Victorian London -  Organisations - City of London - Mercers' Company

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Mercersí Company (The) has its home in Ironmonger-lane, overlooking Cheapside. At present workmen are engaged in making additions to the building, which in its present condition is as snug and cosy as even City liverymen could desire. The Mercers have a chapel of their own, in which divine service is held every Sunday evening, and attended by a congregation of at least fifty persons, a respectable gathering for the city of London, where there are comparatively but few residents. Until recently the company had the entire management of St. Paulís School, which was founded by Dean Colet, whose father was a mercer. At the present time they are patrons of three livings, managers of several schools and hospitals, and possess a large number of exhibitions to the two universities. There are three old pictures of special interest in the Court-room: Holbeinís portrait of Sir Thomas Gresham, Dean Colet, and Whittington, who is represented as a sedate and prosperous-looking person caressing a cat. A portrait of Lord Selborne has lately been added to the collection. Perhaps the most noteworthy objects in the place are the wood carving, and an ancient gateway which contains a shutter in the form of a portcullis. This machine is elaborately carved, and was one of the few things that escaped destruction in the Great Fire. Near the site of the present hail stood the house of Gilbert aí Beckett, mercer, in which his son Thomas was born.

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

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 - Staircase of the Grocers' Hall / Mercers' Hall Prepared for a Livery Meeting

Staircase of the Grocers' Hall / Mercers' Hall
Prepared for a Livery Meeting -  photograph


Second in standing to the Mercers' alone, the Grocers' Company has played an important part in the history of London. Its Hall, within a stone's throw of the Bank, occupies the site of the ancient Synagogue in Old Jewry and, as may be judged from our picture of the Grand Staircase, it is a building worthy the dignified traditions of the "Pepperers," to give the Company its old name.


The Mercers Company, incorporated 1393 stands first of all in civic precedence Its Guild-honse, which was re-built in 1884, is entered from Ironmonger Lane, Cheapside. Our picture shows the handsome wainscoted hall laid out fur a livery meeting. The members of the higher grade of the chief City companies are called liverymen from the distinctive dress which they are entitled to wear.

see also Dinners and Diners, 1899 - click here