There are 110 livery companies, comprising London's ancient and modern trade associations and guilds, almost all of which are styled the 'Worshipful Company of' their respective craft, trade or profession.   These livery companies play a significant part in the life of the City of London (i.e. the financial district and historic heart of the capital), not least by providing charitable-giving and networking opportunities. Liverymen retain voting rights for the senior civic offices, such as the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and Corporation, its ancient municipal authority with extensive local government powers. 
The term livery originated in the specific form of dress worn by retainers of a nobleman and then by extension to special dress to denote status of belonging to a trade. Livery companies evolved from London's medieval guilds, becoming corporations under Royal Charter responsible for training in their respective trades, as well as for the regulation of aspects such as wage control, labour conditions and industry standards. Early guilds often grew out of parish fraternal organizations, where large groups of members of the same trade lived in close proximity and gathered at the same church.  Like most organisations during the Middle Ages, these livery companies had close ties with the Catholic Church (before the Protestant Reformation), endowing religious establishments such as chantry chapels and churches, observing religious festivals with hosting ceremonies and well-known mystery plays. Most livery companies retain their historical religious associations, although nowadays members are free to follow any faith or none. Companies often established a guild or meeting hall, and though they faced destruction in the Great London Fire of 1666 and during the Blitz of World War II, around forty companies still own or share ownership of halls, some elaborate and historic, others modern replacements for halls destroyed or redeveloped. Most of these halls are made available for use by other companies not having a hall of their own. 
Most ancient livery companies maintain contact with their original trade or craft. In some cases, livery companies have chosen to support a replacement industry fulfilling a similar purpose today, e.g. plastics replacing use of horn or ivory. Modern companies are mainly represented by today's professions and industry and operate in close association with these. Many ancient crafts remain as relevant today as when their guilds were originally established. Some still exercise powers of regulation, inspection and enforcement, while others are awarding bodies for professional qualifications. The Scriveners' Company admits senior members of legal and associated professions, the Apothecaries' Society awards post-graduate qualifications in some medical specialities, and the Hackney Carriage Drivers' Company comprises licensed taxi drivers who have passed the "Knowledge of London" test. Several companies restrict membership to those holding relevant professional qualifications, e.g. the City of London Solicitors' Company and the Worshipful Company of Engineers. Other companies whose trade died out long ago, such as the Longbow Makers' Company, have evolved into being primarily charitable foundations.  Some companies disappeared entirely such as Pinmakers. 
After the Worshipful Company of Carmen received City livery status in 1848 no new companies were established for 80 years until the Honourable Company of Master Mariners in 1926 (granted livery in 1932).  Post-1926 creations are known as modern livery companies. The Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars, the newest, was granted livery status on 11 February 2014, making it the 110th City livery company in order of precedence.  The Honourable Company of Air Pilots is exceptional among London's livery companies in having active overseas committees in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand and North America.
The companies were originally formed, starting in the 12th century, to guarantee that a member was trustworthy and fully qualified, and that the goods they produced were of reputable quality, the two-fold aim being to protect the public and to protect members from charlatans. Many were formed up until the 17th century, when political upheaval and the growth of London around the City meant the companies, which only controlled trade in the City itself, began to struggle to compete.
From the 1870s however, there was a revival, with the companies extending their original educational purpose to technical education, supporting new industries and providing the training necessary to them, most notably the City and Guilds of London Institute. 
From the start, the companies cared for their members in sickness and old age. Today, they support both their members, and wider charitable aims and activities, including those supporting education and training. 
Several schools in the UK are associated with the livery companies such as Haberdashers', Merchant Taylors' and Skinners'.
Most livery companies have affiliations with regular and reserve units in the armed forces. 
The companies have always been essential to the governance of the City of London. The senior members of the livery companies, i.e., the liverymen, elect the city's sheriffs, Bridge Masters, Ale Conners, auditors, the members of the City Livery Committee, and approve the aldermanic candidates for election to the office of Lord Mayor of London. 
Entry to a livery company may be by one of four routes:
Regardless of method of entry, membership carries the same duties, responsibilities and benefits. Membership of a livery company may combine with the Freedom of the City of London, now little more than a formality, though in the past the freedom carried benefits, such as being able to take a flock of sheep across London Bridge  at no charge.
