Barbers Company Crest
The Barbers' Company

On This Day – 24 June

On this day in 1722 the Court Minutes recorded that ‘The Court takeing into their Consideration Whether they wou’d renew the Lease of their Bargehouse at Lambeth of the ArchBishop of Canterbury by Virtue of a Lease which will expire in Aprill next The Court in regard the Company have no barge And That the ArchBishop does insist on One hundred pounds fine at least for a new Lease of twenty one Years and 10l: pr. ann. Rent And for that the Company do Constantly pay at least forty shillings a Year for the Land Tax afores’d upon the said Bargehouse and about twenty shills. a Year to the poors rate of the said parish of Lambeth And are at a Constant annual expense in the repaire of the said Bargehouse and dwelling house belonging thereto and do lett the Same for the Yearly rent of 5l: 5s: 0 only The Court thinking it would not be for the Interest of the Company to renew the said Lease Did thereupon resolve and order That their p’sent Lease of the said Bargehouse Dwelling house and appurtenances shall Lapse .’

The Company owned a ceremonial barge between 1662 and 1697, accommodating 20 rowers and probably large enough to seat the entire Court and a number of additional Liverymen. It is likely to have been commissioned for Catherine of Braganza’s Aqua Triumphalis of 1662. This spectacular river procession is shown here in an illustration by Dirk Stoop, including the barge of the then Lord Mayor Sir John Frederick, Master of the Company in 1654 and 1658.

The Company barge was disposed of in 1698 and by the time the lease of the bargehouse at Lambeth expired it was an unprofitable property, and so unsurprisingly the decision was taken not to renew.

Company members can read more about the history of the Company’s barge and the ceremonial life of the Thames in Liveryman Brind Waldron’s ‘The Role of City Barges in River Processions,’ published in the Barbers’ Historical Society’s Folio 5.

Aqua Triumphalis August 23 1662, the City of London's tribute to Catherine of Braganza, Queen of Charles II