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.
source: The Queen's London : a Pictorial and Descriptive Record of the Streets, Buildings, Parks and Scenery of the Great Metropolis, 1896