Chapter 111 – Union Is Strength

I proceed back through the Trongate, turning right onto Glassford Street and admire the elegant architecture from ground level to their rooftops. 

The Trades Hall, situated at No. 85, is a work of genius from Robert Adam and was completed in 1794. This meeting point of fourteen incorporated guilds, representing the finest array of specialisms and demonstrates why Glasgow is the industrial heart of the Empire.

Within these walls, where the Coat of Arms proclaims proudly: ‘Union Is Strength’, the guilds have prospered through collaboration, progression and focussed on nurturing talent into the future masons, hammermen, bakers, gardeners, skinners, wrights, tailors, coopers, cordiners, weavers, maltmen, fleshers, dyers and barbers’.

I stand in the Grand Hall, where five arched windows bathe the room in natural light and I consider what an opportunity it would be to belong to this magnificent organisation. Thompson & French is training the future cartographers of this land. What will it take to create our guild, conveying the mastery of our craft to the world?

I stand in awe of the philanthropy of the great Glaswegian industrialists, who peer down from their oil paintings, staring at me, measuring me up and deciding whether I meet the required grade. 

The silence is suddenly broken from behind, “Sir, will you follow me, please? The Deacon Convenor will see you now.”

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