Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 London Livery Companies

Livery Companies of the City of London in the 18th Century

London Livery Companies grew out of earlier trade associations and guilds. Liveries (costumes, symbols and so forth) are granted by the Court of Aldermen of the City of London. Their history can be complicated with various associations merging and splitting at different times. For example, Barbers and Surgeons were a single entity in the early 14th century. In 1368, the Surgeons formed their own guild but merged with the Barbers to form the Company of Barber-Surgeons in 1540. In 1745, the Surgeons broke away to form their own Company which, in 1800, became the Royal College of Surgeons.

The Companies acted as regulators and inspectors for their constituencies, enforced apprenticeships and training, and lobbied the Crown fo special treatment. The Fanmakers Company, for example, fought a running battle throughout the 18th century against cheap fans printed in Canton in China and shipped to England in bulk by the East India Company. Fanmakers survived the latter half of the century while the fan was a must-have fashion item but thereafter declined rapidly.

There are currently 108 Livery Companies in the City of London but, of these, only 77 existed in the 18th Century - counting the Worshipful Company of Fanmakers who were incorporated in 1709. However, as the Barber-Surgeon example above shows, there were other Companies during that period. The granting of Liveries died out as a practice and it was not until the 20th Century that new Livery companies were again being created. Company names all begin with "The Worshipful Company of".

The passage of the 18th century saw the majority of these Companies losing their initial purpose as technology overtook craft and products that were once made by individuals were made by machines. This had already happened to older technologies such as the Bowyers and Fletchers Companies, overtaken by the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers. Most Livery Companies are now social and charitable organisations.

Recent Livery Companies

Purely for my own amusement, I note the following late additions:

Dear to my own heart is the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists in 1992 - ranked 100.

The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers did not become a Livery Company until 2004 and is ranked 104. The process apparently started in 1654 with instructions from Oliver Cromwell on the regulation of drivers but, given the speed of the average London cab, it clearly took a while to arrive.

Moving into the realm of the ridiculous we have the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants in 2004 - ranked 105.

Finally, bringing up the tail of the procession we have the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals - ranked 108.

Significant 18th Century Dates

Date Event
1700 Company of Watermen and Lightermen formed by an Act of Parliament
1709 Copyright Act of 1709 takes copyright control away from Printers and Stationers Company
1713 Livery granted to the Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters
1745 Surgeons split from the Company of Barber-Surgeons to form the Company of Surgeons
1746 Woodmongers' Company becomes defunct.
1746 Worshipful Company of Carmen receives a Royal Charter and takes over the regulation of Carmne (Carters) from the Woodmongers' Company.
1763 Livery is granted to the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights
1782 Livery is granted to the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights
1792 Livery is granted to the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards
1800 Company of Surgeons becomes the Royal College of Surgeons

List of Livery Companies in the 18th Century

Note that the dates below represent the date at which the Company was Incorporated (typically by Royal Charter), at which point it formally takes on its regulatory and other functions. Livery may not have been granted until much later at the whim of the Court of Aldermen. Trade associations usually existed well before incorporation - sometimes sufficiently far back that the exact origins are unknown.

Click on the Company name to go to the Company's website; click on more info to go to the relevant Wikipedia entry. The latter is a useful resource but, as always, use with caution. Companies are listed in order of precedence.