Livery companies are governed by a master (alternatively styled prime warden in some companies, or Upper Bailiff of the Weavers' Company), a number of wardens (holding various titles such as the upper, middle, lower, or renter wardens), and a court of assistants (board of directors), responsible for company business and electing its master and wardens. The clerk to the company is invariably its most senior permanent member of staff, who as chief executive officer runs its day-to-day activities.
Membership generally falls into two categories: freemen and liverymen. One may become a freeman, or acquire the "freedom of the company", upon fulfilling certain criteria: traditionally, by "patrimony", if either parent were a liveryman of the company; by "servitude", if one has served a requisite number of years as an apprentice to a senior company member; or by "redemption", upon paying a fee. Most livery companies reserve the right to admit distinguished people, particularly in their sphere of influence, as honorary freemen. Freemen may advance to become liverymen, after obtaining the freedom of the City of London, and with their court of assistants' approval. Only liverymen are eligible to vote in the annual election of the Lord Mayor of London, the sheriffs and various other City civic offices, including the Ale Conners and Bridge Masters.
The livery companies elect a majority of the members of the Livery Committee, a body administered at Guildhall. The committee oversees the elections of sheriffs and the Lord Mayor, educates liverymen regarding the city and its activities, represents the livery companies in communications with the city. 
A liveryman is a full member of his respective company.
When a freeman becomes a liveryman, the candidate is said to be 'enclothed': indeed, a livery gown is placed on him at the court and he is seen at the next formal or social occasion wearing it. Thereafter only the master, wardens and assistants in companies are seen wearing these at company events. The masters wear them at the city's formal events, e.g. the two Common Halls and the United Guilds Service, and Lord Mayor's Show, wherever they may participate. Ordinarily, liverymen wear ties at formal functions and each company differs by allowing women to wear distinct items subject to the occasion, such as a scarf or brooch.
Freemen are expected to advance to become liverymen by a vote of the court of the company. Liverymen no longer have any local authority franchise in the city, but retain the exclusive right of voting in the election of the Lord Mayor of the City of London (Michaelmas 'Common Hall' 29 September) and for the sheriffs (Mid-Summer 'Common Hall' 24 June) held in Guildhall as a ceremonial occasion. The votes are made by 'acclamation' subject to a challenge/demand from the floor for a ballot which would be held a week later. Any two liverymen may nominate a candidate for the Freedom of the city.
Before the Reform Act 1832 the liverymen had the exclusive right to elect the four Members of Parliament (MPs) representing the city. Between 1832 and 1918 being a liveryman was one of a number of possible franchises which could qualify a parliamentary elector in the City of London constituency, as it was a preserved ancient borough franchise under the terms of the 1832 Act.
Today 39 out of 110 City livery companies own premises in London, as well as the Watermen and Lightermen which although not strictly a livery company, retains headquarters still in regular use. Among the earliest companies known to have had halls are the Merchant Taylors and Goldsmiths in the 14th century, and, uniquely, the kitchen and the crypt of Merchant Taylors' Hall survived both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz, the kitchen now having been in uninterrupted use for over 600 years.
Besides part of Merchant Taylors' Hall kitchens, the oldest interiors extant of a livery hall proper are those of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, most of the rooms of which date from 1668 to 1671; significant portions of the fabric of this building are also medieval, from the 13th-century Priory, part of which became Apothecaries' Hall. Several companies that do not have a hall of their own share office premises within the hall of another company on a semi-permanent basis, examples being the Spectacle Makers' Company, which uses part of Apothecaries' Hall, and the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, which co-habits with the Ironmongers.  Many livery halls can be hired for business and social functions, and are popular for weddings, commercial and society meetings, luncheons and dinners.
Three livery companies (the Glaziers and Painters of Glass, Launderers and Scientific Instrument Makers) share a hall in Southwark, just south of and outside the City of London, while the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers has long been based at Proof House, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the Master Mariners' "hall" is an historical ship, HQS Wellington, moored on the Thames which is shared by the Scriveners' Company. Companies without halls customarily book use of another livery hall for their formal gatherings, giving members and guests the opportunity to visit and enjoy different City livery halls by rotation. 
Blue plaques throughout the City of London indicate where companies formerly had halls. Whilst several livery companies may aspire to owning or regaining their own hall it is appreciated that any increase in the overall number of livery halls would inevitably lead to some dilution of use of the existing halls. There is also attraction in belonging to a company which is peripatetic. 
In 1515, the Court of Aldermen of the City of London settled an order of precedence for the 48 livery companies then in existence, based on those companies' contemporary economic or political power.  The 12 highest-ranked companies remain known as the Great Twelve City Livery Companies. Presently, there are 110 City livery companies, all post-1515 companies being ranked by seniority of creation. 
