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The 108 livery companies are trade associations based in the City of London, almost all of which are known as the "Worshipful Company of" the relevant trade or profession. The livery companies originally developed as guilds and were responsible for the regulation of their trades, controlling, for instance, wages and labour conditions. Some livery companies (for example, the Scriveners) continue to have a regulatory role today, and some (for example, the Longbow Makers) have become inoperative except as charitable foundations. Most livery companies, particularly those formed in recent years, are primarily charitable organizations. The active livery companies also play an important part in social life and networking in the City of London. They have a long history of cultural patronage.

After the Fan Makers were established in 1709 (and later granted livery in 1809), no new companies were formed for over 100 years until the Master Mariners in 1926 (livery in 1932). Post-1926 companies are called modern livery companies. Formed in 1999, The Company of Security Professionals became the 108th livery company on 19 February 2008 when the Court of Aldermen of the City of London Corporation approved the Petition for Livery. In recent years, many professions (such as solicitors and chartered accountants) have established new guilds with the aim of being granted livery, the most recent being the Tax Advisers (formed as a guild in 1995 and granted livery in 2005). As of 2008 there are two old bodies, the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks and the Company of Watermen and Lightermen which, for historical reasons, are recognized as City Companies Without Livery; while three further guilds (Educators, Public Relations Practitioners and Arts Scholars, Dealers and Collectors) aim to obtain a grant of Livery.

Contents

Governance

Livery companies are governed by a master (known in some companies as the prime warden), a number of wardens (who may be known as the upper, middle, lower, or renter wardens), and a court of assistants, which elects the master and wardens. The chief operating officer of the company is known as the clerk.

Members generally fall into two categories: freemen and liverymen. One may become a freeman, or acquire the "freedom of the company", upon fulfilling the company's criteria: traditionally, one may be admitted by "patrimony", if either parent was a liverymen of the company; by "servitude", if one has served as an apprentice in the trade for the requisite number of years; or by "redemption", if one pays a fee. (The company may also vote to admit individuals as honorary freemen.) Freemen generally advance to becoming liverymen by a vote of the court of the company. Historically, only liverymen could take part in the election of the Lord Mayor of the City of London, the sheriffs, and the other traditional officers of the City .

Livery halls

Many companies still have a hall, where members and their guests can be entertained and company business transacted. Among the earliest companies known to have possessed halls were the Merchant Taylors and Goldsmiths in the 14th century, but neither their nor other companies' original halls remain; the few survivors of the Great Fire, along with many reconstructions, were destroyed during the Blitz. Today, only forty companies have halls in London. Companies that do not have their own hall usually borrow one of the other companies' premises for social occasions.

Precedence

In 1515, the Court of Aldermen of the City of London settled an order of precedence for the forty-eight livery companies then in existence, which was based on the companies' economic or political power. The first twelve livery companies are known as the Great Twelve City Livery Companies. There are now one hundred and eight livery companies, some of recent formation, so the Order of Precedence is sometimes reviewed.

The Merchant Taylors and the Skinners have always disputed their precedence, so once a year (at Easter) they exchange sixth and seventh place. This is one of the theories for the origin of the phrase "at sixes and sevens", as the master of the Merchant Taylors has asserted a number of times, although the first use of the phrase may have been before the Taylors and the Skinners decided to alternate their position.[1] Both companies had been founded before the birth of Chaucer, who was one of the first people to use the phrase, so this may have dated from before him.

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List of Livery Companies, in order of precedence

