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WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF SKINNERS

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/L/SE
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/london-metropolitan-archives/Pages/ ›
Full title: WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF SKINNERS
Date(s): 1327-1989
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 1293 production units
Name of creator(s): Worshipful Company of Skinners

Context

Administrative/Biographical history:

The Skinners received their first charter in 1327/8 as a result of the more general use of furs and the consequent growth of abuses in connection with the trade. Further charters were granted in 1393, 1437 and 1667. It is thought that the Company was formed from the consolidation of the two Fraternities of Corpus Christi and the Virgin some time between the granting of the first and second charters, the latter being the first to comprehend the whole craft. Ordinances for the regulation of the trade were drawn up immediately prior to the granting of the first charter and again in 1365/6 and 1676. The Company controlled the English fur trade until the eighteenth century. Skinners' Hall, at 8 Dowgate Hill, existed before 1295. It was burnt down in the Great Fire, rebuilt in 1670 and refaced in 1790

The Skinners' Irish estate in Londonderry was known as the Pellipar estate, after the Latin for skinners, pelliparii. It was divided into three divisions: the Dungiven, Ballinascreen and Banagher Divisions.

The following charities are associated with the Company:

Tonbridge School: Sir Andrew Judd, citizen and skinner, and former Lord Mayor of London, founded a school in Tonbridge, Kent in 1553. On his death in 1558, and in accordance with his will, the court of the Skinners' Company became governors, a role representatives of the court still perform. Judd endowed the school with land in Gracechurch Street in the City of London, and in St Pancras. It was a small and local institution until the 19th century when it expanded to become one of the leading public schools of England. The school was largely rebuilt from the 1860s-80s. It currently has some 750 pupils. For further information see A Holmes-Walker, Sixes and Sevens: A Short History of the Skinners' Company, London 2005, pp.50-60.

Skinners Company almshouses: By his will dated 1558, Sir Andrew Judd bequeathed to the Skinners' Company an almshouse in the parish of St Helen's for six poor freemen of the Company. Lewis Newberry (in his will dated 1683) provided for the purchase of land for almshouses at Mile End for six widows of freemen of the Company

Middle School for Boys, Tunbridge Wells: The school was opened by the Skinners' Company in 1887 from surplus profits from the Hunt and Atwell charities, as an addition to its school in Tonbridge, Kent. It was a day school until 1894, from which date boarders were admitted. By 1901 it had 145 pupils. In 1944 it became a voluntary aided school, and in 1992 grant maintained. It currently has about 750 pupils. The Skinners' Company maintains its role on the board of governors.

Sir Andrew Judd's Commercial School: The school was established by the Skinners' Company at Tonbridge, Kent in 1888, out of an endowment from Sir Andrew Judd's Foundation [q.v.]. It moved to its present site in Tonbridge in 1896. It soon after became known as the Judd School. In 1944 it became the first voluntary aided grammar school. It currently has about 850 pupils, including girls in the 6th form.

Middle School for Girls, Stamford Hill: The Skinners' Company founded a middle school for girls in Stamford Hill, North London in 1890 from surplus money from the Hunt and Atwell Charities. Its premises were expanded in 1892. In 1902 there were over 350 pupils. In 1944 it became a voluntary aided school, and in 1972 the first voluntary aided comprehensive. The Skinners' Company has maintained a close association. In 2004 it became a Business and Enterprise College.

Content

Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Worshipful Company of Skinners, dating from the 14th century, with deeds dating from the 13th. IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING ACCESS: These records are stored at the Guildhall Library site rather than the LMA Clerkenwell site. Researchers wishing to access these records should do so at the Guildhall Library Rare Books table. The Library is open Monday to Saturday, 9:30 to 16:45. Researchers will need to have an Archives History Card or a Library Readers Card. An archivist will be available at Guildhall Library on Thursday mornings to answer any queries.

Records include charters; ordinances; Court books; Committee papers and minutes; livery rolls; apprenticeship registers; freedom admissions; financial accounts and papers relating to properties. The archive includes the records of schools established and run by the Company:

* Tonbridge School: The records comprise minutes, accounts, reports, registers of pupils, 1817-1948, and of examinations, estate and other administrative papers.
* Sir Andrew Judd's Commercial School, later the Judd School, at Tonbridge: The records comprise minutes, accounts and registers of pupils, 1888-1943, only. See also Ms 30715 and 30949.
* Tunbridge Wells Middle School for Boys, later Skinners' School for Boys, Tunbridge Wells: The records comprise minutes, accounts and registers of boys, 1887-1949, only.
* The Middle School for Girls at Stamford Hill, North London, later known as Skinners' School for Girls: The records comprise minutes, accounts and a register of girls, 1917-28.

As well as education, the archive includes records of other charitable activity by the company, and of several named charities ie Lawrence Atwell's Charity, Hunt's Charity, John Meredith's Charity and Sir Thomas Smythe's Charity. The Charity Commissioners' reports (1819-40) held in the Printed Books Section contain background information about these charities.

Skinners' Company almshouses: The records of these almshouses comprise regulations, ca. 1800-9 (Ms 30818); plans [1700?] and 1864 (Ms 30961 and Ms 30995), and schedule of plaques, undated (Ms 31313). Further references may be found in other Skinners' Company records such as minutes and accounts.

The archive also includes extensive records of the Skinners' estates, not only in the City of London, but also particularly in Clerkenwell (Clarke's Close estate) and St Pancras (Sandhill's estate) in London, to a lesser extent in Kent and Surrey, and in Londonderry in Ireland.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English and Latin.

System of arrangement:

To assist the user, the catalogue has been arranged as follows:
A Constitutional records
B Court records
C Membership records
D Financial records
E Trade records
F Clerk's records
G Charities and estates.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING ACCESS: These records are stored at the Guildhall Library site rather than the LMA Clerkenwell site. Researchers wishing to access these records should do so at the Guildhall Library Rare Books table. The Library is open Monday to Saturday, 9:30 to 16:45. Researchers will need to have an Archives History Card or a Library Readers Card. An archivist will be available at Guildhall Library on Thursday mornings to answer any queries. For further information please see LMA Research Guide "Consulting Archives at Guildhall Library", available at http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Leisure_and_culture/Records_and_archives/Visitor_information/free_information_leaflets.htm

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at: http://search.lma.gov.uk/opac_lma/index.htm

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The bulk of the records were deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library in July and August 1996. There were small additional deposits on 12 September 1997 and 4 November 1999. Two stray items were purchased and added to the archive: Ms 31472 purchased by the Library, deposited 19 July 1996; and Ms 31322 purchased by the Company, deposited 20 June 1997. Photocopies of items held elsewhere were donated on 9 August 2003 (Ms 34000). The Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library merged with London Metropolitan Archives in 2008.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

See J. F. Wadmore Some account of the Worshipful Company of Skinners of London (London, 1902) for further information about the Company, lists of Masters and extracts from the records. For a more recent history, see William Anthony Holmes-Walker, Sixes & sevens: a short history of the Skinners' Company (London, 2005). Information about the recent activities of the company can be found in their annual reports, copies of which (from 2004) are held in the Printed Books Section.

For the history of the Irish estate, see James Stevens Curl, The Londonderry Plantation 1609-1914 (Phillimore, 1986) pp.285-303.

For further information relating to Livery Companies, particularly using the company records for family history, please see Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section "Livery Company Membership Guide" and Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section "Leaflet Guides to Records: Searching for Members or those apprenticed to Members of City of London Livery Companies" (both available online).

For a general introduction to the history of the City of London Livery Companies please see entry in The London Encyclopaedia, ed Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Oct-09

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