Livery Company connections with Trade, Craft and Profession

Surprising as it may be, most Livery Companies continue to have an extensive involvement with their respective trade, craft or profession. Several companies have reinvented their role in order to keep in touch their modern profession, others have re-established links that were previously broken, and all the modern (post 1926) companies are founded on trades, crafts or professions that are active in the modern world, indeed it is not possible to form a new Livery Company without having extensive and substantial links to occupation.

Some Livery Companies go so far as to mandate that applicants for Freedom of the Company must be practicing and professionally qualified in their respective field. There are several example including: Engineers, Accountants, Actuaries, Surveyors, Architects, Solicitors, Secretaries & Administrators, Gun Makers, etc.

The range of occupational activities undertaken or supported by the Livery Companies is exceptionally diverse and varies from one company to another. A few of the more notable examples among many include but are not limited to:

These are but a few among hundreds of ways in which the Livery Companies continue to take an active role in supporting their respective trade, craft or profession. The number of companies that no longer operate in their respective occupational field is fewer than 20 and diminishing as even companies such as the Horners, Tallow Chandlers, Loriners and Coopers have reinvented or reestablished links with their profession. Some of the less well known connections between the Livery and modern professions include:

  • The Tallow Chandlers' Company support the Oil industry and edible Oil and Fats trade
  • The Horners’ Company support the Plastics Industry
  • The Fan Makers’ Company support the Aerospace (Engines) Industry
  • The Wax Chandlers' Company support the Bee Keeping association and the Honey trade
  • The Saddlers’ Company opened a school of Saddlery at Capel Manor in Enfield

The following graphic lists just some of the many ancient and modern trades, crafts and professions represented among the City of London’s 110 Livery Companies and 3 Guilds. Click on the word cloud graphic below to open a list of all the City of London Livery Companies and Guilds.

A word cloud listing the trades, crafts and professions represented by the Livery Companies.

The companies also collectively support an apprenticeship scheme that was launched in 2014, with 52 new apprentices being supported, in addition to those supported by individual companies. The Livery is also very active in education, training, examination and awarding (either qualifications or prizes), and supports The City and Guilds of London Institute. Several Livery Companies have their own apprenticeship schemes, including but not limited to:

The overall trend is for Livery Companies to become more involved in their trade, craft and profession, and all the Livery Companies formed since 1926 have grown from extant professions and their membership is almost entirely comprised of practitioners working in their respective field.

© Paul David Jagger 2016                                                                                             Twitter: @CityandLivery