  1. The Worshipful Company of Mercers (General merchants)
  2. The Worshipful Company of Grocers
  3. The Worshipful Company of Drapers (Wool and cloth merchants)
  4. The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers
  5. The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths
  6. The Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors (Tailors) (alternates with the Skinners)
  7. The Worshipful Company of Skinners (Fur traders) (alternates with the Merchant Taylors)
  8. The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers
  9. The Worshipful Company of Salters
  10. The Worshipful Company of Ironmongers
  11. The Worshipful Company of Vintners (Wine merchants)
  12. The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers
  13. The Worshipful Company of Dyers
  14. The Worshipful Company of Brewers
  15. The Worshipful Company of Leathersellers
  16. The Worshipful Company of Pewterers
  17. The Worshipful Company of Barbers (Barbers, surgeons, and dentists)
  18. The Worshipful Company of Cutlers
  19. The Worshipful Company of Bakers
  20. The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers
  21. The Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers
  22. The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers (Armour makers and brass workers)
  23. The Worshipful Company of Girdlers (Sword-belt and dress-belt makers)
  24. The Worshipful Company of Butchers
  25. The Worshipful Company of Saddlers
  26. The Worshipful Company of Carpenters
  27. The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers (Fine leather workers)
  28. The Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers
  29. The Worshipful Company of Curriers (Tanned leather dressers)
  30. The Worshipful Company of Masons
  31. The Worshipful Company of Plumbers
  32. The Worshipful Company of Innholders
  33. The Worshipful Company of Founders (Metalworkers)
  34. The Worshipful Company of Poulters
  35. The Worshipful Company of Cooks
  36. The Worshipful Company of Coopers (Barrel makers)
  37. The Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers
  38. The Worshipful Company of Bowyers (Longbow makers)
  39. The Worshipful Company of Fletchers (Arrow makers)
  40. The Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths
  41. The Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers (Wood craftsmen)
  42. The Worshipful Company of Weavers
  43. The Worshipful Company of Woolmen
  44. The Worshipful Company of Scriveners (Court document writers and notaries public)
  45. The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers
  46. The Worshipful Company of Plaisterers (Plasterers)
  47. The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers
  48. The Worshipful Company of Broderers (Embroiders)
  49. The Worshipful Company of Upholders (Upholsterers)
  50. The Worshipful Company of Musicians
  51. The Worshipful Company of Turners (Lathe operators)
  52. The Worshipful Company of Basketmakers
  53. The Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass
  54. The Worshipful Company of Horners
  55. The Worshipful Company of Farriers (Horseshoe makers and veterinarians for horses)
  56. The Worshipful Company of Paviors (Road and highway pavers)
  57. The Worshipful Company of Loriners (Harness makers)
  58. The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries (Medical practitioners and pharmacists)
  59. The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights
  60. The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers
  61. The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers
  62. The Worshipful Company of Glovers
  63. The Worshipful Company of Feltmakers (Hat makers)
  64. The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters
  65. The Worshipful Company of Needlemakers
  66. The Worshipful Company of Gardeners
  67. The Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers
  68. The Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights
  69. The Worshipful Company of Distillers
  70. The Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers (Wooden shoe makers)
  71. The Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers
  72. The Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers
  73. The Worshipful Company of Gunmakers
  74. The Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers
  75. The Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards
  76. The Worshipful Company of Fanmakers
  77. The Worshipful Company of Carmen
    The modern livery companies
  78. The Honourable Company of Master Mariners
  79. The City of London Solicitors' Company
  80. The Worshipful Company of Farmers
  81. The Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators
  82. The Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders
  83. The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers
  84. The Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers
  85. The Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors
  86. The Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
  87. The Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators
  88. The Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants
  89. The Worshipful Company of Launderers
  90. The Worshipful Company of Marketors
  91. The Worshipful Company of Actuaries
  92. The Worshipful Company of Insurers
  93. The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators
  94. The Worshipful Company of Engineers
  95. The Worshipful Company of Fuellers
  96. The Worshipful Company of Lightmongers
  97. The Worshipful Company of Environmental Cleaners
  98. The Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects
  99. The Worshipful Company of Constructors
  100. The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists
  101. The Worshipful Company of World Traders
  102. The Worshipful Company of Water Conservators
  103. The Worshipful Company of Firefighters
  104. The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers
  105. The Worshipful Company of Management Consultants
  106. The Worshipful Company of International Bankers
  107. The Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers
  108. The Worshipful Company of Security Professionals

City Companies Without Grant of Livery

Both of these are never intending to apply for Livery due to ancient status and custom.

  • The Company of Educators

A guild which is recognised by the Court of Aldermen as a 'London Guild' applies to the Court to become 'A Company without Livery'. After a term of years the Company applies to the Court for Livery status, at which point it adopts the style 'Worshipful Company of ... '.

Many livery companies feature in the City of London boardgame that supports the Lord Mayor's Appeal and Lord Mayor's Show. Players answer questions about the City, gain wards and move up the ranks from Freeman, Councilman, Liveryman, Alderman to Sheriff. Sheriffs then compete to win by reaching the Mansion House to become Lord Mayor of the City of London. For more information see: http://www.lordmayorshow.org

Other guilds aiming to obtain a Grant of Livery

See also

Neither the 'City Livery Club' and 'The Guild of Freemen of the City of London' are recognised as a 'guild' by the City, they are merely social clubs.

References

External links


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