The builders of medieval York included Masons, glaziers, plumbers, plasterers, and tilers, and largest of all, the group who worked in wood, variously described as carpenters, sawyers, joiners and carvers. Of these, only four crafts became organised into Guilds: the Carpenters, the Masons, the Tile-thatchers, and the Plasterers. These guilds came to an end in the early nineteenth century.
The York Guild of Building was founded in 1954 to encourage communication between the many different sections of the construction industry and professional organisations within the city, and represents all the skills which have connections with the construction and maintenance of buildings as indicated in the Guild Logo. The lozenge shaped logo has strands, which represent all the skills, which go into modern construction, whilst the Guild's Mace incorporates all the materials that are used today including plastics.
The Guild's Objectives
The Guild is committed to the advancement of design, management, science and craft in building and the encouragement of a better understanding of the problems and achievements of those engaged in building.
To further these objectives an annual programme of lectures, visits and social functions is produced. Meetings are held in Bedern Hall and visits are arranged to places of general interest throughout the year.
The Guild operates with a Court of Assistants under the leadership of the Master of the year, assisted by the Senior and Junior Wardens – five members of the Court are elected annually by the membership. In addition several organisations connected with the construction industry nominate representatives, together with the School of Construction at York College. Membership is open to any person involved in any aspect of building and associated activities.
The day to day running of the Guild is carried out by an Honorary Clerk.
In support of its objectives the Guild organises a very full programme of lectures, talks and visits in addition to a social calendar. The majority of lectures take place in Bedern Hall, which the Guild occupies together with the Gild of Freemen and the Company of Cordwainers.
The Guild has considerable interest in, and supports the work of, the School of Construction at York College. Each year outstanding students in craftsmanship are rewarded with Silver or Bronze Medals, which are presented by the Master at the Guild’s Annual Dinner. The medals are in the shape of the Guild’s logo, which recognises the wide variety of skills that are required in the construction industry.
In addition the Master joins a panel of assessors to judge student’s work each year and help is given to promote the work of the College amongst employers to ensure that standards and skills are maintained.
The skill of Craftsmen already working in the industry is also recognised by the Annual Ceremony in Bedern Hall when individual craftsmen and women and team workers are recognised with individual awards that are much coveted.