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."
Links with the City of London
All livery companies come under an element of control by the City of London's Court of Aldermen. To become a new company, a group of people (usually numbering at least 100) must satisfy the Court that they have the resources and willingness to continue their association indefinitely, having already been long and well established. In addition to strong ties with the Square Mile, the potential new Company must have a significant number of members engaged in its particular trade, profession or craft, which must not overlap or clash with that of an existing guild.
Liverymen still play a pivotal role in the election of the Lord Mayor.
In 1385, a regulation was introduced requiring each Lord Mayor to have previously served as a Sheriff and, until 1742, to be a member of one of the 12 senior livery companies (the Great Twelve). Today, each Lord Mayor will still belong to one of the City livery companies, and be supported by their fellow liverymen in Common Hall at the end of September each year.
The Lord Mayor will also be an Alderman (literally, elder man), whose Court oversees the creation and conduct of the livery companies. Aldermen are elected by the Square Mile's 25 Wards. The City's franchise gives voting rights to a wide representation of organisations within the Square Mile enabling nominees or representatives of livery companies occupying premises there to be voters.
The livery companies also play a prominent role in many great occasions. Each year’s United Guilds’ Service in St Paul’s sees the livery companies, City of London and church joining together for a great ceremonial event, while the Lord Mayor's Show features spectacular displays by many livery companies, particularly those with close links to the new Lord Mayor and the two Sheriffs.
The livery companies and the City of London have enjoyed a long, close and extremely effective working partnership, sharing objectives, supporting excellence and together promoting the Square Mile. This partnership is fostered through a dedicated committee, the Livery Committee, which strengthens these ties, as well as constantly seeking new ways to enhance joint initiatives for the future.
Livery Companies of the City of London is a website hosted by the Livery Committee, and is primarily intended for the members of the Livery Companies, and their Clerks. Here you can find out more about the Livery Committee, its work and more like, how do I become a liveryman?.
Guidance notes PDF (40KB)Date submitted: 11/01/19
Formation of new guilds/companies