Today there are 110 livery companies in the City of London.
These developed from the craft and trade guilds of medieval periods and in earlier times controlled the manufacture and sale of goods and services in the City of London.
The term livery refers to the garments that these companies adopted to distinguish their members. To become a member of a livery company you must be a Freeman of the City of London.
Liverymen play a key part in the elections each year for the office of Sheriff and the office of Lord Mayor. There are two Sheriffs in the City of London and they are elected annually by the Liverymen.
The Liverymen also choose two candidates from the City’s Aldermen to be considered for the office of Lord Mayor. The Court of Alderman then decide which of these two will take up office from the following November.
EC3 is home to three of these livery companies and one working Guild.
The livery companies are:
Located on Mincing Lane since 1456, The Worshipful Company of Bakers plays an active role in the continuing development of the baking industry and allied trades.
Located on the same site in Harp Lane since 1506, The Clothworkers’ Company retains an interest in its craft roots, fostering the development of textiles in innovative ways and supporting the nation’s textile heritage.
Located in St Helen’s Place since 1543, The Leathersellers’ Company was founded by royal charter in 1444 with authority to control the sale of leather within the City. The Company no longer has this regulatory role but instead supports the British leather trade.
The company completed the building of a new hall, its seventh, in 2016. Designed by architect Eric Parry the new hall sits behind the twentieth century St Helen’s Place façade. See Leathersellers’ Hall for more information.
The only Guild in EC3 is:
Located in St Mary at Hill, The Company of Watermen & Lightermen of the River Thames is a working guild and actively involved with the life of the River and those who work on it.