Recently members of the Hammermen spent an enjoyable morning at Trades Hall in Glasgow which is home of the Trades House of Glasgow established in 1605. Our tour was courtesy of Craig Bryce, Deacon of the Incorporation of Masons in Glasgow in 2013 and a Stirling Hammerman. Craig explained to the members that there were 14 incorporated crafts in the Trades House of Glasgow the oldest being the Masons which along with the Wrights and Coopers claim to have been first incorporated by King Malcolm III of Scotland in 1057.
Glasgow Trades House motto is Union is Strength and Craig explained that the symbol of
the 14 arrows was taken from the fact that a few arrows can be easily broken but 14 together cannot. Trades Hall itself was designed and built from 1791-1794 by prominent Scottish architect Robert Adam. It is one of the oldest buildings in Glasgow still used for its original purpose. The hall is used by the trades for dinners and meetings but is also let out for functions, events and weddings. Trades House support many deserving causes and individuals across the City of Glasgow through general support and donations from the 14 Incorporated Crafts.
From the entrance hall Craig took us through many of the rooms including the main hall where functions are held which has a frieze of all the trades running along the wall together with boards showing all the Deacon Convenors since 1605. For the record, the Glasgow Hammermen were incorporated in 1536 with the first Hammerman Deacon Convenor not taking office until 1671.
Craig took his time to explain to the Hammermen the use of many of the rooms and the significance of the various artifacts on display. The final stop of the tour was in the musuem where there were many interesting artifacts showing the history of the trades. However it was interesting to note that the room had also been a Trades School in the days before schooling became compulsory. On the wall was the school rules and it would be interesting to see how today’s pupils would react to the wooden benches, slates and rules in force then. School on Saturday morning! Finally Deacon Andy thanked Craig for giving up his time and taking us on the very informative tour.
A full history can be found on their own web site www.tradeshallglasgow.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/History-of-the-Hall.pdf