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:
- The Goldsmiths’ Company run the Assay Office
- The Bakers’ Company operate the Bakers' Marque
- The Vintners’ Company supports the Wine and Spirits Trade Association
- The Farriers’ Company award the Master Farrier qualification
- The Information Technologists’ Company have numerous links with BCS The Chartered Institute for IT
- The Clockmakers’ Company operate various awards for excellence in Horology
- The Fishmongers’ Company employ Fish Meters responsible for inspection of fish at Billingsgate
- The Gunmakers’ Company are almost entirely a ‘working company’ that tests firearms at Proof House.
- The Solicitors’ Company is the City branch of the Law Society
- The Scriveners’ Company are the examining body for Scriveners Notary
- The Spectacle Makers’ Company operate a wide range of qualifications in optical care and practice
- The Innholders’ Company operate the Master Innholder qualification
- The Apothecaries’ Company have created the Faculty of Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine
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.
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 Worshipful Company of Shipwrights
- The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths
- The Worshipful Company of Security Professionals
- The Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths
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.