Welcome to the Dyers' Company website. This has been assembled for the use of Liverymen of the Company and other City Liverymen together with other organisations and individuals interested in learning more about the Dyers' Company.
A brief outline follows but more detailed background information can be reached by clicking on on a button to the left of this page and then selecting a topic from the menu which will automatically appear across the top.
The existence of the craft of dyeing in London was first noted in 1188 and craftsmen Dyers were endowed with powers of self-regulation in 1310-11. The first Royal Charter however was issued by Henry IV in 1471 and subsequently renewed in the same terms by Edward IV in 1472. Charters were renewed by successive sovereigns until the last one in 1704 from Queen Anne. Our byelaws under this charter are dated 31st October of the same year. Until 1515 the Dyers ranked 12th in order of precedence among City of London Livery Companies, but in 1516 this was amended and we now stand 13th in precedence following the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers.
After a number of vicissitudes, including The Great Fire of London in 1666, The company now flourishes at its Dowgate Hill site, acquired in the 16th Century. The present hall was built in the 19th century and is the 3rd hall to stand on this site.
The Company's present-day activities are centred on continuing development of the craft of dyeing (nowadays as much the use of colour in design of textiles as chemistry) through strong connections with (amongst others) Leeds University, Heriot Watt University and the Society of Dyers & Colourists in Bradford. Other support for charities includes education (Norwich School and three schools in London boroughs adjacent to the City), twenty eight Almshouses in Crawley and other charitable work.
We are also known for our involvement, together with the Worshipful Company of Vintners, in the care of the swans on the River Thames. Traditionally this included the whole of the river but is nowadays taken to be the non-tidal section above Teddington Lock. The annual Swan-Upping voyage is a particularly important event in the Dyers annual calendar.
We hope you will find the site of interest and would welcome comments or further questions on any of the topics covered. Please use this email link to get in touch.