A written record of the work undertaken in Court Meetings has always been kept (and of course continues to be so). The Clerk ensures detailed notes are taken of all discussions, decisions, activities, Company membership changes, governance, charitable actions and any other issues of the day.
After a period of time, these handwritten notes were bound into hardbacked volumes called Minute Books. Dating back to 1772 (the earlier Minute Books of the Company are now sadly lost), these records are held in the Guildhall Reference Library and are administered by London Metropolitan Archives. They are available to view in person and are held under the Library reference number - MS 03087 encompassing volumes 1 to 3 and 5 to 15 (so far).
Clearly volume 4 is missing from the series. In H.A.F. Crewdson's book of 1950, A Short History: The Worshipful Company Of Musicians, the Keeper of Manuscripts for the Guildhall Library and Museum at the time (Dr A.E.J. Hollaender), states that volume 4 actually covered the period from 1813 to 1832 and appeared to have been "...kept in duplo..." as volumes 3 and 5 also cover this period. Given the dates of volume 5 carry straight on from volume 3, it was decided that the Minute Book (originally catalogued as volume 4) was actually a rough note book used by the Clerk. It has since been re-catalogued by the Library as MS 3087A/001A.
Unfortunately, the second half of 1839 up to the beginning of 1858 (chronologically, this period would fall in-between the volumes catalogued as 5 and 6), is missing from the Collection. The whereabouts of, or whether these missing pages still exist anywhere, remains unknown. However, on 3rd April 1867 (Click Here for the pages that refer), a Court meeting discussed the fact that following the death of the previous Clerk (Mr France), Books, Papers and Effects belonging to the Company had not been recovered from the late Clerk's Executors. It goes on to say that these missing items included the minutes of court meetings from 1839 to 1858. In spite of significant effort and recourse to legal advisors, no satisfactory resolution to the problem was reported.
Fortunately, as mentioned above, the Clerk made rough notes before neatly transcribing and binding them into the main Minute Book. The Guildhall Library contains a number of such volumes, held under reference MS 03087A and the missing years (1839-1858) that would fall between volumes 5 and 6 are indeed available from within those documents. Consequently, in this Archive website a new 'volume' has been created that fills in the 18 year gap - ie the pages that could not be recovered from Mr France (Clerk) after his death.
Click on the Button below to access photographic images of each page of these Minute Books:
Click on the Button below for a computer-readable, partial transcription of these Minutes.