The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers is one of the senior Livery Companies of the City of London. The organisation, following on from the Mercers' Company, another Livery Company connected with clothing and haberdashery, received a Royal Charter in 1448. The formal name under which it is incorporated is The Master and Four Wardens of the Fraternity of the Art or Mystery of Haberdashers in the City of London.
The Company, which was originally responsible for the regulation of cloth merchants, began to lose its jurisdiction as the population of London increased outwards from the City. Thus, the Company now serves as an educational and charitable institution, whilst maintaining a link with its heritage by giving awards to fashion education.
The Company ranks eighth in the order of precedence of Livery Companies; as such it is considered one of the "Great Twelve City Livery Companies". The Company's motto is Serve and Obey. Its Hall was for many centuries in the Bassishaw Ward of the City but in 2002 the Company moved into a new Hall in Farringdon Without.
As an educational institution, the Haberdashers' Company has been active in the foundation of schools. It founded a boys' school at Hoxton, which then split into schools at Hatcham in south London and Hampstead in north London; the Hampstead school moved in 1961 to become the Haberdashers' Aske's School, Elstree. The Hatcham school now admits girls as well as boys; a separate girls' school was founded at Acton but has now moved to be close to the Elstree school. Other Haberdashers' schools are situated elsewhere in the UK, for example William Adams opened the Adams' Grammar School in 1656 in his home town of Newport, Shropshire.
Being a principally Christian organisation, the Haberdashers' presents copies of the King James Bible to starters at all their schools. The Company owns and takes a keen interest in its patronage of eight church advowsons.
The Company is sole trustee of two major educational charities: Haberdashers' Aske's Charity and William Jones's Schools Foundation.
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