History of the Guild of Master Locksmiths
The Guild of Master Locksmith came in to creation due to 7 families and locksmith and security based businesses coming together to end a fudding war.
It was on October 14th 1975 that the guild came in to effect, it is basically a peace treaty with a set of bylaws created to stop damage to our industry by undercutting and stealing work or disrespecting each other.
The older families have been working in Sunderland, Newcastle and Gateshead since 1948 with the oldest locksmith business been Taylors Locksmiths who was ran by the late John Taylor who was also one of the founding members of the Guild of Master Locksmiths UK but John is from an old Italian family known as Sarto which is Italian for Taylor. John brought with him the old ways of Italy and suggested a form of brotherhood that seen the heads of each business come together, this also tide in to other clubs they were members of such as the Freemasons. The guild became the freemasons of the locksmith world during the 1970s and 1980s.
It all started during the 60s when a nasty war came about when locksmiths became fed up being been undercut and having pop up "conmen" start up a fake door to door locksmith business and carry out bad work and committing crimes in the local Tyne and Wear areas that led to many burglaries, this led to bickering and eventually escalated to violence and vandalism and even death threats as it affected the real locksmiths that were trading legally and with no backing from the government that recognised the locksmith trade then guild would be formed.
Lucky for the future generations of local locksmiths the families or locksmiths came together and created the guild, this helped us look after our area, stopping conman from operating and stopping business from disrespecting each other and created a fair price structure for the public. As part of this the old members had to show there proof of insurance, there awards in locksmith trade. This was also the case with local businesses such as Northeast Lock and Key. By the 1980s if you wanted to buy stock you had to be a guild member to make sure you were offering a real service. However this is no longer the case.
This had to happen as there has never been any qualifications or governing body that looked over the locksmith industry and there still is not one to this day. We needed a guidance, a set of rules to live and work by and so the guild was born. It also meant if we came face to face with any threat to one of our businesses then you came face to face with all the guild members, whether that be through legal action where we all fund the fight or we create a meeting with businesses to resolve issues and act as an arbitrator or mediator in disagreements.
It was decided that if a locksmith wanted to carry our badge and call yourself a master locksmith that you would have to undergo a set of tests and you must have been in business for 10 years as a locksmith. This helped us vet the locksmiths in our area and it helped control the rapid growth of the industry. You would start off with our basic badge of the crossed keys with or symbols and name and once you became a full member you carried our main badge.
This meant that locksmiths had to work with one of the local established businesses and earn their right to practice in the area but today that has been lost with the advance of the internet and ruthless criminals and organised crime gangs that now operate as a locksmiths online. Many use the paid Google ads that appear when you search for terms such as "locksmith near me". These kinds of people are often not local, using websites online to gain business then outsource the work at a percentage to smaller local locksmiths. The problem is that these types of fake locksmiths charge extortionate amounts and pay the local locksmiths a very small fee.
To date we have over 30 members or locksmith businesses who are still members and we grow each year. We still have the same rules but now we govern Durham, Sunderland, Washington and Gateshead.
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The Future and State of the UK Locksmiths Industry
Today's issues that the locksmith industry are vast and never ending. Currently the locksmith industry is rife with con artists and criminals posing as locksmiths online. These unscrupulous criminals are taking advantage of the unsuspecting people in need of a locksmith in an emergency.
We receive many emails and calls each year regarding people who have been in an emergency, go online and search for a locksmith. They then click the first on the Google list and book them in. They then find that a simple lock out of a UPVC door lock should cost no our than £75 - £90 is now billed at £350 to £600 and when the locksmiths give the price they can become intimidating especially to old people and people who are alone. Often the locksmith will give no price when asked after the work is done and will advise you will be sent a invoice. This invoice is for many hundreds of pounds.
Many of these kinds of locksmiths are easy to spot. They will often have more than 100 fake reviews. Simply look at the names of the folks who have left the reviews. Such names like "Bart Adams" or "Brad Shaw". Very American looking names for folks from the Tyne and Wear area. Always check there negative reviews which will show the truth. The best businesses to trust are the ones found on Google maps with a local based business and they should also be showing up in the search results in an "un paid for add" known as an organic link.
Currently the Guild of Master Locksmiths UK are growing and are looking for ways to help combat such organised criminals.