Rare opportunity to see centuries-old artefacts amassed by Aberdeen tradesmen

13 February 2015

Rarely seen artefacts amassed by the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen have gone on show at the Tolbooth Museum, Castle Street.

The Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen: hammermen; bakers; wrights and coopers; tailors; shoemakers; weavers; and fleshers (butchers) dates back to the 11th century when groups of craftsmen came together to protect their own interests. They created rules to regulate and manage their trade, elect a leader (Deacon), control quality of output, maintain their reputation and seek to look after the elderly and infirm of their trade.

The Seven Incorporated Trades, now based in Trinity Hall, Holburn Street, remains one of the most important institutions in Aberdeen. Over the centuries it has amassed an impressive collection of art, artefacts and furniture in the city; many of which were created as an 'essay' or pieces of work, by individual craftsmen to show their eligibility to join their trade.

This exhibition features three chairs from the 16th century as well as coats of arms and crests of individual trades and documents from the city archives showing the role of different trades in the history and development of Aberdeen.

Chris Croly, Historian with Aberdeen City Council said: "The Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen's collection is a real jewel in Aberdeen's crown. We have borrowed a small selection of their significant collection but it goes some way to revealing the importance of the institution, which has played such an important role in Aberdeen. It is a rare opportunity for people to see these items."

Tom Ironside ex Deacon of the Wrights and Coopers said: "Over the last two decades the Trades have introduced an outreach scheme which is designed to have a more open relationship with the residents of Aberdeen so we welcome this opportunity to further display some of the treasures contained in Trinity Hall."

The exhibition will run until Friday 01 May 2015.

The Tolbooth Museum is Scotland's best preserved 17th century jail.