As the new Head of Operations for Inn and Out Events, I would like to say how delighted I am to be a part of such a dynamic and esteemed company, a concern so connected to the vast and wondrous city that is London.
In our busy, often hectic work life, we don’t always stop and think about how remarkable a place London is especially the City of London, or the Square Mile. It is mind-boggling to consider, when we pound its pavements that we are but the latest inhabitants in the two thousand year history of a thriving metropolis. The organisations we at Inn or Out Events deal with, often have a long history in London, and none them more so than Salters’ Hall.
The Salters’Company is one of nearly one hundred of the City of London’s unique Livery Companies. Livery Companies were an outgrowth of the medieval craft guilds which sprung up at the beginning of the last millennia, the guilds being organisations of men of particular trades banding together to promote their own interests. The typical guild decided who could work or trade in its craft, and what constituted fair prices, wages, working conditions, and welfare. Additionally, these guilds were frequently religious fraternities as well, who built and endowed numerous churches in the city, many of which still stand today. This was the case with the Salters, which began as a Fraternity and Guild of the Corpus Christi in 1394, and was made up, as you might guess, primarily of Salters.
Salters, as the name implies, dealt mainly with the precious commodity of salt, which was indispensable for preserving meat and fish back in the days before refrigeration. In the middle ages, salt was imported from the west coast of France, and was certainly not the inexpensive, taken-for-granted ingredient that it is today. The Salters, like the other guildsmen, eventually became known as liverymen because of the distinctive costumes or livery that they wore (livery is a special uniform worn by a servant or an official). As times changed, the original function of the Salters became less necessary, and the organisation transformed itself into an eleemosynary concern – how about that for a word? – Or a charitable and educational organisation.
The first Hall was built in Bread Street in 1454, ending up after several fires, including the Great Fire in 1666, in St. Swithin’s Lane, where it stood until it was destroyed by German bombs in 1941. After the War, a new Hall, designed by Sir Basil Spence, was opened in Fore Street in 1976. This site is right by the historic London Wall, which dates back to Roman times, and the Hall snuggles up to the wall via a beautiful, secluded little garden, which is a real pleasure to discover.
As someone who loves history, especially the history of our great city, I cannot express the pleasure it gives me to have Inn or Out Events associated with an organisation that has been a part of the life of London for over six hundred and fifty years.
Source: The London Encyclopaedia: Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, eds. MacMillan, 1983.
Head of Operations