Guild History

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Guild Unlimited

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HISTORY

In medieval times, guilds were formed to represent common interests of those in shared work practices, such as coopers and surgeons. Apart from mutual interests, guilds also promoted ceremonial activities, such as holidays of their patron saint, initiations, testimonials and even burials.

As the free market expanded, guilds were seen increasingly as impediments to economic growth. Trade in commodities and services became more fluid outside the control of closed shops. "Workers" were represented by trade unions and professional qualifications managed by universities.

With the various craft revivals in the 1890s and 1970s, craft guilds were developed such as the Guild of St George and the Victorian Embroiderer's Guild. They were no longer associated with paid work, but with lifestyle.

Today, the role of trade unions is declining. Nowadays, it is possible for a single worker to intersect with a number of occupational groups. One person might combine an artistic practice with waiting in a cafe and office reception. Running between these responsibilities can be quite isolating. There is potential to develop guild identities that reflect shared work practices that are common today, but lack formal associations. We could start with cappuccino pullers, DJs, hackers, web site designers, network administrators, photocopier technicians and publicists. Where would you go from here?

Already there are many informal guilds developing online, such as the HTML Guild and the Open Source Movement. The Internet is quite conducive to guild-building because of the ease of communication. However, the computer screen is a cold medium that cannot fully satisfy need for bonds of association. Objects that represent these occupations offer a more tangible link. The history of guilds provides us with models: shields, trophies, badges, ritual objects, round tables, tapestries, paintings etc. What would be a 21st century take on guild objects?

 

See also

English gilds : the original ordinances of more than one hundred early English gilds 

The English Guild Method Of Learning

The Gild System

The Internetís Open-source Patron Saint

Linux: A Bazaar At The Edge Of Chaos

 

 

 

Some of the guilds in 13th century London

Apothecaries
Armourers
Bakers
Barbers
Basketmakers
Bellmakers
Blacksmiths
Blacksmiths
Bookbinders
Bottlemakers
Bowyers and Fletchers
Braelers
Brasiers
Brewers
Bricklayers
Broderers
Broderers
Brothmakers
Butchers
Buttonmakers
Carmen
Carpenters
Carvers
Chapemakers
Chariotmakers
Cheesemongers
Clerks
Clockmakers
Coffers
Cooks
Coopers
Coppersmiths
Cordwainers]
Cornmongers
Corsours
Drapers
Dyers
Farriers
Felmongers
Feltmakers
Ferrours
Fishmongers
Flemish Weavers
Fletchers
Founders
Freemasons
Fruiterers
Fullers
Furbishers
Galochemakers
Girdlers
Glaziers
Glovers
Gunmakers
Habadasherers
Hatbandmakers
Hatters
Haymongers
Horners
Hostillers
Hurers
Innholders
Jewellers
Lanternmakers
Lateners
Leathersellers
Leches
Limners
Lockyers
Lorrimers
Malemakers
Marblers
Needlemakers
Netmakers
Orglemakers
Painters
Paternosters
Pepperer
Pewterers
Piemakers
Pinners and Cardmakers
Plasterers
Plumbers
Pointmakers
Porters
Potmakers
Potters
Poulters
Printers
Pursers and pouchmakers
Ropers
Saddlers
Salter
Scriveners
Shearmen
sheathers
Sheders
Skinners
Smiths
Soapmakers
Spicer
Spurriers
Spurriers
Stainers
Stationers
Stringers
Stuffers
Surgeons
Tablemakers
Tallowchandlers
Tapicers
Taverners
Tilers
Upholders
Verrers
Vintners
Watermen
Waxchandlers
Whittawyers
Wiredrawers
Woodmongers
Writers of Court Letters
Writers of Texts