Victorian London - Directories - Dickens's Dictionary of London, by Charles Dickens, Jr., 1879 - "Fishmongers' Company"

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Fishmongers’ Company (The) have built their hall appropriately on the north bank of the London Bridge. The building is large and imposing, without being able to lay claim to actual beauty. Inside, solid comfort rather than elegance has been realised. The rooms are lofty and spacious, and the great hall is rich in wood-carving and armorial bearings. In one of the rooms is a capacious chair, made out of the first pile that was driven in the construction of Old London-bridge. The seat of the chair is stone, part of the stone in fact on which the pile rested, and, according to all accounts, these two interesting relics must have been under water for upwards of six hundred and fifty years. Another curiosity on which the Fishmongers set much store is the dagger with which Sir W. Walworth, Lord Mayor, slew Wat Tyler. There is the usual collection of portraits of kings and queens and benevolent liverymen, amongst which may be mentioned Beechey’s portrait of Lord St. Vincent; Mr Wells’s full-length portrait of Lord Chancellor Hatherley in his robes of office: and an exceedingly fine bust in marble of General Garibaldi who is a freeman of the company The bust is the work of Signor Spertini, a Milanese sculptor. The Fishmongers used in olden time to be the object of popular rancour. At one period they had to appeal to the king for protection, and in 1382 Parliament enacted that no Fishmonger should be elected Lord Mayor. Nowadays they are justly popular for their works of charity and excellent dinners. Twelve exhibitions a the universities are in the hands of the Fishmongers, and six presentations to the Blue Coat School. As a body the Fishmongers profess Liberal opinions in politics.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879