Scottish Charity Number SC009255
The Incorporation of Barbers is one of the fourteen crafts
forming The Trades House of Glasgow. It welcomes into its
membership individuals from all walks of life who are interested in
the civic life of the City and charitable work.
The Trades House of Glasgow was originally created at the
time of reform ofGlasgow's local government in 1605. At that
time the electorate was basically divided into two groups, the
Merchants and the Craftsmen. The Craft Incorporations or
Guilds comprised the Trades Rank of Burgesses under the leadership
of the Deacon Convener who was given a council. This included
the Craft leaders and is the body we now recognise as the Trades
Today the Trades House still meets in the Trades Hall
inGlassford Streetwhich, apart from the mediaeval cathedral, is the
only building inGlasgowstill used for its original purpose.
Guilds and Craft Incorporations are the Scottish
equivalent of the craft guilds or livery companies, which developed
in most of the great cities of Europein the Middle Ages. Over
the years many of the House's political and legal duties have been
transferred to other bodies, but the charitable functions and
concern for the future of Glasgow very much remain. The
assistance of the needy, the encouragement of youth and support for
education, particularly the Schools and the Further Education
Colleges in developing craft standards, are now its chief
On the 6th of February 2005 the Trades House and the
14 Incorporated Trades celebrated their 400th year of
service inGlasgow, which was shared with the Merchants House and
the City Council who have the same anniversary.
The honourable craft of the Barber can be traced to the earliest
times and the motto of the Glasgow craft "Munda haec vigebat diebus
Josephi patriarchae jacobi filii, Aegypti praefecti", translates
into English as "This elegant art flourished in the days of Joseph,
son of Jacob the patriarch, Governor of Egypt".
The skill of the Barber's hands enabled another
contribution to be made to the wellbeing of the community.
The belief in blood-letting as a cure for many ailments created a
demand for this service and for centuries the hand which wielded
the razor also wielded the lancet. This relationship is still
symbolised by the traditional "barber's pole", originally painted
white, with red ribbon bound round and hanging from it a brass
"blood-letting" plate or basin - the ribbon for taping off the arm,
the pole given to the patient to hold and the basin into which the
blood was drained. The relationship between the Barbers and
Surgeons was initiated on the basis of a common skill.
The renamed Incorporation of the Chirurgeons and Barbers is
unique among the Crafts represented in the Trades House in owing
its foundation to a Royal Charter from King James VI in 1599.
For some time the two classes of member remained distinct, although
the surgeons were more strictly limited than the barbers, who with
their chirurgery skills were allowed to perform simple work,
healing of wounds, bleeding, extraction of teeth etc.
The Barbers' Charter was ratified by
the Scottish Parliament in 1672. However, the profession of
surgery eventually fell out with the trade of the barber and a
jurisdictional dispute arose. This was referred to the
magistrates who ruled in favour of the Barbers, who were granted
permission to elect the Deacon. The quarrel is now well in
the past and the Master Court is glad to include in its membership
a large number from the medical profession.
The Craft's objects provide for a number of needy pensioners
including, by tradition, an annual gift of shortbread. It
also provides annual prizes for student in Medicine, Nursing ,
Dentistry, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy. A prize is
awarded in association with the University of Glasgow
Medico-Chirurgical Society for presentations on research subjects.
A similar project is undertaken with the Dental School for dental
projects. The Craft nominates 4 members to the Trades House and
they participate in all of the work of the House.
During 2011, the Incorporation's Rules and Regulations were
extensively revised. Under regulations 17, it states that 'the
annual income of the Incorporation, after paying expenses of
Management, shall be, to such an extent as the Master Court may
consider appropriate, applied
-In payments to beneficiaries
-To make donations to one or more Charitable, Educational or
-To make awards to students at Universities and Colleges
-To support other awards as the membership think fit
Management and Governance Arrangements
The Incorporation is managed by the Master Court, elected
annually in September. It comprises the Deacon, the Late
Deacon, the Collector and the Late Collector, two ex-Deacons and up
to eleven Masters, together with a Master appointedand by the
Deacon. Honorary Life Trades Masters who have been elected by
members may also attend. The Master Court meets at least four times
New trustees are elected onto the Master Court as
required. By custom, the process to election as Deacon begins
with membership of the Master Court and after serving at least one
year on the Master Court, being proposed and elected as
Collector. After one year, the Collector moves to the
position of Late Collector and thereafter typically stands for
election as Deacon. Thus the leadership position usually
requires at least 3 years membership as a trustee prior to
In addition to the Master Court, the Incorporation elects a
Clerk who is responsible for ensuring that all Trustees have an
appropriate understanding of their responsibilities. He is
responsible for calling and recording all meetings and for the
keeping of proper books and records of the Incorporation.
The trustees annually review the risks that the charity
faces. To date, these have mainly related to investment
management and these have been ameliorated by a diversified
portfolio management. The Incorporation takes great care in
its distribution of grants and aid to ensure that it is used in
accordance with its instructions.
Clerk to the Incorporation:
Ex Deacon Ian R Thomson, MA, CA, FInstLM
Tel: 07768 502587