A simple look at the evolution of the structures in the City of London
When did it all start?
Romans invaded England 55BC
– moved up from the South Coast
– found the first point where it was possible to build a bridge and cross the River Thames (London Bridge)

Founded Londinium AD43 – AD410
– at one point home to over 60,000 people
– today 7,000 + 340,000 daily commuters


Romans left AD 400’s
City went into decline very quickly
AD 600s Saxon’s arrived
– built their own City away from the ruins to the West  – Lundenwic AD600 – 886

The Saxons finally decided that the Old Roman City offered better defences….
The City of London was re-inhabited within the Roman Walls

– Lundenwic got renamed as Aldwich (Old city)

The Saxons divided the City into Wards (Safe Areas)
Each with their own elected “Elder Men” (Aldermen)
By the 1100’s there were 25 Ward’s

The King was represented by
“Shire Reeves” (Middle English) = Sheriffs
– Steward / Bailiff
Collected taxes and applied justice for the King


Divided into 25 Wards
25 Aldermen
e.g. Lime Street
Bread Street
Cornhill …….
Each Ward has the right to elect X Common Councilmen (every 4 years)
100 Common Councilmen run the City of London
– supported by the Corporation of the City of London (the administrators)

The CC’s – are the decision makers regarding running the City of London – and other things!
– strongly committee based
– not run on party political lines

Where does Livery fit into the Story – a simplified version?
To trade in the City of London (from the 1100’s) you had to be “qualified” and a member of a “guild” (pay to join) – one started as an apprentice
e.g. Mercers, Grocers,


Fishmongers, Leathersellers, Glassmakers…

Each Guild had different “livery” (clothing) so they became referred to as “livery companies”.
Many Livery Companies had and still have their own magnificent halls – today 42 Halls and 110  Companies.

Done your apprenticeship?
Apply to be a Freeman of the City and to join your Guild.

Being a Freeman – gave specific rights
– to trade in the markets – no fee
– to trade within 6 miles of the City in other markets – no fee
– drive sheep…. across London Bridge to market…..

The role of Livery today
Where possible, continue to support their “trade”
e.g. Goldsmiths – Assay Marks
Hackney Carriage Drivers – licence to be a “Cabby”
Insurers – supporting Standards, Professionalism and Women in Insurance

Raising very large amounts of money for Charity
Supporting Education….. e.g. Merchant Taylors, Haberdashers and many others