The Livery Companies of the City of London probably had their origin before 1066 when people following the same craft or trade lived and worked near each other and began to make informal arrangements between themselves to regulate competition and maintain high professional standards. The medieval Companies, also known as guilds, oversaw their particular occupations by deciding who could trade, controlling prices and wages, and ensuring the quality of work or produce.
Today there are 108 Livery Companies, some of which are still associated with their original trade. Other Livery Companies are primarily charitable and social organisations, particularly those where their original medieval trade no longer exists.
All Livery Companies share an interest in education, training and skills. In medieval times, apprentices were indentured to serve a master (who would be a member of the appropriate Livery Company) and learn the trade. In some companies, similar practices continue to this day. In 1878, 16 Livery Companies came together with the City of London Corporation to found City & Guilds. We therefore owe our existence, and our name, to these ancient trade associations.
> Find out more about the Livery Companies.
Although only 16 Livery Companies were involved in the foundation of City & Guilds, all 108 Livery Companies are now classed as Founder Members in recognition of our valued relationship. A number of Livery Companies donate prizes and bursaries to City & Guilds learners and tutors, and we are developing more partnership projects.
Livery Companies Skills Council
Training in the practice and theory of our crafts and trades is still one of the prime objectives of the Livery movement, as it has been for hundreds of years. The Livery Companies Skills Council exists to serve the Livery by:
- Promoting excellence in skills across the Livery
- Maintaining a dialogue with policy makers in Government and industry
- Engaging with relevant Sector Skills Councils & bodies to establish sound training frameworks
- Securing adequate funding for apprenticeships and vocational training
- Providing contacts for advice on training and career development
- Strengthening the historic links with City & Guilds.