  Date Company Wikipedia Motto Responsibilities
1 1394 Mercers more info Honor Deo (Honour to God) General merchants; exporters of wool; importers of cloth
2 1345 Grocers more info God grant Grace Grocers; purity of spices; weights and measures
3 1438 Drapers more info Unto God only be Honour and Glory Wool and cloth merchants
4 1537 Fishmongers more info All Worship Be To God Only Fish-sellers
5 1327 Goldsmiths more info Justitia Virtutum Regina (Justice is the Queen of Virtues) Goldsmiths, Silversmiths and Jewellers; hallmarking platinum, gold and silver
6 1327 Merchant Taylors more info Concordia Parvae Res Crescunt (In Harmony Small Things Grow) Tailors (by the 18th century it was purely a philanthropic and social organisation)
7 1327 Skinners more info To God Only Be All Glory Furriers (by the 18th century it was mostly general merchants)
8 1448 Haberdashers more info - Haberdashers
9 1559 Salters more info Sal Sapit Omnia (Salt Savours All) Trades involving salt and chemical preparations used in foods
10 1463 Ironmongers more info God is Our Strength Iron Merchants
11 1364 Vintners more info Vinum Exhilarat Animum (Wine Cheers the Mind) Wine Sellers
12 1528 Clothworkers more info My Trust is in God Alone Fullers, Shearmen and Clothworkers
13 1471 Dyers more info Da Gloriam Deo (Give Glory to God) Dyers
14 1437 Brewers more info In God Is All Our Trust Brewers
15 1444 Leathersellers more info Soli Deo Honor et Gloria (Honour and Glory to God Alone) Leather Merchants
16 1474 Pewterers more info - Pewterers
17 1462 Barbers more info De Praescientia Dei (From the Foreknowledge of God) Barbers. At the beginning of the 18th century they were the Company of Barber-Surgeons. Surgeons left the group in 1745 to form the Company of Surgeons which became the Royal College of Surgeons in 1800.
18 1416 Cutlers more info Pour parvenir a bonne foy (To succeed through good faith) Knife Makers and Repairers
19 1509 Bakers more info Praise God For All Bakers; Enforcing baking regulations.
20 1484 Wax Chandlers more info Truth Is The Light Merchants of beeswax products, including beeswax candles.
21 1462 Tallow Chandlers more info Ecce Agnus Dei Qui Tollit Peccata Mundi (Behold the Lamb of God, Who Takes Away the Sins of the World) Makers of tallow candles; Makers of and Dealers in oils
22 1453 Armourers and Brasiers more info We Are One Armour repairers and Brass workers. Brass workers joined the Armourers in 1708.
23 1449 Girdlers more info Give Thanks to God Makers of Belts and Girdles
24 1605 Butchers more info Omnia Subiecisti Sub Pedibus, Oves Et Boves (Thou Hast Put All Things Under Man's Feet, All Sheep and Oxen) Butchers
25 1363 Saddlers more info Hold Fast, Sit Sure; Our Trust Is In God Saddle makers
26 1477 Carpenters more info Honour God Carpenters (woodworking involving nails rather than joinery)
27 1439 Cordwainers more info Corio et Arte (Leather and Art) Workers of fine leather
28 1581 Painter-Stainers more info Amor Queat Obedientiam (Love Can Compel Obedience) Painters of metal, wood and cloth
29 1605 Curriers more info Spes Nostra Deus (Our Hope is in God) Curers of Leather
30 1677 Masons more info God Is Our Guide Stonemasons
31 1611 Plumbers more info Justicia Et Pax (Justice and Peace) Plumbers
32 1514 Innholders more info Hinc Spes Affulget (Hence Hope Shines Forth) Innkeepers
33 1614 Founders more info God, The Only Founder Workers of brass and bronze
34 1665 Poulters more info Remember Your Oath Regulates sale of poultry, together with swans and pigeons, and rabbits and small game
35 1482 Cooks more info Vulnerati Non Victi (Wounded not Conquered) Cooks
36 1501 Coopers more info Love as Brethren Coopers (Barrel-makers)
37 1568 Tylers and Bricklayers more info In God Is All Our Trust Bricklayers; Layers of roof and floor tiles.
38 1371 Bowyers more info Crecy, Poitiers, Agincourt Longbow makers
39 1371 Fletchers more info True and Sure Fletchers (Arrow-makers)
40 1571 Blacksmiths more info By Hammer and Hand All Arts Do Stand Blacksmiths; the rights to regulate blacksmiths diminished over time until, in 1785, the Company did not bother to renew the lease on its hall.
41 1571 Joiners and Ceilers more info Join Loyalty With Liberty Woodworkers using glues and joinery rather than nails; the motto was created by John Wilkes in 1774.
42 1180 Weavers more info Weave Truth With Trust Weavers
43 1522 Woolmen more info Lana Spes Nostra (Wool is Our Hope) Wool winders and sellers
44 1617 Scriveners more info Littera Scripta Manet (the Written Word Remains) Scrivener notaries; also known as the Mysterie of Writers of the Court Letter
45 1605 Fruiterers more info Deus Dat Incrementum (God Gives the Increase) Fruit sellers; quality inspection of fruit
