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Goldsmiths’ Company (The)
possess an immense mansion at the back of the General Post Office, and are
famous for theor hospitality and their charities. Time was when the Goldsmiths
were held to be the most pugnacious of all the guilds. They fought the
Fishmongers on a question of precedence, and they constantly met the Merchant
Taylors in the streets at night, when much cudgelling ensued. Nowadays the
Goldsmiths are as peaceable a body of men as need be.
They possess the right of assaying all articles made
of gold and silver. The staircase leading to the hall, made entirely of marble, is well worth a visit; and Mr. Storey’s figures of Cleopatra and the Sibyl are worthy of more than passing attention. Amidst a valuable collection of plate is a silver-gilt cup, used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, and presented by her majesty to Sir Martin Bowes, who was Lord Mayor at the time. This vessel is highly treasured, and is used as a loving -cup at the Goldsmiths’ feasts. There is a fair collection of portraits of royal personages, including one of Queen Victoria by Hayter.
Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - Goldsmiths' Hall prepared for a "Pyx Dinner"
GOLDSMITHS' HALL PREPARED FOR A "PYX DINNER."
The present Hall of the Goldsmiths Company, in Foster Lane, Cheapside, was built in the Italian style from designs by Philip Hardwick, R. A., in 1832-35. The splendid banqueting room is 80 feet long by 40 feet broad and 35 feet high. Between the Corinthian columns are portraits of Queen Adelaide, William IV., and Queen Victoria. and before the mirrors are busts of George III. and George IV. The stained glass of the five lofty arched windows displays the armorial bearings of distinguished goldsmiths and the magnificent plate of the Company is kept in a spacious alcove. A jury of wardens of the Company is periodically empanelled to test samples of the coins made at the Royal Mint, which are placed in a small box, or pyx; and this function is invariably followed by the "Pyx Dinner."Victorian London - Publications - History - The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896 - Goldsmiths' Hall: The Assay Office
GOLDSMITHS' HALL: THE ASSAY OFFICE.
Perhaps the most important privilege enjoyed by the Goldsmiths' Company is the assaying and hall-marking of gold and silver articles. Fees for this are paid into the Inland Revenue, and the Company is allowed one per cent, of the value of the objects for the work it undertakes. Our picture shows a portion of the Assay Office at the Hall in Foster Lane. A variety of things, useful and ornamental, may be seen on the benches awaiting examination. The distinguishing mark of the Goldsmiths' Company is a leopard's head, and their letter showing the date of manufacture for the year ending May 29th, 1896, is U. Another mark, which the various assaying offices in the provinces have in common with that in London, is the lion passant.