Picture of Company Crest

What are Livery Companies?

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Many Livery Companies continue to support and in some cases regulate their trades and professions; they help to educate and train new entrants to and students of those trades. All Companies contribute to the governance of the City of London and they offer charitable support to help people all over the world particularly in education and welfare.

Together the various Companies give over £40 million a year to charitable causes and support over three hundred schools, colleges and universities.

For a complete list of Livery Companies, with pictures of their Masters and one-click links to the Company websites (and detailed maps of Hall locations), please visit www.liverycompanies.com

The history of livery companies in the City of London goes back to at least the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Today there are over one hundred companies, with a total of more than 40,000 members, each linked to the professions, trades and crafts that have operated in the City over the years.

Some began as ancient Trade Guilds for example the Weavers, the Fletchers and the Mercers: they originally functioned as social, religious and benevolent organisations looking after members and their families, paying for funerals, and representing members in legal actions. In time they also came to regulate their trades within the walls of the City of London by ensuring standards were maintained and by controlling entry by apprenticeship.

Between 1848, when the Carmen (established 1668) became a livery Company, and 1932, when the Master Mariners (established 1926) became a livery company, no new livery companies were formed. Since then many new Companies have been established representing modern City businesses including Information Technologists, World Traders, Marketors and International Bankers.

Linking all these Companies is a spirit of philanthropy and service.