Coat of Arms

The Company was granted its Armorial Bearings in 1545/6, the original patent, which in part is worn and difficult to decipher, is now framed and hung in the foyer of Plaisterers’ Hall.

Also hanging in the Hall is a beautiful banner worked by the late Mrs Margaret Wettern, wife of Past Master Patrick Wettern. On one side the banner depicts the Arms as in the original patent and it reads as follows:

“Azure on a chevron engrailed argent a rose gules budded or, stalked and leaved vert, between two fleurs de lys azure; in chief a trowel fessewise between two plasterer’s hammers palewise all argent handled or, in case a plasterer’s brush, of four knots tied argent handled or.”

plaisterers crest

The Company through History

Pre-12th Century

Although plaster was often used by the Romans, by Anglo Saxons and even, in a primitive form, by early cave-dwellers, there is little recorded history of the Craft until the 12th century.

12th Century

Already, in 12th century London there were so many cook-shop fires that Henry Fitz Alwyn, the first Mayor of London, ordered all such places to be plastered and limewashed for protection. The order must have had some success, because in 1212, King John endorsed the edict further, allowing shop-owners on the Thames and London Bridge just eight days to whitewash and plaster, inside and out, any house covered with reed or rush, at pain of having their property demolished.


It was rare for plastering to be used for ornamental purposes in Britain until 1254, when Henry III, on a visit to France, was so taken with the fine, white qualities of Plaster of Paris that he introduced it here.


An indication of a typical plasterer’s work can be seen in an entry in the City archives for 1317. This records an agreement by Adam le Plaster, citizen of London, to ‘supply Plaster of Paris and to repair therewith the walls, within and without, and also the flues, of the Earl of Richmond’s hall in the neighbourhood of St. Paul’s Cathedral, in eight weeks on security of all his goods’.


Despite its existence as a recognised craft as early as the 12th century, it was not until 10th March 1501 that the Company of Plaisterers received it’s first Charter, granted by Henry VII.


The Company was granted its Armorial Bearings in 1545/46. In 1560, when the Court of Aldermen decreed that no further companies should assume a Livery without its consent, the Plaisterers stood at number 46 in order of precedence, just as it is today.


Considering the protective qualities of plaster, it is ironic that the first two Halls the Company owned would later be destroyed by fire. The first of them, situated at the corner of Addle Street and Philip Lane was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. The second Hall was built in 1669 from the design of Christopher Wren and was subsequently destroyed by fire in 1882.


The Mansion House was built between 1739 and 1752 and all the work on the elaborate moulded plasterwork decorations and enriched plaster ceilings was carried out by George Fewkes and Humphrey Willmott, both of whom later became Master of the Plaisterers’ Company, George Fewkes in 1760 and Humphrey Willmott in 1772.


The Plaisterers was one of the original eight Companies who conceived the founding of the City & Guilds of London Institute. In 1877, Past Master S.M. Hubert represented the Company at two meetings of those Livery Companies which had promised to contribute to the proposed scheme for a national system of technical education. By November 1877 eight Livery Companies had formed an association for the purpose of united action in the promotion of technical education by means of a City Guilds University. This became the City and Guilds of London Institute.


In 1900 the Company was able to respond to the Lord Mayor’s appeal with a donation of 50 guineas to the ‘Transvaal War Fund’ for the Boer War. The money was to be applied in such a way as the Lord Mayor in his discretion might think most advisable for the relief of distress arising from the War. The Company made a further donation of 50 guineas to the City of London Imperial Volunteer Fund.


Following the destruction of our building in 1882, the land was leased, but the building that was erected on this site was destroyed by enemy action in 1940. The tenants disclaimed their lease and in 1956 – exactly 400 years after William Elder bequeathed our first known Hall – the site was compulsorily acquired by the Corporation of the City of London.


Mr Harry Humber, the then Master, suggested that the Company should now endeavour to acquire a site in the City and to erect an office block containing a Hall. Plaisterers Hall Limited was formed. In 1961 the City Planning Officer stated there was a site on the corner of London Wall and Aldersgate Street and in 1964 planning permission was granted.


The foundation stone was laid on 27 May 1971 by the Lord Mayor, Sir Peter Studd and by 5 December 1972 the first banquet in the new Hall was held. The Great Hall is the largest Livery Hall in the City and is decorated in the neo classic style created by Robert Adam in the 18th Century. The three chandeliers are purpose made and each is approximately twelve feet high and eight feet in diameter.


In order to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, Plaisterers Hall Limited obtained a licence from the City to create a formal garden in stone at the East end of the Great Hall. The licence fee of one Jubilee Crown was agreed and is paid each year to the Chamberlain.


This was the 500th Anniversary of the Company. It was celebrated in style, with a fanfare of trumpets from the Royal Marines, King Henry VII swept in with his entourage. He had come to re-present our Charter 500 years on. In a wonderful regal speech he made clear the duties and responsibilities the Company was directed to carry out.


In 1987, just 15 years after opening the Hall, concerns were being raised about the office block at Number One London Wall and whether it should be redeveloped. Over the next 13 years the redevelopment was the subject of much negotiation by Plaisterers Hall Limited. April 2001 the Hall was vacated for redevelopment which was completed in March 2004.


The Company’s first Lady Master, Ms De Bradshaw, took office on 16th July 2013.


Mai Mai Morley becomes the First Apprentice “Bound” since 1840.


A burst water main causes thousands of gallons to flood Plaisterers’ Hall. The Hall undergoes a major refurbishment and opens in restored glory at the Training Awards.


The pandemic shut Plaisterers Hall and moved the Company to ‘on-line’ event with some success.


Thanks to generous legacy donation from Liveryman John Robinson, who expressed a wish to ensure that the entrance to the Hall should engender the same “wow” factor of the Great Hall, we were able to complete the Entrance Hall Enhancement Project.