In England, little is known of the trade and its structures before the late 13th century, at which point guilds began to form, amongst them the Painters Company and the Stainers Company. These two guilds eventually merged with the consent of the Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1502, forming the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers. The guild standardised the craft and acted as a protector of the trade secrets. In 1599, the guild asked Parliament for protection, which was eventually granted in a bill of 1606, which granted the trade protection from outside competition such as plasterers.
The Act legislated for a seven year apprenticeship, and also barred plasterers from painting, unless apprenticed to a painter, with the penalty for such painting being a fine of £5. The Act also enshrined a maximum daily fee of 16 old pence for their labour.
Enforcement of this Act by the Painter-Stainers Company was sought up until the early 19th century, with master painters gathering irregularly to decide the fees that a journeyman could charge, and also instigating an early version of a job centre in 1769, advertising in the London newspapers a “house of call” system to advertise for journeymen and also for journeymen to advertise for work. The guild’s power in setting the fee a journeyman could charge was eventually overturned by law in 1827, and the period after this saw the guild’s power diminish, along with that of the other guilds; the guilds were superseded by trade unions, with the Operative United Painters’ Union forming sometime around 1831.
In 1894, a national association formed, recreating itself in 1918 as the National Federation of Master Painters and Decorators of England and Wales, then changing its name once again to the British Decorators Association before merging, in 2002, with the Painting & Decorating Federation to form the Painting & Decorating Association. The Construction Industry Joint Council, a body formed of both unions and business organizations, today has responsibility for the setting of pay levels.