The Rev Dr William Guild- our founder and first Patron whose portrait graces this hall. William Guild grew up with first hand knowledge of the Trades, his father Matthew having been Deacon of the Hammermen on six occasions. An able scholar, at the age of 22, William graduated from Marischal College and became Parish Minister at the Kirk of King Edward and then moved to the City Kirk here in Aberdeen in 1631, before becoming Principal to Aberdeen University in 1641.
William Guild was aware of the needs of the various Trades; they had no meeting place; they were still a loose formation. He saw an opportunity to help – a derelict monastery once the property of the Red Friars, now belonging to the Crown. He bought it and encouraged various tradesmen to embark on the project of renovation, and in 1633 he gifted the now restored building to the Incorporated Trades, their first meeting-place and hospital. Now they had the means to grow together. William Guild thus laid the foundations on which our prestigious Incorporation is built, and he continued his involvement with the Trades through to his death in 1657 as our first Patron.
William Guild, I take the letters of his surname to paint a picture of this great benefactor of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen.
G – GENEROUS Generous in his gift of that first hall and hospital, Generous too in giving of his time and talents to the Trades.
U – USEFUL He lived such a useful life, his legacy and vision continuing to inspire the members of the Trades and many others down through the centuries and to this present day.
I – INTELLIGENT Possessed with not simply academic intellect but also the practical wisdom to see a solution to the needs of the Trades and the skill to bring them together in unity of purpose.
L – LOYAL Loyal to the memory of his father, loyal to the Incorporated Trades.
D – DEDICATED It’s one thing to gift a meeting place and hospital to tradesmen but the enduring respect we have for him lies in his dedicated commitment to the Incorporated Trades over 26years until his death, guiding, encouraging, inspiring the Seven Incorporated Trades as its Patron. We owe so much to the sterling dedication of Dr. William Guild.
I invite you now to stand and toast the Memory of Dr. William Guild.