London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:


Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • Records of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. The records have been compiled between 1454 and 1979, but they include deeds dating from 1273. They also include registers of freedom admissions from 1455 and of apprentice bindings from 1515; and records relating to Irish estates.

    Records of Geffery's almshouses: 1712 - 1915; 14 production units; refs: MS 17053- , 17063- 8, 31763-.
    These records comprise: accounts, 1707-1803 (Ms 17053); deeds and related papers, 1712-37 (Ms 17063); burial register, 1794-1850 (Ms 17064); lists of inhabitants, 1785-1886 (Ms 17065); inventory, ca. 1782 (Ms 17067); committee minute book, 1911-15 (Ms 31763); and miscellaneous items, 1878-99 (Ms 17066, 17068). Further references may also be found in other Ironmongers' Company records such as minutes and accounts.

    Records of Lewin's almshouses: 1545 - 1896; 4 production units; refs: MS 17065-, 17074- 5, 17250-.
    These records include: lists of inhabitants, 1785-1886 (Ms 17065); papers concerning payments under the terms of Lewin's will, 1747 (Ms 17074); papers relating to the Old Street estate, 1545-ca. 1811 (Ms 17250); and miscellaneous papers, 1811-96 (Ms 17075). Further references may be found in other Ironmongers' Company records such as minutes and accounts.
Extent: 957 production units
Classification: LIVERY COMPANIES
Former Reference: MS 16960- 17298, 30570 AND 31717-32
Site Location: Guildhall
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • The company received its charter of incorporation in 1463, but had been in existence from the 13th century. Very little is known about the organisation before 1463, as few records survive. The original hall, in Fenchurch Street, was bought in 1457, the company being situated there until the hall was destroyed by a bomb in 1917 (the only livery company to lose its hall during the First World War). In 1919 the decision was made to rebuild the hall on a new site and the old site was sold. The new hall, built in 1923, is situated in Shaftesbury Place, off Aldersgate Street.

    Geffery's almshouses were founded by the bequest of Sir Robert Geffery. A site for the almshouses was purchased in 1712. In 1910 they were sold to London County Council and converted into a museum. A site was purchased at Mottingham Park, Eltham, and the new almshouses were completed in 1914. In 1974 these buildings were acquired by the Greater London Council and new almshouses were built at Hook in Hampshire.

    By his will dated 1555, Thomas Lewin bequeathed four almshouses in St Nicholas churchyard to the Ironmongers' Company. After they burnt down in the Fire of London, the Company converted four old houses in the parish of St Luke Old Street into houses for four poor freemen. These houses burnt down in 1785 and were replaced by four new almshouses
Creator: Worshipful Company of Ironmongers
Copyright: Depositor
Source of Acquisition:
  • The records of the company have been deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library at various dates since 1977. The Manuscripts Section merged with London Metropolitan Archives in 2008. The records have been catalogued by various members of staff over many years.
  • One item was deposited by the Brewers Company in 1949
  • 1949/007
  • 1980/024
  • 1977/020
  • 1995/074
  • 1978/011
Access Restrictions: These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions Not available for online ordering. Please see staff
Arrangement: As the archive is large and complex, and to assist the user, the catalogue has been arranged in sections representing sub-groups each with an archival classification code as follows:
A Constitutional records
B Court records
C Membership records
D Financial records
F Clerk's records
G Charities and estates
H Maps and Plans
I Photographs
Publication Notes:

The Printed Books Section of Guildhall Library holds a number of historical works concerning the company, including a history by Elizabeth Glover (1991). Also Neil Burton, "The Geffrye Almshouses" (Geffrye Museum, 1979).

For further information relating to Livery Companies, particularly using the company records for family history, please see Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section “Livery Company Membership Guide” and Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section “Leaflet Guides to Records: Searching for Members or those apprenticed to Members of City of London Livery Companies” (both available online).

For a general introduction to the history of the City of London Livery Companies please see entry in “The London Encyclopaedia”, ed Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert.

Language Notes: Nearly all in English, but some Latin.