The Hammermen of Glasgow can trace its origins back to 1536. The Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow sought to regulate the trade in metalworking within the Burgh of Glasgow, ensure proper standards of training and workmanship, as well as supporting their members, widows and dependents should they fall on hard times.
The Hammermen embraced blacksmiths, silversmiths, goldsmiths, lorimers, cutlers, armourers, sword makers, clockmakers, locksmiths, pewterers, tinsmiths and others. The Hammermen even fought in battles, including the Battle of Langside in 1568 and Falkirk in 1746.
In 1605, the fourteen Glasgow Incorporations associated themselves together in the Trades House of Glasgow. The Trades House of Glasgow is now the oldest building (after the Cathedral) in Glasgow still in use for its original purpose. The annual members dinner is still held here.
18th and 19th century
In the eighteenth century, the fourteen crafts established their order of precedence. The Incorporation of Hammermen were awarded the premier position in 1777 by the Court of Session.
In the nineteenth century, the traditional origins of the Hammermen led to it being associated with the engineering and shipbuilding industries of the West of Scotland. The reforms to Civic Government and the freeing of commerce in the Nineteenth Century reduced the importance of the Craft Associations in Glasgow as elsewhere, but the Incorporations have continued to exist as charitable and public bodies.
Today, the Hammermen of Glasgow remains one of the 14 crafts of Glasgow and acts as an independent charity, providing financial assistance to their chosen areas of interest. Men and women of the hammer embrace every aspect of modern engineering in all its disciplines. Many other trades and professions are represented.
The Incorporation today has a membership of over 1,000 and during its 450-year history there have been many famous people connected with it, including Kings, Princes, a Princess and Prime Ministers. From the 16th to the early 19th centuries, the majority of members were metalworkers – men who worked with a hammer to fashion their products. However, more recently membership has widened to include industrialists, entrepreneurs, and others for whom the Incorporation with all its traditions has provided encouragement in furthering the trade and commerce of the City of Glasgow.
Items of historical interest
Some other items of historical interest from our records and artefacts include our guard duty in the middle ages, two banners from the Battle of Langside in 1568 also flown at Falkirk 1746, a Pint Stoup initialled RB from a Tarbolton Inn which victualed Robert Burns, a Bell, Port Teapot and the Gill Stoup.
Our minutes record involvement in forming the City of Glasgow Police in 1800, contributions to various war funds, Kings, Princes, Prime Ministers and a Princess amongst our members and, in 1921, our Clerk having a nervous breakdown!