Monday, February 6, 2017

Carved Arms in the Trades Hall

As I noted in my post of Januarhy 23, inside the front entrance of the Trades Hall in Glasgow is a long row of carved wooden benches.

These oak benches run the full length of the passageway, stretching over ten meters (32 feet). They are believed to have been made by Belgian woodcarvers who were refugees in Glasgow during the First World War. Alexander Walker, a former Deacon of the Cordiners, gifted the benches to the Trades House in 1937.

In addition to the carved armrests, you can see that the backs are also carved, having coats of arms in relief. From the left (the far end) to the right (nearest the entrance), these arms are as follows. (You should be able to click on each image to see the full size one. I recommend doing that to get the full effect of all the detail of these armorial carvings.)

L-R: The Coopers, Fleshers, Masons, Gardeners, Barbers, and (Bonnetmakers and) Dyers.

The Weavers, Bakers, Skinners, and Wrights.

The Hammermen, Tailors, Cordiners, and Maltmen.

The Merchants House, the Trades House, the Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow, the Physicians, the University of Glasgow, and the Clyde Trust.

Bruges (Belgium), Mons (Belgium), Kirkaldy, and Liege (Belgium).

Glasgow, Edinburgh, Scotland (the Royal Arms), Belgium, Brussels, and Antwerp.

And finally, Namur, Hasselt, Ghent, and Arlon.

You can find additional pictures of these benches and the arms carved into them, taken by a professional photographer with better lighting that shows the carvings more clearly than my poor efforts here, on-line at

All in all, it's an amazing collection of hand-carved heraldry, a tribute to the craftsmen of Glasgow by other craftsmen fleeing the horrors of war.

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