Sometime in mid-14th century, a group of 22 members of the Ancient Guild of Pepperers established a group that was known from 1373 to 1376 as the Company of Grosser, but come 1376 they became the Company of Grocers of London (the full name was the Worshipful Company of Grocer’s of London). The hall where the Company of Grocers of London sat those years ago is now known as the Grocer’s Hall.
The Company of Grocers was established to maintain standards for the purity of spices and also the weights and measures of spices. The members of the company had shops located in Bucklersbury, where they sold spices, perfumes, herbs, drugs and confectionary.
The premises upon which the present hall stands was first acquired in 1427, but underwent many fires that either burnt most parts of the grocers business or at other times the fires ruined the entire hall. However, after every fire the company rebuilt the hall. At the fifth and last time when a fire ruined the building, it was opened by the late Queen Mother in 1970. Grocer’s Hall is now located on Princes Street, London EC2.
The business of the Company of Grocers changed after the great fire of 1666 as they had to relinquish the control of the spice business to Customs and Excise. From then on, the role of the company changed and they became principally a charity organization. The company gives gifts to churches and the education sector under the Grocer’s Trust Company Limited. Grocer’s Hall now is the center for receiving and recommending the applications for grants, scholarships, grants to needy students and gifts to churches it supports. Art, the elderly and other charities are also beneficiaries of the Grocer’s Hall charity activities.