Evidences, 1883: Horners' Company

Page 351

City of London Livery Companies Commission. Report; Volume 1. Originally published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1884.

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Horners' Company

The deputation withdrew.

Mr. C. H. Compton attended as a deputation from the Horners' Company.

3379. (Chairman.) You come here as the representative of the Horners' Company, I understand ?— I do.

3380. We understand that that Company has been reconstructed to a considerable extent, is that not so ? —I should hardly say that. It is on exactly its old footing, except that up to the last year or so it had a very small income, arising from the rent of the old warehouses in Whitechapel and a small sum in the funds. The warehouses were taken by the Metropolitan Board of Works for the purpose of erecting artizans' dwellings, and the investment of the purchase money in Consols (the money being now in the Court of Chancery waiting a permanent investment) has given us an additional income. On the faith of that we wished to do something for the promotion of the horners' industry, and, with the permission of the Lord Mayor, we held the exhibition last autumn. This occurred after the report was made, which we sent in to the Commissioners, and we wish to supplement it by the result of that exhibition.

3381. I understand that that exhibition attracted a good deal of notice, and was visited by some 7,000 persons?—It was.

3382. Is there any other matter that you wish to put before us?—No, I do not know that there is, excepting one thing, if I may travel out of the statement which I have submitted. Some point was made, I think, when Mr. Hare was examined, as to the difference between the nature of the properties owned by companies and those owned by private individuals. I wish to state that when the Metropolitan Board of Works paid the purchase money into the Court of Chancery to the account of the Board under their special Act, they paid it in to an account entitled "Ex parte the Metropolitan Board of Works. In the matter of the Artizans' and Labourers' Dwellings Improvement Act, 1875, the vendors, the Worshipful Company of Horners being trustees for charitable purposes," and there being no trust when we applied for the investment, exception was taken on the part of the Company to the words in the account "trustees for charitable purposes." The point was argued before Vice-Chancellor Hall, and the order was that the purchase money should be invested to an account to be entitled, "The account of the Master, Wardens, Assistants, and Fellowship of the Mistery of Horners of the City of London." That was after argument before the Vice-Chancellor. The property itself had been vested in the Company for a term of 1,000 years, purchased in 1605, and held by trustees for the Company prior to incorporation. Although the Company dates as far back as the reign of Edward III., they did not get a charter of incorporation till the reign of Charles I.

3383. (Mr. Firth.) Do I understand that before 1846 this Company had no livery at all?—No, it had not.

Deputation from Horners' Company.

3384. For what purpose is a livery required for a Company whose income is under 100l. a year; can you tell me that?—I was not a member of the Company at that time, but I believe it was to place themselves on a proper footing with the other Companies of London.

3385. But by that they obtained a vote for the Lord Mayor and members of Parliament?—Yes, they did.

3386. For what purpose does this Company now continue to exist, do you say?—They exist, I consider, because they do exist; but working on the lines of the trade not being extinguished there is scope for the small funds that we have in hand to stimulate the trade, and that has been shown very remarkably in what has been done.

3387. I see your total income is under 100l. a year ? —Yes, it is true, but with the few accumulations we had, and which enabled us to have that exhibition; we brought the trade together.

3388. These three gentlemen that were admitted to your Company in 1876, 1878 and 1879 appear to have gone completely through from freedom and livery right on to the court at once; is that so ?— That would be so, because the court was not full; it was by steps, not all at one meeting. The reason of that was that the minimum of the court was not then made up.

3389. (Sir Richard Cross.) Where do you meet? —When we hold a court we have been in the habit of meeting the last few years at the Guildhall Tavern. We have not a hall.

3390. (Mr. Aldèrman Cotton.) Do you think you have been beneficial to your trade since you started ? —I think the effect of the exhibition which we had last year was certainly beneficial.

3391. (Mr. Burt.) May I ask you what you do with the income you have?—Up to this present time the income has been so small that with the usual annual meeting there has not been any surplus to speak of, but what there was was accumulated. We had 200l. in hand, which we applied to the purposes of the exhibition last autumn.

The deputation withdrew.

Adjourned sine die.