History and Treasures

The earliest surviving reference to an organised group of brewers in the City of London was in 1292. However, it was not until 1438, when Henry VI granted the Brewers a royal charter, that they were incorporated as a Livery Company with the title of ‘The Wardens and Commonalty of the Mystery of Brewers in the City of London’. The Company today is governed by the Charter granted by Charles I on 6 April 1639.

A Brewers’ Hall has stood on this site for more that 600 years.  The first was in existence by 1403, but burnt to the ground in the Great Fire of London in 1666.  This was replaced by a second Hall, built during the reign of Charles II, which stood here until 1940 when is was destroyed during the Blitz.  The current, third, Hall was designed by Sir Hubert Worthington RA and opened in 1960.

Thanks to the generosity of Past Masters, Liverymen and other benefactors, over the centuries we have become the custodians of an unrivalled collection of historically interesting works of art, artefacts and other treasures.

The Brewers’ Company received its first Grant of Arms in 1468.  This was replaced by a new Grant of Arms in 1544, which remains in use today.  For a full heraldic description and to find out about the curious story behind the ‘demi morien’ who appears in the crest above our shield visit the Coat of Arms page (link below).

The Company has one of the oldest continuous records of any livery company.  The Company’s archive is split between the Hall and the Guildhall Library.

There is also a Company Library for use by our Members.

It was only in the mid sixteenth century that it became common practice to elect the Master annually.  Although records are not 100% complete, the link below will take you to the list of over 400 known Masters who have preceded the current Master.