The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.514050, -0.085133


This text was copied from Wikipedia on 28 February 2024 at 5:11AM.

Buildings along a street. Focal point is a large blue door, number 30, flanked by 2 pillars either side, topped by a pediment with a coat of arms
The entrance on Threadneedle Street
The courtyard of Merchant Taylors Hall

The Merchant Taylors' Hall, London is the seat of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors, one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London surviving from Mediaeval times.

The Company has occupied its present site between Threadneedle Street and Cornhill since 1347. It lies in the ward of Cornhill. It is thus one of only 40 remaining livery halls in London.


The first Hall was built at some date between the years 1347 and 1392 when it was known as "Taillourshalle"; between then and the Great Fire of London in 1666, no records show structural alteration of any importance except the rebuilding of the roof between 1586 and 1588.

At the time of the Great Fire, the roof and the interior were gutted, leaving only the walls and foundations. The building was restored and embellished with tapestries, stained glass windows, chandeliers and panelling; but during the London Blitz in September 1940, it was hit by a number of German Luftwaffe incendiary bombs and the Hall with both Galleries, the Western Entrance, the Grand Staircase and the Parlour with the Drawing Room above were destroyed.

Certain important parts of the premises, however, escaped damage. These included the Library with its collection, inter alia, of early books, first editions and other interesting old volumes principally dealing with London; the Court Room, in which the walls are lined with portraits of Past Masters of the Company, and containing over the fireplaces two carved Coats of Arms representing the Company's original Grant of 1480 and the present Grant of 1586; the Great Kitchen, which has been in continuous use since 1425; and part of the Crypt of the late 14th-century Chapel which adjoined the East end of the Hall.


The work of reconstruction could not be started until some years after the end of World War II and the Hall itself was opened for use in March 1959. Although the interior had been gutted, the walls and foundations had survived and have been incorporated in the restored Hall, which still retains the basic proportions of the previous building although the style of decoration has been radically changed. Prominent features are the mahogany panelling, the stained glass windows containing the Arms of Honorary Freemen and benefactors and the Renatus Harris organ.

The new floor of the Hall is almost at the same level as the parquet floor of 1793, and sections of the three previous floor levels – the 14th-century beaten clay floor which was covered with rushes, the red tile floor laid in 1646 and the marble and Purbeck stone floor dated from 1675 – have been preserved and can still be seen in a trap in the floor.

The Company's collection of plates dates mainly from the 17th century as most of their earlier possessions were either sold or melted down during the English Civil War to meet the King's demands for money, or were destroyed in the Great Fire of London. All that remains from these early days are the Corporate Seal of the Company (about 1502), the Cloth-yard (before 1509), the 16th-century ceremonial mace and the "Offley" and "Maye" rosewater dishes of 1590 and 1597.


The Hall is open for housing public events through a dedicated events and catering company. It has been used for various purposes, ranging from entertainment industry photocalls such as for the Harry Potter film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on 25 October 2005 (with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint), to hosting official government and administrative events such as the Mayor of London & Greater London Authority's Women in London’s Economy programme on 28 February 2008 (with Ken Livingstone, Harriet Harman MP, Diane Abbott MP, Elisabeth Kelan and Sandra Fredman).

External links


51°30′51″N 0°05′07″W / 51.5141°N 0.0854°W / 51.5141; -0.0854

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San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Tailors have their own slang -- how many of these were in use in the 17th century, I do not know:

BABY – The stuffed pad of cloth that the tailor works his cloth on.

BALLOON, TO HAVE A – To have no money coming in at the end of the week.

BANGER – A piece of wood with a handle used to draw steam out of the material during ironing.

BOARD – Tailor’s work bench.

BOOT? , CAN YOU SPARE THE – Can you give me loan? Dating from the time that all tailors used to sit cross-legged at the bench. The tailor would record a loan by chalking it up on the sole of his boot.

BUNCE – A perk of the trade. Mungo is one type of tailor’s bunce.

CODGER – A tailor who does up old suits.

CRIB – Larger scraps of cloth, saved from a length of cloth alloted for a job. The crib can be used to make a skirt or a pair of trousers. Another example of a tailor’s bunce.

DEAD – A job is dead when it’s been paid for. There is no more money coming in from it, and it is a good idea to get it off your hands quickly.

DOCTOR – An alteration tailor – a separate trade in most houses.

DOLLY – A roll of material, wetted, and used as a sponge to dampen the cloth.

DRAG, IN THE– Late with a job of work.

DRUMMERS – Trouser makers. A term of contempt used by jacket makers to describe trouser makers because there is said to be less skill in making a pair of trousers.
Trouser makers are also given the more contemptuous name of FOUR SEAMS & A RUB OF SOAP.

DUCK SHOVING – An East End expression, meaning making the stitches too big. The West End equivalent is SKIPPING IT.

GOOSE IRON – Hand iron, which used to be heated upon a gas flame.

INCH STICK – Wooden ruler.

KICKING – Looking for another job. If dissatisfied, a tailor might go out looking for another job during the lunch break.

A KILL – A job that is no good at all and cannot be resold. e.g. If burnt with an iron.

KIPPER – Female tailor’s assistant, called kippers because they always worked in pairs. This was for their own safety – a kind of chaperone system – so that one could protect the other if the tailor made advances.

MANGLE – Sewing machine. Old machine that worked on a treadle looked like mangles.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


MUNGO – Cloth cuttings. These belong to the tailor and he can make a few pennies by selling them to a rag merchant.

ON THE COD – Gone for a drink.

ON THE LOG – Piecework. As in most trades, tailors are paid according to the amount of work they turn out. The work is logged up against the tailor’s name in the book.

A PORK – A job that customer rejects but which can be sold to someone else.

PT, RUBBING IN A – Fitting in a private job, e.g. making yourself a pair of trousers during the lunch break. This practice is allowed in most work rooms provided th tailors are discreet about it, and do it in their own time.

SCHMUTTER, BIT OF OLD – Jewish expression for a piece of poor cloth.

SHEARS – Tailor’s scissors.

SKIFFLE – A fast job that a customer wants in a hurry.

SMALL SEAMS – A warning expression to a fellow tailor that the person you are talking about is coming into the room.

SOFT SEW – A cloth that is easy to work with, e.g. tweed.

TWEED MERCHANT – A tailor who does the easy work. A term of contempt for a poor workman, because tweed being soft and rough is easier to work with than other cloths.

UMSIES – The name used to describe someone who is in the room when the tailor is talking about them, but they do not want them to know it. Even if they hear, there is an element of doubt about who is being referring to.…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


  • Aug