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Being a Livery Company

The livery companies of the City of London trace their history back to the middle ages. At that time they controlled the training and entry to a trade or craft, set the standards, and generally looked after the interests of their members. A number of the original companies still perform some of these functions, for example the Fishmongers still have regulatory responsibilities at Billingsgate fish market. The Mercers, dating from at least as early as 1348, are the premier company.

The livery companies and the City of London have grown up together. They share common goals and since the earliest beginnings of the City have both been strong and active in its support. The livery companies are integral to the City’s governance; each year liverymen elect the Sheriffs of the City of London, endorse the election of the Lord Mayor and play a prominent part in major events.

Today there are more than 111 liveries and though trading conditions changed, since their inception, their work is as pertinent as it always has been. Regardless of their size, structure and interests, they all share the same ethos; supporting trade, education, charity and fellowship. The charitable dimension of their work now amounts to over £40 million each year.

For more information on livery companies, click here.

Want to become a Liveryman of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners and take part in the City of London Mayoral and Sheriff elections? To find out how, click here!