Join award-winning Blue Badge Guide, Simon Whitehouse, for our fun and informative virtual tour exploring some of the magnificent Livery Halls in the City of London. We’ll be reminded about the history and origins of the Livery Companies, take a look at the exteriors and interiors of many of the halls and discover some of the unexpected and unusual stories and treasures inside.
Livery companies have their origins in medieval crafts and trade guilds. The earliest date back to the 11th & 12th centuries whilst two new ones were founded as recently as 2014, The Educators and The Arts Scholars. You’ve probably heard of some of them (The Butchers, The Bakers and two types of Candlemakers!) but some are more obscure, did you know about The Cordwainers or The Curriers?
Despite their ancient origins, the 110 Livery Companies still play an active and vital role in the governance of the City of London, for example, you have to belong to on of the Livery Companies before you can become Lord Mayor of the City.
In the early days, many of the companies set up in large houses or grand halls competing with each other for grandeur. By 1515, to end the years of arguments about which company was the most important, the Lord Mayor set an order of precedence to end the years of disputes. The companies at the top of the list became known as the Great 12 and include; The Goldsmiths, The Fishmongers and The Drapers. Following Simon’s general introduction to the Livery Companies he will focus on these top 12 companies as we virtually explore the halls, paintings, collections and artefacts within their halls.
Along the way, we’ll discover the answers to questions such as:- Why do we have a bakers dozen? Which company did Dick Whittington belong to? Which two Livery Companies have the right to mark the Queen’s swans? We’ll also find out where many of our best-known idioms come from such as ‘on tenterhooks’, ‘if the cap fits’ and the phrase in our title, ‘at Sixes and Sevens’.
Please join us for a brief distraction from Covid as we explore the glorious Livery Companies of the City of London!
Image credits: Public domain
Need to know
Date: Tuesday 3rd November 2020
Time: 2pm – 3.30pm – on Zoom