Picture courtesy of Simon Leach, Liveryman,
The Worshipful Company of Bowyers.

An outline for potential members

The Livery movement

The Livery Companies probably had their origins in this country before 1066 and are similar to the fraternities and guilds that flourished for many centuries. The social and economic conditions that gave birth to the medieval guilds have long been overtaken by the development of industry and commerce, but in spite of this Livery Companies have survived and flourished. Their survival has been achieved by doing what they have always done, namely fostering their professions, crafts and trades in a wide context, serving the community, supporting the City of London and promoting modern skills and professional development.

History of the Company

The Company received its Letters Patent in a ceremony at Mansion House, from the Lord Mayor, Alderman Clive Martin on 25th January 2000, thus becoming the first Livery Company to be formed in the New Millennium and in terms of seniority is Company number 101 out of currently 110.

At a meeting of the Privy Council held on 10th July 2013 at Windsor Castle, Her Majesty The Queen was graciously pleased to grant a Royal Charter to the Company.

The Master's Badge of Office depicts the Company's coat of arms mounted on a piece of rock crystal, donated by the World Trade Centre of Rio de Janeiro, carved with an outline of five continents.

Aims of the Company

The aims of all Livery Companies are fellowship, welfare, charitable support to any activities appropriate to a Company's trade or profession and working in the best interests of the communities in which they operate and generally, to support the Lord Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council, i.e. The Corporation of London.

From the outset the World Traders' were determined to be a working Guild, with members connected with world trade and with the aim of raising awareness and understanding of, and standards of practice in, world trade.


The motto 'commerce and honest friendship with all' was chosen, taken from Thomas Jefferson's inaugural Presidential speech. The Arms of the Company were designed by the late Sir Colin Cole, the then Garter King of Arms.


The Worshipful Company of World Traders fosters links with other bodies for mutual benefit.

The Annual Country Partnership

Each year the incumbent Master chooses a country with which to develop a relationship. The purposes of this may be obvious: to learn more about that country, to offer the hand of friendship to their representatives, and of course to facilitate for liverymen any trading opportunities that there may be with the country in question.

Military Affiliations

In common with many livery companies, The Worshipful Company of World Traders has formed an affiliation with the services. In 2011 arrangements were made with the Admiralty for the Company to "adopt" HMS Dauntless. In addition, they have an affiliation with the RAF 28(AC) Squadron at Benson and the 1st Battalion Rifles regiment. The company also has an association with Sea Cadets and Air Cadets.

The Tacitus Lecture

The World Traders' Tacitus Lecture was inaugurated in 1988 and is now believed to be the largest event of its type in the City of London. It is held annually and provides the Company with an opportunity to demonstrate to a wider audience its concern with issues affecting world trade. It takes its name from the Roman senator Publius Cornelius Tacitus. His Roman education, with its elaborate series of exercises in different kinds of public speaking, turned him into an impressive and famous orator, and one of the extant works attributed to him, the "Dialogue on Orators", is a discussion of oratorical style. It was Tacitus who, in his "Life of Agricola", described "Londinium" as "a town of highest repute and a busy emporium for trade and traders".

This notable event has attracted important speakers of prestige and distinction in diverse fields concerned with world trade.

Charitable and educational activities

On the Company's founding, a Charitable Trust was established largely by an appeal to Liverymen, who continue to maintain the growth of the Fund both by regular donations, and for some by the occasional one-off contribution in whatever sums members can reasonably afford. The Company has provided bursaries and donations to charitable causes.

Livery activities

As well as the main Tacitus Lecture, the Livery holds a number of functions in the City each year, ranging from business lunches with a speaker to the formal, white tie, evening occasion. There are also occasional less formal, and generally less expensive, functions throughout the year. Details of our monthly Open House meetings are given below.

Open House

Little Ship Club Bell Wharf Lane,Upper Thames Street,London EC4R 3TB

13 June 2016 (6.00-8.00 pm)
4 July 2016 (6.00-8.00 pm)
1 August 2016 (6.00-8.00 pm)
5 September 2016 (6.00-8.00 pm)
3 October 2016 (6.00-8.00 pm)
7 November 2016 (6.00-8.00 pm)
5 December 2016 (6.00-8.00 pm)

No need to book or pay in advance, just turn up.


Joining a Livery company should be viewed for the long term. The costs involved are: Annual Quarterage (or membership subscription) currently set at £320 p.a. (subject to annual review), the Freedom Fine of £250, and the Livery fine of £500 both of which are one-off payments. Quarterage and the Freedom Fine are reduced by half for those under the age of 27 while they remain Freemen, on progression to the livery the full rate of quarterage is payable. In addition there is a commitment to support the Company‚Äôs Charitable Trust regularly in whatever sum you can reasonably afford.

Benefits of membership

By becoming a member of the World Traders, you will find yourself amongst a body of people all similarly qualified and motivated, who support the ethos and the good works of traditional City life. You will also enjoy opportunities to meet Liverymen of other companies, as well as being in an unrivalled position to offer corporate hospitality that is out of the reach of most business people.

Becoming a Liveryman offers a unique opportunity to participate in City life, both modern day business, and the traditions going back many centuries. Modernity and Tradition rest easily together in The City and The Livery.

Responibilities of membership

The obligations of those fit and proper persons who are admitted to the Freedom and the Livery of the Company are set out in a formal declaration to the Court at the admission ceremonies. They are what are expected of a good citizen of the City.

Admission to the Company

Many older established livery companies have diminished links with their trade (usually because that trade has itself diminished). This Company, however, is particularly keen that its members do have strong links with World Trade, so that we can play an active role in the promotion and encouragement of international trade. The Company is governed by its Court of Assistants which meets four times a year (analogous to a company board of directors or club committee), and which is chaired by the Master, who holds that office for one year.

If you do wish to apply for membership, the procedure is that your completed application form will need to be proposed by two liverymen (one of whom should be a Court Assistant) and your proposer will be asked to provide a covering letter of support. Your application will then be placed before the Membership Committee, and thence before the Court. You will then be invited for interview and, assuming success, you will be required to attend a Court meeting to be formally admitted to the Freedom of the Company in a short ceremony later in the year.

Subsequently you will be eligible, and expected to apply for the freedom of the City of London, and thereafter to become a Liveryman of the Company. You will appreciate from the forgoing that it is a fairly lengthy procedure, but in keeping with the nature of membership of a City Livery Company such as ours that the commitment is for life.

The maximum number of Liverymen permitted by the Company's constitution is 300. Candidates in excess of that complement can be admitted to the Freedom of the Company, and then await a vacancy in the ranks of the Livery.

Further information

You are most welcome to contact the Clerk for further information and an application form.

Mrs Gaye Duffy
The Worshipful Company of World Traders
13 Hall Gardens
Colney Heath
St Albans
Herts AL4 0QF
Tel: 01727 822181