Need to know facts about the history of the Tallow Chandlers
Tallow is the rendered fat of cattle and sheep, and a chandler is a maker and seller of candles.
Traditionally tallow has been used to make candles and soap, but also as a lubricant in engineering and more recently as fuel in industrial processes.
Our Company has its origins around 700 years ago, with a group of craftsmen working together in Cheapside to support the tallow candle trade.
As time progressed, the role of the Tallow Chandlers grew to include the regulation of prices and quality of tallow being sold in the City, to protect customers and craftsmen alike.
Historically, the Tallow Chandlers’ Company was key in monitoring London’s trade not only in tallow candles, but also other domestic goods such as soap, sauces and even herrings at one point.
Our first Charter, granted in 1462 by Edward IV, gave the Tallow Chandlers the authority to seize and destroy inferior goods associated with the trade.
Tallow candles played a vital role in London’s compulsory street lighting which was introduced in the 16th century.
Fortunes declined for the Tallow Chandlers in around 1700 when new candle making materials, such as spermaceti and paraffin wax, replaced tallow.
The Company’s situation improved at the end of the 18th c. with an enormous increase in London’s import of tallow – due to the Industrial Revolution and Britain’s rapidly rising population creating an increased need for soap.
The Tallow Chandlers’ Hall stands on a site acquired by the Company in 1476.
Our current Hall was built in 1672 following the destruction of the original in the Great Fire of 1666.