David Allen gave a most illuminating presentation, particularly his Freemans’ regalia, of what Livery and Freeman of London are all about. Apparently, anyone can become a member of any of the Liveries providing the meet the criteria required by that group and pay their dues. These days they are mainly philanthropic Groups. There are few remaining perks to being a Freeman apart from the honour of the title bestowed, a freeman of London. I didn’t know that as a Freeman of London you were allowed to drive your sheep over London Bridge. That’s a challenge for some Dales farmers!
There are over one hundred Liveries from Apothecaries through, Launderers to Pewterers and Skinners to Wax Chandlers
There were some revealing occupations behind the names often seemingly unrelated. Girdlers were belt makers. Mercers were dealers in fabric import and export Salters were dealers in salt but not salting meaters until much later. And many more descriptive terms that did not quite described the true activity of the Livery when it was formed.
David’s talk was a good example of what on the face of it seemed quite a dry subject but turned out to be most informative.