Ancient guild gives presentation

The speaker at the meeting of Ellon Probus Club on February 28 was Graeme Nicol, recent deacon convener of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen.

The Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen have their foundations away back in history with records for the Weavers extending back to 1222 and others in succeeding years up to 1534.

The purpose of this trade association was - and still is - to provide protection and welfare for craftsmen and their families, and guarantee the quality of the work produced in the city. By the 17th century the Incorporated Trades was immensely powerful body and, in association with local merchants, was extremely wealthy. Medical care and education were provided for craftsmens’ families, and funds provided for widows’ pensions.

The craftsmen provided local businessmen with quality products that enhanced Aberdeen’s standing as a trading city, and allowed it to develop trading links throughout Western Europe. A history of Aberdeen’s Incorporated Trades is a history of the evolution of Aberdeen into an internationally significant trading port.

Originally the Incorporated Trades were based in an old monastery located near Shiprow owned by Trinity Friars. This building was sacked by the Covenanters, but with the drive of local minister Dr William Guild it was later rebuilt and named Trinity Hall.

In 1847 the association moved to a new custom-built granite building (also named Trinity Hall) on Union Street - sadly, however, this building is now incorporated into the ‘modern’ sixties architecture at Union Bridge.

In 1964 the Incorporated Trades moved to its new and prestigious premises on Holburn Street, but has again retained the name Trinity Hall.

Although less powerful nowadays, the Incorporated Trades continues to work closely with businesses and educational institutes to advance and maintain work standards.

The vote of thanks was given by Stan Smith.

The next meeting is on March 14 when Katy Bowman will talk on Aberdeen University May Fest.