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Bowyers' Guildhall Window

With the Election of Sheriffs coming up on 24 June, members of the Company may not all be aware that the Bowyers' Company has its own stained glass window in Guildhall. It's easily accessible on the Library Staircase leading down on the east side from the Print Room next to the Old Library, and it's part of a central group of nine windows on the staircase, with the Bowyers' window in the middle.

The Old Library complex was built by City architect Horace Jones in 1873, in the style of the adjoining Guildhall itself, to house the City's substantial reference library. In 1872 the Bowyers voted 10 guineas (some £2,250 today) as the cost of 'a new stained glass window for the Guildhall Library', duly installed in 1873. That part of Guildhall suffered no damage in WW2, and the Old Library's stained glass windows all survived intact.

The library itself, of 60,000 books and historic documents, was at the time the largest reference library in London, and was the first to be opened to the general public when the building was completed. It eventually outgrew that room, and in 1974 was moved to its current location in the Guildhall's post-war west-side extension, and later partly to the London Metropolitan Archives in Clerkenwell, which in 2006 came under Guildhall Library administration.

The other companies' windows in the central block of nine are (top row) Plumbers, Poulters and Brewers, (middle row) Loriners and Spectacle Makers, (bottom row) Coachmakers, Glass Sellers and Clockmakers.

Tony Kench

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