The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers was formed as a guild in 1952 but had to wait until 29 March 1963 to be given its ‘Letters Patent’ to become the 83rd livery company in the City of London.
Much earlier, in 1903, the Furnishing Trades Provident and Benevolent Association was formed and one of its first actions was to establish a home to ‘maintain and educate the orphans and necessitous children of its members’.
The Furnishing Trades Benevolent Association (FTBA), as it later became, continued as the main charity operating in and widely recognised by the industry.
In 2005 the Company acquired 12 Austin Friars as Furniture Makers’ Hall and its permanent home in the City and became only the sixth livery company to acquire its first hall since the 17th century.
In 2008 the FTBA changed its name to the Furnishing Industry Trust (FIT) reflecting a more modern image and expanding its activities from providing welfare to providing assistance for training.
At the same time the jobs of the clerk to the Worshipful Company and the chief executive of FIT were amalgamated.
Within two years, the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers’ smaller charity and the Furnishing Industry Trust, already sharing offices in the hall, merged fully as a single entity becoming known as The Furniture Makers’ Company, the furnishing industry’s charity.
While its charitable activities were developing, the Company maintained its role as a livery company in ensuring its members supported the governance of the City, participated in major events, launched initiatives on behalf of the industry and fostered good fellowship.
In addition to its Welfare and Education remit, the Company runs a Guild Marks programme, recognising excellence in Bespoke, Design and Manufacturing, and two major awards: the Export and Sustainability Awards.
In 2013 The Furniture Makers’ Company was granted a Royal Charter by Her Majesty the Queen, for demonstrating stability, permanence and pre-eminence in its field while giving an exemplary degree of public service.
In its short lifetime The Furniture Makers’ Company has developed rapidly to meet the needs of the industry and the aspirations of its membership and is seen as one of the most progressive livery companies of the City of London.