Trowel Talk: In The Company of Plaisterers'
“In 1189, in what could be termed the first London Building Act, the City Council, under the first Lord Mayor of London, Henry FitzAlwyn, made an order that all houses should be plastered and lime-washed.” ~ Worshipful Company of Plaisterers’
Plastering being one of the oldest of occupations, or as I am fond of calling it, the second “oldest profession” is represented in the United States and Canada by the Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association, which was chartered in 1864 and is the oldest of all the active building trades unions in North America. America’s trade labor movement, especially in the building trades, can trace its founding principles and structures to the craft guild system of Europe. With plastering having such deep roots here, it is probably of little surprise to learn that the plastering industry in Europe came to form one of the earliest of these ancient guilds.
As America embraced immigrants from around the world in the late 1800s through the 1920s, so too did we embrace many of their customs and ideas. Just as our impoverished immigrant ancestors often clustered closely around family, common national origins, language, and the trade they often brought with them; medieval guilds were tightly-knit groups of men and women who sought to protect their trade and used the advantages given by the strength of the group to remedy the weakness of the individual within the feudal system. The early creations of America’s building trade unions were focused on the same objectives.
- Firstly, to actively support Plastering Colleges and other Training Providers/Establishments by making visits and organizing annual training Awards.
- Secondly, to promote plasterers, via the company’s Associate Scheme, and to influence Regulatory Bodies in setting standards and maintaining links with Skill Test Programme.
- Thirdly, to strengthen ties with the Federation of Plastering and Drywall Contractors, the Construction Industry Training Board, City and Guilds and various other affiliated organizations, both within the United Kingdom and abroad.
- August 20, 1742: Thomas Parks for bad workmanship in Washing Stopping and whitening at His Majesty’s palace of Saint James for which offense he ought to be fined in the sum of £40.
- August 7, 1760: Francis Edwin a Master Plaisterers and Liveryman of the Plaisterers Company for having made use of bad materials and having mixed and used hay and straw with haire [hair] instead of haire only without that mixture in his stuff and materials of a new house in London Street Crutched Fryers London is for that offense fined £40.
“The Company’s original Charter of 1501 was written in Latin, however the Charter granted by Elizabeth I in about 1596 is in English and the Company’s name is spelled Plaisterers, as was the word ‘Maister’ at that time. However the Charter granted by Charles II in 1667 refers to the Company as the “Guild or Fraternity of the Blessed Mary of Plasterers London.
“Today the Company retains the original spelling but generally pronounces its name ‘plasterers’.” W&C
For more information on the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers visit www.plaistererslivery.co.uk.