The Merchant Taylors and the Skinners have long disputed their precedence, so once a year (at Easter) they swap between sixth and seventh places. This mix-up is a favourite theory for the origin of the phrase "at sixes and sevens", as has been pointed out by at least one Master Merchant Taylor; however, it is possible that the phrase may have been coined before these two companies (Taylors and Skinners) resolved their dispute,  which arose from their both receiving Charters in 1327 with no proof surviving as to which was granted first.
Type of business
|Date of establishment;|
Order of precedence
|Image of arms||Blazon|
| Worshipful Company of Mercers |
|Gules, issuant from a bank of clouds a figure of the Virgin couped at the shoulders proper vested in a crimson robe adorned with gold, the neck encircled by a jeweled necklace crined or and wreathed about the temples with a chaplet of roses alternately argent and of the first, and crowned with a celestial crown, the whole within a bordure of clouds also proper.|
| Worshipful Company of Grocers |
|Argent, a chevron gules between nine cloves six in chief and three in base proper|
| Worshipful Company of Drapers |
(Wool and cloth merchants)
|Azure, three clouds radiated proper each adorned with a triple crown or|
| Worshipful Company of Fishmongers |
(Fish and seafood)
|Azure, three dolphins embowed in pale between two pairs of sea luces saltirewise proper crowned or on a chief gules six keys in three saltires ward ends upwards of the second|
| Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths |
|Quarterly gules and azure, in the first and fourth quarters a leopard's face or in the second and third quarters a covered cup and in chief two round buckles the tongues fesse-wise, points to the dexter all of the third|
| Worshipful Company of Skinners |
|Ermine, on a chief gules three crowns or with caps of the field|
| Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors |
|Argent, a royal tent between two parliament robes gules lined ermine the tent garnished or with pennon and flagstaff of the last on a chief azure a lion passant guardant or|
| Worshipful Company of Haberdashers |
(clothiers in sewn and fine materials, e.g. silk & velvet)
|Barry nebulée of six argent and azure, on a bend gules a lion passant guardant or|
| Worshipful Company of Salters |
(Traders of salts and chemicals)
|Per chevron azure and gules, three covered salts argent garnished or overflowing of the third|
| Worshipful Company of Ironmongers |
|Argent, on a chevron gules between three gads of steel azure, three swivels Or|
| Worshipful Company of Vintners |
|Sable, a chevron between three tuns argent|
| Worshipful Company of Clothworkers |
(Wool fabric trimmers)
|Sable, a chevron ermine between in chief two havettes argent and in base a teazel cob Or|
Company without Livery is a status which applies during the period between when a guild is recognised by the Court of Aldermen and when it is granted the rights of a livery. A guild initially applies to be a London Guild, and may later apply to the Court to become a Company of the City of London. After an indefinite period, such a Company of the City of London can apply to the Aldermen for livery status; if granted, they can thereafter use the honorific prefix Worshipful Company.
Neither the Company of Parish Clerks nor the Company of Watermen have applied or intend to apply for livery status, which remains a long-standing City tradition. This is granted by the City Corporation in effect to control a company. The Watermen and Parish Clerks are governed by statutes and royal charters with responsibilities outside the city. The Company of Watermen and Lightermen was established by Act of Parliament in 1555 to regulate the watermen on the River Thames responsible for the movement of goods and passengers and remains the only ancient City guild to be formed and governed by Act of Parliament. They are then strictly not 'companies without livery' at all but simply 'companies'.
The Ward Beadles of the City of London  are the elected officials, not representatives, of the City wards so have constitutional standing. They are associated together for mainly communications and social activities; they are a corps rather than a guild.
The City Livery Club, the Guild of Young Freemen and the Guild of Freemen of the City of London, whilst not being livery companies, are popular clubs amongst the freemen of the City.
The Honourable Company of Freemen of the City of London of North America (headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada) represents Freemen and Liverymen of the City of London who reside in North America.
The City Corporation of London remains lord of three manors at Southwark (Guildable, King's and Great Liberty). These are membership organisations for those areas which are the jurors of their manorial courts. They are not in any way guilds as are not related to trading and occupational activities. These courts retain legal-standing under the Administration of Justice Act 1977.
