The Wax Chandlers Company is one of the City of London livery companies. The business of a Wax Chandler was the preparation, making and sale of beeswax and beeswax products. Wax Chandlery included torches, images, wax for seals, medical uses and candles. Before the Reformation, acts of devotion to speed souls through Purgatory required vast quantities of beeswax for candles, tapers and images. Medieval trade relied on wax seals to attest contracts and the like and wax coated writing tablets were the BlackBerries of the time.
In 1371 the Company gained Ordinances that gave them control over the trade of Wax Chandlers in the City of London. It is now governed by a Royal Charter, which was granted in 1484 – we are the only livery company to have a charter of King Richard III. The Company’s Operative Charter was purchased from King Charles II in 1663. The Company is not a company regulated by the Companies Act. Neither is it a charity, although much of what it does meets present day definitions of charitable activity. It, like many ancient English institutions, has always crossed, consciously and unconsciously, the border between public good and private needs.
The Company has re-established its links with the modern wax industry and it continues to promote excellence and integrity in the trade. It maintains its association with beeswax through its support of beekeeping, particularly with regard to good husbandry and research; the Company sponsors the National Honey Show and it is a member of the British Bee Keepers Association (BBKA) and the Central Association of Bee Keepers (CABK). Through its historical links with the honeybee the Company is interested in promoting a healthy environment, and as a long established City organisation the Company seeks to encourage and promote sustainability and good governance in the City. The Wax Chandlers Company is a founding member of the Cleantech Cluster, which is a platform that supports and promotes cleantech businesses in the Greater London area.
Membership of the Company, including both the Livery and the Freedom, numbers about 130. It is drawn from a wide range of professions both inside and outside the City; some members are from the modern wax industry and the Company is an affiliate member of the European Wax Federation, based in Brussels, and some members keep bees. Whatever their interests or backgrounds, our members are united by good fellowship and their belief in, and support of, the Company’s values.
The Company has a Hall in Gresham Street in the heart of the City, on a site it has owned for over 500 years.