regulation of aspects such as wage control, labour conditions and industry standards. Early guilds often grew out of parishfraternal organizations, where large groups of members of the same trade lived in close proximity and gathered at the same church. Like most organisations during the Middle Ages, these livery companies had close ties with the Catholic Church (before the Protestant Reformation), endowing religious establishments such as chantry chapels and churches, observing religious festivals with hosting ceremonies and well-known mystery plays. Most livery companies retain their historical religious associations, although nowadays members are free to follow any faith or none. Companies often established a guild or meeting hall, and though they faced destruction in the Great London Fireof 1666 and during World War II, thirty-nine companies maintain their sometimes elaborate and historic halls.
Most livery companies still maintain contacts with their original trade, craft or professional roles. Some still exercise powers of regulation, inspection and enforcement, while others are awarding bodies for professional qualifications. The Scriveners' Company admits senior members of legal and associated professions, the Apothecaries' Company awards post-graduate qualifications in some medical specialties, and the Hackney Carriage Drivers' Company comprises licensed taxi drivers who have passed the "Knowledge of London" test. Several companies restrict membership only to those holding relevant professional qualifications, eg. the City of London Solicitors' Company and the Worshipful Company of Engineers. Other companies, whose trade died out long ago, such as the Longbow Makers' Company, have evolved into being primarily charitable foundations.