Sunday, January 29, 2012
Last week I was invited to a scholarship reception attended by some of the members of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. While talking to them I learned all about the Goldsmiths’ Company and their relationship with Goldsmiths’ College. In doing research for this post, I noticed how much I missed knowing the history of my institution. History and tradition was an incredibly important part of our identity at Agnes Scott.
For a recap of Worshipful Companies of Whatnot, I’ll take a quote from this post on my adventures at the Lord Mayor’s Show:
These are known as Livery Companies and were originally developed as trade guilds that were in charge of controlling wages, labour conditions, etc.
The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths was given authority over precious metals, and they could (and still do!) mark metals for their purity. This process is called hallmarking. The member I spoke to said that most countries don’t hallmark their metal anymore, so often people will come to their Assay Office in Goldsmiths’ Hall to get pieces hallmarked, which they then take back to their countries to sell. I’m considering taking my Agnes Scott ring–it might be a nice way to imprint London on such an important keepsake.
Now, to their relationship with Goldsmiths’ College. Goldsmiths’ Company founded Goldsmiths’ Technical and Recreative Institute in 1891 to give the residents of New Cross a place to study. While the school was later taken over by the University of London in 1904 and given its current name, Goldsmiths’ College, the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’ still works to promote the value of a technical education, and are in the process of opening the Goldsmiths’ Institute that will do just that.
I always find that when I understand the history of something and the reason it exists, I can more easily see how I fit in.