REMS Visit: Fishmongers’ Hall and Organs

13 April 2012

On 2 April, George Freeman and John Belling organised a trip to The Fishmongers’ Company, which is one of the ancient guilds of the City of London and the history goes back 700 years.

Fishmongers' Hall

The hall by London Bridge was burnt down in the Great Fire and has been rebuilt twice since then, with extensive work after the bomb damage of the war. The company still influences the fish and shellfish trade monitoring fish at Billingsgate Market. It has various educational establishments, some promoting cooking in schools. The company runs the Doggett’s Coat and Badge wager each year for “six Watermen in their first year of Freedom”. The first race from London Bridge to Chelsea was in 1715.

After lunch our guide was Ian Shaw, the official organist at St Mary Abchurch and St Clements Eastcheap and visiting organist at St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge. He took us into these churches which were rebuilt after the 1666 Great Fire by Wren and have pipes and cases from that date. St Magnus the Martyr has been much altered over the years with a major work in 1924. It has very fine woodwork. The peal of 12 bells was installed in 2009 (Whitechapel Foundry). St Clement, Eastcheap, organ is 17th century by Renatus Harris.

St Mary, Abchurch, has a unique painted dome of 1708 and a Grinling Gibbons reredos. The organ case is 1717 and the works were installed by Noel Mander in 1954.