46 1501 Plaisterers more info Let Brotherly Love Continue Plasterers
47 1557 Stationers and Newspaper Makers more info Verbum Domini Manet in Eternum Printers and Stationers; until Copyright Act of 1709 had a monopoly on copyright and book production
48 1561 Broderers more info Omnia Desuper (All From Above) Embroiderers
49 1626 Upholders more info Sustine Bona (Uphold the good) Upholsterers
50 1604 Musicians more info Preserve Harmony Musicians
51 1604 Turners more info By Faith I Obteigne (By Faith I Obtain) Lathe operators
52 1937 Basketmakers more info Let Us Love One Another Basketmakers; the Company was created in 1569 and became a livery company in 1825 although it did not receive a Royal Charter until 1937
53 1638 Glaziers and Painters of Glass more info Lucem Tuam Da Nobis Deo (O God, Give Us Your Light) Glass craftsmen including glass makers and glass painters
54 1638 Horners more info no motto Horn-workers and Leather Bottlemakers
55 1674 Farriers more info Vi Et Virtue (By Strength and by Virtue) Farriers (horseshoe-makers)
56 1672 Paviors more info God Can Raise to Abraham Children of Stone Road pavers and maintainers
57 1711 Loriners more info - Makers of metal parts for harnesses, bridles, spurs, and other equine equipment
58 1617 Apothecaries more info Opiferque Per Orbem Dicor (I Am Called a Bringer of Help Throughout the World) Apothecaries
59 none Shipwrights more info Within The Ark Safe For Ever The Shipwrights are the only Livery Company never to receive a Royal Charter although an ancient shipwrights association dates back to the 12th century. It was made a Livery Company in 1782.
60 1629 Spectacle Makers more info A Blessing to the Aged Spectacle makes; regulation of optical devices.
61 1631 Clockmakers more info Tempus Rerum Imperator (Time is the commander of (all) things) Clockmakers
62 1639 Glovers more info True Hearts and Warm Hands Glove-makers
63 1667 Feltmakers more info Decus Et Tutamen (An Ornament and a Safeguard) Makers of Felt Hats
64 1663 Framework Knitters more info Speed, Strength and Truth United Knitters; granted livery status in 1713.
65 1656 Needlemakers more info They Sewed Fig Leaves Together and Made Themselves Aprons Needlemakers
66 1605 Gardeners more info In The Sweat Of Thy Brows Shalt Thow Eate Thy Bread Gardeners
67 1670 Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers more info Amore Sitis Uniti (Love Thirsts for Unity) Makers of Tin Plate work; Makers of Cages, Animal Traps and Fishhooks
68 1670 Wheelwrights more info God Grant Unity Wheelwrights; the Wheelwrights became a Livery Company in 1763.
69 1638 Distillers more info Drop as Rain, Distil as Dew Producers of spirits and liquors
70 1670 Pattenmakers more info Recipiunt Foeminae Sustentacula Nobis (Women Receive Support from Us) Makers of Pattens (wooden overshoes)
71 1664 Glass Sellers more info Discordia Frangimur (Discord Weakens) Glass makers and sellers
72 1677 Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers more info Surgit Post Nubila Phoebus (The Sun Rises after the Clouds) Makers of Coaches and Coach Equipment
73 1637 Gunmakers more info - Gunmakers; the Company was (and still is) also responsible for proofing guns for safety.
74 1693 Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers more info Amicitiam Trahit Amor (Love Draws Friendship) Makers of Gold and Silver Threads
75 1628 Makers of Playing Cards more info Corde Recto Elati Omnes (With an Upright Heart All Are Exalted) Makers of Playing Cards; became a Livery company in 1792
76 1709 Fanmakers more info Arts and Trade United Fan-makers; made a Livery company in 1809
77 1946 Carmen more info Scite, Cite, Certo (Skilfully, Swiftly, Surely) Drivers of Carts; although they didn't received a Royal Charter until 1946, the Company dates back to 1517; they did not acquire the power to regulate Carmen until 1746 with the demise of the Woodmongers' Company.
82 1619 Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders more info Producat Terra (Out of the Earth) Tobacconists; strictly the Tobacconists are a modern Livery Company as it only dates to 1954; however, there was an older Company, incorporated in 1619 that went bankrupt in 1868; in the 18th century it was therefore a functioning Company and so is included here.

Companies without Livery

There are two Companies, functionally equivalent to the above Livery Companies, which have no Livery and have no intention of applying for it. They are the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks and the Company of Watermen and Lightermen.

- 1441 Parish Clerks more info Unitas societatis stabilitas Parish Clerks
- 1700 Watermen and Lightermen more info Barge operators who transferred goods between ship and shore. Formed by an Act of Parliament in 1700.