Freedom ceremonies take place in the Chamberlain’s Court at Guildhall and are usually conducted by the Clerk of the Court or his Assistant. Freemen, their nominators and guests are escorted to the Court by the Beadle, who wears a top hat and frockcoat. The Clerk of the Court wears a silk gown, and if the Chamberlain performs the ceremony, he wears the traditional ermine-trimmed gown.
The prospective Freeman is invited to read the ‘Declaration of a Freeman’ and to sign the Freeman’s Declaration Book. The Copy of the Freedom – a parchment document with the name of the recipient beautifully inscribed by a calligrapher – is presented by the Clerk, together with a copy of the ‘Rules for the Conduct of Life’ which date from the mid-18th century.
The Clerk or Chamberlain extends the right hand of fellowship to the recipient and greets them as ‘a Citizen of London’.
After the ceremony, there is time for informal questions, the opportunity to view interesting items, photographs and artefacts in the Court Room such as a letter from Nelson and Florence Nightingale’s Freedom casket.