The Worshipful Company of Scriveners is one of the 110 livery companies of the City of London. The Scriveners Company was originally known as the Mysterie of the Writers of the Court Letter and, since its incorporation, as Master Wardens and Assistants of the Company of Scrivenors of the Cittie of London [sic]. It is one of the few livery companies that from its foundation to the present day has been influential in setting the standards for a living profession, namely that of scrivener notary. The company's first ordinances were granted in 1373. Its Royal Charter was granted by King James I on 28 January 1617.
The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London is one of the livery companies of the City of London. It is one of the largest livery companies and ranks 58th in their order of precedence.
The Worshipful Company of Skinners is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. It was originally an association of those engaged in the trade of skins and furs. It was granted Royal Charter in 1327.
The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers is one of the oldest livery companies of the City of London, with one of the smallest memberships.
The Worshipful Company of Curriers is one of the ancient livery companies of London, associated with the leather trade.
The Worshipful Company of Masons is one of the ancient Livery Companies of the City of London, number 30 in the order of precedence of the 110 companies. It was granted Arms in 1472, during the reign of King Edward IV; its motto is “God Is Our Guide”.
The Worshipful Company of Musicians is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. Its history dates back to at least 1350. Originally a specialist guild for musicians, its role became an anachronism in the 18th century, when the centre of music making in London moved from the City to the West End, and for more than a century it was a general guild for figures in the City, with no specific musical role. In the late 19th century, the musical element was revived, and the modern Company promotes all aspects of the art and science of music.
The Worshipful Company of Loriners is one of the ancient Livery Companies of the City of London. The organisation was originally a trade association for makers of metal parts for bridles, harnesses, spurs and other horse apparel; hence the company's name, which comes from the Latin word lorum through the French word lormier.
The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights is one of the ancient livery companies of the City of London. Although the Shipwrights' Company is no longer a shipbuilding trade association representing solely London-based industry, through its membership it retains strong links with global trade, and maritime and shipping professions.
The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers was established under a royal charter granted by King Charles I in 1631. It ranks sixty-first among the livery companies of the City of London, and comes under the jurisdiction of the Privy Council. The company established a library and its museum in 1813, which is the oldest specific collection of clocks and watches worldwide. This is administered by the company's affiliated charity, the Clockmakers’ Charity, and is presently housed on the second floor of London's Science Museum. The modern aims of the company and its museum are charitable and educational, in particular to promote and preserve clockmaking and watchmaking, which as of 2019 were added to the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts.
The Worshipful Company of Gardeners is one of the livery companies of the City of London. An organisation of Gardeners existed in the middle of the fourteenth century; it received a royal charter in 1605. The company no longer exists as a regulatory authority for the sale of produce in London; instead serving as a charitable institution. The company also performs a ceremonial role; it formally presents bouquets to the queen and to princesses upon their wedding, anniversary, or other similar occasion.
The Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The Company ranks 82nd in the order of precedence of the Companies. It does not have its own livery hall but meets instead at various halls of other Livery Companies.
The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators is 93rd in the order of precedence of the livery companies of the City of London. The organisation formally became a livery company on 17 March 1981. The company supports education in the field of arbitration. It also functions as a charitable institution. Its motto is Law and Custom, and its church is St Mary-le-Bow.
The Company of Watermen and Lightermen (CWL) is a historic City guild in the City of London. However, unlike the city's other 109 livery companies, CWL does not have a grant of livery. Its meeting rooms are at Waterman's Hall on St Mary at Hill, London.
The Worshipful Company of World Traders is one of the 110 Livery Companies of the City of London.
The Worshipful Company of Management Consultants is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. It draws its memberships from practising management consultants and has close links to the Management Consultancies Association and the Institute of Management Consultancy. The Company's motto is 'Change through Wisdom'.
The Worshipful Company of Constructors is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. The Company aims to bring together those professionally qualified individuals concerned with aspects of building design, execution, management, vision and economic appraisal.
Sir David Hugh Wootton is an English lawyer and politician. He was the 684th Lord Mayor of London, from 2011 to 2012, and is the Alderman of the Ward of Langbourn.
The Company of Entrepreneurs is a Company without Livery and an aspirant Livery Company of the City of London. It successfully petitioned the Court of Aldermen for Guild status in 2014 with ambitions to become a full Livery Company by 2024. It is a membership and charitable organisation formed of men and women connected with the City of London who have invested their own time and financial resources in establishing and running successful businesses and enterprises. Its motto is Dare, Create, Succeed